The other day, while fiddling with the remote on my television, I happened upon something called "The Bachelor." It appeared to be about a young man with an inordinate number of very large teeth who was being shamelessly pursued by dozens of young women with a penchant for hair spray and halter tops.
Though I couldnt bring myself to watch more than the first few minutes of the show, after turning off the TV I got to wondering why I found it so unappealing. Surely not its inanity, silliness or tastelessness. Many of the television shows I enjoy regularly are inane, silly and tasteless. No, the thing that really put me off here was generational in nature. Which got me thinking....
Why not a similarly structured program aimed at people 60 and older, a program called "The Coot"? I can easily visualize its content. A well-turned out guy with a good safe portfolio of government securities, a condo in a gated community, and Social Security checks rolling in every month like clockwork, a guy with grown children pestering him to remarry, is pursued by a bevy of yoga-tuned ladies of a roughly similar age, hell bent on becoming the next Mrs. Coot.
There would be no hot tub encounters in this program, of course. And if common sense went into the production, none of the embarrassing and unnecessary shirtless displays one finds in recent Clint Eastwood movies. This doesnt mean, however, that sex wouldnt be a big part of the coots mating game, or racy episodes a regular feature of the program.
Picture this foreplay. After knocking back a bottle of bubbly. the coot and one of his pursuers take turns lovingly cutting a 100 milligram Viagra tablet into two 50 milligramersa common practice these days among cost-conscious older lovers, and in the shows context, a hint that the coot and one of this suitor might be planning a second go-round some time in the future.
Romantic? You bet. And in the act of cutting, if one half of the Viagra tablet happens to fly under the sofa, and the two half-snockered lovers have to crawl on hands and knees to recover it, think about the humorous possibilities. Talk about reality television!
Recycling popular TV shows and relocating them in different venues with new casts of slightly altered characters isnt a new idea. Its already been done with "CSI." Its been done and done again with "Law and Order." The gimmick here is that the similar format is given an elder tinge.
"The Bachelor" is certainly not the only youth-oriented television show that could inspire such a spin off. The unbelievably interactive group of young people on "Friends" could be aged several decades and relocated to a retirement home in Manhattan without losing one whit of the originals humor. And when it comes to vampire fighting, even the biggest fans of Sarah Michelle Geller would have to admit that shes got the punching power of a whiffle ball. So the sight of an octogenarian fatally staking a gaggle of gymnastic, fanged blood suckers would not needlessly strain the credulity of viewers.
I have nothing against television programming that features unbelievably attractive and agile young people doing astonishing heroic things and engaging in endlessly tortured romantic encounters. But the simple truth is that these activities make as much (or as little) sense with older players as younger ones.
An unusually attractive guy in his early 60s is as likely (or unlikely) to be pursued by 25 well turned out women between 55 and 65 as his younger counterpart on "The Bachelor." A spunky crone would be as able (or unable) to depopulate emigrants from the mouth of hell as the fragile-looking Ms. Geller.
My demographic deserves its shot on prime time action soapers. All I am saying is, give coots a chance.