30 years onward, The Golden Girls still resonates with fans of all ages.

 

Picture it: Miami, 1985. Four middle-aged actresses agree to play the characters of Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia who share a home in a TV sitcom called The Golden Girls, unaware at the time of the kind of impact the show would leave on its adoring fans. The show aired until 1992, ending a one-season spinoff called Golden Palace, although it made its mark in those seven years. More than three decades after Susan Harris’ imagination sparked the creation of these iconic characters, fans from around the world still watch reruns of The Golden Girls, spend time discussing the show on social media in Facebook groups like The Golden Girls Fanatics, carry Sophia-inspired handbags and relate to the episodes in their daily lives.

Here we are, 30+ years after the show originally aired, faithful fans of Rose, Blanche, Dorothy, and Sophia, and the show’s laugh-out-loud comedy and relatable, sometimes shocking storylines. The girls were not afraid to be themselves, proudly, to speak up when necessary, and to exert confidence and pride in their lives. More importantly, the girls were humble, loyal, caring friends who considered each other family. What an impact a show makes when people of all ages continue to tune into the show and take lessons from it that we use in our lives.

Each episode of The Golden Girls delivered witty humor, sarcastic remarks, and important life lessons about life, friendship, love, and the overall complexities of life. At a time when controversial topics could get a show canceled, The Golden Girls unapologetically did as they pleased, shedding light on topics such as homosexuality and racism.

What lessons can we take away from The Golden Girls all these years later?

Friendship is Powerful

“Thank you for being a friend,” the opening lyrics of the show’s theme song, highlighted its main theme: the power of true friendship. Each episode highlighted the trials and tribulations of friendship while showing us how we should not allow trivial disagreements or obstacles to tear relationships apart.

The girls often disagreed, quarreled, and called each other names but friendship mattered more than silliness. Before the show’s end, we’d see the girls work through obstacles that threatened their friendship using sarcasm, knowledge, and the heartfelt love felt between them. The very first episode shows the genuine friendship the girls felt for one another after they rallied around Dorothy after a bad date.

Slamming the Door in Your Pig-of-an-Ex Husband’s Face is Exhilarating

Dorothy answers the doorbell or the knock at the front door.

“Hi, Dorthy. It’s me, Stan.”

Dorothy slams the door in her ex-husband’s face.

After 38 years of marriage, Stan Zbornak cheated on Dorothy, abruptly ending their marriage. She could not cut Stan out of her life completely, and though she always opened the door and helped her ex, that initial slamming of the door felt oh-so-good.

Honesty is the Best Policy

Sicilians have a way of rolling words off their tongue, especially when met with ignorance or anger. Take Sophia Petrillo, aka Ma, Dorothy’s mother, who never hesitated to say exactly what was on her mind.

Dorothy: “I can’t believe you’re the one who solved this case.”

Sophia: “Why not? I lived through the Depression, two husbands, and a root canal. I’m not afraid of anything.”

File. (2017, October 31). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sophia_Petrillo_Estelle_Getty.jpg

With Sophia around, you better have tough skin or your feelings would get hurt. Yet, Sophia spoke with love from her heart, with sophisticated yet sarcastic wisdom from her years of life.

Communication & Conversation Eliminate Many Problems

The girls loved sitting around the dining room table discussing whatever problem plagued them at that moment or simply reminiscing about times gone by. Whether sad, happy, angry, or throttled between emotions, the girls always sat down and talked through their issues.

The Golden Girls. (2023, May 20)

Embrace Your Sexuality

“There is a fine line between having a good time and being a wanton slut. I know. My toe has been on that line.”

In the 1980s and early 1990s, women were not as free to embrace their sexuality in mainstream television and were instead expected to be reserved and obscure in mannerisms and talk, especially Southern Belles like Blanche.

Yet, Blanche Devereaux was not afraid to love her ‘busty bosom’ and feminine curves. She openly discussed her sexuality and relationships with numerous men and seemed unconcerned about her stereotypical reputation as a “slut.’

“My first was Billy. Oh, I’ll never forget it! That night under the dogwood tree, the air thick with perfume, and me with Billy. Or Bobby? Yes, that’s right, Bobby! Or was it Ben? Oh who knows, anyway, it started with a B.”

Don’t Take Words So Personally

Everything isn’t said with bad intentions. The girls often referred to Blanche as a slut, Rose as dumb, and Dorothy as the ugly odd duckling, although worded in a light-hearted, humorous way. Who cares what people think if you love what you are doing and no one else gets hurt? Words shouldn’t hurt you when they’re not intended to be hurtful, and on those occasions when they are spoken in a harmful manner, your confidence should stand tall through it all.

In the episode, “Words of Wisdom,” Dorothy commented to Blanche about her appearance, ultimately offending her. The girls got into a heated argument that continued days later. Both girls refused to give in to the other until turning to Sophia for advice. She tells the girls about a comment from her childhood that she took offensively and held a grudge for years. She eventually forgave the person and explains to the girls how words should never define your worth. The girls mended their friendship.

Embrace Differences

Blanche, the overly-sexual divorcee. Rose – the big dummy from St. Olaf. Dorothy – the mean-spirited substitute school teacher. Sophia – the tiny little wise-cracking Italian grandma who once felt immense pain when her sister wished her marinara never again during an argument.

Dorothy

Each woman was unique in personality, style, and looks. The show taught us that opposites attract and that embracing differences can lead to lasting friendships and a clearer understanding of issues unfamiliar in our own lives.

Being Brown is Beautiful

The Golden Girls touched on topics such as racism, giving us a brief synopsis of how whites thought in those days. The show did not hide the ignorance indebted into the world at the time while also showing the consequences of that mindset. The Golden Girls encouraged a change in the world and challenged racist beliefs.

“My great-granddaddy always said that there are two things you never sell to a friend — a car and a slave — because if either one of them quits working, you’ll never hear the end of it. Of course, they hanged my great-granddaddy. He said a lot of things he shouldn’t have.” — Blanche

The show encouraged fans to challenge and overcome racist beliefs and prejudices.

Life Doesn’t Always Go as Planned

All four women were widowed or otherwise without their partners, which resulted in financial tribulations. The girls were practically forced to find roommates to survive. None of the women ever expected their lives would take such drastic turns, though they accepted the new chapters of life and embraced the life given to them.

Confidence is a Virtue

No woman alive has more confidence than Ms. Blanche Deveraux. She showed the world how amazing it feels to be a confident woman unconcerned with other people and opinions.

“Nobody ever believes me when I’m telling the truth. I guess it’s the curse of being a devastatingly beautiful woman.” — Blanche

“Isn’t it amazing how I can feel so bad and still look so good?” — Blanche

Equality Is Important

The show never shied away from tackling issues like sexual harassment, ageism, and LGBT rights. One storyline had Blanche confronting her internal homophobia when her gay brother Clayton announces his plans to marry his longtime boyfriend, Doug. Blanche says she supports Clayton but has a problem with her brother making his relationship so public. It’s ultimately Sophia who makes Blanche realize she’s being unfair and discriminatory against her brother with this exchange:

Blanche: “I can accept the fact that he’s gay, but why does he have to slip a ring on this man’s finger so the whole world will know?”

Sophia: “Why did you marry George?”

Blanche: “We loved each other, wanted to make a lifetime commitment, wanted everyone to know.”

Sophia: “That’s what Doug and Clayton want, too. Everyone wants someone to grow old with. And shouldn’t everyone have that chance?” Amen.

The Seattle Times

Wholesome Advice

The girls had great advice, whether delivered humorously or seriously.

In the words of Rose Nylund, “You know what they say: you can lead a herring to water, but you have to walk really fast or he’ll die.”

“No matter how bad things get, remember these sage words: You’re old, you sag, get over it.” — Sophia

What lessons did you learn from The Golden Girls?

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