Golden Girls on Hulu: Why You Should Watch It Now – Vulture

Golden Girls on Hulu: Why You Should Watch It Now – Vulture

This story originally ran in 2017. We are republishing it in light of Betty White’s death on December 31, 2021, at the age of 99.

It’s February. It’s windy, and cold, and all of the holidays from now through spring are either lame or burdened with unnecessary anxiety. The world is probably on the verge of collapsing because the president’s using his phone flashlight to read classified information in the middle of his private club while surrounded with wealthy guests who don’t have security clearance. Plus, Nick Viall has turned out to be a very underwhelming Bachelor. You know what you could really use right now? A pal and a confidante. Bully for you, because at long last, all of The Golden Girls is streaming on Hulu as of today. Here are five reasons why Golden Girls is exactly what you might need right now to help pull you through these dark times.

Sitcoms are built to be soothing …
There’s a reason we tend to watch sitcoms in order to fall asleep, or as comforting background viewing, or as the thing you put on when you’re just not sure what else to watch. Sitcoms, like procedurals, are built on a deep, reassuring rhythm. There’s conflict and resolution, opening and closing, theme song and end credits. The jokes themselves tend to follow familiar beats and spaces. Golden Girls is among the best of them, the perfect combination of predictable patterns and slightly new stories. It’s like a musical theme with a remarkably deep well of familiar variations: One of the women is dating a new man. One of the women has a guest stay over. There is a household crisis (burglary, illness, house repair, financial shortfall). There is a medical event (heart attack, spasm, menopause, Alzheimer’s). One of the gang briefly considers moving out. There’s a facet of the world, political or technological or otherwise, that the women struggle to understand. Regardless, Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia will talk about it humanely and with compassion. Things will work out. Sometimes, when it’s cold outside and everything seems terrible, you want to watch TV that you know will end well.

… but not too soothing.
At the same time, part of the special magic of Golden Girls is that its jokes and themes are both remarkably dumb and remarkably thoughtful — it’s not a show about nothing. From the distance of a quarter century, a lot of the show’s politics are significantly dated (see, for instance, every time the show tries to joke about race, homosexuality, disability, or even Blanche’s sexual appetites). But even when the show makes missteps, its fundamental interest trends toward empathy and understanding toward the things it treats as foreign. While it’s …….