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‘Golden Girls’ ended 30 years ago today!!!

Thirty years ago this week, “The Golden Girls” ended its cheesecake-fueled seven-season run with an unforgettable finale that involved an awkward date, a savage prank, an unexpected wedding and a tearful goodbye.

In the two-part episode, “One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which aired May 9, 1992, Blanche (Rue McClanahan) has plans the night her Uncle Lucas (Leslie Nielsen) is visiting and pawns him off on Dorothy (Bea Arthur), telling each that the other is eager to meet. But when Dorothy and Lucas realize they were lied to, they scheme to teach Blanche a lesson by pretending they’ve hit it off and are getting married. During the elaborate ruse, they decide to wed for real, and Dorothy ends up moving out of the foursome’s Miami home to live with Lucas in Atlanta.

While Arthur had opted to leave the hit NBC sitcom, McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty went on to reprise their roles in the spinoff “The Golden Palace,” which premiered on CBS in September of that year.

“We knew we wanted to kind of give her a fitting tribute and a fitting departure from the show,” recalled Mitchell Hurwitz, who served as a writer and producer on the series’ final seasons, including the finale.

“I remember, she was very moved by the last episode,” Hurwitz said of Arthur. “And she wrote me this lovely note about it. And that was really a privilege. I always felt lucky to be there at all. And to be given a chance to write something that was meaningful for her was really special.”

“There were just tremendous writers over the seven years of the show, at every stage of it,” added Hurwitz, who noted that “Golden Girls” creator Susan Harris and her partners Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas were “really responsible for the soul of that show.”

For Hurwitz, the most fun and touching moment from the finale was the farewell scene, in which Dorothy leaves and comes back.

“I really wanted to go even further,” he recalled. “I wanted to have the credits start to play and kind of pull them really quickly when she came back in, and then as you know, she comes back in one more time, presumably having scaled the lanai wall.”

“It really kind of mirrored reality. I remember there were a lot of goodbyes said that week,” he said. “And she didn’t want to leave. I think Dorothy didn’t want to leave and I think Bea Arthur didn’t really want to leave.”

“Bea was a very deep person and a very warm person, but it was all kind of hidden in this kind of stern exterior,” Hurwitz added. “So you know, it was kind of amazing to be part of something where so much emotion came out of her. … As you can see, when you watch it, Bea is really moved trying to say goodbye to these people. And I think they were surprised that she was as moved as she was. I don’t think she was surprised, because you know, she was a very deep person. But she didn’t show it often. And so the ending, I think, ended up being very affecting, because we really saw, you know, not only the character leaving, but Bea Arthur dealing with the fact that she was leaving.”

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by Anonymousreply 42June 23, 2022 9:24 PM

Hurwitz also reflected on guest star Nielsen’s casting as Dorothy’s future husband.

“I think it was a great match with Bea Arthur because they’re both such formidable presences, and they looked good together,” he said.

Hurwitz pointed out that the finale has several departures from a typical “Golden Girls” episode, such as the voice-overs revealing the inner thoughts of each character during Dorothy and Lucas’ wedding.

“The idea of finally hearing what was going on in the Golden Girls’ heads was kind of interesting,” he observed. “And, you know, there was this magical realism moment, where Bea Arthur is thinking, ‘God, I love this man so much, and we’re so in sync, and I feel like he can hear every word that I’m thinking,’ and then inexplicably, Leslie Nielsen thinks, ‘Yes, Dorothy, I can.’”

However, he still considers the finale a classic episode at its heart, “because it really was about their relationships.”

“They’re having to say goodbye to someone they love, which is a very real thing that you have to deal with at that age,” Hurwitz said. “We got to deal with it in a much more positive way. But I think it was still just as emotional. The goal was to find some true emotion there and to resist sentimentality, which happens on sitcoms. Oftentimes when sitcoms try to be emotional, they become sentimental and cloying, and, you know, these women had too much dignity to let that happen.”

Hurwitz, who went on to create “Arrested Development,” said one of the great lessons he learned working on “The Golden Girls” was that “you can always make it funnier.”

“This was a highly rewritten show,” he said. “It was a five-day-a-week shoot. We shot in front of a live audience on Friday night and we read the script at a table with the actresses on Monday morning. And right after the Monday morning read, we would immediately go into a rewrite. Then the next morning there’d be another reading of the new script. That would be rewritten. Then we'd do a run-through on Tuesday. We’d rewrite after that. I mean, this happened every day of the week until the audience came in. And we had two different audiences on Friday night, the same episode but two different audiences and even between the shows we would rewrite them a lot. So it was this constant effort to make the show funnier, and make sure everything was bulletproof.”

“The Golden Girls,” which was recently celebrated in an inaugural fan convention and continues to find new viewers on Hulu, is seemingly as popular as ever.

“I think the show has lasted because it’s about love, and it’s about support, and it’s about being proud of who you are,” Hurwitz said. “And you know, especially when society isn’t holding you in high regard. It’s about not quitting and fighting back. And it has all these kinds of universal themes that somehow these women bring to life.”

by Anonymousreply 1May 10, 2022 12:04 AM

Wish I had a time machine.

by Anonymousreply 2May 10, 2022 12:26 AM

Everything about the last episode was terrible. The wedding ensemble was a travesty. Trying to force us to suspend belief enough to think that unattractive, shrewish, Dorothy could snag Leslie Nielsen?? No way!

by Anonymousreply 3May 10, 2022 12:36 AM

I’m crying as I type.

by Anonymousreply 4May 10, 2022 12:37 AM

I blame grungy Gen X!

by Anonymousreply 5May 10, 2022 12:39 AM

Leslie said that Bea’s snatch stunk!!

by Anonymousreply 6May 10, 2022 12:44 AM

So the show was only on for about 25% of the 1990s but

still kicking all of those other 90s shows ass in syndication.

by Anonymousreply 7May 10, 2022 1:19 AM

R1 silly me, I thought the show lasted because it was fucking funny.

by Anonymousreply 8May 10, 2022 5:39 AM

Even as a young gayling watching the finale I thought, “What in the paper chain hell is going on with that wedding dress?”

Even for Dorothy that wedding dress was crazy.

by Anonymousreply 9May 10, 2022 6:11 AM

I feel fucking old.

by Anonymousreply 10May 16, 2022 4:59 PM

You’re sounding old, pussycat. And Bea’s gown remains the most clamored for Vera Wang design in the Wang catalog of wedding dresses.

by Anonymousreply 11May 16, 2022 5:43 PM

Overall Golden Girls was never more than a mediocre show.

by Anonymousreply 12May 16, 2022 5:50 PM

Still the ugliest wedding dress in tv history...or the history of mankind!

Please tell me the Vera Wang mention was a joke, that just can't be true.

by Anonymousreply 13May 16, 2022 6:00 PM

Oh my eyes, not that fucking wedding dress!

If they'd properly planned they should have had Leslie have a special guest appearance earlier in the season where they started a flirtation, the last two episodes were too rushed.

I always add this but Rue should have been Emmy nominated for "Journey To The Centre Of Attention" instead of Betty for the "Dateline Miami" clipshow.

by Anonymousreply 14May 16, 2022 6:22 PM

😭😭😭😭😭😭

MARY!!!

by Anonymousreply 15May 16, 2022 6:27 PM

It's a disgrace only Estelle won a Golden Globe

by Anonymousreply 16May 16, 2022 6:44 PM

The finale sucks because it's not really a proper end to the show. It's merely a Dorothy episode written to write Bea Arthur off while the other ladies went on to make that dreadful spin-off.

by Anonymousreply 17May 18, 2022 6:49 AM

R14 I concur that Leslie should have been better set-up as Lucas. And that the dress was ugly as sin.

I also didn't enjoy the sudden interior monologues. And per usual, none of the extended family supporting characters were around to support Dorothy, like her kids.

But I did like that Dorothy was the focus and found love. That was a nice change of pace. And Leslie was great casting.

And then, at the end when Bea starts crying, I mean...come on...it's a legendary moment.

Not a bad finale.

by Anonymousreply 18May 18, 2022 7:02 AM

GGs was four archetypes. Ugly slut. Bottle blonde bimbo. Nasty stroke cunt. And tranny masculine man. What a show.

by Anonymousreply 19May 18, 2022 7:59 AM

I was the anchor the show needed to avoid cancellation.

by Anonymousreply 20May 19, 2022 1:47 AM

Who ended up with Stan’s hair?

by Anonymousreply 21May 19, 2022 4:45 AM

Biscayne Boulevard.

by Anonymousreply 22May 19, 2022 9:21 AM

We met Bea and Norman Lear at the Backlot after the Charles Pierce show in 1984. We were with our (gorgeous/horse hung) 4th husband at the time.

by Anonymousreply 23May 19, 2022 9:31 AM

Does it explain why the costume designer hated Bea Arthur with the power of thousand suns?

by Anonymousreply 24May 19, 2022 9:43 AM

Bea had manly hips and a turkey like neck.

by Anonymousreply 25May 19, 2022 10:06 AM

Bea was a handsome woman, stop saying she was a man you twats

by Anonymousreply 26May 19, 2022 1:12 PM

Stories about Bea Arthur from Return to the Nest (Empty Nest Cast):

Park Overall:"Betty White, all I can tell you about her is she's too good to be true. Bea Arthur couldn't stand her. Did you know that? I'll never know what that was about, but it was fascinating to watch. Bea sort of wore everything on her face. You could feel Bea. She was a very formidable woman. I walked out to the parking lot one day, and Bea grabbed me by the arm, between my shoulder and elbow. She had a hold of me good. I mean, she's digging into me, and it's hurting! And she says "What are you going to do about it Park? What are you going to do?" And I said, "About what Bea?" She says "Kristy McNichol is chewing gum! What are you going to do?" I didn't know what to do! I said, "Bea, I'll mention it." She was beside herself. And, I don't know if you can tell this one, but one day, she had this huge book in her hand. My mother was an English professor, so I've always been under the mistaken idea that other people read books, you know? So I skated up to her, and I said, "What're ya readin' Bea?" I was reading something intellectual; I forget what. And she looked at me with that look and said, "Park, I like a lot of fuckin' and suckin'" and just walked off. I never will recover from that one!"

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by Anonymousreply 27June 22, 2022 9:38 PM

Thank Christ. Nobody was interested in a sitcom about way past menopausal, boniva popping women.

by Anonymousreply 28June 22, 2022 9:40 PM

Stories about Bea Arthur... continued:

Dinah Manoff: "Park's story about Bea Arthur and the gum chewing is true, by the way. I had my own experience with that. I did a crossover episode on The Golden Girls, and I was chewing gum on their set. Someone warned me that Bea would see me and go nuts. I kept chewing just to see if it was true. She yelled at me to spit the gum out, and I obliged. Then, months later, she came over to the Empty Nest set. I think she was doing one of those quick guest appearance things. Again she told me to spit out the gum, and I smiled very friendly and told her "no," she was on my set now, and I kept chewing away. She stormed off. Couldn't handle it at all. Bea was an amazing actress and quite an enigmatic human. Other than the gum thing, she was great to hang out with."

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by Anonymousreply 29June 22, 2022 9:54 PM

[quote] "The wedding ensemble was a travesty."

It's always so odd to me, because Judy Evans did beautiful work for the show up until that point. When I look at that gown as a costume designer, it seems as if someone designed it by checking off the requirements on a list of the fundamentals of design, the way a new student might. It's not my favorite, either.

And in looking for a reference for this post, I only JUST NOW learned that costume designer Judy Evans Steele died of cancer in late 2017. Unfortunate.

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by Anonymousreply 30June 22, 2022 9:55 PM

I never watch the final episode. That way there is no ending for GG and I can enjoy it again. Same with other comedy series I watch, like ’Allo ’Allo and Gimme Gimme Gimme.

by Anonymousreply 31June 22, 2022 10:02 PM

Stories about Bea Arthur, Part 3:

David Leisure: "Bea Arthur herself WAS intimidating, and it was sometimes hard to separate her from her character. (Until she had a couple of drinks in her. Then she'd have me sit in her lap). I read where Park talked about Bea Arthur's gum chewing phobia, which was true. She had radar that extended out about 100 feet and would walk over to you to have you spit it out. Also that she hated Betty White. which was true, because she felt that Betty was an actor/whore that would take any job, which is also true. But hell, Betty's still working, and she's 95! Bea prided herself on never, and I mean never, blowing lines, no matter who else did. There's a story that once Estelle kept blowing a line, which happened all the time, but both Rue McClanahan and Bea would do theirs right. Then Rue started blowing her line, and Bea was trying to keep it together. Finally, Bea started blowing her lines. It's catching, you know? Anyway, Bea said, after blowing it two or three times after everyone else had, "This is going fucking terrible!" right in front of the audience. Betty, who wasn't in the scene, stuck her head out through some doorway and said to the audience, "Well, I think it's going very well, don't you?" The audience started screaming with laughter. But Bea wasn't laughing. Story goes that she went backstage and was going to kill Betty, and they had to hold her back. Anyway, that's the story."

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by Anonymousreply 32June 22, 2022 10:20 PM

All the 80 year old geezers get giddy hearing about the twats of the GG's cast.

by Anonymousreply 33June 23, 2022 8:56 AM

Team Betty. Fuck ol manish angry Bea!

by Anonymousreply 34June 23, 2022 9:31 AM

Bea: "Park! Park come here! Do you know what I just saw? Dinah Manoff was eating Kristy McNichol's pussy in one of the bathrooms on your set and Kristy was CHEWING GUM THE WHOLE TIME!! What are you going to do about it Park?? This gum chewing has got to stop Park!!"

by Anonymousreply 35June 23, 2022 2:24 PM

Drunk Bea: "Hiiii Park! Whatchin' doin' babe? You know Park, I love fuckin' and suckin, lickin' and rimmin', scissorin' and bangin', humpin and blowin'. I love all that shit Park. Do you? Come sit on my lap sweetie. I offered to give David Leisure a blowjob but he refused. Can you believe it? HE SAID NO TO QUEEN BEA!!!! I'm going to get him fired tomorrow. Come here Park. I've always wanted to have sex with a hillbilly. Come give momma some sugar baby."

by Anonymousreply 36June 23, 2022 8:17 PM

Bea: "Park, do you know what THAT CUNT Betty White did today? She came to work wearing a wig backwards. She was also chewing grape flavored gum and blowing bubbles in my face while I was rehearsing my lines. SHE WAS BLOWING BUBBLES PARK!! SHE CAN'T DO THAT!! What are you going to do about it????

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by Anonymousreply 37June 23, 2022 8:36 PM

The pic OP posted of the wedding dress actually looks nice

by Anonymousreply 38June 23, 2022 8:45 PM

I wondered why they didn’t put her in something similar to what she wore the season before when she was going to remarry Stan. It looked age appropriate looked nice on her and it was something Dorothy Zbornaik would actually wear.

Also it would’ve been fun to have the wedding planner back on.

by Anonymousreply 39June 23, 2022 9:01 PM

R39 I don't know why Bea didn't object to that.

by Anonymousreply 40June 23, 2022 9:07 PM

[quote]I also didn't enjoy the sudden interior monologues. And per usual, none of the extended family supporting characters were around to support Dorothy, like her kids.

Bill Dana is on numerous episodes that season, and yet they couldn't book him for the finale?

And no Miles? What did Rose go to the wedding by herself?

by Anonymousreply 41June 23, 2022 9:13 PM

R41 it was all about the girls. Miles should have shown up in the heart attack episode

by Anonymousreply 42June 23, 2022 9:24 PM
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