Forever Golden: Celebrating The Golden Girls on the Big Screen
A love letter to a lasting legacy.
The other night, I got in my car, drove to the mall, fought traffic, and had to circle the lot a few times before I found a parking spot.
I showed the usher my ticket, ordered my small popcorn and drink, and found my seat in row E, seat 14.
Clearly, I’m at the movie theater, I’m here to see…
The Golden Girls?
This past Tuesday, September 14th, was the 36th anniversary of the first time The Golden Girls aired on television. To celebrate this peculiar anniversary, Fathom Events orchestrated an evening of the show on big screens all across the country. (They are repeating the lineup on Tuesday, September 21st. You can find more info here.)
When I first heard about this event, I was thrilled and bought my tickets right away as it was selling out quickly — a testament to the popularity of the show. When I sat down with people of all types (most of us dressed in our Golden Girls garb, t-shirts and the like) to watch five monumental episodes from the show’s first three seasons, I started to notice that everyone in the crowd had a strong connection to show.
It’s my favorite show of all time and it was clear on Tuesday night that other people felt similarly. We sang along to the theme song, laughed loudly, and ruined some punchlines for the few newbies in the crowd as we just couldn’t stop ourselves from yelling out some of our favorite punchlines.
It started with the pilot, “The Engagement.”
We snickered when Coco, the gay live-in cook, spouted his first couple lines in the pilot — we knew it would be the last time we would see him as he was written out and replaced by a full-time Sophia after this episode. When she appeared, I couldn’t help but start a round of applause. I heard whispers of “Blanche doesn’t have an accent!” and “The kitchen is different!”
It’s a weird pilot because everything is just a little off.
Then we moved into the heavy hitters: “The Flu,” Ladies of the Evening,” and “Grab That Dough” among them.
Fans of the show know these episodes based on the titles alone. They remember Sophia’s date to the charity dinner. They know that Burt Reynolds is the one at the door. And they remember Blanche’s response to the question, “Complete the saying, ‘Better late than…’”
Her answer? “Pregnant!”
Golden Girls fans know. this. show.
Despite this show being about four women in the golden years of their lives, navigating life and love in 1980’s Miami, there are so many reasons this show has lasted this long with so many people who have seemingly nothing in common with these ladies.
First, the writing is damn sharp. There’s a reason we remember all these punchlines — it’s almost always the perfect line for that moment.
The show feels familiar to us in many ways. It might not seem like I have much in common with these ladies on paper, but I can relate to Dorothy’s struggles as a teacher, Rose’s love of storytelling, and Blanche’s…you get the idea.
I’m still trying to make a sauce as good as Sophia’s.
But those ladies really are the glue that holds this all together. What would the show be without Bea Arthur’s classic side-eye? Without Estelle Getty’s signature smile that just makes you melt? Nobody giggles like Betty White and nobody flaunts like Rue McClanahan. All four women won an Emmy for their respective performances and deservedly so.
I was a tad disappointed in the episodes that they chose, but that’s partially because there’s such a wealth of episodes to chose from. My night of best-of episodes would include Season 2, Episode 24: “To Catch a Neighbor’, Season 3, Episode 17: ‘My Brother, My Father’, and Season 3, Episode 1: ‘Old Friends.’ I would recommend those to anyone.
Otherwise, it was the perfect evening. You’re so used to watching the show at home with your family, bothered by those terrible Hulu ads (pay for commercial free, it’s worth it.) Seeing it like this, on the big screen, with an auditorium packed with lifelong fans — it doesn’t get much better than that.
For more Golden Girls content from Feature Presentation, click this link: