There are some things you should know about me. I'm the loudest of five loud children and love being the center of attention. Every day, I think, "Today is the day I don't cry about something I see on the Internet!" and I am always disappointed, usually because I see a really cute picture of a piglet or something. I enjoy museums and reading. But perhaps the most significant thing you should know about me is that I. F*cking. Love. The. Golden. Girls.
This is one of those shows that I've watched for as long as I can remember. It's just always been on my television, and as I grew older, I appreciated it on deeper and deeper levels. I have legitimately had discussions about how the four leading ladies are some of the greatest performers of the latter half of the twentieth century. I've cried for weeks at the passing of each actress. I frequently utter the phrase, "I just don't understand how to live in a world where Bea Arthur is dead." (Betty White, you are never, ever, ever allowed to die.) I knew I was going to marry my husband when he bought me Season 1 on DVD our first Valentine's Day.
Some people have taken on a love of The Golden Girls with a kind of kitschy, hipster irony. No. There should be nothing ironic about one's love of this classic show. As far as three camera sitcoms go, I can think of none that surpass its longevity or mastery of its medium. So no. Shut up. Don't you dare joke about liking The Golden Girls. If you're going to say you're a fan, you'd better come correct with the proper insight and respect.
I take this seriously. You should, too.
The Golden Girls can teach us many important life lessons... including parenting lessons. (It is, after all, a show about four mothers.) Please allow me to enlighten you as to all these great senseis can teach us...
The folksy Scandinavians in Minnesota, from whence Rose hails, always seemed to have situations analogous to exactly what was going on in the lives of her loved ones that she could draw insight from... I mean, she seemed to think so.
Ditto Sophia and Sicily.
Look. I'm not saying you should tell your kids to shut up. I'm just saying that whenever the other three women on the show say, "Shut up, Rose!" the audience cracks up and the audience moves on. As a mother, I dream of having some sort of phrase that could accomplish the same thing in my life. Like...
My Kids: *Running all over the apartment like crazy people when I'm trying to get them out the door*
Me: Shut up, Rose!
Invisible Audience: *laughter*
My Kids: *chastened, move on with the scene and we can get to school in a timely fashion*
How amazing would that be? For real.
Whenever Dorothy wanted to get Sophia to pipe down, she'd simply remind her of Shady Pines Nursing Home, where she'd lived before the place burned down. I could probably threaten my kids with a particularly grim, Dickensian orphanage or something...
Especially when they are portrayed by different actors from season to season, as was the case with Rose's daughter Kiersten, Blanche's daughter Rebecca, and Dorothy's daughter Kate.
These broads got some serious ass. Refinery29 recently calculated how many men the Golden Girls slept with and the answer is 258 all together! (Blanche obviously the winner with 165 partners.) And they are awesome! Clearly, their vibrant sex lives enables them to be fabulous and have it all. Mothers take note.
Like when Rose tries to slut shame her daughter Brigit and Dorothy's son Michael for sleeping together. Or when Dorothy tries to convince Michael not to marry an older woman. Or when Blanche fat shames her daughter Janet or shuns her daughter Rebecca for conceiving a child via artificial insemination. Or when Sophia doesn't speak to her son Phil because of his cross-dressing. Point is, in the end, they all learn to become more accepting and let their children make their own decisions. So let's all of us just skip the even trying to make another adult's decision for them and just skip to the hug over a laugh track at the end, 'kay?
See also: the core essence of Sophia Petrillo, that glorious harpy.
Sophia is still there, teaching, protecting, and embarrassing Dorothy. Our children may grow taller than us (a lot taller in the case of those two) but they never grow out of us completely.
Growing up, I really appreciated this aspect of The Golden Girls. My family is very, very Italian-American and none of the "mainstream" (aka, WASP) sitcom families ever resembled mine. But all the women on the show were deeply invested in their respective heritage. Blanche was a Southern belle, Rose was a Midwesterner of Norwegian decent, and Sophia and Dorothy are Italian. That sense of ethnicity visibly permeating so much of your life was something I could connect to. Giving your kids a sense of their history: what a good idea, ladies!
Even though they were a household of four but only had three chairs, and they only ever sat on one side of the table, these gals were able to bond in that kitchen. And that is so like momlife, in my experience. Every day after school, my mom and I would sit together and have a cup of tea. Some of her finest parenting moments were done at our table. Now, one day, I dream my children will sit at the dinner table for three goddamn minutes and then we can create magical memories, too. Until then, we're mostly creating a thick layer of schmutz and crust all over everything...
Blanche has five children. Rose has five children. Sophia has three . And Dorothy has two. So fifteen all together.... and we meet six of them. Seven seasons and we never meet any of Sophia, Rose, or Blanche's sons (though Blanche once offers to trade one of them for a car: "I'll give you one of my sons. I've given this a lot of thought. I've had ... kids but I've never had a Mercedes. Which one do you want? Biff, Doug, or Skippy? No. Don't take Skippy. He has asthma.")
Yes. Even Rose...
Be those hangups about buying condoms or your brother's homosexuality or the idea of having a child without a father in the picture, these fantastic dames are always learning something about themselves, the world around them, and their place in it.