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genx television
before there was hdtv
by reem al-omari (@Reemawi)
7.23.08
television

Ask anyone my age (almost 30) what their favorite TV show of all time is, and more than likely they will say it's Friends. If not Friends, then it's Seinfeld. And if it's neither of those, there's a slew of other shows that dominated NBC's Thursday night line-up during my school years that would be labeled a favorite by my fellow GenXers.

Truth be told, I never got much into Friends beyond the first season. Seinfeld was a taste I acquired long after this iconic piece of television history was, well, history.

All the other shows that were part of the "must-see TV" lineup of the 90s, were must-see TV while they aired, but for the most part their effect waned not long after their plugs were pulled in my mind.

Sure, I still catch the reruns of Frasier and Will and Grace on Fox and the WB when I've got nothing better to do around 5 PM on a weekday, but the enjoyment of said shows is like a mindless crossword; short, functional and easy to abandon.

One show I did not mention that falls under the NBC Thursday night line-up is The Golden Girls.

This show went off the air in 1992 after seven seasons, and for the first and probably last time on television painted those years after menopause in fun and punchy colors. Dorothy Zbornak, Blanche Devereaux, Rose Nylund and of course Sophia Petrillo. Their names are as easy to recall as those of Disney's Seven Dwarfs, and their personalities are as easy to define as the self-explanatory names given to the Dwarfs.

I was 10 years old when I first started watching The Golden Girls and fell in love with it for its wit, humor and cozy characters who I wished were my own grandmothers. That's right, I wanted four grandmothers, each one funnier than the next. Before the TV on DVD boom happened, I would catch reruns of this favorite of mine on Lifetime Television (much to my dismay), and when I didn't have cable anymore, I went without it. I really missed it though, and when I found out that the show would be released on DVD, I went bonkers. I bought every single season and impatiently awaited the next one until the collection was complete.

The humor is at times corny, I'll admit, and some references are too 80s for me to get the full picture, but in the end The Golden Girls was never dull. Each episode packed wisdom about being a real woman and tapped into the real fountain of youth; one's own spirit and zest for life. There are very few shows in recent memory that can focus and tap into this period in one's life, where the memory fades along with the hearing and vision, with such cleverness and comedy that appeals to all ages. I started enjoying this iconic show as a 10-year-old and the enjoyment has yet to wane. They don't make shows like this anymore, and they probably never will. Old age is just not a popular subject, nor is it interesting in an age where botox, lasers and HDTV are rampant. It's a shame, really.

It is also a shame that Estelle Getty, the actress who played Sophia in The Golden Girls has passed away. I'm saddened by her passing, as it came after a battle with Dementia. On the show, she played an 80-something with perfectly good health and a spicy take on life. In real life, she suffered and perished at the age of 84, just three days short of her birthday.

May she rest in peace as her iconic role as Sophia Petrillo lives on.


ABOUT REEM AL-OMARI

Reem lives and writes about it. She thinks that's what writers do, anyway. If it's not, then she also has a degree in journalism under her belt, along with the titles of reporter, editor (in chief, even) and, of course, opinion columnist.

more about reem al-omari

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