I never watched The Golden Girls when it was in “prime time,” but I love to catch the reruns. And Sophia is my favorite!
As The Golden Girls Wiki on Fandom points out, “Sophia is best known for her wisecracks, put-downs and brazen remarks.” I do think “You’re old–You sag–Get over it” meets all three criteria! Let’s just say Sophia isn’t known to pull any punches.
The Golden Girls offers a comedic perspective on what “old age” was like in Miami in the late 1980’s. What totally amazes me now is that when The Golden Girls premiered in 1985, actress Rue McClanahan (Blanche) was actually 51, Bea Arthur (Dorothy) was 63, Betty White (Rose) was 63, and Estelle Getty (my Sophia) was 62!! What’s wrong with that picture?? I’m 70! If they were old, what am I?? Aye yai yai.
But I digress. Regardless of the ages of the actresses playing the roles, cheerful programming about aging women was and is a welcome diversion from programming that exalts youth and beauty above all else and minimizes the value of those of us who have celebrated many, many birthdays. While certainly there are stereotypes in The Golden Girls, the program balances happy times and sad times and also exemplifies the importance of sharing our lives with kindred spirits who will help us navigate our ups and downs with both humor and caring.
Moving on now from The Golden Girls…a 2017 HBO documentary entitled If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast is worth checking out. First of all, I love the title! In the article The Sunny, Funny View of Old Age, Sophie Gilbert describes how in this Emmy-nominated documentary “acclaimed nonagenarians including Carl Reiner and Betty White challenge stereotypes about life after 90.” Now I’m feeling a bit more youthful!
Sophia Petrillo’s harsh quip about aging aside, whether we’re mere septuagenarians or we’re current or aspiring nonagenarians, we can do ourselves the favor of maintaining a positive spirit and being grateful for our blessings. And also – for good measure – let’s be sure to do what Oprah advises…“Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.”
Great advice, I’d say!
P.S. Thanks, Pat, for the great “tip” about If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast! It’s a keeper!