What will happen when four becomes none? That's the sad inevitability that will occur when Betty White passes, since she is the last surviving Golden Girl following the deaths of Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty. Of course, Hollywood, which is known for being such a sentimental place, may have a schmaltzy tribute for the life of White. She'll certainly get a good long remembrance at the Emmys - I'm thinking that at least one of the Hot In Cleveland cast would go up and talk, or maybe even Mary Tyler Moore. Then they might go about doing a reboot of The Golden Girls.
Hey, it's not out of the realm of possibility. Please put down your Sophia Petrillo coffee mug. It wouldn't be instantaneous, Maybe a few years or so down the road. They'd be thinking about how a more modern version of the show might play...see how Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia handle a new world with smartphones and the Internet. They might even make a movie. Look at 21 Jump Street. They made a movie of that and all the principal actors from the TV show are alive! Of course, they changed some of the premise and basically had a whole different type of plot and vibe with the name 21 Jump Street plastered on it.
It could be decades, actually, since older shows always seem to get a re-imagining. Look at The Transformers, Garfield, and The Smurfs now. Those were hit shows in the '80s and they have all had the movie treatment fairly recently. Once Lifetime and all the other channels finally stop showing Golden Girls re-runs in syndication and the show fades from people's minds, maybe my son will take a date to see this Golden Girls movie (he's 3 now, so you imagine the time frame here).
I'd love for the faces of Arthur, McClanahan, Getty and White to be associated with this show forever, but it wouldn't surprise me to see a film version with the four women somehow wackily becoming drug mules for Walter White or something like that.
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Golden Girls is not a show you select as your in-flight entertainment as a means of falling asleep so you’ll arrive in Italy rested. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s a show you watch religiously and take notes on, in hopes of one day breaking Ken Jennings’ record on Jeopardy! with the answer to who the fourth roommate in the house was before Estelle Getty joined the cast (it was gay chef, Coco). And with the release of the 25th anniversary COMPLETE collection – that comes with playing cards, a DVD trivia game, montages of each of the girls’ funniest moments and commentaries with Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White – it’s clear the girls have left little room for us to enjoy any other television show.
But, why? Why did Golden Girls impact our lives so tremendously? On paper, it doesn’t look like something that would appeal to everyone – it was about four women who were old and living in Florida. They had thick glasses and jackets with shoulder pads and plastic coverings for their furniture. They had grown up kids, were done with staying out all night at clubs, and were fans of that device for people that make TVs louder without being too loud for the people with good hearing. Some people probably skipped over Golden Girls entirely because they thought the ages of the Rose, Blanche, Sophia and Dorothy meant they wouldn’t be able to identify with the ins and outs of their lives. Others probably couldn’t conceive of Golden Girls being more entertaining than a show that was blatantly and directly targeted to their demographic, like 90210. But everyone who watched the show knows their addiction to it was actually rooted in the women’s ages! The show functioned around the idea that these women were older than everyone but still suffered from young people problems, like finding sex and having sex. In other words, they were just like us! They too had nothing to wear to the Senior Dance and were totally sick of men cheating on them. Fans found themselves hoping that they’d grow up to have Rose’s innocence, Blanche’s insatiability, Dorothy’s wit and Sophia’s bluntness.
Though the sitcom was billed as and won awards as a comedy, it wasn’t afraid of depicting topics heftier than how to fix the runs in a pair of control top hose. Among the tough issues broached were infidelity, HIV scares, drug addictions, estrangements from children, gangsters, the FBI, cross-dressing family members, sexism, domestic violence and artificial insemination. The decision to darken an inherently light comedy series about sweet old ladies with these issues was risky, but it was ultimately a beneficial one – the heavier moments were the realism that rounded out the show, and made it more than just a program that glorified the bonds of friendship and living with your friend’s mom in a warm climate.
But possibly the main reason we loved Golden Girls so much was because the actresses’ love for each other was so obvious. Over the course of the seven seasons, the characters bonded in such a way that the only explanation for its believability was to assume that Betty White, Estelle Getty, Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan had grown extremely close, too. This is not an uncommon phenomenon when a series consists of 180 episodes (especially when the actresses had to share their characters’ embarrassment of going to a drug store for condoms and having the checkout person make an announcement asking for the price of Rose’s desired black condoms – that’s the beginning of a bond). But more generally, their camaraderie brought texture to a great series that was already structurally worthy of recognition. As a group, they were truly unforgettable, and their contribution to the entertainment industry will never be forgotten.
Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector opens with a man scratching his plumber’s-crack re-using a cotton swab to clean his ear and wearing the sleeveless shirt he uses as a towel. Naturally this is Larry (the Cable Guy) a health inspector. Halfheartedly inspecting the local food joints he’s leading the life that suits him well. But when his boss (Thomas F. Wilson) assigns him a serious-minded female partner (Iris Bahr) his world is turned upside down--or at least made less comfy. Larry’s called in to investigate “some fartin’ Jewish folks” at a swankier restaurant and learns that it’s not an isolated incident. While Larry’s unorthodox methods manage to arouse the interest of a waitress (Megyn Price) with bowel habits that he adores his tactics arouse the ire of the restaurateurs he investigates and it costs him his job. Now he’s forced to do whatever it takes to prove his innocence. Even the D-listers here must’ve gone straight to confession upon accepting these roles to help cushion their bank accounts. Let’s start with Larry the Cable Guy (of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour “Git-R-Done” fame) who is one of the most successful stand-up comics today. He’s right in his element seemingly with fart blanche on toilet humor but to the unconverted he’s a little more than grating. Speaking of grating the (hopefully) affected voice of Bahr makes the movie mostly unlistenable in addition to being unwatchable. But take pity on her for this is no way to jumpstart a movie career. Tony Hale clearly still reeling from the potential cancellation of TV’s Arrested Development (on which he plays Buster) also lowers his star and integrity with an ambiguous character here. And Joe Pantoliano shows his face. The once great character actor reaches a new low with this one even if his performance isn’t all bad. Health Inspector masters the art of the fart. But more disgusting than the settings with which the farts are juxtaposed is the ad nauseam (pun intended) level of over-usage. So congratulations go to along with fart Yoda Larry the Cable Guy director Trent Cooper who makes his feature directorial debut. And might we add what a fart-tastic debut it is! But it’s not all farts ladies and gentleman--all forms of gross-out humor are exploited unlike ever before. On the er serious side the collection of running jokes adds to a few legit laughs. Cooper helms a story that naturally doesn’t work deferring instead to Larry’s natural um charisma. The script offers no segue into Larry’s stand-up persona but anyone who sees this here flick ain’t lookin’ for no dang Oscar winner. Clearly Health Inspector will appeal to Larry’s following but is not meant for those of sound mind.