The Golden Girls: A Primer

By now, I assume you have all heard the exciting news that Hulu will begin streaming all episodes of The Golden Girls on Monday, February 13th!

My initiation to The Golden Girls began as a wee eleven year-old. The entire 6th grade had a gigantic multi-month long project that called for us to create “poetry notebooks.” Basically, we were making our own poetry anthologies and had to fill gigantic binders with poems that met certain stylistic benchmarks. We also had to write like four or five of our own poems to fit certain stylistic benchmarks. AND it was like 90000% of your grade (well, maybe math wasn’t my strong-suit, but I digress). So every Sunday morning, I would watch The Golden Girls in syndication as I worked on my poetry notebook. I watched a crap ton of The Golden Girls. It elevated my sense of humor to levels I never thought previously possible and thus I now sit here and proselytize to you.

But I understand that many of you are adults (UGH!) with jobs (YUCK!) who can’t watch television all morning long while filling a binder with retyped Emily Dickinson on the pretty printer paper from Office Depot (CRYING SADFACE EMOJI) and also maybe haven’t already seen every episode of The Golden Girls (EDVARD MUNCH’S THE SCREAM EMOJI). Don’t worry. I’m here to help.

7 Seasons of a show can be a little daunting, even for the most seasoned of TV junkies. As you make your way out on the lanai this Galentine’s Day, you may want to visit these 12 episodes of The Golden Girls first:

mv5bnzkxmjm4mtgwmf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmtk5mjyzmze-_v1_uy268_cr870182268_al_“The Way We Met” – This episode from the end of the first season’s run has ALL of the backstory on how the girls met and became roommates. It is a great place to start if you want to learn a little about each character and figure out how the heck they all wound up together.

“Dorothy’s Prized Pupil” – Okay, okay I may have MOSTLY put this on the list because it features a pre-Saved by the Bell, Mario Lopez. But if you care at all about modern political issues like immigration, then it’s a good look at how things were in the 80’s and how things have changed (or not) since. Also, this episode was written by Christopher Lloyd (who also writes for Modern Family and wrote for Frasier and Wings).

befd7137be35a5560d1c818866eab9e0“Old Friends” – This is the infamous Jenny Lewis episode (in which she holds Rose’s teddy bear hostage). It’s also a  very bittersweet episode about Sophia making a new friend, who she soon realizes has Alzheimer’s.

“Letter to Gorbachev” – Rose has written a moving letter to Gorbachev, but he mistakenly thinks it’s from a little girl.We see the Sunshine Cadets again in this episode. (But not Jenny Lewis. My guess is she was removed from the group after the bear-napping incident.)

“Grab that Dough” – I think this episode would get 2087e51ecbed6af7d47512ca96e6a407Lucille Ball’s seal of approval. It’s zany. It’s a little slapstick. It’s a comedy of errors. The girls travel to LA to be game show contestants and everything, literally, everything, goes wrong.

“The Days and Nights of Sophia Petrillo” – I love this episode because it talks about society’s misconceptions of older adults. The three younger women all sit around in the house talking about how Sophia isn’t active enough. Meanwhile, she’s roaming around Miami having a full day.

hqdefault“Sick and Tired: Pts 1 & 2” – This episode’s writer has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and she used this episode to very clearly paint a picture of how frustrated and vulnerable patients feel when they are dismissed by healthcare providers who do not take their concerns seriously. It’s a pretty heavy A-plot, so thankfully the B-plot is downright hilarious. I mean SERIOUSLY one of the funniest things I have ever seen on television. Blanche decides to write a romance novel and stays up all night to the point of delirium.

hqdefault1“Clinton Avenue Memoirs” – This is a lovely flashback episode in which we get to see a young Dorothy and Sophia in their New York days. Sophia is becoming more forgetful in her older age, so she travels back to New York to revisit her past, particularly her memories of her deceased husband, Sal. If you’re not into Dorothy and Sophia as characters, then this might not be the best episode for you as there’s definitely not much of Rose and Blanche in this one.

e65ae51703a3bf04dd8c44da5fbedfdb“Henny Penny – Straight, No Chaser” – This one is just plain silly. The plot is pretty weak (a cast of children get the measles, so the girls perform this kids play in their place), but it’s really just an excuse to see veteran Broadway actresses sing and dance in chicken suits. I’ve been trying for years to find a way to get this episode on this blog.

“The Case of The Libertine Bell” – I already sort of covered this episode in a “Friday Face-off” a while back, but it really deserves a watch. Also, Wikipedia tells me that this episode is meant to be a parody of Murder, She Wrote, so that makes it even more fun.

mv5bmtkynjuyndqznf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmta5mdy1mje-_v1_“The Monkey Show” – Am I the only one who loves a good telethon episode? I don’t know what it is, but I just adore them. I may even do a series on telethon episodes one day, but I digress. So yes, this one is about a telethon. It’s also an hour-long episode, so you get double the fun! But it isn’t just a telethon, oh no, there’s also a hurricane on the way. THE STAKES ARE HIGH, PEOPLE! Also, the name of this episode comes from Dorothy’s ex-husband’s pet comfort monkey (essentially, a plush traffic cone with a face).

mv5bmjizntg1nzi5n15bml5banbnxkftztgwodq3mze1nte-_v1_uy268_cr870182268_al_“One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest” – This is the finale ( 😦 ). Dorothy leaves the girls (and Stan, finally) behind and marries Leslie Neilson. As endings go, this one is pretty solid. Too bad Sophia, Blanche, and Rose went on to do a lame spin-off (The Golden Palace). I don’t recommend it to even the most die-hard fans, unless maybe you’re a die hard Cheech Marin fan.

Did I leave out any of your favorite episodes? Let me know in the comments!

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