by Miranda Hale & r & The Golden Girls, Season Three & r & I love the Golden Girls. In the mid-1980s, I would watch it with my grandparents every Saturday night. It was laugh-out-loud funny, sassy and smart. In college, after years of not seeing the show, I started watching the reruns on the Lifetime network and realized that not only was it a witty, clever show, just as I remembered, but it was also groundbreaking in many ways. Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia were four widowed or divorced women, all nearing or past retirement age, and were all unapologetically confident, independent, sexual and supportive of each other. Mainstream media typically ignores women once they hit 50, or refuses to portray them as anything but prim, polite and maternal supporting characters to younger, more vibrant women. Not so here. These women were presented as important characters, portrayed as fun and interesting and full of self-respect. The Golden Girls pointed out what millions of people already knew: People of all ages can be intriguing, amusing and sexy.
Each of the women, although sometimes at odds, constantly had each other's backs in times of strife and sadness. They shared mutual love and respect (and lots of cheesecake!). Sisterhood is powerful, and The Golden Girls illustrated this in a way that few television shows ever have.
The third season of 25 episodes is one of the strongest of the series and includes "Letter to Gorbachev," in which Rose writes a letter to Reagan and Gorbachev, asking them to stop nuclear proliferation. Because of her writing style and optimism, Gorbachev thinks that Rose is a child and wants to meet with her -- until it is discovered that she is an adult. Many jokes are cracked at Rose's expense, but the episode also offers a strong message about the power of hope. The DVD also has some fun extra features, including "Golden Moments," a collection of the most hilarious jokes from season three.
Whether funny, serious or both, The Golden Girls is always entertaining and honest. Aging and the fear it brings is never an elephant in the room. The universal themes and the groundbreaking portrayals of these strong characters make this a show that, even today, is very entertaining and still seems ahead of its time.