Has the generation gap ever been as great as it is today? And is there any way to bridge the differences? That's the goal of TV Land's new comedy social experiment "Forever Young." The touching reality series follows five seniors over the age of 70 and five "juniors" under the age of 30 as they all live in a house together. And we get to find out what happens, "Real World" style.
When the seniors arrive at the palatial Southern California estate, they think they're part of a show that highlights how seniors can maintain a youthful lifestyle. They get a real jolt when five 20-somethings walk in. And the juniors, who think they're going on a wild and crazy spring-break show, get a major wake-up call when they encounter the older group. "There's just five really old, wrinkly people in the backyard," Angelina says.
Meet the seniors and "juniors":
- Seniors: Lou, 73; Emileen, 72; Eugene, 77; Shirley, 83; and Arthur, 78
- Juniors: Mike, 26; Christian, 22; Andree, 25; Sam, 22; and Angelina, 25
At first, both groups seem resistant to the idea that they have any common ground with the age-opposite crew, but in the first two episodes ("Bridging the Gap" and "The Hunt"), the truth that we're all human and can learn from each other is revealed.
In the first social experiment, the juniors and seniors are sent to the grocery store with $500 per group to pick up what they think is essential. While the seniors pick up tissues, light bulbs, and cleaning supplies, the juniors head straight for the chocolate and whipped cream. "We don't need cleaning supplies," Andree says. Angelina rudely says that they should pick up some diapers for the older group.
The next morning, Andree and Angelina's worst nightmare begins when they're awakened by seniors Emileen and Shirley's alarm clock at 6:30 AM. Frustration quickly dissolves into laughter when Emileen can't find her underwear and Shirley shows off her thong, which completely shocks the two 20-somethings. "I only wear thongs. … We didn't die just because we had another birthday," Shirley, a former showgirl, says.
[Related: TV Land Greenlights Kirstie Alley's New Show]
Next up, the whole group is divided by generations to play "Bridging the Gap," a game show hosted by Mark Walberg. Each group is asked to answer questions more specific to the other team's common knowledge. It's surprising that Mike doesn't know that the Civil War was before World War II and that Andree can't identify Lucille Ball, but the real shock is when senior Arthur knows who the Jonas Brothers are! "The Jonas Brothers were staying at the hotel where I teach racquetball. … I saw a thousand teenyboppers, like Frank Sinatra was coming," he says. Another hilarious moment comes when Eugene correctly explains "sexting."
After a long day and a tough challenge -- the group had to pair off and use the other generation's technology to complete a scavenger hunt -- all the roommates are ready to chill. The kids break out the beer pong table, but the seniors are skeptical. Emileen insists that she's not about to drink beer all night, but they go for it. Everyone relaxes and has a rip-roaring blast. "I was mad impressed. Props to the oldies," Sam says. "What a treasure to take back to New York," Arthur says of the game.
While Mike, Christian, Sam, and Andree all seem to have warmed up to their older roommates, Angelina still seems harsh, guarded, and rude. "There's a big wall," Shirley says. When the group gathers around the fire pit for a frank conversation about how the social experiment is going, Shirley and Emileen comment on how guarded Angelina is. At first, Angelina goes off on how she couldn't communicate with Shirley during the scavenger hunt, but then she breaks down and addresses her real obstacle: that she's gay but is too scared to tell her mother, whose opinion matters a lot to her. In a touching scene, the seniors rally around Angelina, encouraging her to be honest. "Free yourself," Shirley says. Arthur tears up and says, "Take it from a senior -- the truth will set you free. What a lovely, tough young woman you are."
"Forever Young" premieres on Wednesday, 4/3 at 10 PM on TV Land.