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‘Golden Bachelor’ is finally here. Our writers discuss the premiere and charismatic Gerry Turner

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‘Golden Bachelor’ is finally here. Our writers discuss the premiere and charismatic Gerry Turner

This article contains spoilers for the premiere of “The Golden Bachelor.”

Arguably the most hyped series of the new fall season, “The Golden Bachelor,” ABC’s new twist on its hit “The Bachelor” franchise, has finally arrived. One of the biggest questions revolves around whether a large audience, particularly regular members of the Bachelor Nation fan base, will enjoy seeing a story about senior citizens falling in love.

The show features Gerry Turner, a 72-year-old widower from Indiana who is looking for a partner to share his “golden years.” He is introduced to 22 women in their 60s and 70s, many of them hoping for a second or third chance at love.

Although “The Golden Bachelor” carries over many of the touchstones of the franchise, producers are counting on attracting viewers who are not familiar with the show.

So does “The Golden Bachelor” live up to expectations? Senior writers Greg Braxton — who has written numerous stories about “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” — and Meredith Blake, a relative newcomer to the franchise, weigh in.

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Braxton: Welcome to Bachelor Nation, Meredith!

I will start by admitting that I have never gotten a lump in my throat or felt any surge of emotion when watching “The Bachelor.” But resistance was futile while watching “The Golden Bachelor.” The premiere was a heady mix of humor and heart, a definite departure from the usual bombastic kickoff, which typically promises all kinds of sexy fun and games in exotic locations as the leads start their journey for love. This chapter starts almost with a whisper — a Cat Stevens tune scores Gerry’s introduction as he recounts his devastation losing his wife, Toni, his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, to a bacterial infection seven years ago. It’s impossible not to be moved as we see both his deep grief and his hopes of finding a new partner. It’s hard to imagine folks tuning out after those moments.

Blake: Someone must have been chopping onions because I, too, found myself tearing up while watching this episode, which was such a pure delight that I can’t believe it’s taken ABC this long to give us a “Golden” spinoff.

I agree that there probably will be a lot of curiosity seekers checking out the premiere — and that they’ll probably stick around. To state the obvious, Gerry makes an absolutely superb “Bachelor.” He’s handsome, kind, funny, self-deprecating, big-hearted and open-minded. Listening to him talk about Toni and their 43-year marriage, it’s impossible not to root for the guy.

However, I do wonder whether the ruthlessness of reality TV — even a kinder, gentler version of it like “The Golden Bachelor” — will take a toll on our hero over the coming weeks.

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I was also impressed by the ladies, who were vibrant, fun and seemingly as eager to compliment each other as they were to win Gerry’s approval. They were all well-versed enough in “The Bachelor” to know that making a memorable first impression was essential, with Leslie (the freakishly fit aerobics instructor who disguised herself as a hobbled old lady) winning my vote for best entrance. Since this is a competition, I’m already starting to wonder if any of the early standouts — like Faith, who rode in on a motorcycle and won the first impression rose, or Theresa, who shared a birthday kiss with Gerry — will go the distance.

Greg, as a seasoned viewer of “The Bachelor,” are you ready to make any predictions yet? What are your impressions of the ladies so far?

Gerry Turner meets Theresa in the premiere episode of “The Golden Bachelor.”

(Craig Sjodin / ABC)

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Braxton: Before I get to the ladies, I have to do my own salute to Gerry. I don’t know how a retired restaurateur from Indiana can have such a natural presence and charisma perfect for TV. I interviewed him over Zoom about a week after he started filming and liked him instantly. Believe me, most of the other Bachelors in recent years should take lessons from Gerry about being real and genuine. He’s so down-to-earth, and seems so far up to the considerable challenge of being the face of this very popular and expensive show.

As for the ladies, producers and the casting department deserve their own bouquet of golden roses. The women are so elegant and vibrant, with an unquenchable spirit. They’re also very open and comfortable with their sexuality, a real revelation for those of us holding on to the stereotype that older people have little interest in getting it on.

Another refreshing departure from the usual “Bachelor” dynamic is that Gerry and the ladies all seem to be there for the right reason, and not interested in portraying an outrageous character or competing for camera time. These folks are not trying to increase their social media followings. There’s a real desire for connection and honesty. When Gerry and the ladies he’s talking to look into each other’s eyes, the warmth is palpable. You just don’t see that kind of genuine feeling on most reality dating shows.

And no, I’m not making any predictions yet.

Blake: I am not ready to make predictions, either, except to say I think this spin on “The Bachelor” is going to be a hit and will probably generate more positive chatter than the last few seasons of the show combined. Who knew the best way to reinvigorate a 20-year-old franchise would be to cast a retired senior citizen with a hearing aid in the lead role?

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But as you noted, in an era when we’ve grown accustomed to watching fame-thirsty people do insane things on reality TV, often for dubious reasons that have more to do with building a social media presence than forging real human connections, it is lovely — revelatory, even — to see people earnestly looking for romance later in life.

And in a culture that worships youth, it’s refreshing to see a show that centers aging and experience and deals with issues like grief and loss in an unflinching manner. It was striking to see Gerry dissolve into tears as he recalled his wife’s passing, and equally moving to hear from the women as they spoke about the events that shaped their lives and compelled them to sign up for “The Bachelor” — from Ellen, egged on by a best friend battling cancer; to Theresa, whose husband died nine years ago; to April, who longed to get back in touch with who she was before she became “a caretaker and matriarch.”

I know you will roll your eyes at me for saying this, but one of the most redeeming qualities of “The Real Housewives” franchise — my reality TV drug of choice — is that it shows women over 40 living full (if chaotic) lives. I’d be thrilled if “The Golden Bachelor” ushered in a new era of older-skewing reality shows. How about a season of “Love Is Blind” featuring residents of the Villages? Sign me up.

A smiling man in a tuxedo holds a red rose.

Gerry Turner is looking for love in “The Golden Bachelor.”

(Craig Sjodin / ABC)

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Braxton: Meredith, my hope is one day deprogramming you away from those horrid “Housewives.” Meanwhile, I’m putting ABC and every studio and network on notice that I have already thought of an idea for a show that features older people dancing to current hits. So the IP belongs to me. That scene with Gerry and all the ladies dancing to “Little Boo Thing” was priceless, and my pick for the water-cooler moment of the hour. When else have you seen such unbridled joy and spontaneity on a reality show?

Of course, one tradition of the franchise is showing the lead encountering difficulties as the field narrows, and as his feelings for the front-runners vying for the final rose grow deeper. There always seems to be a preview scene where the lead threatens to quit the show, and it’s suggested that Gerry had some raw and emotional moments as the season progressed. Those clips are designed to heighten viewer interest, or course.

But it seems like ultimately Gerry’s search for love has a happy ending. He deserves it, and I’m rooting for him.

Blake: Me too, Greg. Me too! I suspect the previews were edited for dramatic effect, but I also expect this process will be hard for Gerry — as it would be for any normal person who suddenly found himself simultaneously dating multiple women on national television. All we can hope is that the pain is worth it and Gerry finds the next great love of his life.

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Movie Reviews

Bad Newz Movie Review: Vicky Kaushal and Ammy Virk’s hilarious rivalry elevates this laugh riot

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Bad Newz Movie Review: Vicky Kaushal and Ammy Virk’s hilarious rivalry elevates this laugh riot
Story: Saloni Bagga (Triptii Dimri) gets pregnant with twins conceived through a rare phenomenon, heteropaternal superfecundation, which means there are two biological dads. In a hilarious rivalry, the would-be papas compete to win her heart and fatherhood. Whom will she choose?

Review: In the laugh riot that comes after Good Newwz (2019), Saloni Bagga dreams of culinary stardom and resists her mother’s marriage pressure until a whirlwind romance and marriage with Akhil Chaddha (Vicky Kaushal). While she craves career glory, her husband longs for a family, as his carefree attitude creates friction in their relationship. An incident throws her dreams and job into disarray, forcing them to acknowledge their incompatibility. Divorce ensues, and Saloni seeks a fresh start in Mussourie. There, she has a one-night stand with her boss, Gurbir Pannu (Ammy Virk).

Fate throws another curveball: Akhil reappears, and on the same night, things get tangled again. Six weeks later, a bombshell drops—Saloni’s pregnant with twins, and a paternity test reveals both Akhil and Gurbir are fathers! This unexpected twist sets the stage for a side-splitting battle between the two men, each vying for Saloni’s love and a shot at fatherhood.

Two heroes in a comedic duel for the heroine feels like a familiar rom-com setup. The plot might not surprise you, but the film shines in its outrageous humour. While the script and screenplay remain on uneven ground, director Anand Tiwari and writers Tarun Dudeja and Ishita Moitra understand that laughter is the key ingredient. Jokes and one-liners (by Dudeja) pepper the narrative, ensuring you’ll chuckle even after a supposedly serious scene. The film feels light and breezy, with the cast seemingly having a blast themselves.

Highlights include hilarious self-referential jabs at Karan Johar, from Akhil’s (Vicky Kaushal) possessiveness over a Katrina Kaif poster to Gurbir’s deadpan declaration that he’s “no Manmarziyan’s Vicky Kaushal” (referencing another Kaushal rom-com). These playful nods at Bollywood tropes add another layer of amusement and will crack you up.

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The film’s pacing suffers from a rushed first act, as Akhil and Saloni’s romance, marriage, and subsequent split feel underdeveloped. Similarly, Saloni’s fling with Gurbir lacks depth and is unconvincing. While the soundtrack boasts catchy tunes like Raula Raula, Mere Mehboob Mere Sanam, and Jaanam, their rapid-fire placement disrupts the narrative flow. Repetition in comedic situations and a predictable plot further hinder the film, especially in the second half, which feels overstretched.

Vicky Kaushal shines as the self-centred and loud Punjabi who eventually undergoes a satisfying character arc, learning to prioritise Saloni’s dreams. His impeccable comedic timing and energy are matched by Ammy Virk, who holds his own as Gurbir, the other more polished father figure in the chaotic equation. The best scenes are between the duo and their strong chemistry enables the comedy to roll out effectively. Triptii Dimri looks pretty and pulls off emotional scenes but struggles with comedy.

With a hilarious premise and two funny men, this one’s a laugh riot. Even when the plot takes a familiar turn and stretches, the witty dialogues and spot-on comedic timing from the cast ensure you’re consistently entertained.

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Veteran TV news host and conservative commentator Lou Dobbs has died at 78

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Veteran TV news host and conservative commentator Lou Dobbs has died at 78

Lou Dobbs, the veteran TV news host and conservative commentator, has died. He was 78.

Dobbs’ death was confirmed Thursday with posts on his social media accounts.

“Lou was a fighter till the very end — fighting for what mattered to him the most, God, his family and the country. Lou’s legacy will forever live on as a patriot and a great American. We ask for your prayers for Lou’s wonderful wife Deb, children and grandchildren.”

His death was first announced on Truth Social by former President Trump.

“The Great Lou Dobbs has just passed away,” Trump said Thursday. “A friend, and truly incredible Journalist, Reporter, and Talent. He understood the World, and what was ‘happening,’ better than others. Lou was unique in so many ways, and loved our Country. Our warmest condolences to his wonderful wife, Debi, and family. He will be greatly missed!”

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In a Thursday statement to The Times, Fox News Media said it was “deeply saddened by the passing of Lou Dobbs.”

“An incredible business mind with a gift for broadcasting, Lou helped pioneer cable news into a successful and influential industry,” the statement said. “We are immensely grateful for his many contributions and send our heartfelt condolences to his family.”

No details about Dobbs’ cause of death were made immediately available, and a spokesperson for Dobbs did not immediately respond Thursday to The Times’ requests for comment.

Dobbs became a household name when he appeared on CNN when it launched in 1980. He abruptly quit on air in 2009 and became a mainstay on the Fox Business Network.

Former Fox Chief Executive Roger Ailes signed the former host to the cable network in 2011. Dobbs was the company’s most outspoken supporter of Trump’s economic and immigration policies. In the weeks after the 2020 election, he also expressed anger on his program that the Republican Party did not do more to act on the former president’s claims that the election was rigged in favor of President Biden.

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In 2021, Fox News Media canceled his long-running Fox Business news show, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” over his allegations of voter fraud, but the commentator remained under contract at the network.

Times staff writers Stephen Battaglio and Meg James contributed to this report.

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Movie Reviews

Movie review – Twisters

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Movie review – Twisters

I’d rush into a tornado to save Glen Powell. Twisters feels like this year’s Top Gun: Maverick, a crowd-pleasing epic theater experience that feels like a throwback summer blockbuster in the coolest of ways. Much like the latter-mentioned legacy sequel, Twisters supersedes its predecessor in just about every way while bolstering new stars and bringing new thrills. 

Twisters follows tornado trackers Kate (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Javi (Anthony Ramos) who look to test an experimental new tracking system. They come into contact with the charismatic yet reckless Tyler Owens (Glen Powell) and his gang of social-media-driven Tornado wranglers. The film is directed by Lee Isaac Chung, who also directed 2020’s Minari

Powell always thrives in the lovable douchebag role. His character in this movie feels like an evolution of Hangman in Top Gun: Maverick. Side note, Powell would make a good Indiana Jones. A handsome, tall, and gruff nerd who’s likable and charismatic. I especially felt this while watching this year’s Hit Man and Twisters only helped to exemplify it. 

Edgar-Jones shines in her first huge role, bringing loads of heart. The romance between Edgar-Jones and Powell was very push-and-pull in a very fresh way. The characterization in this film also really outdoes its predecessor.

Everyone has much more nuance and depth, reflecting the way movies are made today. I wish Ramos had been given more to do and work with, but he does get some solid emotional beats with Edgar-Jones. It’s also really funny seeing David Cornswet play the exact opposite character of Superman, a corporate shell who doesn’t care about people.

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I already know that country stuff is gonna pop off when this movie gets really popular. But it was a smart market to capitalize on with how popular country music is now. Artists like Beyoncé and Post Malone tapped into the genre and now so has modern Hollywood. 

I attended its premiere in Los Angeles, thanks to 1iota (1IGOATA) for the opportunity. It was so cool to be able to see the premiere set designed to look like it had been through a storm and to get to see all the people who worked on the movie in person. It’s one of those things that reminds you of how cool Hollywood is and can be.

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