The Golden Girls: And Then There Was One

-appeared in OMG! Magazine Volume 2 Issue 12

There’s an uneasy feeling in my stomach as I realize we are down to one. Estelle left us. Bea is gone. This week Rue made her way to the other side. We are dangerously close to living in a world without the Golden Girls and only Betty White can save us.

I always viewed myself most like the character of Dorothy Zbornak. Despite Dorothy’s hard exterior, she always had a zest for learning and an unwavering drive to do the right thing. As guarded as she was, she was also unfailingly human. Remember the episode where Dorothy had an affair with a married man? At the end of the day, Dorothy chose her integrity over hot sex and male companionship. Bea Arthur’s portrayal of Dorothy Zbornak was subtle and brilliant.

Sophia Petrillo reminded us all of someone we knew. For me it was Virginia, my next door neighbor growing up. From a distance, Virginia seemed all sugar and syrup in her cute curlers and flowered nightgown. Around dinner time one spring evening, I snuck up to Virginia’s patio door and eavesdropped while she ate dinner with her husband. During the five minutes I had my ear pressed to the screen, my vocabulary expanded by about five words and my mother was not pleased! I also learned much more about my neighborhood than any eight-year-old should know. Sophia Petrillo was the embodiment of every witty and bitchy grandma we’ve ever met, and we loved her for it. When Estelle Getty left this world it felt as if we lost a piece of ourselves.

Blanche Devereaux was like a lot of my friends growing up. At first sight there was a lot of flash, shock and awe. Blanche knew how to spin a lusty and saucy sex tale as well as any gay man I’ve ever met. Upon deeper exploration you came to realize that like everyone else, Blanche just wanted to love and be loved. Behind her bold proclamations of promiscuity was the simple knowledge that more than anything, Blanche just wanted to be held and made to feel beautiful. Just like I do. Just like you do. When Rue McClanahan passed away this week we were reminded of our own sexual and sensitive beings.

Who would have thought in the end only Rose would remain? A philosopher might argue that Rose’s endurance is symbolic of our own society. In the end, the sluts, the educated, the witty will all perish and only the dumb will remain. But in all fairness, Rose Nylund was much more than just a simple farm girl from St. Olaf. There was a complexity to Rose’s simplicity. This was best exemplified by the episode when Rose wrote a letter to the President of the United States. The President responded to the letter mistakenly thinking it was a child who penned it. Rose felt ashamed and embarrassed but she need not have. Like Rose Nylund, we should all keep the non-judgemental child in our hearts alive. Betty White was absolutely breathtaking in her portrayal of Rose. As the only living Golden Girl, I hope we have many years left with Betty.

I think what makes us love The Golden Girls so much is that we see pieces of ourselves and the people we know in each of them. May Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia live in our hearts forever.

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