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Golden Girls: Who's Your Favorite?

Discussion in 'Notable TV' started by ClassyCo, Jun 11, 2019.

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Who's your favorite Golden Girl?

  1. Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur)

    9 vote(s)
    37.5%
  2. Rose Nylund (Betty White)

    3 vote(s)
    12.5%
  3. Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan)

    5 vote(s)
    20.8%
  4. Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty)

    3 vote(s)
    12.5%
  5. All of them (It's too hard to decide...!)

    4 vote(s)
    16.7%
  1. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 18 Years

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    I didn't mind The Golden Palace but I agree that there must have been a better premise they could have used. Simply replacing Bea Arthur with Dena Dietrich as her sister comes to mind, since the character was already established. I assume there was some reason such an obvious choice was rejected.
     
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  2. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator EXP: 21 Years Staff Member

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    I found the continuity error that was bugging me. In one of the episodes where Dorothy is afraid to fly, she refuses champagne saying she doesn't like it.

    Then on the boat with Rose when her boyfriend buys it for his cruise around the world, she is seen drinking champagne.

    I'm also curious as to why when Stan's brother turns up he says he's from Minnesota. Did he move there for work?
     
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  3. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat TV Fanatic EXP: 6 Years

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    Oh, we could dedicate an entire thread to the continuity errors on The Golden Girls. There are so many fan pages on Facebook where fussing over the plot errors are the go-to past-time.

    The amount of continuity errors on this show is ridiculous. Someone was evidently not keeping up with the scripts and stories laid in the earlier episodes. Sure, I can forgive the earliest episodes if a stable of writers had not already been assigned, but most of these issues occur with writers that have almost always been with the show.

    It's mind-boggling.
     
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  4. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator EXP: 21 Years Staff Member

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    I put responsibility on the actor too. No doubt the cast are consummate professionals, but the onus is on the actor to remember certain character traits or habits.
     
  5. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Dream Maker EXP: 10 Years

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    There were even continuity errors in the later years of the series. Some are glaring, some are subtle.
     
  6. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat TV Fanatic EXP: 6 Years

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    Well, they could keep the personalities and mannerisms the same I guess, but the writing of how what a character remembers, likes, or is allergic to falls on the writing staff.

    While our girls were capable professionals, they may have also been a downfall to the plot errors. I recollect one writer for the show saying that the actresses were "true to the words on the page", meaning they put complete faith in it.
     
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  7. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat TV Fanatic EXP: 6 Years

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    The characters themselves gradually became more archetypal, too.
     
  8. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator EXP: 21 Years Staff Member

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    As an actor myself, I just know that I remember stuff about each character I've played. Having said that I've not been lucky enough as yet to have a long standing part on a series, so you can see why it's perhaps easy to forget over a period of years :)
     
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  9. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator EXP: 20 Years Staff Member

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    There can be arguments for both sides. Some would say actors should point out the inconsistencies in a script, since the writer of that week's script may not have known they were contradicting established canon, and the actor has more of a grasp of the finer details of their character. Shows like GG that had people doing multiple tasks behind the scenes (producers occasionally wrote episodes, writers occasionally directed, etc.) might have had too much going on for them to strictly adhere to canon. In fact I heard someone justify the truckload of continuity errors on GG by saying the showrunners were more interested in a good story than they were in continuity. Some shows will make an effort to appoint an official or unofficial 'continuity person' to keep notes on what's happened, but that's usually for serialized shows rather than episodic comedies like GG. I'm sure that if Susan Harris had been able to continue with the series, she would have made sure the backstory details of the characters were honored, since she had created the backstories herself.

    Others would say the actor is there to act out the material they are given, and it's not their place to question what's on the page. I know most show-runners tend to hate it when actors "get uppity" and start questioning the material. In the case of GG they had a lot of veterans of sitcom working together, so there may have been more give-and-take about the scripts simply because everyone respected the stars' ability to pick out the funniest way to do a line or a scene. Let's face it: if even one of the four ladies had seriously objected to that week's script (refused to perform), the producers would have likely realized something was indeed wrong with it and taken corrective action to make the script better rather than just telling them to pound sand and write them out of the episode like some other shows have done in the past.

    Terry Hughes, a longtime director for the show, seemed to be a favorite of the ladies because he didn't just dictate how things would be done and discourage their input. They were quoted as being very unhappy when he decided to leave the series. But there are a lot of old-school actors who just think their job is to take what's there and make it work (regardless of whether it was crap or it was brilliant). I'm reminded of an episode where the B-plot was the girls' money-making scheme of raising minks in the garage. Everyone knows how much Betty White loves animals, and Bea Arthur was also active with animal-oriented causes and charities in that period. How this plot managed to make it through the writers' room, knowing how those two would feel about their characters doing this...I have no idea. But there they were, acting it as professionally as they always did, with none of the "I'll show my distaste for this plot by phoning in my performance" you occasionally see. Still, I often wonder if the writer who came up with that plotline got a very stern talking-to from Bea Arthur...and if he or she lived to tell about it.
     
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  10. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 18 Years

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    In what way does that affect a sitcom?
     
  11. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator EXP: 20 Years Staff Member

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    Logically, such errors would have to pile up at a higher rate in later years, right? The longer a show runs, the more opportunities to screw up an established back-story.

    I assume the producers were just very busy. They're cranking out (in those times) 26 episodes per year, and getting quality scripts for a sitcom isn't always easy. If someone presents you with a really funny script that ticks off most of the boxes, they're not going to toss the whole thing out just because there is an oversight involving minor continuity issues. We the viewers tend to care a lot more about continuity than the producers do; they just want to get the episode completed so they can move on to the next one.

    So they don't reject a script that creates a never-mentioned brother (for a character who only spoke of having sisters up to that point) because they really enjoy the situation that he brings to the show. They can always go right back to pretending he doesn't exist. Similarly, a character can have a sister who appears a few times, who then gets seemingly replaced by a brother with an almost identical name with no mention of their sister ever again. A recurring character is seen getting married in one episode, then is seen single again with no mention of a divorce/widow-hood because they just don't feel like wasting precious screen time explaining some event that many viewers might not even remember. Such things don't "wreck" a show, but they attract attention from those who think enough of the characters to follow their 'life story'. While we know it's just a TV show and such goofs are commonplace, people feel as if the producers aren't giving their show (or at least its fans) proper "respect" by trying to follow logical continuity.
     
  12. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 18 Years

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    Still thinking about The Golden Palace. The idea of the ladies suddenly taking over a hotel was always improbable at best, as was the attempt to transform Blanche into the stable centre.

    So here's a question. Would it have done better if they'd done what Lucille Ball did with The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy? In other words, not trying to make it a direct continuation, but instead the same cast playing different but similar characters?
     
  13. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator EXP: 20 Years Staff Member

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    Estelle Getty could have taken off the wig!

    --On second thought, that might have sent the nation into chaos. People used to flip out when she showed up at the Emmys with her natural hair and no glasses.

    I keep coming back to the idea that if they wanted to include the remaining girls in a business-type setting, they should have made it one of the numerous charities they were frequently involved in. They could have made it more 50/50 between all three at the house and Rose/Blanche (not Sophia) out in charity foundation setting. Original GG was probably 85% in the house, but making it more 50/50 would have made the shift less jarring, and would allow them to slip in a few new characters (via the workplace) without leaving the viewer feeling like the old show was 'dead'. Sophia would not be out working (that always bugged me); her stay-at-home role would allow Rose and Blanche to carry more of the show, but it would still allow Sophia to be in the mix--perhaps more of what they originally wanted for Sophia as a supporting character.

    They already had a great blueprint for such a show with their spin-off, Empty Nest. Dr. Harry Weston split his onscreen time between his time at home with his daughters, and at the office with his wisecracking nurse/office manager. The daughters rarely interacted with the nurse; the two halves of his life allowed for a lot of stories to develop. In later years he retired from his pediatric office and volunteered at an inner-city clinic (allowing them to introduce another co-worker for him) while one daughter left home and the other became a single mother to provide more story possibilities when he was at home. Their balance of stories was likely easier since the show was centered around one character, but they proved that a show can work with equal doses of workplace comedy and family comedy.
     
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  14. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    I liked all the actresses (except Estelle Getty) but I liked them elsewhere.

    There was a big build up in the media for several months in 1985, including a story about how a screening of the pilot for NBC executives left everyone screaming on the floor with laughter.... I knew I wouldn't like it, and I knew why, well in advance: the '80s self-consciousness and the laughless wit of Susan Harris.

    When it premiered, I watched the first episode and it was exactly what I'd anticipated. I rarely tuned in again, and when I did, there was nothing to change my mind.

    Every gay guy I knew, however, saw it as appointment television, howling at every line. I'd just sit there in the living room smiling good-naturedly.
     
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  15. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator EXP: 21 Years Staff Member

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    Why not Estelle @Snarky's Ghost ?

    I found another bit of continuity issue last night watching an episode from 1986 - Blanche was talking about someone who got their wife's sister pregnant and said 'Not me! Last night on Dallas!'

    She was clearly referring to JR, Sue Ellen and Kristin. But that happened years before 1986....
     
  16. Crimson

    Crimson Soap Chat Member

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    Perhaps not for the same reason, but I agree. The others were actresses who created characters, but Getty seemed like a punchline machine. I wish Nancy Walker, who played Sophia' sister a few times, had been cast as Sophia instead.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2020
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  17. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator EXP: 21 Years Staff Member

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    Oh no, Estelle was Sophia. I find her hilarious, especially her relationship with Dorothy.
     
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  18. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator EXP: 20 Years Staff Member

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    They recently played the episode where Bob Hope made a cameo, and I heard another continuity error. This was the first time Rose had mentioned she was adopted. I assume they wrote it in simply because they wanted an excuse for Rose to believe Bob Hope was her biological father. Whatever the case, she tells the others that she spent the first eight years of her life in an orphanage, until "the Nylunds" adopted her. Obviously they meant "the Lindstroms," since that was her maiden name and Charlie Nylund was the man she married. It was just the one slip, but pretty glaring in my opinion. They butchered other aspects of that story in successive episodes, even as they stuck to the overall idea that Rose was adopted.
     
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  19. Franko

    Franko Soap Chat Member EXP: 1 Year

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    Forgive me for going quote heavy, but I've got a few things to say.

    Bea might have gone easy on the writer, considering it was Susan Harris herself. As for Susan writing that particular episode ... that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome's a bitch, ain't it?

    If anything, I'd say Rose became the stabilizing force. So much that it was mentioned when Dorothy visited. "When did she become the smart one?"

    The Golden Palace is a mix of good things (Rose regaining some intelligence), results may vary things (so many guest stars; actually seeing Shady Pines) and oh, hell no things (the idea that it took Blanche until 1993 to have an orgasm).

    I was too young for the original run, but I did catch The Golden Girls through reruns on Lifetime. I've sometimes wonder if I would be so fond of the show if I had caught it as an adult or an older teen. For what it's worth, I've always slightly looked down on the fanbase that emerged from 2010 or so, once Betty White solidified her role as America's No. 1 Old Person (title previously held by George Burns and Bob Hope). Which brings me to ...

    For example: in the episode where we meet Rose's biological dad, Brother Martin (Don Ameche), it's implied she was an infant foundling at the Lindstroms.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
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  20. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator EXP: 21 Years Staff Member

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    There’s also various references to cats.

    Rose has a kitten in her arms in one of the first episodes but then later on says she’s never had a cat because she’s allergic. She later goes on to talk about her childhood cat Lindstrom Lindstrom.

    Sophia says she would rather live with a lesbian than a cat but then later says she loves cats.
     

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