Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Golden Girls: The Complete First Season

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7 out of 10
Extras Rating:
3 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Beatrice Arthur as Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak Hollingsworth
Betty White as Rose Martin Lindstrom Nylund
Rue McClanahan as Blanche Elizabeth Hollingsworth Devereaux
Estelle Getty as Sophia Spirelli Petrillo Weinstock
Herb Edelman as Stanley 'Stan' Zbornak

Special Features:
Fashion Commentary – Joan and Melissa Rivers provide their own unique brand of fashion critique in a hilarious featurette that pays tribute to the crazy, kitschy wardrobes of The Golden Girls.

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital Surround Sound
Running Time: 617 Minutes

Synopsis:
The Golden Girls first aired on NBC in 1985. The following is the description from the DVD cover:

"An Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Comedy Series in its very first year, The Golden Girls has become a landmark in television history and an all-time fan favorite. Beatrice Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty star as four South Florida seniors sharing a house, their dreams and a whole lot of cheesecake. Bright, promiscuous, clueless, and hilarious, these lovely mismatched ladies form the perfect circle of friends.

Experience all 25 laugh-packed episodes of Season One in this spectacular 3-disc set, including the series pilot and an exclusive bonus feature that offers a whole new look at the show. It's all the provocative fun and entertainment you remember…and so much more."

The following episodes are included on the DVD:

01: "The Engagement (Pilot Episode)"
02: "Guess Who's Coming to the Wedding?"
03: "Rose the Prude"
04: "Transplant"
05: "The Triangle"
06: "On Golden Girls"
07: "The Competition"
08: "Break-In"
09: "Blanche and the Younger Man"
10: "Heart Attack"
11: "The Return of Dorothy's Ex"
12: "The Custody Battle"
13: "A Little Romance"
14: "That Was No Lady"
15: "In a Bed of Rose's"
16: "The Truth Will Hold Out"
17: "Nice and Easy"
18: "The Operation"
19: "Second Motherhood"
20: "Adult Education"
21: "Flu Attack"
22: "Job Hunting"
23: "Blind Ambitions"
24: "Big Daddy"
25: "The Way We Met"

This DVD is not rated.

The Series:
I don't know what it was about The Golden Girls, but I actually watched it when it aired back in the 80's. What's strange about it is that it's not really a series that normally would have appealed to me. It featured a group of senior women living in Florida complaining about men, aging, and sex. If that isn't a potential turn off to young males, I don't know what is. Nevertheless, I watched it regularly.

I think the main draw of the show was the unique characters. Betty White was hilarious as the ditzy Rose Nylund. Her airheaded comments, rural upbringing, and Scandinavian background provided an endless supply of jokes for the show. It was such a dramatic difference from her evil character on Mary Tyler Moore. Then you had Estelle Getty as the sassy Sophia. Her masterful insults always were good for laughs. The frequent target of her jabs was Rue McClanahan as Blanche Devereaux. Her vanity and sluttiness made her amusing as well. Finally, the sardonic wit of Beatrice Arthur as Dorothy rounded out the excellent cast.

Watching the pilot episode again after all these years, I was amazed at how the show hit the ground running with a formula that worked immediately and never really changed. The first episode has the same jokes, the same themes, and the same characterizations as all the other episodes. Rarely does a series hit on a winning formula right off the bat like that. (The pilot did have a gay cook early on which was subsequently dropped when Sofia arrived.)

I think if you enjoyed The Golden Girls when it first aired on TV then you'll want to pick up this series on DVD. The jokes are still funny today even if the fashions have changed.

The Extras:
Unfortunately this DVD is extremely light on the bonus features. The only one included is a Fashion Commentary by Joan and Melissa Rivers. While praising the series itself, they laugh about the fashions from the 80's that the characters wore. They joke about pastels, big collars, and anything else that's an easy target. Melissa typically points out what the fashion faux pas are while Joan delivers that sarcastic punchline.

The Bottom Line:
Fans of The Golden Girls should be thrilled to pick up this series on DVD. If you missed it when it first aired, you might want to check it out to see why it ran so long and won so many awards. Unfortunately, you'll have "Thank You For Being A Friend" stuck in your head for days.

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