Thank you for being a friend was not only the line which opened the theme song for The Golden Girls, but also the premise of the show: 4 senior women came together as friends and became a real family. The series was also one of the first to feature such characters, in a setting which also suggested warmth and lightness: Southern Florida.
The energy is given not just by the everyday life of the women, but also by the actual set where the action took place: tropical furniture, lively colors and so on. In more than a way, The Golden Girls was the perfect statement that even the senior citizens can enjoy life as much as younger people (although, maybe, not in the same way).
Even the oldest character (Sophia’s mother, this being the only actual family relationship portrayed in the series) enjoyed going to plays, travelling and even going on dates. Granted, it can be said that the producers didn’t exactly want to make any particular points or statements with any of these adventures. However, meta-situations did occur after each trivial experience, with Dorothy asking for a point to everything that was said or done.
And the point was then offered in an even more light-hearted manner. It wasn’t necessarily something with which all the viewers could relate, but it was still a meaning (and, as said so many times, a comedy without a deeper meaning will never see success).
The Golden Girls was thus the perfect medium in which life was celebrated. If most of the shows have at their core a group of young characters, this series showed that elderly women (and men for that matter) can overcome any difficulties in the same way: by staying united. Even more, the experience of a life-time can make everything seem even easier than otherwise.
A new perspective is thus born – in television, the one that matters the most is the story and not the age of the characters. Of course, the same idea was expressed before (an example can be The Jeffersons, where the tone of the skin didn’t count against the story), but not in the same manner.
And that is because, ultimately, the way in which an idea is expressed counts a bit more than the idea in itself.