Monday, March 2, 2009

Golden Girls

This one is for my girlfriend, so she'll actually be able read my blog at least once and kind of understand what I'm talking about.

Back in the day (the early 2000s when I was a younger man), a friend of mine always used to ponder the question of why all women, no matter their age or station in life, seem to love the Golden Girls. He used to ask this of most girls he met. It was a stupid, silly question that my friends and I would allow (and, sometimes, even ask ourselves) because it gave us an excuse to talk to girls in bars, restaurants, wherever.

Of course, I would always tell my friend the logical answer: Girls like the Golden Girls for the same reason everybody does: It's a good show. It's funny, well written, well acted, and shows a positive, hopeful portrayal of healthy, vital women in their advanced years. He would never listen to me, however, and kept asking.

Anyway, my girlfriend and I have been watching a lot of Golden Girls lately, since it's always on either Lifetime or the Hallmark channel. We even sat through the entire first season last week because a relative of hers owns the DVDs. It has definitely renewed my interest and fondness for this show, since it is really one of the all-time greats.

But I don't recommend sitting through more than, say, three episodes in one go, and definitely avoid watching an entire season in just a few days. Watching that many episodes of Golden Girls in one go is like trying to eat an entire cheesecake in one sitting at 1:00 in the morning. It's sweet inviting at first, and you may as well finish it all once you've gotten so far into it, but at the end you'll feel bloated and tired and confused.

To begin with, every episode more or less follows the exact same story arc: One of the girls has some sort of crisis (either with her job, a family member, etc) that could potentially change her life forever, panics and tries to figure things out, because coming to her eventual epiphany after a night of overeating with the rest of the girls. Along the way, Rose tells a long, rambling story about St. Olaf, Blanche talks about how she loves sex, and Dorothy and Sophia take turns insulting everybody with whom they come in contact. And every crisis and plot line is used for each of the Golden Girls. They all almost get married, have to decide if they want to date a married man, reconcile with a long-lost relative, etc. It's a format that works well, but doesn't lend itself to repeated viewings over so short a period of time.

All of these stories primarily take place in one set: The connected living room/kitchen of their home. Occasionally there will be a scene in one of their bedrooms, and maybe once or twice a season they will actually be shown outside of the house, but for the most part it all takes place in just those two rooms. It is a testament to the wonderful writing and acting that the show manages to actually feel fresh, no matter how many times the same plots have been reused in the same, single set.

But now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go ask great aunt Betty to lend me season 2.

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