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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, award-winning U.S Sitcom, 8 Sep 2006
This review is from: The Golden Girls - The Complete First Season [DVD] (DVD)
Oh how I really love this show! I was devastated when this programme finished (its sequel, The Golden Palace failed to live up to the dynamics of The Golden Girls and was scapped after just one season of 24 episodes)! Though it wound up production well over ten years ago, The Golden Girls (1985 - 1992) still firmly ranks as one of my all-time favourite sitcoms. The Golden Girls was a huge success throughout the duration of its run, collecting ten emmy awards including one for this first season for outstanding comedy series. In all, an impressive total of 180 fun-filled episodes were produced of The Golden Girls.

In 2005 Buena Vista Home Entertainment began releasing the early seasons of The Golden Girls (and not before time!). This 4-disc set of the first season is attractively packaged , containing all 25 episodes and also boasts a bonus feature which sees Joan and Melissa Rivers offering their own witty fashion critique to the now laughably dated and kitschy wardrobe of The Golden Girls.

The Golden Girls is set in the heart of Miami where four middle-aged to elderly women share a house and touchingly support one another, trade insults, eat a whole lot of cheese cake together and almost incessantly talk about sex.

Buxom, Southern-belle Blance Deveraux, a promiscuous widow (she even tried to date a man on the day of her husbands funeral) advertises for two room mates in her Miami Beach home, for companionship and above all else at the time, to apportion costs of the running of her home. A fiesty but well-meaning and very likeable character, Blanche thinks of little else but sex, sex, sex and is forever on the look-out for a man. She is also (slightly unhealthily) obsessed with her looks and age often fearing her beauty is fading as old age looms closer. Southern-belle Blance Deveraux is marvelously played by the charismatic Rue McClanahan who really excells in the role.

Dorothy Zbomak is a tall, elegant though earthy and gruff-voiced (which becomes the [...] of many a joke in the series) supply teacher. She had recently divorced from the adulterous Stan Zbomak after he had run off with an air hostess. This is how Dorothy came to be living with sultry, man eater Blance Deveraux after answering her advertisment for two room mates to share her Miami Beach home. Dorothy is beautifully played by the inimitable Bea Arthur. Bea Arthur's impeccable timing and witty delivery is one of the many reasons why The Golden Girls was such a unique and special comedy series.

The dizzy, scatter-brained Rose Nylund was the illegitimate daughter of a monk, was sadly orphaned at birth and is of Scandinavian lineage. Rose had married a man named Charlie Nylund but he died one night whilst making mad, passionate love to Rose. Rose had met Blanche Deveraux in the local supermarket when Blanche was about to pin up her advert for two room mates. Blanche was instantly taken with Rose's sweet though rather niaeve character and invited Rose to move in with her, an offer which Rose swiftly accepted. Despite not being quite all there, Rose worked as a grief councellor. Betty White's beautiful portrayal of Rose Nylund is a joy to watch. Though Rose often provides a foil for the other characters to make the focus of a joke, Betty White's sparkling performance ensures that she remains just as inadvertently witty and amusing as the other players.

Last but certainly not least is Sophia Petrillo. Sophia is Dorothy's widowed, 80 year old and loveably eccentric mother. Sophia is of Sicillian descent and possesses a notably razor-sharp tongue. After a fire at the retirement home she was living in, Sophia moves in with Dorothy, Rose and Blanche. The then little known Estelle Getty, who put in a charming performance as acid-tongued Sophia Petrillo, was in actual fact, two months younger than her screen daughter, Bea Arthur. This was down to a fantastic, top-notch make up job which effectively "aged her up". The oldest member of the cast was infact the lovely Betty White, who played loveable dumb-blonde, Rose Nylund.

Created by Susan Harris (previously famous for the late 70's/early 80's sitcom, Soap), The Golden Girls boasts fast, furious scripts that crackles with sharp, intelligent wit and four dynamic characters that spark off one another highly effectively. The chemistry of Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty is magical, really shining through and becoming one of the sole ingredients to its knockout, phenemenal success.

I'd be here forever if I did a detailed break down of each episode on this first season collection but some of my personal favourites include the series pilot when Blanche is about to wed a two-timing cheat, the one where they all compete in a bowling pin championshp - Betty White in particular causes the most significant amusement in that episode , another one where they arrive home one night after seeing Madonna in concert (who 80 year old Sophia laughably describes as "a [...]" - tact is not one of Sophias strong points!) and find their home has been ramsacked and an episode which flashes back to how Dorothy, Rose and Blanche very first met. Throughout the other episodes it touches on their family relationships, their often complex affairs with men, shared stories and reminisces bewteen the four characters. At times the comedy can turn poignantly into drama, other times merely depicting their fondness for each other (without shrinking to being saccharine or schmaltzy).

I don't know why but when I think of The Golden Girls, I always picture Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia seated around the kitchen dining table, delicately tucking into cheese cake (Bea Arthur actually detested cheese cake in real life), indulging in what seems like a verbal tennis match, exchanging stories about love, life and men whilst in Rose's case she'd usually come out with some pointless story "back in St Olaph" or Sophia prattling on about Siccerly usually beginning with "picture it...Siccerly, 1953" etc.

The contrast of these four loveable characters from the sharp, witty Dorothy to fiery, vein Blanche, to dizzy, niaeve Rose to the sharp-tongued Sophia is what made The Golden Girls such a huge International success story. It is an important landmark in American television history. ESSENTIAL to any serious comedy collection! Wonderful!

(Incidentally i'd LOVE to see a reunion special of the Golden Girls!)
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Jun 2009 16:46:28 BDT
B. E. Alyson says:
I agree with everything written in the revue. I watch my DVDs of the show regularly, and it is always fresh. I wish 'they' would do some more episodes of these wonderfully written characters. I'm sure a lot of laughs could be got out of the now ageing ladies. I am 81 years old and also slightly eccentric (so my sister tells me) but I find many situations in my day to day life that make me laugh. So, don't get the idea that the golden girls would not be funny any more just because they have aged a bit more. You don't lose your sense of humour just because you are old.

Posted on 3 Jun 2009 16:48:07 BDT
B. E. Alyson says:
I agree with everything written in the revue. I watch my DVDs of the show regularly, and it is always fresh. I wish 'they' would do some more episodes of these wonderfully written characters. I'm sure a lot of laughs could be got out of the now ageing ladies. I am 81 years old and also slightly eccentric (so my sister tells me) but I find many situations in my day to day life that make me laugh. So, don't get the idea that the golden girls would not be funny any more just because they have aged a bit more. You don't lose your sense of humour just because you are old.
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