Monday, February 16, 2009

Thank You For Being a Friend :: Golden Girls

Back in my halcyon days of cable, I had a routine every day of coming home and turning on Lifetime (Television for Women!) and watching a full hour of "The Golden Girls." I don't know what the schedule is now, but at that time you could probably watch six hours of GG a day on Lifetime. But for once, they played something a lot because it is GOOD.

I loved this show when I was a kid, I loved it in college, and I love it now. When I was a kid, I loved how it showed old people being sassy with each other. As an adult, I really came to appreciate the messages it sent about friendship, women, power, and life's ups and downs. Your partner may leave you, your partner may die, but you will be ok as long as you have your friends and some coffee and cheesecake. Isn't friendship what it all boils down to?

The show also had a lot social commentary, both implicit and explicit. The four main characters showed how women of diverse backgrounds could come together and form friendships. You had the Southern belle (Blanche Devaroux), the New York intellectual (Dorothy Zbornak), the immigrant (Sophia Petrillo), and the earnest Minnesotan (my favorite, Rose Nyland (nee Lindstrom). The show also took on a lot of emerging issues of the 1980s- there was drug abuse, AIDS, kink, homosexuality, safer sex, racism, all kinds of stuff. And the messages were always positive and progressive.

Probably my favorite memory of watching "The Golden Girls" was when my friend Kjersti and I sat down to watch some serious movie one night in college. She had taped the movie off of TV and we were excited to watch it. About half way in, that familiar "Thank you for being a friend!" with shots of a plane and Miami came on! It was so funny, she had taped an episode of GG over this serious movie. And the best part? We got really excited about it and watched the whole episode.

Here's the theme song. I couldn't find the exact opening credits, but this is a song over a tribute to Estelle Getty (the woman who played Sophia, she died this past year).


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