“Golden Girls Forever”—Thank You for Being a Book

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Author Jim Colucci’s “Golden Girls Forever” is the definitive volume about the television series that remains popular with LGBT audiences. Credit: HarperCollins

We’ve all encountered “that” guy, the queen who can quote every line verbatim from every episode of “The Golden Girls.”  I once dated one of those guys for about 10 months, just long enough to gain an annoying appreciation for the sitcom about four mature roommates that aired from 1985-92.

Today, I’m engaged to another guy who always manages to find the reruns, whether they’re playing on the Lifetime, Logo, Hallmark or OWN networks. He’s a guy who, a few years ago when Lifetime tried to drop the series, began a vigorous email campaign to network executives. On any given day at any given hour, an episode is probably playing on one of our televisions.

It’s hard to image a gay guy who can’t recall at least one of the wisecracks from strong-willed Dorothy (Bea Arthur), spacey Rose from St. Olaf (Betty White), lusty Southern Belle Blache (Rue McClanahan) or the wise cracking matriarch Sophia (Estelle Getty).

That’s why author Jim Colucci’s new book, “Golden Girls Forever: An Unauthorized Look Beyond the Lanai,” is more of a guilty pleasure than the cheesecake the foursome regularly devoured on the screen.

Colucci volume is less of a juicy tell all than an encyclopedic guide to the series, featuring more than 250 interviews with cast and crew with short synopses and analyses of all 180 episodes.

Many of the revelations are anything but: It’s fairly common knowledge that Getty was younger than Arthur, who played her daughter. And Betty White, who had earlier portrayed the saucy Sue Ann Niven in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” was originally cast as Blanche.

Colucci answers many of the questions that have nagged fans—especially LGBT ones—since the last episode originally aired nearly 25 years ago, like what happened to Coco, the gay houseboy in the pilot.

Actor Michael Levin (who also happened to be straight) was such a hit with the studio audience during the taping of the pilot, producers became concerned his character might overshadow the other girls.

Getty’s sharp tongued Sophia also presented a surprise to producers. Originally slated to be a recurring guest character, Sophia was quickly written into the series permanently.

Some other fun facts to bore your friends who aren’t “Golden Girls” super fans:

The show almost was titled, “Miami Nice,” a joke started at a network executives event playing off the popularity of “Miami Vice.”


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