Over the past two weeks I have spent a lot of time doing nothing, as per doctors’ orders. It has been difficult, as I am easily bored and like to putter around the house. I am now finally upright however, after being instructed to lay on my right side for over a week. I have partial vision in my eye, and am watching the gas bubble they inserted shrink more each day. But enough about my eyeball. Let’s talk about The Golden Girls.
As I said, I have had plenty of time with nothing to do, and this resulted in me binge watching The Golden Girls. I have many happy memories associated with this show. When I was a kid, I used to play make-believe with my friends and grandma; I was usually Dorothy or Rose. We would sit at the kitchen table and eat cake and pretend we were 50-year-olds. Grandma Lois loved The Golden Girls and always let me watch it with her even though I know she deemed it somewhat inappropriate. It made me feel grown up to watch this with her, as our other shows (Mr. Ed, Punky Brewster, and The Littlest Hobo) were all kid-friendly.
Anyway, I was binge watching, and I noticed something. I learned a ridiculous amount from The Golden Girls. It seems like every other episode I watch there is a topic that my young self heard about for the first time from the mouths of Rose, Blanche, Sophia, and Dorothy. Today I watched an episode where Sophia’s friend considers suicide, as she has failing health and no friends or family left. I didn’t know what suicide was when I was a child, and of course never had the nerve to ask. I remember this episode, and the satisfaction of figuring something out on my own. In another episode, the girls buy condoms. I never heard of a condom until that episode. I didn’t know what they were for exactly, but I sensed they were important in the process of “making love,” another term I learned thanks to the Girls. In another episode they discuss shaving their legs. Up until that point I just assumed your legs stayed mostly hairless. The first time I learned about addiction was when Rose was addicted to painkillers. The first time I learned about gay people was because of Blanche’s brother.
The point here is that they answered the questions I didn’t want to ask.
I was an introverted child who was perfectly happy spending hours in the library looking up answers to my questions rather than, say, just asking my mother. When the internet became a thing, I spent hours just surfing Wikipedia and reading information on whatever topic was plaguing me at that time. I have always been content finding things out on my own, and now that I look back on it, I found out a lot from The Golden Girls. Back before I could traipse myself to the library, they were piping in adult themes at an early age, which was fine by me as I had long since tired of most child-friendly programming by the time I was 5. I watched the shows of course, but I’d rather watch Cheers with my parents if they’d let me stay up that late. And I would certainly rather watch The Golden Girls with my grandma. She wasn’t around in my life for very long, but she did leave me with a television show that taught me all sorts of things that she could have, had she been given more time. That makes me smile. Every time I watch an episode, I think of her. Clearly, she’s been on my mind a lot during these past two weeks. I don’t have a whole lot of memories of her anymore, but the memory of sitting together and watching the show remains, and I am glad I can visit her anytime I want by just turning on The Golden Girls.