Why the ‘Golden Girls’ spin-off ‘Golden Palace’ is worth watching


New to Hulu from Monday is “The Golden Palace” – 24 dropped episodes at a time – which shares a theme song and three actresses with “The Golden Girls,” a show about four widows sharing a house in Miami. Set in an era of padded shoulders and baggy pants, it’s an old-fashioned, multicamera affair, to the point of cultural references, which will require recourse to the encyclopedia: Gordon McRae, Leona Helmsley, Señor Wences, Jimmy Swaggart, Paul Prudhomme, Chia Pet, the musical “Li’l Amber”, “I Dream of Jeannie” and “That Girl”.

In “The Golden Palace,” which turns a domestic comedy into a work comedy (albeit a workplace the characters also live in), Blanche (Rue McClanahan), Rose (Betty White) and Sophia (Estelle Getty) buy a hotel they have been insured for is a good investment but turns out to be a bad one, even if it is a well-equipped beachfront property. The staff they find have been reduced to two: Manager Roland (Don Cheadle, a young man who should go far in this profession) and Chef Chuy (Cheech Marin, beyond comedy), adding black and brown actors there. where there was none before. There’s also a kid, Oliver (Billy L. Sullivan), as it must have seemed like a good idea, until his mid-season demise.

While the hotel does better or worse depending on the needs of a given episode, there is often little or no seating available and the dining room is usually full. Still, there are no new hires, with the entire hotel and restaurant being managed by the aforementioned players. (Getty, around 70 – and playing around 90, I think – drank tables.)

Blanche, like DuBois, is what you might call extremely sexually positive, a woman who has worn down three mattresses guaranteed to last a lifetime; Rose, a child in Betty White’s body, is a sweet Midwestern farm girl of whimsical Scandinavian descent; and Sophia has an intimate knowledge of organized crime. Sometimes they can play against the type, express deep thoughts or real emotions, or just explode. “You tell that ungrateful vermin at table four if he doesn’t shut up about his muffins, I’m going to pour hot butter in his nooks and crannies, ”Rose spits, unusually, for a laugh.

Should we watch this show? Even with 24 episodes, you can get through it all in a few dedicated nights, so why not? Is it important that you can provide the punchlines to lots of jokes before the actors get to them? Like when Blanche’s son Matthew (guest Bill Engvall) confesses, “We love the same things,” and she replies, “Oh my God, you’re gay. Maybe it will make you feel brilliant. Maybe it’ll just be heartwarming, like when you open the door to your own home after a hard day’s absence.

The cast is awesome – legendary, you might say – even though they star in the sequel to a show that people remember best and love more. And if nothing else, there are 24 episodes of Betty White that weren’t available a week ago. Guest stars include George Burns, Eddie Albert (playing a character called Mr. Douglas), Bobcat Goldthwaite, Barry Bostwick, Ned Beatty, Ricardo Montalbán, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway among other notable emissaries of the late 20th century. Bea Arthur, the absent Golden Girl, pays a two-part visit.

A young Don Cheadle with Estelle Getty in “The Golden Palace”, 1992.

(CBS broadcast)

There are a lot of sex jokes, and old age jokes, and the dynamite combination of sex and old age jokes. (You can presumably think of them – some of them – as stimulants.) Blanche, as mentioned, is very concerned about sex, and many of her lines have to do with the sex she wants to have, or has had. and sometimes has. (This is, of course, not the kind of show where people are seen in bed together, unless, say, the women have to sleep together to free up a room.) Sophia calls her a “bitch” and likes it. affections, however she herself has a habit of commenting on men’s buttocks. Even Rose has a story about dressing up as storybook characters with her late husband or having sex in their barn. (Blanche: “How could you do that with all those cows looking at you?” Rose: “How could you not?”) Every now and then, we play a joke on Marin because he’s Cheech Marin . (“Do I sound like the kind of guy who would smoke marijuana?”) But he also made sex jokes.

Some jokes sound like they were written 30 years ago. An episode in which the hotel is repeatedly mistaken for a Chinese restaurant runs a nub a gag in which “Who me?” is supposed to sound like a Chinese name and asks Margaret Cho to say, “Dog? No cook dog! A line about looking like “the last of the Mohicans” is intended to indicate a red complexion. There are gags about women who look like men and women who look like men dressed as women. There’s a joke about sexual harassment – “You lick a gardener on the back of the neck, all of a sudden it’s a federal offense,” says Blanche – I’ll let you deal or let it slip. (It is, in any case, consistent with the character.)

On the flip side, there is a clear engagement with the past, present, and future – an exchange you may have seen soar on the internet – when, in the episode “The Races of Camp Town aren’t as fun as they used to be, “Blanche intensely Dixie hangs a Confederate flag outside the reception to greet guests from the Traditional Daughters of the South, and Roland threatens to resign.

“This flag is not about college football games, quilting bees or fried chicken on Sundays,” he said at last, educating her. “These are universities that won’t let me in; these are companies that will not hire me; It’s about crosses burnt on people’s lawns today, not in the bad past, Blanche, today. Adding for regional balance: “And not only in the south, Blanche, the north is just as bad.”

“Damn Yankees,” Blanche said, then wondering, “What am I supposed to think about all these people I love? What am I supposed to think of myself? All my wonderful memories. They are all tarnished now by… the truth.

“Whites are going to have to start making positive assumptions when talking about people of color.” Add for racial balance: “And people of color might make positive assumptions when they see white people.” “

Handshake, soul trembling. Applause. Embrace. In 30 years, everything should be fine.

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