Thank you for being a friend

Or, why you should just call me Dorothy

Hello possums! Firstly, yes. I was away for longer than expected. After handing in my dissertation I wanted to allow myself a little RnR so I took some time to do…nothing. And it was glorious. But now, I’m back. Huzzah! And I want to ‘thank you’ for ‘being a friend’ and still being here. Lol. Moving on.

You may have heard me mention my love of cult classic, TV series, The Golden Girls. The sitcom follows Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia - three women in their 50s and one in her 70s - as they navigate life after marriage and kids. I remember watching this with my mum as a child and being drawn to a show about four ‘old’ ladies who lived together and had fun. 

More recently, as the months of lockdown stretched ahead, and the feeling of utter futility was compounded by global civil unrest, I returned to the show. I needed something to watch that wasn’t about political incompetence, death or injustice, so I chose to watch the exploits of these funny, sassy women and be soothed. 

There’s so much to love about The Golden Girls, but what strikes me most, what has always struck me, whenever I’ve caught the odd clip over the years, is just how progressive it is.  But before we get to that, let’s talk about the theme song. Yes, it still slaps. If you don’t do the vibrato on ‘invited everyone you kne-ew-ew-ewww’ then yours is a life half lived.

Tell me you can’t hear this picture.

More recently, I was introduced to the best video on the internet. Behold! The gospel version of The Golden Girls theme tune.

I think we can all agree that our lives are all much better with this in the world. Not only does this guy encapsulate the sheer excitement of hearing the opening credits, he also provides EXTRA AD LIBS that we can all sing along to in anticipation of the beginning of the show. I mean… *chef’s kiss*

The premise itself continues to be ground-breaking: a tv show which centres four women in their older years. This still feels revolutionary in 2020. If we see women’s lives on screen at all, it is generally at a time when they are considered to be conventionally attractive. These stories take place during the period of time that women are deemed most ‘useful’ to society. The narratives focus on how women exist in relation to other people: when they are someone’s girlfriend, wife or mother. (Google the Bechdel Test and prepare to be depressed).

‘The Golden Girls’ not only depicts the characters after marriage and having finished raising their children – a period which seemingly marks the end of a woman’s existence - but more importantly, it portrays them as living full, interesting lives without these responsibilities being at their centre.

They are women who still have appetites – for sex, for adventure, for cheesecake! – and they seek to satisfy these appetites without shame, often without restraint and certainly without the burden of other people’s needs and expectations.

The show presents an alternative narrative for women; one where there is life for them after they have fulfilled the roles that society regards as most important for them. And the existence of this alternative creates space for the possibility of others. Maybe we don’t have to fulfil those roles in the first place, why not just skip to the fun part? The part where we get to focus on our own wants and desires and where partners feature as a cherry on the top rather than the whole cake? Where we run towards our own fulfilment without having to carry the weight of other people’s expectations?

I think what I am saying is that in a few years I am going to start looking for a large condo with a lanai to share with a group of witty, ageing women and a well-stocked fridge.  I’d like to think that I’ll be the Blanche of the group, but in reality, I will be Dorothy, ready with an acerbic comment and about a foot taller than everyone else. We will have a variety of colourful escapades, there will be arguments about who stole who’s pearl earrings, but there will always be the opportunity to set the world to rights over cheesecake at 3am. 

Please send your applications via email. X 

Nb. Any and all Golden Girls mechandise happily received.