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cheesecake is the solution to all of life’s problems

January 21, 2010

so i saw this article today (via jezebel) and it reminded me of something i was thinking about in the shower this morning (if you can call my pre-caffeinated mental processes “thinking”). see, last night i was bound and determined to finish this scarf i was knitting, and i ended up staying up til 1 am. this of course led to me watching golden girls at midnight. 

in this particular episode, rose had started dating a man and was considering sleeping with him. this led to a frank discussion of sex (especially sex after a spouse has left or died) among the ladies. in fact, it was a bit like watching sex and the city, without all the things that made that show so annoying. i always had a love-hate relationship with SATC, because while certain aspects annoyed the living hell out of me (everything carrie wore, everything charlotte said) and i didn’t necessarily find myself reflected in the characters, there was something to the show’s portrayal of female relationships that i could identify with. 

as i was sitting there last night, furiously knitting and purling, it struck me, for maybe the first time, how golden girls was really ahead of its time. while it has its dated moments – blanche can be a little one-note and grating; why did the wardrobe department curse bea arthur with all those caftans? some guy made a comment about “patting a few butts” in his life, which just reminds me of mad men – can you imagine another show that not only features “women of a certain age,” as the saying goes, but features them talking about sex in such a forthright way?

television – especially on the networks – is usually in pursuit of the coveted 18-49 demographic. obviously there will always be shows geared towards other demographics, but i still feel like there was something daring about centering a show around four senior citizens, women who were not young or conventionally pretty, and to show them in a realistic way, talking about things that would make your average 18 year old squee in disgust (sorry, but no one really wants to think about their grandparents having sex).

as a kid, i remember dismissing GG somewhat as a funny show that my grandma really liked. but the more i’ve watched it as an adult, the more i’ve appreciated it as something more than that. hell, i’ve said before that i fully intend to end up some sort of disreputable golden girl, living in a house with my fellow crotchety older ladies and not giving a rat’s ass what anyone thinks of me.

i’m not sure how to wrap this up, what my final concluding point should be, so i’m just going to say this: thanks, ladies, for giving us realistic female characters. 

and, all serious thoughts about women in pop culture aside, i kind of love betty white just for this:

My golden retriever, a career-change guide dog named Pontiac, is right next to me. I didn’t name him, but I like to think of the Indian chief, not the car. When the car company went out of business, I sat him down and said, “Honey, it’s not anything you did.”

and now, just for shits and giggles, the ladies o’ fug salute our fallen sisters, bea arthur and estelle getty (i especially recommend checking out all the various videos they link to).

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2 comments

  1. see, i had the total opposite reaction to GG when I was a kid. i watched it with a religious fervor. it was like hanging around the kitchen to listen in on the great-aunts-i-never-had kvetch and tell stories. but i guess being an only child i was used that kind of thing.

    at any rate, these days the show functions as some sort of happy rocket back to childhood nostalgia, so i haven’t really ever stepped back outside of that to analyze its cultural and historical implications. thanks for that.


  2. […] i’ve already discussed my love of the golden girls. i was watching the show last night, actually, and thinking about how part of the reason i’m hesitant to get rid of my cable – even though it’s ridiculously expensive (ugh, seriously, how can television cost that much?) – is that i love knowing i can watch golden girls every night at 11 while i’m puttering around, getting my shit together for the next day. it’s a good way to end the day. […]



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