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The Golden Girls’ finale just turned 30 years old. Here’s why it pulled so many heartstrings
This episode made me cry the first time I watched it. 😞
D.G. Sciortino
05.24.22

Wanna feel old? “The Golden Girls” series finale was 30 years ago.

Yup, the last episode titled “One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest” aired on May 9, 1992.

It was a two-part episode that features Blanche, played by Rue McClanahan, who unloaded her visiting Uncle Lucas, played by Leslie Nielsen, off onto Dorothy, played by Bea Arthur, by telling each of them that they were interested in one another.

Dorothy and Uncle Lucas learned of Blanche’s trickery and decided to play a trick on her, pretending to marry each other.

In the process, they end up wanting to get married for real.

So, Dorothy moves out of The Golden Girls’ Miami home and in with Lucas in Atlanta. The finale was a result of Arthur opting to move on from her role as Dorothy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1l9F4mXQa4

That led to “The Golden Girls” spin-off “The Golden Palace” where McClanahan, Betty White, who played Rose, and Estelle Getty, who played Sophia, reprised their roles.

The series features Rose, Blanche, and Estelle moving out of Miami and into an Art Deco South Beach hotel they invested in and would manage.

The show co-stars Don Cheadle, who played the hotel manager, and Cheech Marin, as the co-chef. There were only 24 episodes of the show before it was canceled but Deadline reports that it’s available on Hulu.

Wikipedia
Source:
Wikipedia

“We knew we wanted to kind of give her [Arthur] a fitting tribute and a fitting departure from the show,” one of the show’s writers and producers Mitchell Hurwitz told TODAY. “I remember, she was very moved by the last episode. And she wrote me this lovely note about it. And that was really a privilege. I always felt lucky to be there at all. And to be given a chance to write something that was meaningful for her was really special.”

“The Golden Girls” was created by Susan Harris and ran on NBC for seven seasons from September 1985 to May 1992.

According to Wikipedia, there were a total of 180 half-hour episodes.

It’s a timeless show that is still in syndication and is streaming today. While the show might have grown in age, the humor hasn’t. It’s still as hilarious as it ever was to those tuning in today.

“There were just tremendous writers over the seven years of the show, at every stage of it,” said Hurwitz.

Hurwitz, who went on to create “Arrested Development,” said he learned a great lesson from the show.

That “you can always make it funnier.” Hurwitz credits Harris and her partners Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas as being “responsible for the soul of that show.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWbz_mIAShM

And who can forget that theme song? “Thank You For Being a Friend” was co-written by Andrew Gold and Brock Walsh appearing on Gold’s third album “All This and Heaven Too.”

It was covered by Cynthia Fee as the show’s theme song.

Hurwitz recalls how the show’s final episode reflected reality with Dorothy saying goodbye to her mother and two friends, while Arthur was also saying goodbye to cast and crew members.

“They’re having to say goodbye to someone they love, which is a very real thing that you have to deal with at that age,” Hurwitz said. “We got to deal with it in a much more positive way. But I think it was still just as emotional. The goal was to find some true emotion there and to resist sentimentality, which happens on sitcoms. Oftentimes when sitcoms try to be emotional, they become sentimental and cloying, and, you know, these women had too much dignity to let that happen.”

Hurwitz says the show was such a success because of the quest to keep making it funnier. The script would be read on Monday by the actresses and then re-written every day after a new reading until the show was filmed in front of a live studio audience on Friday.

“I think the show has lasted because it’s about love, and it’s about support, and it’s about being proud of who you are,” Hurwitz said. “And you know, especially when society isn’t holding you in high regard. It’s about not quitting and fighting back. And it has all these kinds of universal themes that somehow these women bring to life.”

Hear more about the finale from one of the show writers in the video below!

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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