Golden Girls. That’s what they were. Four ladies living together in Miami sharing their golden years with each other. There was love. There was sadness. There was cheesecake. There were also men. Many, many, men. I believe that without the men in their lives, there could be no Golden Girls.
When you think of the Golden Girls, and you think of men, the first person that comes to mind is Blanche. Blanche was defined by her sexuality, her beauty, and her ability to attract men. That was made apparent right from the get go, as the pilot episode revolved around Blanche getting proposed to by Harry, the first one of many of her potential suitors. Blanche finally decided that she would indeed marry Harry marry Harry (Blanche, knock it off!). It turned out, however, that Harry was a criminal and had lied to Blanche the entire time.
Ironically, for a woman with such prowess, the relationships never worked out for Blanche. Whether it was Ted, the jerk in a wheelchair(“Stand By Your Man”, Season 6) or it was Blanche trying to make a serious relationship with her “insignificant other” Mel Bushman (“Melodrama”, Season 6), the relationships never seemed to work out the way Blanche had hoped. Why? I think it’s because deep down the viewers and the writers of the show knew that there was never, ever another man who could fit Blanche better than her late husband George. That’s what makes “Mrs. George Deveraux (Season 6) one of my favorite episodes of all time.
Sophia would be the Girl that I would say had the least involvement with men. She had the occasional date whose teeth she wouldn’t have minded seeing next to hers on the nightstand (“Girls Just Want to Have Fun…Before They Die” Season 6). There was also the time she answered a personals ad and wound up meeting Marvin (Old Boyfriends, Season 7) whose wife Sarah was dying and looking for her replacement. This caused Dorothy to remark with one of my favorite lines “I always hoped my mother would meet a nice couple.” And of course, who can forget Sophia’s short lived marriage to Max Wienstock. For the most part, however, Sophia was less the love interest, and more the love advisor, always giving the girls advice or a Sicily story to help point them in the right direction.
For Rose, it was Charlie and Miles, and not much in between. You knew Charlie was the perfect husband and the love of Rose’s life. That was abundantly clear. Miles was an accountant turned informant turned college professor turned windmill entrepreneur whose intelligence and penny pinching ways balanced Rose out perfectly. I actually would have thought that if anyone on the show was going to get married and have it stick, it would be Rose and Miles, but that wasn’t meant to be.
Dorothy was clearly the hard luck loser of the group when it came to men. It’s all the more ironic, then, that Dorothy was responsible for sharing with us the man who I believe was the most important “recurring character” during the Golden Girls ‘ seven year run. Stanley Zbornak was Dorothy’s ex husband who had ditched her for a younger woman after 38 years of marriage. He had his weak moments(“The Stan Who Came to Dinner, Season 2), he had his strong moments(“Stan Takes a Wife”, Season 4). He was a perennial loser(Take Him, He’s Mine, Season 2), and he eventually came up a winner(“If At Last You Do Succeed”, Season 6). He was always a perfect foil for Dorothy, though. Her with her strong masculine temper, wit, and attitude, and him with his immasculated, groveling, womanizing ways. They played off of each other beautifully. I truly believe that without the Stan Zbornak character, The Golden Girls might not have been nearly as successful. It is also with a twist of irony that Dorothy, the Girl with the most man trouble, is also the one who achieves sweet victory, and gets married in the show’s final episode.
Yes, they were four remarkable women, each with their own nuances and intricacies. Without the men in their lives, however, the show never would have been able to achieve the ratings and the success that it did. It was the men that made the ‘Girls.