The Golden Girls
|Name:||The Golden Girls|
|Date(s):||September 14, 1985 – May 9, 1992|
|Medium:||live-action TV series|
|Country of Origin:||United States|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The Golden Girls is an American sitcom created by Susan Harris that originally aired on NBC from 1985 to 1992.
Golden Girls is a comedy sitcom based in Miami, Florida, about four women sharing a home in their “golden years” who had all reached a point in their lives that they searched for companionship outside of family and marital relationships. Golden Girls was written by Susan Harris and ran on television for seven seasons (1985-1992) totaling 177 episodes.
- Blanche Devereaux, portrayed by Rue McClanahan, is a southern belle who, after her late husband George passed, finds herself in need of roommates to help supplement her income. Blanche is known as the more sexually adventurous roommate and is enamored by her own beauty.
- Sophia Petrillo, portrayed by Estelle Getty, is the oldest of the four women and the mother of Dorothy. After her retirement home, Shady Pines, burns down, she is the last to move into the Miami home with the others. Being an Italian immigrant, Sophia possesses a lot of old world charm and is known for telling anecdotes filled with tall tales of how the world works to the younger three women. She is also known to possess quick wit for insults for how the other three women live their lives.
- Rose Nylund, portrayed by Betty White, moves in after relocating from St. Olaf, Minnesota, after her late husband, Charlie, passes. Rose is known for her long stories that include people or farm animals with ridiculous names doing silly things, which her friends find tiresome. Rose is also considered to be quite dim-witted but possesses a heart of gold.
- Dorothy Zbornak, portrayed by Bea Arthur, is a divorced substitute teacher with quick wit and comical comebacks. She tends to have the most stable head in situations and provides a more liberal perspective to them.
In 1992, Arthur decided to leave the show. The series ended with Dorothy getting married and leaving the group. A new series called "The Golden Palace" began immediately afterwards, which followed Blanche, Sophia, and Rose buying and running a hotel. It only lasted for one season.
- Stan Zbornak, Dorothy's ex-husband. He makes several appearances in the show as a rather pathetic man; he's quick to break down over setbacks and come running to Dorothy for help. Initially, she despises him and can't be in the same room as him without making snippy remarks, but throughout the series their relationship calms down a bit and they become more friendly to each other. They nearly get back together several times, but ultimately prove to be a poor match romantically.
- Rebecca Devereaux, Blanche's daughter. Initially an insecure, overweight woman whose boyfriend is constantly putting her down, which Blanche tells her she does not have to put up with. Later, she re-appears in better shape and with more confidence to tell her mother she plans to become a single parent via artificial insemination. Blanche initially does not approve, but ultimately supports her daughter. The two have a slightly tense relationship due to Blanche's flaws, but are always able to make up after their arguments.
The show had a strong following during its initial airing and has remained a consistently popular show throughout the decades. It became especially iconic during the 2010s, where it gained a lot of recognition for being ahead of its time and still resonant in present times. The show tackled heavy themes such as LGBT issues, AIDS, sexual harassment, sexism, financial struggles, ageism, and health concerns facing older people. The two-parter dealing with Dorothy's chronic fatigue syndrome still resonates with women who feel brushed off and belittled by doctors. 
It's also beloved for showcasing true, genuine friendships between women and passing The Bechdel Test with flying colors.
Commonly Used Tropes
- Sharing life events over food: Many fanfics, as well as the original canon, are over some kind of meal (usually dessert and usually cheesecake!).
- Elderly women losing filters of their language: Each of the characters, but most of all, Sophia, is known as being quick witted in a rude manner and making fun of others without regard for feelings.
Common femslash pairings that are non-canonical are Blanche/Dorothy, Rose/Jean, and Blanche/Rose. The only one that can be considered the closest to canon would be Rose/Jean since Jean, Dorothy’s lesbian friend, did develop feelings for Rose during a visit to the home in Miami, even though Rose did not reciprocate those romantic feelings in the television series.
Archives and Fannish Links
- Golden Girls fanworks at AO3
- Golden Girls fanfiction at FFN
- Golden Girls Wiki
- Top 20 Times the Golden Girls Were Ahead of Their Time by MsMojo
- Thank You For Being a Friend: Remembering the Golden Girls by José
- Why Do Gay Men Love The Golden Girls? by Matt Baume
- 5 Times The Golden Girls Were Progressive As Hell by TV Land
- Stay Golden, a channel dedicated to the show and its themes