A quick guide to the basics
Do you ever find yourself with a GG fan, laughing along with a joke or reference they make yet you have no idea what the person is talking about? Below is a quick tutorial that sums up the 4 Golden characters, their experience, personality and that will have you to hit the ground running when you begin, what you don't realize, will be the greatest journey of your life.
Dorothy (Petrillo) Zbornak
Born and raised: Brooklyn, NY (although in the pilot episode she claims to be from Queens)
Parents: Sophia and Sal Petrillo
Siblings: Gloria and Philip
Spouse: Stanley Zbornak (divorced)
Children: Michael and Kate
Occupation: Substitute teacher
This snarky and intelligent woman (who gets a lot of sh*t about her height, frame and lack of "traditional" femininity) was raised in n Italian household with her family in Brooklyn. Studious, organized and focused it came as a surprise when she got pregnant at 17 (though 19 is referenced as well) with Stanley Zbornak as the father. They quickly got married and their dysfunctional married life began. Somehow, through all this, she was still able to go to college, become a substitute teacher and raise 2 children.
Stanley cheated on Dorothy throughout their 38 years of marriage and ultimately, left her for a flight attendant in her 20s. Dorothy picked up and moved to Miami, with her mother staying at the Shady Pines retirement home nearby, and moved into Blanche's home as her roommate. Dorothy and Stanley remain in contact throughout the series, and even give their relationship another try...a few times. The result? You'll have to watch to find out!
Blanche (Hollingsworth) Devereaux
Born and raised: Twin Oaks, her family's mansion outside of Atlanta, GA
Parents: Kurtis and Elizabeth Hollingsworth
Siblings: Charmagne, Virginia & Clayton
Spouse: George Devereaux (deceased)
Children: Janet and Rebecca
Occupation: Part-time art museum employee
Blanche's presence is best summed up by a zinger from Dorothy: "Oh back off, Blanche! Not all of us are classified by the Navy as a friendly port!"
Blanche Devereaux has always had a way with men...."many, many men." She's never been one to say no to a handsome fella or a mirror. Blanche's looks are the foundation of what make this siren irresistible to men. Starting at the ripe old age of 12, she was dating seniors in high school. In college, although engaged to another man, she met her future husband and love of her life, George. They married, raised 2 daughters (that we see, anyway although other children's names are sprinkled into the earlier parts of the series) and lived in Miami. Years later, George dies in an accident leaving Blanche to find roommates which is how she eventually comes to meet Dorothy, Sophia and Rose.
Throughout the series we hear countless tales of sexual escapades that consistently highlight Blanche's unapologetic sexuality, for which she takes a great deal of heat. Regardless, she maintains her sex appeal and great appreciation for her suitors with gusto.
Rose (Lindstrom) Nylund
Born and raised: St. Olaf, MN
Parents: Alma and Gunter Lindstrom (adopted), Ingrid Kerklavoner and Brother Martin (birth parents)
Siblings: Lily & Holly
Spouse: Charlie Nylund (deceased)
Children: Kiersten & Bridget
Occupation: Grief counselor turned Production Assistant for a consumer reporter
A kind, sweet and naive woman, Rosewas raised on a farm in the middle of nowhere, Minnesota. (Seriously, I visited St. Olaf a few years ago and there is nothing there. It's glorious.)
We learn much about Rose's upbringing, farming skills (this woman check a bull for a hernia like no one's business!) and very optimistic views on people and life. She met her husband, Charlie, when she was 7 years old and claims he proposed to her 10 minutes after meeting. Naturally, they didn't actually get married until much later, and raised their family in St. Olaf. Eventually, after Charlie passes from a heart attack in the middle of the old heave ho, Rose decides that she needs to make a move (to a warmer climate) in order to move on with her life as a newly single woman. She picks up and moves to Miami.
While she comes from a wholesome family and background filled with love and kindness, she also has a long history of highly competitive behavior. (We come to find out that she had to change high schools due to a "field hockey incident.") It's somewhat refreshing to find out this relentlessly cheerful person has a dark side to her personality.
Rose's naivety is a huge piece of what makes viewers love her so much. Her simplemindedness makes for many humorous misunderstandings and jokes at her expense.
Sophia (*never revealed*) Petrillo Weinstock
Born and raised: Sicily
Parents: names unknown (although Wiki references Eleanor as her mother's name)
Siblings: Angela & Angelo
Spouse: Sal Petrillo (deceased), Max Weinstock (separated)
Children: Dorothy, Gloria and Phillip
Occupation: SAHM and general sass queen
Born into a poor family in Siciliy, Sophia has always been the feminist that has flown under the radar. As a teenager, she was raised in a very traditional Italian culture. She's been known to have a few almost marriages, be it by choice or by arrangement. While her marriage to Sal was arranged, she did not run away from it as she did with a previous arrangement. They were married 52 years, settling in Brooklyn, NY and raising 3 children.
When Sophia moves to Miami with Dorothy, she is placed in Shady Pines retirement home after a stroke. Especially in the first season, it's stated that her lack of filter is due to the part of her brain that was destroyed by the stroke, but as the series unfolds we come to love that brutal honesty and sass that just seems to be part of her personality. The matriarch of the household, Sophia provides amazing Italian food and sage advice that is remarkably liberal and progressive for a woman in her 80s, during the 1980s. For example, we learn that she is a supporter of marriage equality.
These 4 unique personalities conspire to create a myriad storylines that will keep you laughing and exchanging inside jokes and references with your fellow fans for hours! Hopefully, this has allowed you to dip your toes in the lake known as The Golden Girls (you'll appreciate that reference once you watch the show.) Now go out there, get yourself a Hulu account if you don't already have one, and go buck nutty binging this show!
In friendship and cheesecake,
Children and siblings listed are only those who either appear in the series, or are mentioned multiple times and integrated into plot episodes. There will be other children and siblings sprinkled into the series, but the core characters are listed above. For example, Blanche's sons are not listed above since they are mentioned once and never again.
GOLDEN GIRLS SUPER FANS
If there is something you feel I missed that is important to note, please shoot me an email and let's get acquainted!
Here's one that I'd like to address, simply because it comes up SO much; Estelle Getty, despite popular belief/rumor, was not the youngest of the 4 main cast members. Estelle Getty was the second youngest after Rue Maclanahan.