Reflections on "The Golden Girls" - A Personal Essay

A portion of this personal essay recently ran in the Star Tribune.
This essay runs in its entirety in the new issue of Twin Cities Gay Scene magazine. 

"The Golden Girls" came to me at a pivotal point in my life. I was 18-years-old, and having just graduated high school, I was wondering what to do with the rest of my life. All of my friends were headed off to university, but I had missed my application deadline by two days; a product of adolescent laziness and a big fear of rejection.

As a result, I had to sit out the fall semester back home with my parents. My mother was watching a lot of reruns at the time, and pointed "The Golden Girls" out as one of her favorites. Being a typical moody teen, my initial reaction was something like, “why would I want to watch a show about “four old people?”” 

Well, Betty White’s hilarity, for one; her ditzy character Rose and her hilarious “St. Olaf, Minnesota” stories hooked me in to my very first episode. She didn’t have my whole heart though; Blanche’s crazy antics, Sophia’s Sicilian wit, and Dorothy’s dry sarcasm got me, too.

Between depression from only seeing my friends on weekends, and painful memories from the loss of my brother to suicide, the equally heartfelt and hilarious "The Golden Girls" was like soul food in a time when I needed it the most. 

Mom set up a series recording on our DVR, until literally all 180 episodes were saved, and we could binge watch daily. Between both us being unemployed, and me being out of school, it wasn’t long until we finished the series and mom bought the DVD sets.

My mother and I. Photo taken at the Alamo in San Antonio, TX, circa 2009. 

Most memorably, the handful of ahead-of-their-time episodes dealing with gay issues helped me, as a young gay man, come to terms with concepts of pride and family acceptance only a year after coming out.

Seeing four strong women so fulfilled, yet still so vibrant, gave me the strength I needed to take on my four-year journey at St. Cloud State University. I also learned to see past age, call out ageism, and celebrate women in my chosen industry, entertainment media. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December of 2013, and married my husband two months later.

I look forward to the day when everyone celebrates life like Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia did.

Follow me, Derek Scott, on social media: @DerekPlease on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram

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