10 Ways ‘The Golden Girls’ Was Way Before Its Time

by Joe Zicari @SharePointJoe on May 18, 2014

in Television, The 80s

As a kid in the mid 80s, I had no business watching The Golden Girls. How my parents let me watch is beyond me. The topics, the sexual overtones. Now as a person in my late 30s, I actually get the jokes that were so far over my head as a kid.

I can say this with the utmost confidence: every episode of The Golden Girls still hold up.

So with that being said, this list not only has to do with The Golden Girls but also has a point: I’m going to demonstrate how the show was ahead of its time.


10 | Episode:  Isn’t it Romantic?

Story: Dorothy’s friend Jean, who happens to be a lesbian, has a crush on Rose.

My Take: What if Rose was actually down? The whole Golden Girl universe would be turned upside down. The fact that they even tackled this subject at the time put the show in a class of its own.


9 | Episode:  Whose Face Is This, Anyway?

Story:  Blanche goes to her high school reunion and thinks her looks are fading. She of course decides to have plastic surgery.

My Take: Dear Blanche, we love your “saggy bottom”, droopy cheeks and every other lady part. Never change. Many shows tackled body issues, but never in such a straightforward manner.


8 | Episode:  Mixed Blessing

Story: Dorothy’s son is engaged. Not only is the woman black but she’s also a lot older.

My Take: Racism and Cougars, years before anyone else.


7 | Episode:  The Impotence of Being Ernest

Story: Rose’s new boyfriend suffers from sexual dysfunction.

My Take: Thankfully as kids we didn’t get bombarded with Viagra commercials, but every parent who watches NFL football with their kids today has to field “what’s a 4 hour erection?” questions. The Golden Girls tackled erectile dysfunction when it was still mega-taboo. You can also check an interesting article on Vigrx Plus which is good for erectile dysfunction.


6 | Episode: 72 Hours

Story: Rose had a blood transfusion a few years prior and she’s worried it may have contained HIV-infected blood.

My Take: This episode aired in 1990 and I can safely say, not many shows were touching this topic. And the writers/producers/cast didn’t just tackle it to cross it off the list, they knocked it out of the park.


5 | Episode: Scared Straight

Story: Clayton (Blanche’s Brother) is afraid to admit he is gay.

My Take: Blanche was trying to hook her brother up with some ladies and Clayton was like…nah…I’m all set. Homosexuality is a full-on TV trope today, but The Golden Girls paved the way.


4 | Episode: To Catch a Neighbor

Story: Two police officers (one being a young George Clooney) use the girls’ Miami home to stake out their neighbors (clearly not the Westons), who are suspected jewel thieves.

My Take: Not really ahead of its time, but in it we saw the girls deal with the fear of death, albeit in a way we wouldn’t have expected.


3 | Episode: Dorothy’s Prized Pupil

Story: When Dorothy’s prized student (an even younger Mario Lopez) writes an award winning essay about being an American, INS gets involved and we find out he’s in the country illegally.

My Take: When I see the episode now, all I want is for Mario put on a tank top and do some fancy dance moves.


2 | Episode: Home Again, Rose Part 2

Story: Rose has a heart attack in Part 1 and has to undergo triple coronary bypass surgery. In doing so, she makes the girls promise to have their heads cryogenically frozen.

My Take: Paging Ted Williams’s family. For those that don’t know or remember, Ted Williams’s family froze his head, hoping to bring back the baseball great at a later date. Sounds legit.


1 | Episode: Love, Rose

Story: Dorothy and Blanche make up a fake man and respond to Rose’s personal ad.

My Take:  Rose got “Catfished” in 1986. Twenty+ years before it became “a thing”.

Seriously though, each episode topic covered some sort of serious situation.  If you look back, not many shows did that or do that today, especially one that’s considered a “sitcom”.


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