In all truthfulness, The Golden Girls probably shouldn’t have worked as a TV series. Seriously, why should it have? The idea of focusing on four aging women living together and helping each other through life’s challenges — with the use of lots of comedy — just doesn’t scream hit. Yet that’s exactly what the show was during its original 1985 to 1992 run, bringing comic magic together in the form of Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty; a magic that continues to entertain television audiences 34 years after it began.
“The Golden Girls,” offers Jim Colucci, author of the definitive book on the series, Golden Girls Forever, “was one of the rare shows that recruits new generations of fans who weren’t even around the first time. The only other show I can equate doing that is I Love Lucy. What’s ironic is that it’s a show that’s timeless enough that it can recruit new generations, even though it’s ostensibly about four old ladies. The prevailing ‘wisdom’ today would say it shouldn’t have worked then and won’t work now. Yet this show is still proving that wrong on a daily basis. Those women were powerhouses of comedy, and the writing, the acting, the social commentary — everything — came together in a magic formula that you couldn’t duplicate if you tried.”
Jim, who has also written Will & Grace: Fabulously Uncensored and is currently working on a book looking back at the making of The Love Boat, has poured his heart and soul into the writing of Golden Girls Forever. “Growing up in the pre-Internet days,” he says, “the only source for my extreme fandom of shows, particularly comedies and sitcoms, was a desire on my part to crawl inside the TV and look around. Not even necessarily meet the people — that’s something I didn’t even ever dream of, because I knew they were actors. I’m not crazy, but I wanted to see the Brady boys’ bedroom and envision what it would be like to be the fourth Brady boy, and have a bunk bed in that bedroom. I wanted to visit the Golden Girls‘ house and look around, or Will & Grace’s apartment.
“Whenever in the pre-Internet era you wanted information, the only place to go for it would be books,” Jim adds, “but I’d usually be disappointed because most books were written on a very superficial fan level and done without a lot of effort. Because of that, when I started writing for TV Guide and writing about TV, I thought, ‘Here’s my chance.’ I wanted to do the kind of book that I wanted to read, that is insanely detailed.”
And that’s exactly what Jim Colucci has done. Scroll below to get a taste of the revelations that this author has made, and take a deeper look into The Golden Girls than you likely ever have before.