‘The Golden Bachelor’ Is a Fantasy. Aging in America Isn’t.

On Thursday, Nov. 30, the first “Golden Bachelor” will give out his final rose, and with it he’ll crown one lucky baby boomer as the winner of his heart.

And while the season has been full of jokes about replaced knees and gastrointestinal distress, the realities of aging are never allowed to interfere with how young and perky the contestants behave, according to Michelle Cottle.

In this audio essay, Michelle makes the case that the reality series offers viewers a weird but apt metaphor for America’s denial of the realities of aging and dying in this country.

And Michelle (and her beleaguered husband) can’t look away.

Credit…Illustration by Akshita Chandra/The New York Times; source photographs by Darren Robb and Rosemary Calvert/Getty Images

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This Opinion Short was produced by Phoebe Lett and edited by Kaari Pitkin. Engineering and mixing by Carole Sabouraud. Original music by Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud. Fact-checking by Kate Sinclair. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta and Kristina Samulewski. Special thanks to Christopher Orr, Alison Bruzek and Annie-Rose Strasser.

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