I have vivid memories of lying on the couch when I was a little girl in the eighties watching The Golden Girls with my Italian grandmother and my mother. A barely English speaking grandmother, a mom in her mid-20s and a 4-year-old don’t agree on much, but The Golden Girls was always a favorite for all three of us. Something about those four ladies, with their individual personalities and their crazy ways, touches women of all ages and backgrounds, and some men too.
Over 20 years later, like only the most classic of all TV sitcoms can do, The Golden Girls can still make me laugh. The humor remains relevant and current and every time I watch, I appreciate a story line or a joke like never before. It is simply ageless. It also had one of the best TV theme songs in history.
When I was in college, I lived in an apartment with three other girls. Even though we were barely 20, my roommates and I discovered how much we reminded ourselves of the Miami dwelling ladies. We each had different personalities and we constantly found ourselves in situations in which we could relate to these women. And when I wrote a recent article and mentioned The Golden Girls, I learned from the HelloGiggles comment section that many of you, while not yet eligible for a senior citizen discount, can relate to them as well.
I, of course, am Sophia. Which Golden Girl are you?!
Sophia Petrillo (played by Estelle Getty): ”There are two things that happen when you get to be my age.. .One, you become more intuitive about the weather, and two, corn becomes your enemy.”
The eldest of the crew, Sophia was Dorothy’s mother and was born in Sicily but moved to Brooklyn when she was a teenager. Sophia was a no-nonsense spitfire. She may have been the tiniest of the four women, but she knew how to stand tall and speak up for herself. She was spunky, superstitious, and stubborn. She never had a problem making fun of herself and was the first to point out her aging ways.
Dorothy Zbornak (played by Bea Arthur): “You try and I’ll have you on your back so fast you’ll think you’re on a date.”
Like her mother, Dorothy was sarcastic and never afraid to throw out a insult or a quip. A Brooklynite, she was sassy and witty and always spit the truth. One could say Dorothy was cranky, but she was the most practical of the roommates, often taking charge of situations. Dorothy and Sophia had a typical sicilian mother/daughter relationship, with a love/hate element that always led to sassy exchanges. But Dorothy loved her “ma” and Sophia loved her “Pussycat”, and they took great care of each other.
Blanche Devereaux (played by Rue McClanahan): “He is so sophisticated and charming and rich and handsome. He fairly screams Blanche. At least he will when I’m through with him.”
Blanche, the southern Belle of the group, was frisky…you know, friendly…like horizontally friendly. Crossing the line between confident and vain, Blanche still had it going on, and she wasn’t afraid to let you know it. I like to think of her as the original Samantha Jones (from SATC). Well before Viagra was on the market, she was making sure her needs were still being satisfied. She gives hope that we can still be sexy and have sexy time when we’re old and grey. She also reminds us that our grandparents are probably still doing it…
Rose Nylund (played by Betty White): “My mother always used to say: ‘The older you get, the better you get. Unless you’re a banana.’”
Hailing from St. Olaf, Rose wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box. She always had a story from her days in the small town in Minnesota, which rarely proved relevant to the topic at hand, but in her own sweet way, was always good for a laugh. She had a harmless honesty quality about her, and her naive ways often got her in sticky situations.
The Golden Girls make getting old seem like maybe it won’t be so bad. They give new meaning to “going to Miami with your girlfriends.” My friend Coryne and I have already made a pact to reunite and live together again like Sophia and Blanche after we’ve finished raising our future children. Not that I don’t think it would be super sweet and romantic to age and die with my husband, Notebook style… But there’s something about spending time with a good group of girlfriends that just never gets old…