When Decider spoke with The Bachelor‘s Joey Graziadei back in January, the Season 28 lead teased an exciting Golden Bachelor reunion with several of Gerry Turner’s fan-favorite contestants. “I can definitely tease the ASKN ladies will be on an episode, and I know people are gonna love seeing them on their TVs again,” the 28-year-old teaching tennis pro said. No surprises here, but he was absolutely right!
For those who need a refresher, Graziadei once crashed a Golden Bachelor group date to help give Gerry’s gals some pickleball pointers, and he’s interacted with members of the iconic clique ASKN — April Kirkwood, Susan Noles, Kathy Swarts, and Nancy Hulkower — several times since. (The fab five even collaborated on promo for his Bachelor season.)
Members of Bachelor Nation weren’t sure exactly how Kirkwood, Noles, Swarts, and Hulkower would make their return to ABC, but I assumed it’d be a triumphant one. And it was! From the moment the four friends took the stage in Episode 3 they had me begging for The Golden Bachelorette! (What’s taking so long, ABC?!)
In honor of the first-ever Bachelor Nation Mrs. Right Pageant, Graziadei welcomed the “four gorgeous, stunning women” to stage where they flashed familiar smiles and shouted their catch phrase — “If you’re ASKN, we’re TELLIN!” — in unison just like the good old days. Within seconds, the ladies were gushing over Graziadei like proud family members…who also think he’s hot! “We all love Joey,” they told cameras. “I asked him today. I said, ‘Do you have any relatives? An uncle? Brother? Older brother? Cousin?” Nancy, a retired interior designer from Alexandria, Virginia, shared.
The ASKN gals were some of The Golden Bachelor‘s funniest cast members, whose contagious energy and personalities brought laughter and smiles to Bachelor Nation each week until their elimination. Following a brief tiff with Golden Bachelor winner Theresa Nist during their season, Swarts — a retired education consultant who delivers A+ zingers — served as a Gold Carpet Correspondent for The Golden Wedding. And Noles — a wedding officiant from Aston, Pennsylvania — married the Golden Bachelor couple herself.
The ladies are sharp, opinionated, and unafraid to speak their mind. And when they joined The Bachelor‘s group date it was clear their reputation preceded them. When ASKN was asked to judge the pageant and moderate the Q&A panel alongside Graziadei, Bachelor contestant Maria said, “They’re a little spicy! I don’t know what to expect with their questions.” She asked the spunky seniors to go easy on her, but in true ASKN fashion, they got down to business.
Much to Graziadei’s dismay, Kirkwood kicked things off by asking, “You and Joey have been married for 30 years. After years of passion, how do you spice things up if things aren’t, well, working quite the same?” The ladies asked about faking orgasms and what would happen if contestants got trapped in an elevator with the Season 28 lead, but they asked some sweet, G-rated stuff, too. When a contestant declared herself World’s Best Kisser and made out with Grazidei during the talent portion of the competition, the ladies applauded in support, but Susan also screamed “I don’t know about that, girl!” and hilariously wagged her finger.
It was nice to see the ASKN women take their jobs as pageant judges very seriously, but what their presence reminded us more than anything — aside from the fact that The Golden Bachelor‘s debut season had stupendous casting — was that watching seniors tackle reality television romance is often more entertaining than watching another group of twenty-somethings look for love. Kirkwood, Noles, Swarts, and Hulkower exude experience, personality, pizazz, and youthful IDGAF energy, but they’re also secure in their self-worth in ways younger contestants on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette aren’t. Their aged confidence, wisdom, and humor are incredibly compelling, and although The Bachelor Season 28 has some quality contestants in the group, we can’t help but wish our time with ASKN could have lasted longer.
While we anxiously await The Golden Bachelorette‘s official announcement (what the heck is taking so long?!) ABC should consider giving these four Golden Bachelor stars their own show. If you’re ASKN if I’d watch, I’m TELLIN you yes!
New episodes of The Bachelor air Mondays from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET on ABC with next-day streaming on Hulu. And be sure to read our interview with Joey Graziadei for more exciting Bachelor insights.