Warning: This article contains spoilers for the finale of “The Golden Girls.” So if you haven’t seen it in the 29 years since it first aired, you’ve been warned.
Picture it, Miami, 1992; “The Golden Girls” is wrapping up a seven season run with Bea Arthur wanting to call it quits. The rest of the cast wants to continue though, with Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty willing to continue their characters into further adventures. So a continuation is created, but suddenly, tragedy strikes; the show is cancelled after one season. Even though the show is aired in reruns for some time, it eventually vanishes for years, only to later be picked up by a streaming service. That show is “The Golden Palace,” and that service is Hulu.
Yes, “The Golden Palace” is coming to Hulu on January 10th and now we all get to relive watching a good thing go bad. As mentioned above, one of the reasons for the finale of “The Golden Girls” was Bea Arthur’s desire to end the show. In the final episode her character, Dorothy gets married to Lucas Hollingsworth, played by the late, great Leslie Nielsen. She decides to move out to live with him while her mother, Sophia, decides to stay with Blanche and Rose, arguing that they need her more than Dorothy does.
So “The Golden Palace” attempts to continue things from there with Rose, Blanche, and Sophia electing to purchase and help run a hotel. They’re joined by Don Cheadle and Cheech Marin, neither of whom help bring back the chemistry that was present when Dorothy was still around. And while she does come back for a two-part episode, all it really does is remind us of how the show was better when the girls were altogether. Audiences at the time picked up on this too and CBS ended up canceling the show after one season, along with most of the rest of its Friday night line-up.
Since its initial airing, “The Golden Palace” was occasionally shown in a syndicated package alongside “The Golden Girls” but has not aired on network TV or streaming services for sometime. Also, despite all seven seasons of its predecessor being released on DVD, “The Golden Palace” never received any kind of home media release. Copies of the show have circulated online, converted from VHS recordings, but that’s the only way people have had the opportunity to see the show until the recent announcement of Hulu acquiring it for streaming.
Hulu already has “The Golden Girls” as part of its streaming library, so naturally its continuation would be a perfect fit for it. Still, if you’re planning on watching it once it’s available, keep your expectations measured. The seventh season of “The Golden Girls” had some weak episodes and gratuitous exaggeration of its characters to which “The Golden Palace” doesn’t do much to mitigate this. While it’s still nice to spend more time with Rose, Blanche, and Sophia, the storylines often feel forced, as do the additional characters.
There is something of a novelty factor to watching, “The Golden Palace,” but it is difficult seeing only 3/4ths of the cast that made the original sitcom so beloved. At the very least, it turned out better than it could have, but is a far cry from the best episodes of its predecessor. But if we want the true completion of “The Golden Girls” saga, Hulu would need to release the final two seasons of “Empty Nest” where Sophia moves back into Shady Pines but starts terrorizing the Weston family. But that’s a story for another day and another spin-off.
And don’t forget, the first official convention about our favorite ladies is happening in 2022!