The Golden Palace
USA, CBS (Witt-Thomas-Harris Productions/Touchstone Television), Sitcom, Colour, 1992
Starring: Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty
A direct sequel to The Golden Girls, with three of the famous four pooling their savings and buying an art deco hotel, the Golden Palace, in Miami Beach. Following Dorothy's marriage and departure, Rose, Blanche and Sophia start their new life as hoteliers only to find that the commercial standing of their business has been greatly exaggerated and only a skeleton staff of three are on hand to run the premises. Unable to recover their investment, the three are forced to work flat out at the hotel to make it pay. Their coworkers are Chuy, a temperamental Mexican chef; young black manager/bellhop/receptionist/handyman/general dogsbody, Roland; and Roland's foster son Oliver, a white, mischievous youngster. What seems like a struggle for all concerned eventually settles into a surrogate family/partnership and the three 'golden girls' find that being thrown back into the work arena gives them a new lease of life.
With The Golden Girls stock still comparatively high a spin-off was inevitable, but it never managed to match its predecessor in wit or wisdom. Dorothy's absence was noticeable and the new regulars (including Cheech Marin of 1960s drug comedy duo Cheech And Chong fame) failed to fill the gap. The humour was broadened, ostensibly to play to the characters' comedic strength (Blanche's libido, Rose's lack of intelligence, Sophia's rudeness) but perhaps the formula had been around too long. There was still the odd funny line and cunning comic situation, indeed The Golden Palace was still as good as, if not better than, much other fare on offer from the US networks at this time, but it had to compete with its own ancestry as well as the opposition. The doors closed after one season and the 'girls' finally got the retirement they deserved.
Note. The British comedian Alexei Sayle had originally been in the cast, in a character similar to the one played by Cheech Marin, but there was a clear clash of styles between Sayle and the established stars (especially Rue McClanahan, it has been reported) and after just a couple of weeks on the set, before the first episode was taped, he departed the production.
Researched and written by Mark Lewisohn.
Betty White - Rose Nylund
Rue McClanahan - Blanche Devereaux
Estelle Getty - Sophia Petrillo
Cheech Marin - Chuy Castillos
Don Cheadle - Roland Wilson
Billy L Sullivan - Oliver Webb
Susan Harris - Creator
Susan Harris - Writer and others
Terry Hughes - Director and others
Paul Junger Witt - Executive Producer
Tony Thomas - Executive Producer
Susan Harris - Executive Producer
Marc Sotkin - Executive Producer
Jim Vallely - Producer
Nina Feinberg - Producer
Number of episodes: 25
Length: 30 mins
US dates: 18 Sep 1992-6 Aug 1993
UK dates: 14 Apr-3 Nov 1993 (24 episodes) C4 Wed 10pm
The information in the bbc.co.uk Guide to Comedy is complied from 'The Radio Times Guide to Television Comedy' by Mark Lewisohn, published by BBC Books. More information about the book is available from the BBC Shop.
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Reviews supplied by Radio Times © 2003 BBC Worldwide - used under licence from BBC Worldwide.
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