In college on Thursday night’s we would go to Sportsway Cafe and drink and there would be lip sync contests and fun and dancing and general college debauchery. And I’ll always remember the night we closed the bar when everyone at my table spontaneously busted out singing “Thank you for bein’ a friend”.
I wonder if Estelle Getty knows just how many 20 and 30-somethings have a Golden Girls reference as their Gmail message or Away message or blog title this week. The demographic that the show aimed for was obviously not 8 and 9-year-olds but I remember how Saturday nights were THE night to stay in, shower (you know, the one time a week that I showered), and watch Golden Girls and Empty Nest (and Amen and 227 – Maaaaary) with my parents. It wasn’t just what I had to watch because my parents were watching, it was what to watch because I loved it all. Of course I had no idea what half to jokes meant (Why was it so funny that, of all the girls, Rose was the one who used all her condoms up on the cruise ship? I didn’t understand that, but I sure did understand that whatever a condom was, it was especially funny that Rose filled hers up with water and threw them at people on the deck below. So many layers. Just like a cheesecake!) The show was racy and saucy and perfect and I’m sure that it’s one of the first threads that wove the relationships of young gals and their gay best friends together, more than screechy Will and Grace episodes or any “Very Special Gay Kiss” episode of any other show. I’m still not 100% sure why the gays love it so, but for my first few years in New York, the show ran twice a night on Lifetime and when I was an intern here (back when I had interesting but unpaid jobs), it was lunchtime talk.
It’s almost like losing one of the Beatles – seriously, that’s what I thought about because I remember being really upset when George Harrison died, his death being the only Beatle death I actually remember. Maybe there’s no comparison, and maybe there’s no reason even to be sad because I don’t know any of these people personally, but I do know that last Friday night after coming home from a party, after a couple of beers and a champagne toast (because that’s all it takes these days to get me completely saucy – three whole drinks), all I wanted to do was watch the Golden Girls. To the point where the next day, Jeff was like “Why are all these Golden Girls episodes in the DVR?” and I couldn’t really explain it, I guess I just wanted to watch something I knew I would be entertained by. Half of Sophia’s lines were delivered like they were from a vaudeville act, which is probably why it’s so funny to me – there is nothing better than that kind of humor, whether it’s Waldorf and Statler in the Muppets balcony or old time comedians, it’s kind of the perfect humor, effortless and like it fits like pieces of a puzzle. When I had said creative internship, I actually got to meet the writer for the Muppets who was responsible for writing all the vaudeville type material and it was a highlight of my summer – not only to meet someone responsible for the Muppets but also to meet someone who wrote those kinds of jokes.
The Golden Girls, wasn’t glossy and perfect, an it was probably why I never grew up thinking women has to be gorgeous or unfunny or victims (also see this Teri Garr interview for more brilliant female comedy gold [Best line: “I have one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel”.]) If we could make our Gchat messages available to the world they would see that not everything has to be about Gossip Girls, sometimes storylines about the worst old-folks-home in Miami will do just fine.