Sunday, 2 March 2014

Why The Golden Girls is still revolutionary TV

Yes.  I'm talking about THAT The Golden Girls.

The TV show from the 1980s, about four older, single women sharing a house in Miami.

You might remember it more for the "interesting" fashion, the opening theme song, the copious amounts of cheesecake they consumed, or their house's leafy lanai.

I can't say I saw too much of it when it was first broadcast, but thanks to Foxtel reruns I've been discovering the delights of Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia.

It's made me think about how revolutionary the show would have been in the 1980s, and how it continues to stand apart from other sitcoms since.

Here's five reasons why:

It's a show where ALL the main characters are women
Sure there are male characters (particularly those who interact with Blanche), but the main cast consists of just four women.  Name another TV show where this is the case.  I can't imagine someone getting the green light today for a TV show focused on just four female characters, yet it happened in the 1980s.

It's a show where ALL the main characters are women who are "old"
Even if a TV show featuring four women went ahead today, it's hard to believe it would be about four women who were well over the half-century mark.

It's a show where ALL the main characters are women who are "old", but who don't do "old things"
These weren't women sitting around knitting and waiting for the grandkids to call.   They were working, volunteering, teaching, learning, and yes... even dating and having sex.   If there were ever champions for "life begins after 50", then these girls would be it.

It could be risque without being crude
As a self-confessed lover of all men, Blanche sees plenty of bedroom action, but this is scripted so that it's never played in a crude, in-your-face manner.  It's talked about and referred to, but never really shown.

It could balance humour with topical issues
The Golden Girls managed to sensitively address controversial and emotional issues around AIDS, homosexuality, addiction, chronic fatigue syndrome, sexual harassment, assisted suicide, elderly care, and others, while at the same time delivering some well-timed laughs.

If you thought discussion about gay marriage was something from more recent times, here's what The Golden Girls were saying about it 25 years ago.

So if you've ever avoided the show because you think it's dated or about old people, think again.

No comments:

Post a Comment