'The Golden Girls' Is Big Hit With Millennials, Who Came of Age Long After the Series Ended
"The Golden Girls" has found new fans among millennials.
A beloved television series about women in the twilight of their lives is now a big hit with watchers who weren't even born when the show premiered.
The fastest-growing fan base for the 1980s comedy series "The Golden Girls" is viewers who entered adulthood in the early 21st century.
When it first aired in 1985, the 30-minute sitcom was "a way for boomers to think about their aging parents," said Ron Simon, the curator of radio and television at New York City's Paley Center for Media. "And I think the millennials ... are beginning to look at their aging parents. It's a way you can begin conversations about what it means to age in the United States."
For the women in "Golden Girls," aging was a heck of a lot of fun. And full of a lot of snark. There was the hilarious and spacey Rose, lusty Southern belle Blanche, the wise-cracking matriarch Sophia, and the acerbic and strong-willed Dorothy, who was Sophia's daughter.
A sample of some of the show's better-known lines:
Rose: "My mother always used to say: 'The older you get, the better you get, unless you're a banana.'"
Blanche: "I treat my body like a temple."
Sophia: "Yeah, open to everyone, day or night."
(Discussing a bad actress playing Anne Frank in community theater):
Dorothy: "I mean, for the entire second act, the audience kept yelling, 'She's in the attic! She's in the attic!'"
(While trying to move a new toilet into their bathroom):
Rose: "Oh, don't give up, Dorothy. If the ancient Egyptians could move 20-ton stone blocks to build the Pyramids, we can move a toilet."
Dorothy: "Fine, Rose. Get me 20,000 Hebrews and I'll see what I can do."
There was plenty of talk about sex by a bunch of old broads who still liked it, and there was a long list of social issues the show was not afraid to tackle during a time when prime-time television shied away from HIV, gay rights, Alzheimer's, elder rights and politics, among others.
It ran until 1992 and produced 177 episodes, according to IMDb. The series lives on in reruns.
H. Alan Scott and Kerri Doherty co-host a podcast called "Out on the Lanai: A 'Golden Girls' Podcast." "They really represented ... the unique perspectives of a sort of woman at that time. And allowing older women to be funny and silly and sexual," Doherty told InsideEdition.com.
"As a gay guy, I think a lot of gay guys responded to that, and the queer community, in general, responded to that because we also were told that we aren't allowed to be sexual."
Their podcast started four years ago, and Scott and Doherty have a memorabilia collection including a "Golden Girls" board game, dolls, prayer candles, pins and temporary tattoos.
"People send us stuff," Scott said.
At one time, there was even a "Golden Girls" restaurant.
The Rue La Rue Cafe was dedicated to actress Rue McClanahan, who played Blanche. Owner Michael La Rue took Inside Edition's Megan Alexander on a tour in 2017.
"I met Rue at Studio 54, and we became friends and when she became sick, she put me in charge of her personal property and her show business memorabilia, and after she died, I started to manage her estate," La Rue said.
"She was a hoarder," he said. "She saved everything." The cafe, which is now closed, featured props from the show. "Rue never stole things, she 'filched' it, that was the word she used," he said.
There was a table that was a replica of the glass-top one used on the show. A 22-year-old George Clooney made a guest appearance and doodled a portrait of himself on Rue's script, which was also displayed in the cafe.
What would Rue, who died in 2010 after having a brain hemorrhage, think of the restaurant?
"Oh, she would love it," La Rue said. "She would love the fact that her things, her personal possessions that she took care of over a lifetime, are on display instead of sitting in boxes molding in some storage area."
Though the cafe is closed, La Rue keeps it just as it was, behind closed doors, until he decides what to do with his friend's belongings. He is currently working on a documentary about her life.
The legendary Betty White, who played the dim-witted Rose, is the only living Golden Girl. Beatrice Arthur, who played Dorothy, died of cancer in 2009. Estelle Getty, who delivered some of the series' best dead-pan lines as matriarch Sophia, died of Lewy body dementia in 2008.
Now 96, White was interviewed a few years ago on the red carpet by Inside Edition's Deborah Norville, who asked the actress, "What does it mean to you to know you've touched so man people in so many different ways?"
"Oh my goodness," White replied, "I don't [happen] to believe that, but it's lovely to hear and everyone's been so wonderful. For an old broad who's going to be 90 in January, you know, it's marvelous to still be in the mix."
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