As always, the women of The Golden Girls were trailblazers in a multitude of ways. From discussions on AIDS & race to showing that women of all ages could be sexual, our favorite women of Miami remained ahead of the curve. That also includes when the show itself was rebooted, long before the women of Sex and the City were given a new chapter with the much-discussed And Just Like That. Following the cancellation of The Golden Girls (and the departure of Bea Arthur), The Golden Palace followed Blanche Deveraux (Rue McClanahan), Rose Nylund (Betty White) and Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) as they sold their beloved Miami home and purchased a Miami hotel in desperate need of some TLC. Of course, the predictable heartwarming hilarity (and sometimes surprise guest stars) ensued.
Seeing three of our favorite Golden Girls back together on CBS after the final episode of The Golden Girls aired on NBC the year prior was like a warm hug, but many felt that, in addition to the departure of Bea Arthur’s Dorothy Znbornak from the quartet at the conclusion of The Golden Girls, the show had lost some of it’s bite. Sometimes simplistic Rose Nylund lost some of her innocence, while McClanahan’s man-eater Blanche Deveraux did not seem as hungry for male attention. That does not however, mean that the show is not worth diving into (the full first and only season arrived on Hulu this past week). The three women along with Executive Producers Susan Harris, Paul Junger Witt, and Tony Thomas showed that they still had some of that old Golden Girls magic throughout the episodes, and bringing on cast members like Cheech Marin as Chef Chuy Castillos (a delicious foil for Sophia) and a not yet world-renowned Don Cheadle as hotel manager Roland Wilson (and unofficial straight man to the rest of the cast) gave the ladies a fresh new group of co-stars to play off of. Guest stars were a frequent twist during the run of The Golden Palace, with notable names like Kim Fields, Margaret Cho, Jack Black, all popping in. Additionally, the episode titled “Love On The Rocks” reunited White & McClanahan with fellow The Carol Burnett Show/Mama’s Family co-stars Tim Conway and Harvey Korman in a hilarious turn as Miami disc jockeys.
One of the highlights of the run of The Golden Palace remains Episodes 7 & 8, which are aptly titled “Seems Like Old Times”. In these two episodes (which originally aired during the November sweeps period), Bea Arthur returned to play Dorothy Zbornak. In a story that harkened back to the heyday of The Golden Girls, Dorothy feels Sophia is overworked at the hotel, and wants Sophia to move with her and her husband (and Blanche’s uncle) Lucas in Atlanta. Unable to choose, Sophia leaves, panic ensues, and Sophia is eventually located at (where else) Shady Pines, the retirement home she left during the early run of The Golden Girls (spoiler alert-she stays at the hotel, while Dorothy returns to Atlanta). While these two episodes of The Golden Palace recreate some of that old Miami magic, the entirety of The Golden Palace is a must-watch for true fans of The Golden Girls, as we are able to see some of our favorite characters in a fresh new setting.
The Golden Palace is currently streaming on Hulu