There are five aspects to life that were first touched on in Golden Girls which ran from (1985-1992)(imd referenced). That even when life is harsh, fate will send us someone or something to hold on to. In the pilot episode we are introduced to four strangers. In life, we face situations that are new, require some adjustment and some moderate belief in the good of humanity. Just by analyzing their social habits and a few American ideals, Golden Girls paved the way for some of the political issues seniors face now to take center stage.
Rose (Betty White) and Blanche (Rue McClanahan) have just lost their husbands, Dorothy (Bea Arthur) is recently divorced and the retirement home that Sophia (Estelle Getty) lives in burns down. Suddenly there are four lives turned upside down, facing economic hardships and the breakdown of their support system. Many of us face less and are not as prudent, but they manage to make the best of the situation and become family, facing life’s varied issues together and more often than not becoming richer from the experience. First lesson learned;
1. Never judge people. Although Sophia is Dorothy’s mother, her quick wit and supportive intentions often gives way to her one liners and wistful tales of Sicily. When Sophia says “Picture this” the last thing you think about is the fact that she’s more than likely fibbing, just to get us through the difficult moment her fellow cast mates are experiencing. You would never know she was recovering from a stroke, that she was a widow, with no pension, living on social security, without a home and dependent on friends. The girls were constantly busy being social, promoting community service and volunteering to feed the needy, with community action they were able to be successful, valued and young again. These were hardly spinsters, they were open about their sexuality, overcame gay stereotypes and still had exploits that remain demure compared to Blanche’s impossible fantasies and claims.
These were reasonable women who often fell from grace. Rather than linger on judgment, more often than not, the group was able to win over the girl who had lost her way. The lost character was interchangeable, suggesting that any of us could fall victim to temptation, but that wiser heads and console was always the “best” way to come to a solution.
2. Do unto others. There was never a question of what to do when a relative popped up or a neighbor had a problem, the “girls” would be ready and at attention. Even Bea Arthur managed to be bubbly and lively as Dorothy, whenever she was preparing to take on the task at hand or was preparing to leave to go to an event.
They all subscribed to the secret code of Americana that if someone was in need, and faced a problem as a family they would make a way. The girls were always capable of taking time out of their lives to give what they could. There was no judgment once they factored in the time it would take to solve the problem rather than fight it. Over the series, periodically, if there was a reasonable sacrifice that could be made; time, an extra room, a few home cooked meals, it would be given because that’s what people do. We help those in need during times of struggle.
3. Make the most of life. Their charitable good works often featured them in award ceremonies, going on dates with fellow committee members, and interacting with every level of society with grace, good intention and humility. When they faced an illness, one of the girls always pitched in to help the one who was failing in health. No one person would ever face a hardship alone.
4. Relationships are always changing. Blanche went from southern steel magnolia to orange blossom queen over the course of the series, first she was the landlord then friend then finally sister and although she was single at the end of the series, she was optimistic that tomorrow was another chance to date. Dorothy marries Blanche’s brother and becomes family. Sophia decides to let Dorothy live her life and remains with the girls. Everyone sobs at the loss of Dorothy, but they are still family.
5. Even the best things must come to end. Time is brief and unrelenting, it is our relationships with people, how we let our hardships define us and our outlook on life that determines the outcome in Golden Girls. Their series teaches the world that you’re never too old to be your best.
For more on Golden Girls please visit these links