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Golden Bachelor Makes Its Mark in Bachelor History

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Jesse Palmer hosted the emotional finale of The Golden Bachelor (Photo Courtesy of Lindsey Dettloff)

In the most dramatic season yet, the Golden Bachelor, an Indiana native named Gerry Turner, broke the hearts of many, while earning the heart of the (second) love of his life. Gerry won over the viewers, inspiring hope and love in people who thought that stage of their life had passed, but in the finale, Gerry became a far more controversial character as he received a lot of backlash following his breakup with runner-up Leslie Fhima. 

In the finale, Gerry had the two remaining women, Teresa Nist and Leslie Fhima, meet his daughters and granddaughters. Teresa went first with the family, winning them over with her chemistry and comfort with Gerry.  

Teresa has been my personal favorite through the season because of her and Gerry’s unique bond over their similar past. Teresa lost her spouse on a similar timeline as Gerry lost his wife, so they were able to have very deep conversations that were relatable for the both of them. Teresa also had a level of maturity that I felt Leslie and some of the other women lacked. Not only was she the closest to Gerry’s age, being only two years his junior, but she seemed to be closest to Gerry in health. Now I’m not saying Gerry is old, but I will note that his years for adventurous physical activity are dwindling, and he won’t be the active, spry man he is now for the rest of his life. Teresa seems to be at that level, while fitness instructor Leslie probably has many more years of activity left for her in comparison to Gerry. 

Now coming back to the date, Teresa had a lovely conversation with Gerry’s daughters where she shared her story about her late husband, and they found comfort in the fact that their father had found someone who could relate to his situation. Gerry’s daughter Jenny even commented on how much she loved Teresa, saying, “If [my] dad proposes to Teresa, I think it would be a great thing, actually. I’d be really happy for him.”  

In the latter part of the couple’s date, they spend a romantic night together hanging out in Teresa’s hotel suite. The pair had a conversation about what their life would be like together. “We both want to have so much fun, we want to make the most of the years we have left – we’d be so busy!” Teresa said. Gary responded joyfully, saying he was “thrilled” and hoping she was just as happy with him as he is with her.  

The next day, Gerry brought Leslie to meet his family. Their compatibility really impressed the family. Jenny even went as far as to say, “Seeing Leslie and [my] dad laughing and being playful was a breath of fresh air only because the way he communicates with people is through joking around.” It seemed like his interactions with Leslie had her more hopeful about their future together; however, the wind seemed to shift directions by the end of the day. When talking to their father, they expressed doubt about how emotional Leslie had gotten and about whether or not she was ready about her decision to possibly marry Gerry. 

Now I have been saying this all season – Leslie is looking for a man who will be her hero, and from time to time, Gerry has gotten wrapped up in this narrative. Leslie has gone through two divorces, and she recently shared that she never had a “Til death do us part” partner. I think this made Gerry feel very special, which I believe caused him to tell her on their fantasy suite night that she was the one and that he loved her. However, I think Gerry is in a place in his life where he doesn’t want the drama of Leslie and her swing of emotions from day to day.  

I turned out to be completely right about Leslie, as the later part of their date ended in emotional destruction.  Leslie told Gerry that she had felt a disconnect during the day and she could tell something was up. As they said their goodbyes, at the end of the night, Leslie got extremely emotional, breaking out in tears as her “I love you” to Gerry was only met with, “That is such a special sentiment,” by the Golden Bachelor. Their tearful goodbye was only further evidence that this was the end.  

While viewers thought the worst of it was gone, we could only dream of that relief as Gerry returned to her room and officially broke up with her. Though I did sympathize with Leslie’s heartbreak over the seeming “lies” that Gerry had told her in the Fantasy Suite, I found myself siding with Gerry. He definitely dodged a bullet, and I think breaking up with her at that moment rather than waiting for the proposal day was a better move all around. 

A lot of Leslie’s gripes with Gerry, I believe, came from a narrative she built in her head. She had allowed herself to be 100% confident that Gerry was going to propose to her, and that just isn’t the nature of the show. It would be naïve to think that Gerry wasn’t telling the other women those same things. The same situation occurred with Faith Martin, the third-place woman, and I felt that especially in the live part, Faith was much more mature about the situation.  

Now Gerry isn’t perfect; he told a lot of women things that he probably should’ve held back, but the show is also a setup for failure. Gerry obviously wasn’t a part of Bachelor Nation before the show, so he didn’t know any better. Did he break some hearts? Of course, but is he a bad guy? No! Let’s remember that this man is 72 years old. He isn’t breaking hearts for the fun of it – Leslie and Faith and the other women were collateral damage in his search for love. 

And I really do believe that Gerry found love. Watching Gerry propose to Teresa was so heart-warming and I think they really are a perfect match and the perfect companions for one another. When they came on live to talk to Jesse, they seemed truly ecstatic to be together and they just seemed like two peas in a pod.  

The couple also announced on the live show that they would be having a Golden Bachelor wedding! Their wedding will air on January 4th and I know I’ll be tuning in!  

The first season of Golden Bachelor was a humongous success and I think it really carved a permanent spot in the Bachelor universe for itself. I really hope we get to see one of our runners up, like Faith or Ellen, become a Golden Bachelorette and continue on the legacy of this spin-off. 

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About the Contributor
Lindsey Dettloff, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Lindsey Dettloff is one of three Editors-in-Chief of The Print. She is an expert in all things grammar and is in charge of running the newspaper’s social media. In addition to The Print, Lindsey is the President of the Student Government Association, a Pep Squad ambassador, a member of the academic team, and is a three-season varsity athlete. This summer, she was a summer camp counselor at the Arena Club and spent lots of her time with her friends and family at the beach. She loves to write satirical pieces so she can make people laugh, and feature pieces to spread community news. Lindsey loves joking around with her journalism classmates and can’t wait for a fun and successful year! 
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