Why We Need Jane Lynch and Cyndi Lauper's 'Golden Girls' Reboot

'The Golden Girls' (L-R): Estelle Getty as Sophia, Bea Arthur as Dorothy, Rue McClanahan as Blanche, Betty White as Rose.

It ran for 180 episodes, seven years, and earned 11 Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes. Back then, The Golden Girls was a smash hit for NBC, and today, it remains popular on a global scale thanks to syndication. One needs to only glance at the mountain of character-related Etsy merch to know it continues to resonate with new generations.

Now, Cyndi Lauper and Jane Lynch are using the series as inspiration for a new Netflix project. “We’re our age," Lynch said during an interview at the Creative Arts Emmys. "I’m almost 60 and she’s 65, and we’re looking for our next act, without ever having had husbands [or] children. And there will be two other people who haven’t been cast yet. But it’s kind of a Golden Girls for today.”

Comedian and comedy writer Carol Leifer has also confirmed her involvement, posting this photo to Facebook back in July.

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Often, when there's talk of re-doing a beloved pop culture moment, fans immediately freak out—just look at the hubbub surrounding that potential Princess Bride re-make. By contrast, social media has been a love-fest for Lynch and Lauper.

Let's face it: America needs this. Despite The Golden Girls carving out a space in light entertainment for funny senior ladies back in 1985, the barriers that Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia broke down went straight back up again after the final episode aired in 1992.

In the years since, the only TV series to truly embrace and hold focus on desirable, independent, sexually active older women is Grace and Frankie—and we had to wait around 23 years to get that. Elsewhere, Vicki Lawrence does the best with what she's given on The Cool Kids, and Betty White flew the flag again in Hot in Cleveland for a few years, but the lack of representation (plus, where are the older women of color?) is pretty dire.

Back when The Golden Girls first aired, a show depicting a group of single female retirees discussing condoms, not wearing underwear and arguing hilariously over who was "the biggest slut" was revolutionary. Even Dorothy's octogenarian mother was a frequent dater—something that had never been seen on TV before.

Its universal appeal, though, was rooted firmly in the ageless female archetypes that Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia represented (wisdom, naivety, sexuality and matriarchy), and the close friendships—and clashes—between them. They were the Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda of the '80s, and deserve much of the credit that Sex and the City later received for realistically portraying how women talk to each other in private.

The Golden Girls wasn't the first TV series to prove that shows without male leads could still be smash hits—Charlie's Angels had already done that in the '70s—but it did help clear the path for more. That so many women-led shows (Desperate Housewives, Girlfriends, Girls, Designing Women, Hot In Cleveland and, yes, Sex and the City) have since structured themselves around four distinct leads speaks volumes about just how influential The Golden Girls was within the realms of representing women—albeit much younger ones.

And though the original series remains hugely entertaining for modern audiences, thanks to sharp comedy and sparkling chemistry, the world deserves an update. Not all of the show has held up all that well—and I don't just mean the wicker furniture and pastel decor. Though groundbreaking at the time, the episodes that tackle social issues can be painful to get through. Moments like the ones in which Blanche struggles with her brother's marriage to a man, or when Rose has to be told that AIDS is "not a bad person's disease," or when Blanche disapproves of her single daughter's pregnancy are pretty cringe-inducing today.

Also, the way Americans grow old in 2019 is vastly different to how people in the '80s did it—not least because we live longer now. In 1988, the life expectancy for the average American was 71; today it's 81, and new generations are hanging onto their youth for longer. Truthfully, by today's standards, Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia and Rose seem positively conventional—probably because sexagenarians simply didn't have the freedom (or the botox) back then to look and act like Cyndi Lauper and Jane Lynch do now.

Bea Arthur once commented that The Golden Girls was special because "there were these old, post-menopausal ladies who looked good, wore fabulous earrings, dressed well, and had very active sex lives. It showed that old people don’t have to look and smell funny and hide in the corner.”

It's a simple enough message, but one that is definitely not being shared enough on the small screen. If anyone can effectively do it now, it's the ever-rebellious and always-outspoken Lynch and Lauper. And if we all cross our fingers hard enough, maybe—picture it, St. Olaf, 2020—just maybe, Betty White will make a cameo.

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