The Golden Girls
is a classic TV show that broke barriers by portraying the lives and experiences of older women, a group that’s often marginalized in television.
- While seasons 3 and 4 of the show struggled with inconsistent storytelling and character development, season 5 started to improve, tackling important social issues while still providing entertainment.
- Season 1 of The Golden Girls is widely regarded as one of the best, addressing significant topics for women over 50 and featuring standout episodes like “A Little Romance.” Season 7 is also praised for its memorable episodes and poignant ending.
The Golden Girls is one of television’s greatest achievements, delivering seven seasons of classic humor and charm. Premiering in 1985, this iconic series has left a significant impact on pop culture, thanks to its enduring appeal and its groundbreaking premise. Starring Bea Arthur as Dorothy, Rue McClanahan as Blanche, Betty White as Rose, and Estelle Getty as Sophia, the show centers on four women living together in Miami, navigating the ups and downs of life, love, and friendship. What sets The Golden Girls apart is its unapologetic portrayal of the lives and experiences of older women, a demographic often marginalized in television.
The enduring popularity of The Golden Girls attests to the strength of its well-drawn characters, sharp wit, and powerful bonds of friendship. It also helps that it has one of the best TV theme songs of all time. It’s gone from mere entertainment to a cultural touchstone and a source of inspiration for subsequent generations of TV creators. While the series features many exceptional moments, not every season consistently delivers outstanding episodes, resulting in varying degrees of greatness. As with any TV series, some seasons of The Golden Girls are more memorable than others, even if they all come together to form a classic hit.
7 Season 3
Season 3 of The Golden Girls is arguably the weakest of the show’s seven outings. While it does have its fun moments, the biggest issue lies in the storytelling and the overall quality of the scripts. The writers attempt to push boundaries, resulting in storylines that feel over the top, like in episode 4, when the women believe their maid has put a curse on them. The plots often lean on premises that are foundationally ridiculous or unrelated to the core characters, including concerns about nuclear war or TV superheroes. This makes The Golden Girls season 3’s storylines feel disconnected.
Despite the standout performances from the cast, particularly Bea Arthur, who brings her A-game, season 3 falls short due to its inconsistent storytelling and a struggle to balance character-driven humor with unique, over-the-top concepts. While this season ultimately stands as a disappointment in the context of the series as a whole, there are moments of brilliance, like episode 14, “Blanche’s Little Girl,” and episode 15, “Dorothy’s New Friend.”
6 Season 4
While The Golden Girls season 4 is a slight improvement from the disappointing season 3, the outing still falls short compared to the series’ first two seasons. The inconsistency of its storytelling and character development is the main drawback. Rose and Blanche receive very few substantial storylines as the show struggles to find the balance between comedy and drama. Although the chemistry among The Golden Girls’ cast is there, season 4 grapples with the challenge of replicating the earlier years’ charm. While it manages to deliver laughs, it doesn’t consistently achieve the depth that characterized the show’s stronger seasons.
5 Season 5
The Golden Girls season 5 is an improvement from seasons 3 and 4, positioning itself as an outing strives to strike a balance between social relevance and comedic entertainment. The fifth season is characterized by storylines that tackle a wide range of pressing issues, from infidelity and age discrimination to assisted suicide and HIV. While some of these entries get a bit preachy, the season makes a commendable effort to mix moments of levity into subplots and exchanges. While the tonal balance may not always hit the mark consistently, the season makes a genuine effort to address important social themes without sacrificing the show’s promise of entertainment.
4 Season 6
The Golden Girls season 6 demonstrates a shift toward an increasingly burlesque and over-the-top tone in the show’s storytelling, and the results are often quite successful, particularly in episode 14, when Blanche’s brother plans a commitment ceremony with his boyfriend. Rue McClanahan’s portrayal remains a highlight, with her character receiving consistent and satisfying development, even as the plots become more extreme. Season 6 successfully combines the show’s signature humor with broader, more exaggerated storytelling, making it one of the more interesting seasons of the series.
3 Season 1
Season 1 of The Golden Girls is undeniably one of the finest of the series, significantly surpassing seasons 3 to 5. The debut outing is groundbreaking in its own right. It addresses relevant topics for women over 50, including remarrying, job loss, and widowhood. What truly elevates The Golden Girls season 1 is the timeless episode “A Little Romance,” a comedic masterpiece that is considered one of the series’ best. Season 1 is a classic, demonstrating the show’s relevance and comedic excellence. It’s no wonder The Golden Girls went on to such a lengthy and impressive run after such a strong opening.
2 Season 2
The Golden Girls season 2 excels on several fronts, setting it apart from others in the series. Firstly, it contains an exceptional number of classic episodes — perhaps the highest of the entire show — an impressive feat for a series of this comedic caliber. It also has the lowest number of misfires, demonstrating the consistently high quality throughout. Season 2 benefits from an elevated status quo, where the baseline of quality episodes is far superior to other seasons. Even the weakest episodes of the season offer something worthwhile, with the only exception being the season finale, a backdoor pilot for the show Empty Nest.
1 Season 7
Season 7 of The Golden Girls deserves the top spot as the best in the series, a testament to its enduring comedic brilliance and character development. While previous seasons have their share of classics, season 7 offers numerous memorable episodes, including “The Case of the Libertine Bell,” “Goodbye, Mr. Gordon,” and “Dateline: Miami”. These installments encapsulate the season’s quality and timeless humor. They showcase what made the series great from the very beginning.
Furthermore, this season features one of the series’ most iconic moments, as Dorothy sings “What’ll I Do” at the Rusty Anchor, a poignant and unforgettable scene. While the series took a ratings dip in its final year, especially after Bea Arthur decided to leave The Golden Girls, the ensemble’s seasoned performances and the series’ meaningful storytelling make season 7 the pinnacle of The Golden Girls.