The 1980s is one of those decades that are not exactly looked back fondly by most TV fans. Not a lot of shows actually made a dent during this time compared to other decades. But that doesn’t mean that there are no great shows during that time. In fact, some critically acclaimed and legendary shows appeared in the scene during the 1980s. One such show is The Golden Girls. Aired from 1985 to 1992 at NBC, this TV show had its share of loyal fans while winning more than a handful of awards. What is this show all about, and what’s the secret behind its success?
To better understand the answer to that question, it’s best to try and take a look at what the show is really about. Created by Susan Harris, the story revolves around 4 old women who are sharing a single home in Miami. The 4 main characters are Dorothy Zbornak (portrayed by Bea Arthur), Blanche Deveraux (Rue McClanahan), Rose Nylund (Betty White), and Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty). Each of these characters are single; 3 of them are widows and one of them (Dorothy) is coming off a divorce. Harris got an idea for the show from, of all places, a skit that was promoting Miami Vice.
Across the episodes, different characters playing different roles in each of the women’s lives (including exes, children, and other people related to them) are shown in specific episodes. How they interact with them added a lot of spice to the show, and gave watchers a perspective on the lives of each of the 4 ladies that play a lead role in this show. Among the different celebrities that made cameo appearances in this show include George Clooney, Julio Iglesias, Bob Hope, Burt Reynolds, and even famed director Quentin Tarantino.
It’s not all the time that shows about geriatric people capture the imagination of the masses. But The Golden Girls is one of those exceptions. This show is a smashing success from day 1, and together with shows such as The Cosby Show, it helped NBC assert network dominance during the second half of the 80s and the early 90s. In fact, for its first 6 seasons (1985-1991), it is one of the 10 top-rated shows in America. Even more staggering is the amount of awards it took in its existence. It received 11 different Emmy awards, with Arthur, White, McClanahan, and Getty each winning at least 1. But more than the raw statistics and awards, the reason why the show is that great is because viewers not only experience high-quality comedy, but it also shows how strong friendships work and come about.
Who would have thought that a sitcom about 4 old single ladies would end up becoming one of the greatest TV series of all time? But that is exactly what The Golden Girls is. It’s a classic because it combines fun viewing with insight and depth. This show provides a different twist to both comedy and how we view geriatrics.