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March 10, 2014 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Why Gay Men Still Love "The Golden Girls" (SLBuzzfeed)
posted by roomthreeseventeen (51 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why Gay Men Everyone Still Loves "The Golden Girls"
posted by maryr at 7:48 AM on March 10 [41 favorites]


In a world where women are still heavily conditioned to believe that growing older without a mate is the ultimate form of personal failure, The Golden Girls gave us another model: one of hope for a happy future in which romance was still a possibility, but our lives weren't over if it didn't happen again.

Their strong female characters were the antidote to "Strong Female Characters™."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:59 AM on March 10 [17 favorites]


But yes, as the author states, the "chosen family" angle was incredibly powerful. Sure, there had been others, but they tended to look more like traditional biological families (e.g., single father figure, adopted kids, and female housekeeper, etc.).
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:01 AM on March 10 [6 favorites]


If the answer isn't simply "because they are so damn sassy" then it's just a puff piece.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:09 AM on March 10 [4 favorites]


Because it was in-your-face funny and told it like it was and no one tells it like it is than women who have actually seen it all and didn't crumble...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:15 AM on March 10 [4 favorites]


The original Sex and the City.
posted by cribcage at 8:19 AM on March 10 [2 favorites]


GG was also way ahead of its time, in many American cultural ways.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:20 AM on March 10 [2 favorites]


Youtube: Golden Girls HD
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:25 AM on March 10 [3 favorites]


I was watching Golden Girls a while back when I noticed this credit.

And, yep, that's is that Mitch Hurwitz.
posted by griphus at 8:25 AM on March 10 [3 favorites]


A minor grouch: since when are "gay men" freely interchangeable with "queer people"? I'm not doubting the queer love for the Girls, but gay men aren't the only ones who identify with themes of non-traditional relationships and found families. Queer themes don't belong to (cis) men alone.
posted by fight or flight at 8:30 AM on March 10 [4 favorites]


Hi, ~straight person here who identifies with themes of non-traditional relationships and found families. While I am sure other queer people also love Golden Girls for many of the cited reasons, I think they are better off not trying to speak for all non-heterosexuals. These are gay men, explaining why they love the Golden Girls. Seems clear to me.
posted by idiopath at 8:34 AM on March 10 [6 favorites]


Where does Leslie Nielsen fit into this equation?
posted by jonmc at 8:48 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Also relevant: Bea Arthur's amazing caftans.
posted by xingcat at 8:58 AM on March 10 [7 favorites]


Love this. I'm not a gay man, but I've been through embarrassingly long phases where I watched nothing but the Golden Girls, over and over and all the time, especially at times in my life when I was particularly ill and lonely. The last such phase was years ago, but I'm certain I've seen many episodes over 20 times (though not the last couple of seasons, where everybody turned a bit nasty). I love that the author of the piece used the word "soothing", because that's exactly what I was thinking of.

Does anybody else always wonder which Golden Girl they are? Blanche has really influenced the way I try to live my life. The way people say incredibly cutting things about her to her face and she just laughs and looks ever more poised and glamorous. But I love Dorothy just as much. I watch the slightly shitty UK sitcom Miranda mostly because the hulking, awkward (not in a bad way) lead reminds me of Bea Arthur.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:58 AM on March 10 [8 favorites]


It wouldn't be metafilter without a minor grouch under 20 comments into a post.

I think found families of choice and friendships is a fairly universal concept as part of the process of going from child to adult, really. I think its actually more unusual to have a case like the Bushes where mommy and daddy's business ties and friendships become the next generation's world.
posted by C.A.S. at 9:06 AM on March 10


¯\_ ( ) _/¯


They are shoulder-pads.
posted by Fizz at 9:10 AM on March 10 [5 favorites]


...Clayton is a hobo?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:13 AM on March 10 [3 favorites]


I never liked the show when I was a kid. I wonder if I'd like it better now. One way to find out, I suppose.
posted by rtha at 9:36 AM on March 10


I have loved GG since it was first on the air.

I'm a guy, but seeing a bunch of strong women taking no shit whatsoever from anyone was a formative experience.

If I have kids, I definitely want to have a girl. And I want to raise her to be at least as kickass as Dorothy. (She's my favourite.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:41 AM on March 10


"I'm as jumpy as a virgin at a prison rodeo!"
posted by ChrisTN at 9:44 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Also could someone please make Betty White immortal like now? The world cannot survive without at least one Golden Girl.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:48 AM on March 10 [7 favorites]


A minor grouch: since when are "gay men" freely interchangeable with "queer people"? I'm not doubting the queer love for the Girls, but gay men aren't the only ones who identify with themes of non-traditional relationships and found families. Queer themes don't belong to (cis) men alone.

I for one would love to read some non-cis-gay-male queer love for The Golden Girls. Got any particularly good examples you can point us to?
posted by ChrisTN at 9:49 AM on March 10 [4 favorites]


I am ashamed to say I don't think I've ever seen a single episode. without the nostalgia angle, do you think one could start it now & still love it?
posted by changeling at 9:55 AM on March 10


YES
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:57 AM on March 10 [19 favorites]


I thought Gay Men loved "Designing Women" ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:10 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Youtube makes my computer choke so I really, really hope that's the scene where whatsername tears a savage strip off a homophobe.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:17 AM on March 10


Got any particularly good examples you can point us to?

Unfortunately I've never watched it (wrong country/generation), so I can't speak from personal experience, but I did find these articles (NB: not all from a queer perspective):

How ‘Golden Girls’ Shaped My Feminism
My Favourite TV Show: The Golden Girls
The Golden Girls - the ultimate in feminist programming
Our Gayest Golden Girls Moments
posted by fight or flight at 10:23 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


I remember watching this show a lot as a kid. Looking back, how on earth did a show about older ladies living together in Florida possibly entertain a 10 year old boy in Seattle? They sure did something right.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 10:28 AM on March 10 [8 favorites]


I thought Gay Men loved "Designing Women" ?

I'm a straight guy and I liked Designing Women, in some measure because the teenage me found Annie Potts kind of hot.
posted by jonmc at 10:29 AM on March 10 [4 favorites]


Honestly, Annie Potts seems to be largely untouched by age--and a surgeon's knife. From the bits and pieces I've seen her in over the past few years she's become radiantly beautiful and elegant as she gets older.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:31 AM on March 10


Lately, my TV watching has been intentional only: I never just flip around to see what's on. This is mostly a good thing, but I'm starting to realize big downsides: I may never again watch beloved old shows like GG or Fresh Prince. And I'll never catch quirky new shows like Project Runway S1.

Surely someone is working on content delivery that would recreate channel flipping for 2014. Maybe similar to WNYC's app, described here, that would automatically program a personal podcast playlist.
posted by Xalf at 11:21 AM on March 10


When I was in my early 20s and testing out my newfound liberty in a new city far from my roots, I was also keen to test out the hookup section I'd learned about while searching for rooms to rent via Craigslist. Nervously, I agreed to meet my very first internet hookup ever at his apartment, in a building I knew from walking past it every day on my way to my graduate school's main library. It was a fun, bumbly experience, but mostly I remember getting out of the shower before he did, and while getting dressed in the living room spotting a framed, autographed picture of all four Golden Girls on his mantel. Still seems like the gayest detail in the entire story (but not as gay as, say, a Barbie as Erica Kane fashion doll in a display case--link prob NSFW for salty language).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 11:26 AM on March 10 [3 favorites]


I am ashamed to say I don't think I've ever seen a single episode. without the nostalgia angle, do you think one could start it now & still love it?

I think if you bear in mind that the production style (80s sitcom) and humor (somewhat broad) are a bit dated and appreciate the show for what it is, then yes.
posted by lunasol at 11:31 AM on March 10


That part of the theme song that (and I really don't know what to call this effect) bleeds in to the camera shot of the exterior of the house is something I've always loved. It is so comforting.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 11:36 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


and humor (somewhat broad)

Somewhat broad? Bea Arthur is my Fairy Broadmother.




CHEESECAKE?
posted by louche mustachio at 11:39 AM on March 10 [3 favorites]


Does anybody else always wonder which Golden Girl they are? Blanche has really influenced the way I try to live my life.

I tend to be Dorothy in real life and play Rose roles onstage, so I really fought hard to get all the dirty lines in a female trio version of "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" in a cabaret show last fall. I played it 100% as Blanche. Even in our banter between verses, I did the accent - when one of the other singers was mock-scolding me, I shrugged and said, "Do'thy, you have got *such* a dirty maahnd. And in front of poor Rose, too." The front rows who could hear it, totally loved it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:04 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


Does anybody else always wonder which Golden Girl they are?

We're picking only one to emulate? I'm doing it all wrong honey. I take no prisoners, chase men and try to seduce them with a southern accent, tell strange stories with a slight Swedish lilt about farm animals back home.....
posted by dabitch at 12:14 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


Fun fact: A young Quentin Tarantino played an Elvis impersonator in an episode of the Golden Girls.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:43 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


But yes, as the author states, the "chosen family" angle was incredibly powerful.

I wouldn't expect The Golden Girls to have so much in common with the Fast & Furious franchise.
posted by brundlefly at 1:36 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


Gay man here who loves loves Golden Girls, and also loves most of the other four-women-friends shows:

Golden Girls
Facts of Life
Designing Women
Sex and the City
Girls
Living Single
Hot in Cleveland

What others am I missing??
posted by MoxieProxy at 2:30 PM on March 10


What others am I missing??

I remember nothing about Living Single, but Queen Latifah was on it and when is she not a delight?
posted by griphus at 2:56 PM on March 10


I wouldn't expect The Golden Girls to have so much in common with the Fast & Furious franchise.

I would watch the hell out of something that combined the best bits of both.
posted by asperity at 2:57 PM on March 10 [5 favorites]


I wouldn't expect The Golden Girls to have so much in common with the Fast & Furious franchise.

I would watch the hell out of something that combined the best bits of both.

We may have tragically lost our chance for a Bea Arthur-fronted reenactment of Fast Five, but there's still so much time for Vin Diesel, The Rock, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sung Kang to start doing old episodes of Golden Girls.
posted by Copronymus at 3:13 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


I for one would love to read some non-cis-gay-male queer love for The Golden Girls. Got any particularly good examples you can point us to?

Personal example.
posted by mediocre at 3:44 PM on March 10


Also, I just learned that Mitch Hurwitz is not homosexual. It may be unfair of me to have thought so, but between the continuous stream of gay subtext in Arrested Development, his early career in Golden Girls, its ill-fated/ill-conceived/hey-look-its-Don-Cheadle! network-jumping followup The Golden Palace, and The Ellen Show and his overall Koogler-esque level of ease of self I had assumed him as a self confident gay man.
posted by mediocre at 4:05 PM on March 10


I remember nothing about Living Single. . .

Well, it* was about four (mostly) single female friends, one's a little ditsy, one's a little flirty, one's mostly practical, and one's kind of a smart ass.

*Substitute description for:
Golden Girls
Facts of Life
Designing Women
Sex and the City
Hot in Cleveland

Girls (Does it work with Girls? I feel like all of them are ditsy, flirty, practical, and smart-assy.)
posted by MoxieProxy at 6:05 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Why Gay Men Still Love "The Golden Girls"

Well, Patrick on Looking sure does, since the season finale ended with him watching an episode and the Golden Girls theme playing over the closing credits. Great moment.
posted by crossoverman at 10:41 PM on March 10


(...RTFA)
posted by maryr at 2:59 PM on March 11


Sorry, I saw Buzzfeed and expected gifs.
posted by crossoverman at 4:27 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Fair enough.
posted by maryr at 5:37 PM on March 11


What others am I missing??

The criminally underrated Pretty Little Liars. Yes, it's on ABC Family, and yes, it's a teen soap, but it is brilliant in its treatment of young women and their relationships. It doesn't really follow the Golden Girls trope to the letter, though it does offer 4 very different girls: Hannah is fashionable and boy-crazy (too sweet to be Blanche), Spencer is the tightly-wound overachiever (not snarky enough to be Dorothy), Arya is the artsy one who goes for the older guy (doesn't really fit any GG), and Emily is the sporty, wholesome one (the most like Rose, though more serious).

Girls (Does it work with Girls? I feel like all of them are ditsy, flirty, practical, and smart-assy.)

I think Girls is very aware of this tradition, but actively tries to subvert it and make the characters more complex than the traditional tropes. I think Shoshana and Jessa fit somewhat neatly with these tropes (Rose and Blanche respectively), though Jessa is also the smartass of the group.
posted by lunasol at 10:04 AM on March 12


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