We said goodbye to all of The Golden Girls 25 years ago yesterday. The two-part series finale “One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest”, aired on May 9, 1992. Bea Arthur’s Dorothy said her goodbyes to the gals she shared a Miami home with… and then she headed off to Atlanta with her new husband.
According to Drew Mackie of Unicorn Booty, he thinks The Golden Girls is a blueprint for how gay men want to spend their final years,
Dorothy leaving Sophia (Estelle Getty), Blanche (Rue McClanahan) and Rose (Betty White) behind meant the breakup of a family unit. (I refuse to acknowledge the existence of The Golden Palace — even the episode where Bea Arthur came back.) They weren’t related — except for Dorothy and Sophia, whose relationship frequently defied the typical mom-daughter dynamics — but they lived together, they ate cheesecake together, they shared each other’s struggles, and they bickered and squabbled only to make amends by the end of any given episode. By and large, they succeeded because they lived together.
And he’s not the only one,
I spoke to Los Angeles nightlife promoter and actor Mario Diaz about the virtues of being a gay man who opts to live with friends. For years, Diaz lived in a setup that he shared with friends, Golden Girls-style.
“Not all of us find our peace with traditional lifestyles. Partnering up and settling down isn’t the path that works for all of us. We have options,” Diaz says. “And let’s face it: No one has more fun than a bunch of homos. We’re clever, funny and have great style, if I say so myself.”
Diaz has since sold the compound that he nicknamed “The Diaz Home for Wayward Boys,” and he says he’s noticing the difference. “Now that I’m living alone again, I’m dealing with some feelings of isolation and loneliness that I haven’t had for some time. I’m realizing how much it means to have loved ones around. I miss it.
There’s one thing we all need, and that’s connection and companionship,” Diaz says.
Mackie has tried the set-up too,
It so happens that I entered my Golden Girls phase early. I bought a house in 2014, and I was using the second bedroom as an office when I decided to invite a friend to live in it. (That makes me the Blanche, though homeownership is the only way I’ll ever get to be the Blanche.) I’d previously vowed never again to have a roommate if I wasn’t in a relationship with him, and I think both of us thought of the living situation as temporary. But we’re a good fit. He’s a Dorothy. (Hi, Glen, if you’re reading this. I’m sure you agree that you’re a Dorothy.) And years into this setup, it feels right.
There may come a time when my roommate decides to move into his own place, and there may come a time when the person I’m dating might move in with me. Looking decades down the road, however, there may also be a point at which I invite platonic friends to share my living space with me once again. A lot of my unmarried peers seem to think of not having roommates or not needing roommates as an indictor of having — at long last — “grown up,” but I’m not sure I agree. Just practically speaking, it’s easier to manage life with someone to fall back on — to wait for a plumber or feed the dog if you’re obligated elsewhere. It’s nice to have someone to watch your stories with. And barring any future technological advancements, dogs can’t drive you to a doctor’s appointment.
While waiting for RuPaul‘s keynote this last Sunday, I overheard a group of young gay men discussing their love for The Golden Girls and which one they were in the same way Sex and the City queens decide who is the Samantha. TV and movie are our shared experience in the world so it’s no wonder we want to emulate those we grow to love on screen.
It’s a stereotype of the gay journey to leave behind your biological family in Cornpie, Indiana, and then to amass a de facto gay family in the big city. But I feel like one of the reasons gay men gravitate toward The Golden Girls, even today, is that those four ladies made the de facto family a lot more literal.
True. Here’s the series finalé and FYI, the whole series is streaming on Hulu right now.
(via Unicorn Booty)