I was so sad to hear that "Maude" and "Golden Girls" star Bea Arthur, 86, died Saturday of cancer. I was too young to watch "Maude", but "The Golden Girls" is one of my favorite shows. I've seen every episode and watch the reruns almost daily on the Hallmark Channel and We TV. The show always lifts my spirits when I'm in a funk. I identify most with Arthur's character Dorothy Zbornak. She's funny, smart, caring and tells-it-like-it-is. It's interesting that Estelle Getty, who played Dorothy's mother Sophia Petrillo, died a year prior.
Arthur was no doubt funny, but her roles as Dorothy and Maude should also be remembered for more than just big laughs. Those characters brought real women's issues to light. Maude was a strong, intelligent woman married to an alcoholic. The sit-com pushed the envelope back in the 1970s with episodes on touch topics like birth control, cosmetic surgery and abortion. Many viewers were angry about one episode where Maude gets pregnant at 47 and chooses to have an abortion. In the 80s and early 90s the "The Golden Girls" flipped the script on what it means to be a senior citizen. Dorothy, Sophia, Blanche and Rose proved life is not over once it's time to start collecting Social Security. Ladies, if we take care of ourselves today we can still have fun, travel, work, date, dream and even have sex in our golden years.
Thanks for making us smile Bea.
Or as Sophia would say, "You're the best pussycat."
Info on Maude from the Museum of Broadcast Communications.