I was recently visiting a friend and he had mentioned how happy he was that they had finally put Coach on Netflix Instant so that he could relive the hilarity of such a classic show. And while I agree with that Coach is indeed a classic program from the golden age of the sitcom, in my mind there is only one television show from the late ‘80s that deserves to even be called a show. That, my dear friends, is of course The Golden Girls. Now while the concept of this show may be off putting to some (four single women over fifty sharing a house in Miami together), once you delve into this show, you will find that not only is it one of the greatest works of the late 20th century (okay, a bit hyperbolic, but I am kind of a fan) but also one can glean so many lessons about life and love from the show.
Love Lesson Number One: “How to handle seeing your ex with grace”: (Season 1 – Episode 2: Guess Who’s Coming to the Wedding)
Now for those of you who have never seen the show, one of the main characters Dorothy Zbornak (as portrayed by Bea Arthur), was divorced by her husband over the phone two years prior. Her husband left her for someone “Half my age and twice my bra size”. In this episode her daughter is getting married and forced to deal with the fact that her ex-husband has to attend per her daughter’s wishes. Through the teeth grinding awkwardness, she mostly maintains class and decorum, with the single exception of brandishing a knife and threatening to kill him. And her crowning achievement of surviving this experience is that she finally gets to say what she was feeling to the man who hurt her most.
Most of us have had to be in close social interaction with our ex partners; through either mutual friends or bumping into them at a party. In these situations, though, it is vital to have your friends with you to keep you sane as well. It is also important stand tall and proud while also being ready to tell them off in the style of an uninterrupted monologue.
Best line of the episode:
Stan: “Come on Sophia! We can catch up on old times!”
Sophia: “No, we can’t. I had a stroke. Luckily my memories of you were wiped clean.”
Love Lesson Number Two: “Your parents have your back though it may not seem like it”: (Season 3 – Episode 9: Blanche’s Little Girl)
This episode teaches us that while you may have your differences with them, your parents can be a well-spring of relationship advice. Blanche’s daughter comes to visit, and she brings with her her fiance, a man who treats her with considerable disdain and is downright mean to her. When Blanche’s daughter Rebecca expresses to her mother that she feels she can not do any better than this balding asshole, Blanche consoles her daughter by telling her that she can do so much better. And though she was mad at first, Rebecca realizes that her mother’s words came from a place of deep caring, so she dumps that douche faster and their mother-daughter bond becomes stronger than ever.
Now this advice may be pretty vague, but when you are struggling in your relationship (and assuming your relationship with your parents is conducive to this sort of conversation) ask your parents. They are more experienced and know more about the facts of life then you think.
Best line of the episode:
Sophia: “So, you’re Blanche’s daughter. The model. What did you model? Car covers?”
Lesson Number Three: “Don’t ever compete with your friends for the affections of the same person.” (Season 4 – Episode 1: Yes, We Have No Havanas)
There is nothing wrong with some healthy competition but there are certainly areas in life where it does not belong. Your love life is one of them. In this episode, Blanche and Sophia enter into a death match over the same man, Fidel Santiago. Miguel is a Cuban playboy who attempts to fulfill the needs of every woman he meets. The two of them spend the entire episode wooing Fidel while at the same time whipping hilarious barbs at one another. But, sadly, Miguel dies of a heart attack. While at the funeral they realize that he has been actually sleeping with about twenty other women, so their competition was fruitless and all is resolved.
We all have enough to worry about in our daily lives, and competing over a man with friends is completely unnecessary. Take your friendships seriously and hold them close. They will be there when your lover drops dead. Also, consider the fact that a man is willing to date the two of you at the same time. This says something deeply disturbing about his character, and you don’t need that jank in your life.
Best line of the episode:
Blanche: “Blanche DeVereaux has never shared a man!”
Sophia: “…or a pizza.”
Lesson Number Four: “A strictly physical relationship is not a long term solution to loneliness” (Season 4 – Episode 14: Love Me Tender)
This episode pertains to the love life of Dorothy. Dorothy, sadly, is a desperate lonely school teacher who hasn’t been on a date in six months. Thus, she is my favorite character. Anyway, her mother signed her up for a dating service when she sees the ad for it while riding the bus. Of course, she doesn’t use Dorothy’s actual photograph but instead uses the picture that came with her wallet. But the man she gets from this dating service is a pasty, bald and hideously depressing man who says things like: “I was going to cancel [the date] but my therapist wouldn’t let me. Oh well, I guess I have to feed you.” But what Eddie lacks in physical appeal and personality, he makes up for it with an extremely strong sexual prowess. At first this produces a sense of pride in Dorothy and makes her feel attractive. But eventually she realizes that, one day, a strictly sexual relationship will not be enough for her and she will want more. And Eddie is not the person to give it to her. Hell, he can’t even pay for dinner!
I feel that the moral of this episode can apply to a lot of people. Being just friends with benefits can function for some people, but I feel that it is a lot like Communism. It works out on paper but someone always gets left out.
Best line of the episode:
Dorothy: “The only thing we have in common is under the sheets.”
Rose: “What’s under the sheets?”
Dorothy: “His cappuccino maker. SEX! Rose, I am talking about sex.”
Lesson Number Five: “Never listen to your slutty friend” (Season 6 – Episode 10: Girls Just Want to Have Fun… Before They Die)
We have all received bad advice in our lives. I mean, you are reading some pretty shitty advice right now. (KIDDING.) But for our Golden Girls on Richmond street, they made the mistake of turning to Blanche, A.K.A. “Ye Olde Towne Slut”, for advice. First, she recommends that Sophia sleeps with someone she has a crush on and gives her a makeover. But, due to her association of sex with intimate emotion, blurts out that she loves him. He doesn’t reciprocate and Sophia blames Blanche for the entire situation.
Rose also seeks advice from Blanche. Her hometown of St. Olaf is suffering from a drought and they request that all of its citizens remain celibate until the rain comes. She doesn’t know how to break the news to her boyfriend, so Blanche advises her to tease him so he still stays interested. Miles (Rose’s boyfriend) takes offense to Rose’s dishonesty and breaks up with her.
Now, we all have slutty friends. They come in handy in a myriad of situations, like getting into a club or out of a traffic citation. But seeking their advice when it comes to matters of love is not advised. They are just as confused as you are about romance. So take the hint from the Golden Girls, when it comes to matters of love, romance and sex, just ask your grandmother!
Best Line of the episode:
Blanche: “I have taken an 83 year old woman and made her look like a 60 year old drag queen!”