Tonight is the first episode of NBC’s new show Age of Love starring Mark Philippoussis as the show’s bachelor. Mark, a 30 year old tennis star, will have the challenge of selecting a woman from two groups of contenders. The first group, Cougars, is made up of women in their 40s (although there is one who just turned 39 this week, can you guess which one?) and the other group, Kittens, consisting of women all in their 20s. So the big question is, “does age matter when it comes to love?” Let’s find out how much it matters to Mark.
The show opens with our Cougars making their way to their new home for the duration of the show. They are all very friendly and happy together as they go around the group declaring their ages to one another. Next the ladies meet Age of Love’s host, Mark Consuelos, who promises the show has found them their ideal man and introduces them to bachelor Mark through a welcome video. All of the Cougars are very wowed and anxious to meet him. Only a few of them initially start to question if a 30 year old tennis star would be interested in 40+ year old women. As they prepare to meet him the rest start to grow anxious with this same thought.
Finally the time has come for the Cougars to come down and meet Mark. First out is Lynn, 40, who considers herself the perfect catch as she has a great career and owns her own home. I think the producers sent out Lynn first because she definitely has a baby face. That seems to fool Mark at first until she explains that she was born in 1967, making her 40. His expression turns to a forced smile with an ever so slight gulp. Not what he was expecting. A quick shrug of the shoulders prepares him for the next Cougar. Kelli, 40, comes out to greet him and after a quick blurb about playing tennis in high school she reveals her age, resulting in a similar mini-gulp from Mark. I think he may be starting to figure out the twist. Jayanna, 39, is next on the list and says she is feeling envious of her friends’ success with finding the right guy and is ready to do the same. Mark is improving his fake smile by this round and plays everything very politely. Narrating these moments in a post-interview, Mark explains that he was confident the next women has “got to be younger”. Actually it’s time for the oldest as Jodie, 46, comes out to meet him. She asks him, “have you ever dated a 46 year old before?” He responds with, “No, you look beautiful. I never would have known.” Smart guy!
The reveals continue as Maria, 42, introduces herself to Mark. She thanks him for being “a special slice” in her life. I think Maria is ready to have fun here! The next to meet Mark is Angela, 40, who explains (off camera) that she was previously married in her 20s and that the divorce was the biggest heartache of her life. The final Cougar out of the cage is Jennifer who, at 48, is the oldest of the bunch. While she doesn’t look 48 I think she does look the oldest of the bunch, but will that hurt her? Well either Mark doesn’t think she’s the oldest or he’s very polite/smart again. Jennifer asks him to guess her age, which he notes off camera to be the worst question to a guy, and he comes in at 37/36. When she corrects him he does a great “surprised” face. Being the oldest has benefits as Jennifer gets to take Mark’s hand and lead him back to the Cougars’ party.
Mark takes time with each of the Cougars and gets to find out more about them. So now would be the perfect time for the claws to come out, and oh do they. Kelli seems to relish in repeating the fact that Angela has a 21 year old soon and then follows it up with a cackle. Then Jayanna starts to complain of Kelli and Angela are taking up too much of his time. I’m not sure why any of the women would wander off when one of them is soon facing a formal goodbye. “Game on. Watch out,” declares Jayanna as she comes over and takes Mark away from the pair. As the youngest of the bunch Jayanna could certainly use that to her advantage. Cougar Jennifer explains that Mark is her son’s age (yikes!) but that she could see herself falling for him. A quick kiss to each of them from Marks sends the Cougars off to prepare for the first day of dating.
Host Mark meets Bachelor Mark (gee, that’s going to get muddled!) the following morning and explains the day’s events. Mark is advised to use his time on the dates wisely because following the events he’ll have to select one to be sent home. A call over to the Cougars’ den reveals the participants in the first day’s date: Jayanna (I’m not surprised), Maria, and Lynn. The ladies meet Mark downstairs and they head out. Mark explains that he’s an adrenaline junkie and is looking for the same personality. When the group arrives at their stop Mark reveals that today’s group event will be rappelling down a building (not good for Jayanna who says she’s afraid of heights!).
While this group is off on their date we get introduced to the Kittens. First up, Tessa, 23, who says she is “young and definitely hot, deal with it”. Hmm, I think I like the Cougars better already. Next is Lauren, 27, who shares a similar confidence. Megan, 21, says she’s used to dating older guys, just “not Anna Nicole Smith style with 95 year old dudes.” Mary, 24, believes “when guys see me walking on the street they’re like, ’she’s really hot’.” Adelaide, 26, comes out like she’s on a catwalk detailing how men like women with a successful career. Lastly, there’s Amanda, 25, who believes to still be dating at 40 would be “just pathetic.” Geez, these ladies have started themselves off real well, huh?
Jumping back to the Cougars’ date we see the trio of ladies preparing for their big adventure. Maria is the first down the building with Mark and she has a great time. Meanwhile, Jayanna is up top starting to freak out. I’m guessing she’s going to back out of this particular challenge. Lynn follows Maria and has no trouble at all. After a series of promises from Mark Jayanna begins the descent and ends up having a lot of fun. I’m glad to see she didn’t back out. “She really impressed me today. She impressed me a lot,” said Mark afterwards of Jayanna’s participation despite her fear of heights.
A peek back in the Kittens’ suite shows us they are starting to get a little restless. But don’t worry because they have a hula hoop, “which is highly entertaining,” says Lauren, 27. Sheesh. Did I already say I was more impressed with the Cougars than the Kittens? Cause I am. But before we get more time with the Kittens it’s time for tonight’s elimination. One of the Cougars will be going home, leading to an even match of 6 Cougars against 6 Kittens. To help Mark make tonight’s decision he gets to ask 4 of the women down to the pool for a series of mini-interviews. He places a call to the Cougars’ den and asks Lynn, Jodie, Angela, and Jayanna to meet him. The ladies panic at the idea, not sure if being requested indicates safety or danger. I’m guessing it’s going to be on the dangerous side! This is confirmed as Mark reveals that one of these four will be going home.
The four ladies gather on the pool deck and Mark questions each of them individually before revealing his decision to them. I was expecting more probing questions than things about heart jewelry and acting shy the night before. Perhaps they’ll get better as Mark gets to know each of them better. First up is Angela, who reveals she has a big personality which Mark says he likes and wants to see more of. So Angela is safe. Next Lynn is questioned about her heart necklace and if it represents a current flame. She assures him she is single and he assures her she is safe. Mark calls over Jodie and it doesn’t look too good for her. Mark explains that he sees her more of as a potential friend instead of a lover. Jodie is the first to be sent home from Age of Love by Mark with, “I’m sorry, but I just don’t think it’ll work out.” This means that Jayanna is safe as well and will rejoin the rest of the Cougars. She looks very relieved by this outcome, but I’m not surprised. I think Jayanna is right, she is the Cougar to beat.
Now that that’s out of the way Host Mark comes out to drop the twist-bomb on Bachelor Mark. The curtain drops to reveal the 6 Kittens all posed to attract and Mark breaks out in a big smile and chuckle. This looks more like what he was expecting! Next Monday on Age of Love, “if you thought Mark looked surprised when he saw the 20 year olds, just wait until the 40 year olds see their younger competition!”
Let me know if you enjoyed the show tonight and if we should keep on covering it. If there’s enough interest I’ll be happy to do just that. Next time I promise to keep it more brief, but I wanted to get all the details out there this time in case anyone missed the series opener.
Check out the rest of our Age of Love coverage.
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