Thank you for being a friend

By |2004-11-25T09:00:00-05:00November 25th, 2004|Uncategorized|

It’s been almost 20 years since “The Golden Girls” debuted on NBC’s Saturday night lineup. The series, which chronicled the escapades of four feisty senior citizens who shared a house, was a ratings grabber for seven spectacular seasons until Bea Arthur decided to leave and effectively shut down the show.
When Golden Girls first aired in the fall of 1985, Arthur was already a household name. But it was as Maude – another revolutionary character from the series of the same name – that she was best known. I think it’s safe to say now that America knows her best as Dorothy Zbornak, the quirky divorcee at the mercy of her mother’s witty quips. There was something about the chemistry between both the characters and the actors, including the wicked but loveable mother, Sophia Petrillo (played by Estelle Getty), the slutty southern belle, Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan) and the na•ve farm girl from Minnesota, Rose Nylund (Betty White) that was just magical. The show attracted a huge audience of varied age, many of whom were too young to get half of the jokes. But the ones they did get were funny enough to keep ’em coming back for more.
The show also quickly became a favorite of gays and now, some two decades later, is a camp classic. Season one, which at long last was released on DVD this week, features only one gay character. Coco (Charles Levin) played the girls’ cook in the pilot but was not carried over into the regular series. In later years, the girls play the gay card in several episodes, from the two episodes featuring Blanche’s gay brother to the time they all fell for Laslow, a Hungarian sculptor whom the girls fail to realize fancies the fellows.
But even when the action doesn’t include any gay characters, there’s something very gay-friendly about the humor. It’s cheeky, risquŽ and at times extremely biting. To hear such words come out of the mouths of women old enough to be your grandmother (well, at least they were at the time I first discovered them) is almost a nasty sort of thrill.
The Golden Girls are sort of like the naughty aunties you wish you had, and it’s wonderful to welcome them home just in time for the holidays.

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.