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Golden Girls

By Kathleen C. Fennessy

Launched during the neon-lit Aweome80s, The Golden Girls shed light on a side of Miami ignored by Miami Vice. In other words, no drugs, no murder--just four women of "a certain age," spending their golden years in the sun. Like the theme, "Thank You for Being a Friend," the long-running sitcom was about friendship (not crime).

As for the "girls," they were tart-tongued Dorothy (Beatrice Arthur), former farm girl Rose (Betty White), Southern belle Blanche (Rue McClanahan), and Dorothy's salty Sicilian mother Sophia (Estelle Getty). All were widows, with the exception of the divorced Dorothy. Created by Emmy-winning producer Susan Harris (Soap), The Golden Girls re-ignited the careers of 1970s TV veterans Arthur (All in the Family, Maude) and White (The Mary Tyler Moore Show). At the same time, it made stars of McClanahan (who co-starred on Maude), by playing a comic version of A Streetcar Named Desire's Blanche Dubois, and the scene-stealing Getty, made to look older than her actual age (she and Arthur were born the same year).

Notable guests to lend their talents to the first season include Star Trek: Voyager's Robert Picardo ("The Operation"), Alice's Polly Holliday ("Blind Ambitions"), and WKRP in Cincinnati's Gordon Jump ("Big Daddy"). In addition, Harold Gould (Rhoda), who appears in "Rose the Prude," would return as a (different) recurring character five years later.

The Golden Girls ran for seven seasons and spawned spin-off The Golden Palace (without Arthur) and a British version called The Brighton Belles. By the end of its run in 1992, it had garnered numerous awards, including two Emmys for best comedy series. In addition, each of the four actresses received a well-deserved Emmy for her efforts.

As the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," and the second season of The Golden Girls picks up where the first ended. The same classic quartet--Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia--is back, along with their snappy retorts, shoulder pads, and cheesecake. Well, there was one change. In the season premiere, "End of the Curse," Blanche (Rue McClanahan) goes through menopause.

Highlights of the 26 episodes of season two include "Ladies of the Evening," featuring a cameo from Burt Reynolds, just a few years prior to his own network sitcom, Evening Shade. As Blanche exclaims, "Mr. Burt Reynolds is one of our finest living actors...I mean, you put Sir Laurence Olivier in Cannonball Run--see what he can do." Then there's "Isn't It Romantic?" with Lois Nettleton (In the Heat of the Night) as Dorothy's lesbian friend, Jean, who falls for an unsuspecting Rose (Betty White). As was often the case, a sensitive subject is handled with taste and humor and resulted in an Emmy nomination for Nettleton's performance.

Further highlights include a white-wigged Nancy Walker as Sophia's long-lost sister, Angela, in "The Sisters" and "Long Day's Journey Into Marinara," and a pompadoured George Clooney (ER) in "To Catch a Neighbor." The final episode of The Golden Girls second season, "Empty Nest," features David Leisure and Oscar winner-Rita Moreno (West Side Story) and sets the scene for creator Susan Harris's 1988 spin-off, Empty Nest (although only Leisure would segue to the new show, while Soap's Richard Mulligan would take over for Moreno).

Golden Girls on DVD!
Golden Girls is now available on DVD! Get it at Amazon.com!
Season One, Season Two, Season Three

 

Share Your Memories!

Do you have a favorite episode of Golden Girls? What do you remember about the series? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"My favorite episode is when Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophie get the change to see Burt Reynolds at an event. So they rent two rooms at a certain hotel which happens to have hookers staying there. Blanche, Rose and Dorothy are arrested and have some of the funniest lines ever and even Sophie. Each of these characters are like every woman: sexy Blanche, naive Rose, the thinker Dorothy and strong willed Sophie."

--Maggie

"My favorite "episode" was the two part program about Dorothy's chronic fatigue syndrome illness. Excellent acting on the part of all starts with a variety of emotions displayed."

--Anonymous

"One of my many favorites is the episode where the four are constantly fighting, so they go and see a psychiatrist; in which they all reveal flashbacks of stuff they hate that the other did to them."

--Aaron Shore

"I loved the Golden Girls show when it was on and I love to watch the reruns today. I used to go to my Dad's house on Saturday night and watch it. It was such a nice family type show that you could all watch together. Now my grown up daughter and I enjoy the shows together. They are just relaxing to watch and kind of make you feel good. Thanks to all the actors. You have given me a lot of wonderful times."

--Linda

"I watch The Golden Girls every day and even though I have seen every episode 10 times, I still laugh like it is the first time I have seen it. I went to Disney World-MGM Studios and got a picture in front of the house with my husband on my honeymoon. I love that show!!! Every day those girls make me laugh!!!"

--Gwen

"One of the most touching episodes was when Blanche dreamed that her husband was not dead after all and comes back to her. That episode actually made me cry- it was so poignant and well acted."

--Anonymous

" The Golden Girls is one of my all time favorite shows. Coming from a large Italian American family I especially enjoy watching Sophia and Dorthy. I can relate and laugh at the same time. The show is always a comfort on days when I need a good laugh. My favorite episode was a two parter in which Rose has to undergo heart surgery. She makes the girls promise to freeze their heads so that one day scientists may be able to bring them back to life and cure them of their dying ailment. Rose then has a dream of the scenerio where the girls are on the infamous kitchen table with their heads packed in ice. After they stop screaming "We are heads" they fall back into their old routine and gossip about how they passed. I laugh until I cry everytime I see it! I hope when I am in my golden years I will have the same spunk and fire these ladies do!"

--Kara

"I love the episode were the girls mind the children, and they get left with a baby. Blanche gets attached to the child and when she has to give the baby back, she gets upset and rings her daughter who she arranges to go and see. This episode allways makes me cry at the end. I have all the episodes on tape and I would love them all on DVD. I watch them again and again, they allways cheer me up."

--Gareth Williams

"I love the episode called "Grab That Dough". There is so mutch crammed into 24 minutes.I also laugh my head off to "Three on a Couch" were they go for counciling because they are getting on each others nerve's. One of my favourites from the first series is "The Triangle" the lines are fabulous."

--Gareth Williams

"I love the show The Golden Girls. It was so funny. I loved Rose because she was so naive and blonde. I liked Dorothy because she was cynical and just hilarious. Blnache, well she was Blanche, and Ma was old and crazy. I love them!"

--Teeka

"I saw it in a flashback episode where the Girls 1st moved in, went grocery shopping, came back to the house and Rose started her story of The Great Herring War. And you could see Rue and Bea start to totally crack up while Betty kept a straight face. I've seen it so many times and I still laugh till I cry."

--Blake

"The most hilarious line ever from this show came from an episode where the girls are going away with some men for a weekend (except Sophia) and they stop at a pharmacy/drug store to buy condoms.

Either Dorothy or Blanche tell Rose they need to have protection.

Rose:What kind of protection?

Dorothy (annoyed):"Two armed Pinkerton Gaurds!!" LOL!"

--Happi-Puppi

"My favorite episode is when Dorothy and Rose enter a contest for a Miami theme song. "Miami! Miami! You've got style! Blue skies, sunshine, white sands by the mile..." The absolute best, though they are all amazing episodes!"

--Anonymous

"The Golden Girls is the BEST show ever. I'm only in my 20's but I swear my girlfriends and I all believe this is the most wonderful show! It still makes me laugh even though I've seen every single episode. I think my favorite is the one where Dorothy sings at the Rusty Anchor and makes Blanche jealous. Or maybe the one where Mrs. Claxton won't sign to save the tree in her yard. They're all so great, it is too hard to pick one. Sophia is the best character. . . though Blanche is a close second. And Rose is hilarious. There's humor for every personality, age, and sense of humor. That's what makes this show so great. And now, it's coming out on DVD this fall! Hooray for Buena Vista!"

--Anonymous

"I have been watching the Golden Girls since I was little and it has always been a favorite. I still watch the show every day sometimes more than once. Ihave so many favorites it is hard to tell about just one. I would have to say one of my favorites is the last two episodes. It was so touching and I was happy to see Dorothy get married, but I felt sad when the family had split up. I will always remember Dorothy running back in the front door, then the lani, and then she doesn't come back in. I could go on and on about all of my favorite episodes. When I was little I always hoped that someday I would meet this great cast.

In highschool a close group of my friends all loved the Golden Girls, and we were them. All of us fit one character so well. My best friend was the dumb. fun loving Rose and I was Blanche, never without a date. Then Laura who was Dorothy, always had those ex's of hers coming back and Amanda was Sophia through and through. What great times we had as teh four of us sat around and Watched our favorite show!"

--Colby

"The Golden Girls have been such a joy to my life.
Im 38 yrs old and have been enjoying them over the years. When ever Im having a bad day I know they will be there to cheer me up. They have been there for me through so many changes in my life, it's like I know the girls personaly. They are for sure an important part of my life. And it has been the best thing since P-nutbutter."

--kayceekay

"My wife got me hooked on this darn show now I can't go to sleep without watching are recorded ones we have. My favorite of all is the murder mystery episode rose is a crack up can't wait till nov 23rd for season 1."

--Ganoo

"Golden Girls as been an inspiration to me, because I truly value frindship. The Golden Girls are a percfect example of how true friends should be at all times, in good and in bad moments. I love the show and is my favorite show of all times. I can't think of not ever seen the show in television. On weekends and on week days that is all I look forward to. Sophia cracks me up, and Dorothy are hilarious. Thanks Lifetime for bringign the best show ever in television and for still having it on the air."

--Angie

 

TV TIDBITS

Aired: September 14, 1985 - September 14, 1992

Cast: Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty

Network: NBC

Genre: Sitcom

Theme song

SpinoffsEmpty Nest

Image courtesy of NBC


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