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November 22nd, 2006 Byron Beck | Queer Window
 

Girl Power

It's not every day a TV show changes queer men's lives

     
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It's strange that an '80s television show about four post-menopausal broads would have so much sway over gay culture. But ask queers what their favorite show of all time is. The likely answer? The Golden Girls.

This isn't news to gay men. What is news is that we finally have a book devoted to this old chick show. It's weird that it's taken decades to get this book into print, considering how popular these ladies are on the Lifetime network "for women (and gay men)," where it still plays several times a day. Jim Colucci's The Q Guide to The Golden Girls (Alyson, 203 pages, $12.95)—part of a new series of queer guidebooks to soap operas, Oscar parties, and the like—is Alyson Books' first tome devoted to just one TV show. Choosing to focus first on Blanche, Dorothy, Sophia and Rose (with whom I most identify), rather than Will & Grace, says a lot about the connection gay men have to these older women.

"One of our fears is that we'll, unlike straight people, not have a family. We're told that we'll end up alone," said Colucci from the New York City home he shares with his partner, radio personality Frank DeCaro. "The fantasy that you could end up with three hilariously funny best friends, and have all these adventures well into your older age, is a huge part of the appeal."

For Colucci, The Golden Girls appeal goes even deeper. "As funny as it was...it also makes you think. And it makes you cry. I still remember moments from that show in my daily life, and reference it in real life."

Masturbating, knitting, Golden Girls-watching: That a grown man would confess to such behavior is odd. But I must admit, I feel the same way. I blame it on my partner, Juan, who is younger, and much more obsessed with the show, than I. He even goes to sleep to episodes (we own every available season on DVD). Way back in the '80s I'd watch the show on Saturday nights before hitting the bars. It wasn't until the mid-'90s—when Juan told me it was time to turn off the late news and tune into the girls—that it became a nightly ritual in our homo home.

How does a show about baggy ladies become a hit with our youth-obsessed queer culture?

"Being older may have been the show's disadvantage and advantage at the same time," said Colucci. "The disadvantage was prejudiced people saying, 'I don't want to watch a show about old ladies.' But the advantage was the girls were able to keep it timeless by not having to work at certain things [like looking young]. They discussed issues [like AIDS and gay marriage] that are still with us today. The audience just accepted outrageous things coming out of the mouths of grandmothers."

Now, if I could just find some support hose and my way to Rose's dear St. Olaf.


Looking for a queer holiday gift? The Golden Girls, Season 6 ($39.99) is now available on DVD from Buena Vista Entertainment.
 
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