The Golden Girls: Complete First Season

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

With the massive onslaught of television shows on DVD, we were bound to get to this one: “The Golden Girls”. I remember watching it when I was a kid and didn’t really know why I was watching it. The show featured four divorced/widowed women who were now living in a retirement home in Miami, Florida. The show started in the mid-80’s and eked into the early nineties (it could have probably gone on a few more years but Bea Arthur left the show and it shut down without her). Each one of the leads had a distinctively different personality. There was Dorothy (Bea Arthur), the grounded and more logical member of the foursome. Blanche (Rue McClanahan) was the promiscuous woman of the four, whose dates changed with every episode. Rose (Betty White) was the naive, somewhat air headed one who was always getting them into trouble and finally Sophia (Estelle Getty) who played a role that was supposedly older than all of the other women, but Getty was actually the youngest cast member! Fancy that! Like most other successful shows, the writing was clever and the episodes never failed to entertain. It’s quite obvious that the show was playing to an aging America, but “The Golden Girls” found success and ran for 180 episodes before it went off the air in 1992.

As far as an actual plot goes, it follows the formula for all situation comedies. Each and every episode, someone was always getting into trouble and through some miscommunication, things were assumed and all was eventually resolved in the 30 minute time-frame. Like all good comedies, the dialogue was great, but I’d have to say that Estelle Getty was the one who really stole the show. Her insightful yet backhanded comments not only drove the point across, but provided a type of humor that everyone could understand. Suffice it to say that there are literal droves of fans of this show out there and the wait is finally over. Additionally, the show won an Emmy for “Outstanding Comedy Series” in it’s first year, beating out such giants as “Cheers”, “The Cosby Show” and “Family Ties”. Couple that with a lot of cheescake and you’ve got a winner on your hands. “The Golden Girls” provides some great entertainment regardless of your age. Hey…you’re as young as you feel, right?

Video: How does it look?

“The Golden Girls” is presented in a 1.33:1 or “Full-Frame” format, which is consistent with how it originally aired. These were taped as opposed to filmed (a show like “Friends” or “Seinfeld” is filmed, giving it more of a movie look whereas “taped” gives more of a home video look) which translates to looking a bit better on DVD. Edge enhancement isn’t a problem and though some scenes do seem a bit dingy, the episodes consistently look pretty sharp and solid. I was fairly impressed for a show that’s nearly twenty years old. Fans should be more than pleased with how this looks on DVD.

Audio: How does it sound?

Like most sitcoms, “The Golden Girls” contains a Dolby Digital surround track that accurately represents the dialogue-driven comedy. Vocals are clear and have little (if any) distortion to them. Being a TV show from the mid 80’s, there really isn’t a lot to say about the audio as surround effects aren’t really present (except for maybe the theme song). This sounds just about as good as it does when it airs on the Lifetime network, and from what I understand it runs three times a day! Again, not reference quality but then again, it doesn’t need to be.

Supplements: What are the extras?

In addition to the pilot episode, there is a “Fashion Commentary” by the always likeable Joan and Melissa Rivers. The Rivers’ comment on some of the “wild” outfits worn by the women on the show. This is in a featurette form (not an actual commentary) and is worth watching…once.

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