You love The Golden Girls. We love The Golden Girls. But could you really call yourself the world’s biggest Golden Girls fan?
That’s the title entertainment reporter Jim Colucci has been given, and he’s okay with it.
“I don’t bristle at it,” he jokes. “I do lots of things. But I’m happy about it—if it opens conversations, if it makes friends, that’s great.”
Colucci has written two definitive GG books: The first, The Q Guide to The Golden Girls, was released by Alyson Books in 2006. His next one, Golden Girls Forever—which includes more info, photos and interviews—is out now on HarperCollins.
He’s interviewed countless fans and Hollywood insiders about the show, met cast members and watched each episode more times than he can count.
Colucci was just a young teen when the show debuted—not exactly NBC’s intended demographic—but he immediately fell in love with the writing, and the wittiness and comic timing of its veteran stars.
In his research he discovered he wasn’t alone: “NBC reported that, when it was on the air, Golden Girls was getting all kinds of demographics—Kids ages 8, 9, 10.”
Children, it seems, loved Sophia—because she could say what she wanted to adults and not get in trouble.
“We may not have been old ladies when it aired, but it spoke to us,” says Colucci. “People tell me, ’I watched it with my mom, I watched it with my grandmother. It was our show.'”
Indeed, Golden Girls is one of the few TV series that has continued to garner new fans generations after it was canceled. Fans who weren’t even born when it was on.
Perhaps only I Love Lucy has reached such heights.
“The Golden Girls was such magic—and i hate to say ’lightening in a bottle’—but everything lined up perfectly,” says Colucci.
“The development process in TV is really messed up today. But if the show came out right now—with the same cast, the same writers, the same everything—it would still work.”
So what is Jim’s favorite episode? It’s actually one of the show’s most bittersweet: When Dorothy’s brother, Phil, dies.
“I loved when they mixed in melodrama and a message,” he says. “It was such a natural family story—a mother mourning son her son. Her queer son. And processing all the feelings she had about him being queer. It was very nuanced for a sitcom. In the end she comes to “I love my son.”
His favorite character “changes with the wind,” but right now its the sardonic schoolteacher from Brooklyn. “Dorothy is my favorite—she has the funniest putdowns and says the funniest things to stupid people. Things I wish I could say.”
But Colucci also has a soft spot for Rose: “It takes a genius to play a stupid character correctly. So, Rose was always my favorite, too. You have to be a genius to be stupid.”
Given he’s a gay man with an expert knowledge of the show, we thought Jim might be able to explain why the show resonates so much with gay men and lesbians.
“There’s a million reasons—but I think there’s really two big ones,” he says. “There’s the campiness and humor, of course. We love the zingers.”
“But on a deeper level, this is a surrogate family. And gay people aren’t always embraced by their biological family, so we love the idea that you can forge this unbreakable bond with people you’re not related to.”
Even the girls’ social lives were something we wanted to emulate.
“There’s ageism in the gay community, and the show tells us that when you are old you have unlimited romantic liaisons, unlimited social events and your best friends are always around.”
Sounds pretty sweet to us.
Jim Colucci’s “Golden Girls” Forever hit stores April 5, 2016.