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The passing of Betty White on December 31st, 2021, a few short weeks before her 100th Birthday was tragic. Betty’s accolades and accomplishments can’t be summarized in this short blog, nor her impact on the entertainment industry. What I remember most about White was her starring role on “The Golden Girls.” It was a show that by all accounts shouldn’t have been as successful in the media landscape but with a brilliant cast of mature women, it showcased aging, laughing, and living life to the fullest. This month I would like to write about “The Golden Girls” and how it was pivotal for myself and how the show represented women from all walks of life.
In my early childhood, I had an Uncle that lived close to my home. When I would visit him he’d often have reruns of the Golden Girls playing on his TV. Even as a kid, I knew this show was special because it wasn’t a cartoon but it held my attention and interest. Although many of the deeper contexts were lost on me, it showcased aging in a way that I’ve never seen before (then and now). We had mature women going out in the world, pushing through their problems as friends, and laughing along the way. As I get older myself, I have to give credit for “The Golden Girls” for making me less afraid of that fact.
The strongest aspect of “The Golden Girls.” was its cast. Betty White played Rose, an absent-minded but very charming woman who would sometimes solve a problem the women were having by complete accident. Beatrice Arthur played Dorothy, a rather straight-laced persona that would be the voice of common sense. Rue McClanahan played Blanche, a southern belle with a larger-than-life personality. Finally, we have Estelle Getty who is Sophia, the mother of Dorothy who never held her tongue and always spoke her mind. The summary of these characters doesn’t showcase the diversity on the show if you were to watch it yourself. The cast plays so well together and you can feel a sense of warmth exuding from all of the actresses in these roles.
What always stood out about “The Golden Girls” was the show’s ability to tackle topical subject matters. The concept of the show itself showcases 3 widows and a divorcée all living in a home in Florida. LGBTQ topics were brought up often and handled with care and grace subverting the period this show originally aired. Serious topics were handled well and with humor.
In closing, watch “The Golden Girls” if you haven’t already. You will love it. It’s empowering, fresh and even to this day hasn’t been replicated by any other show in media.