Aug 28, 2023

Viral social media “Retirement House” celebrates the fun of getting old

retirement-house-tiktok-03-1
Retirement House creators Azran and Chase (top of the stairs) with cast members Monterey Morrissey, Chuck Lacey, Gaylynn Baker, Jerry Boyd and Patti Yulish. [Source: New York Post/ John Vlautin]

We’re taught to laugh with older people, not at them – but this group wants you to have a giggle at their expense.

Older people have begun garnering attention on social media, particularly TikTok, as videos receive millions of views. This is no different for the crew at Retirement House – an aspiring TV conception following six older aspiring “content creators” living in a big Hollywood mansion.

“We’re your new grandparents,” reads the caption on Retirement House’s first TikTok video, offering their audience the opportunity to build a virtual bond with a fun older person.

The semi-scripted TikTok show was created by Los Angeles creatives Brandon Chase, 25, and Adi Azran, 27, in September 2021 after seeing only a handful of “grandfluencers” (older social media influencers) were gaining traction and attention on social media. 

A casting call was made to find their actors and thus, Retirement House was born – pulling in millions of views and followers across all social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.  

While these characters don’t actually live in the mansion or behave in these ways, clips show characters Larry, Curtis, Mabel, Eugene, Rose and Bubbe – who are in their 70s and 80s – playing viral pranks, offering advice, singing and dancing or generally cracking jokes to showcase that age is just a number. 

 

@retirementhouse

in a silly goofy mood 😆

♬ original sound – Retirement House

Mr Chase and Mr Azran intended for the show to be fully scripted but realised the real gold came from their actors’ input. They hope Retirement House helps society re-evaluate age, particularly in the entertainment space which consistently ignores and demonises older demographics. 

“It’s kind of out of the norm for [older people] to be creating content on a platform with all these young people […] The dynamic of us being young with these older people and hanging out spending a lot of time with them has really been cool,” Mr Azran told New York Post.

@retirementhouse

if we had our own reality show

♬ original sound – Retirement House

The six actors have varying degrees of experience as performers and said they didn’t know anything about TikTok before they started the series but now they are elated with their new social media gig. For many, Retirement House was their big break. 

Monterey Morrissey a 71-year-old from San Francisco plays the rap-loving Larry who loves hearing positive feedback from the videos and making people laugh. Monterey and his wife moved to Los Angeles after their home was affected by two wildfires and having tried his hand at radio theatre and voiceover work in the past, he auditioned for the Retirement House role despite fears he wouldn’t be seen as a serious actor.

“I figured — hey, my phone’s not hanging off the hook here — I’ll give it a shot,” he told Buzzfeed News

Untitled design (54)
Retirement House actors Monterey Morrissey (bottom) and Gaylynn Baker (top) on set. [Source: Buzzfeed News]

85-year-old Gaylynn Baker, who plays Mabel, wanted to be a star since her doctors recommended she take up performing to overcome a speech impediment as a child. When she dipped her toe into the waters of Hollywood, she realised the realities weren’t for her so she dabbled in documentary production and writing after her two children grew up. 

Now, she’s scored her dream acting role after all. 

“I come into work and laugh all day long. I just can’t stop laughing,” she also told Buzzfeed News. 

“We’re changing people’s minds about what it means to age by having fun […] I don’t know how much longer I’ll be on this planet, but I hope I’ll always be having this much fun.”

The Retirement House creators are already transferring the channel’s success into longer-form content like the Retirement House podcast but the team would ideally love their videos to be turned into a proper television show. 

To watch more Retirement House, find them on social media @retirementhouse, @retirementhousepodcast or find them on YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. There is one thing I would like to ask about. It is now being put into place, that heavier care residents are what the government want to have in the facilities so that the lower care residents can stay at home and have care come to them. I was thinking about this recently as I was laughing and watching some of the residents joking and laughing at the dinner table, coming up with smart comments and laughing at each other. I then saw the recent heavier care residents (with dementia) just sitting/wandering/getting angry for reasons not known etc., and it made me realise that all the socialising will just be non existent when the house is all high care. I see the lower care residents complain and are frightened of the behaviours of these high care residents, sometimes being hit/harassed by them. It made me sad to think socialising will be gone, all the laughter and joking that comes with the lower care. This area needs to be worked on.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Digital medication management gives residents the best possible outcomes

BESTMED has led the field with its medication management system, and now there is a new addition to the repertoire - BESTtrack - that focuses on restricted drugs of addiction and prescribed restricted substances. Read More

50-Something Women: Coming Into Their Own

This morning, in my email inbox, I found that two people who know of my interest in ageing issues had sent me a link to the same article, one that had just appeared in the online Guardian: The salt-and-pepper pound: where are all the fiftysomething models? | Fashion | The Guardian In it, the very articulate British-based... Read More

Christmas Gift Ideas for Elderly Parents, Grandparents, Grandkids and Nurses

Gifts! Gifts! And more Gifts! Christmas is coming up! The Holidays hold special memories for many people. Whether it be spending time with family and loved ones, overeating at the family banquet or opening gifts under the tree – it’s a great time for all ages. But before we get to the fun, there are... Read More
Advertisement