Norman Lear and His Masterpieces

Snarky's Ghost

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The Golden Girls is the reason I heard about Maude. The Golden Girls is my favorite classic sitcom, and I personally feel it has a better feel than Arthur's Maude. I like that The Golden Girls is an ensemble, whereas Maude is usually centered entirely around the titular character, with some episodes featuring her in a solo outing. I love Bea Arthur, but her performance as Dorothy is better and the show is better overall.
That's fine. For you. I never found GOLDEN GIRLS funny (although every openly homosexual male I've ever known found it screamingly hilarious and still does). As I said, it was, like most Susan Harris sitcoms, especially from the '80s, way too contrived and stiff.

Such that I couldn't bring myself to watch it -- which really says something, as I liked all of the actresses (except Estelle Getty).
 

darkshadows38

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we call that the old broads, even as a kid we called that show that in my family. i love that show too but funny thing is i've never seen one not one single episode of Maude at all.
 

darkshadows38

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i'm straight and i love the golden girls so it really doesn't matter which gender you prefer. not that you think it does matter i'm not saying that at all. but to each their own if you don't like the show that's fine. i loved it back than and i still love the show now as a 40 year old adult.
 

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I may be repeating something everyone already knew, but Maude's "abortion episode," usually thought of as their most well-known episode, was written by Susan Harris.
 

Daniel Avery

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I always got the idea that her contributions to Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions was creating content for Witt (who later became her husband) and Thomas to produce, like creating the pilots and writing the first spate of scripts. She got producing credits as a co-owner of the company, but I always thought she stuck to writing, since I've never seen her being credited as a producer on a project where she is not also the writer of the piece.

It is undeniable that the Abortion episode of Maude "put her on the map" as a TV script writer, so I can thank Norman Lear for that.
 

Caproni

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I may be repeating something everyone already knew, but Maude's "abortion episode," usually thought of as their most well-known episode, was written by Susan Harris.
Yes, and the character of Dorothy from The Golden Girls was described as a "Bea Arthur type", although Arthur wasn't interested initially. Elaine Stritch auditioned, but was bypassed when, apparently, she changed a line during her audition. NBC frowned on that, and Rue McClanahan was recruited to sell Arthur on the idea of headlining the quartet of ladies from Miami.
 

TJames03

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Stritch was hated by Harris on the spot, which was fortunate for us because she was nothing but an old alcoholic kunt......
 

Snarky's Ghost

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Stritch was hated by Harris on the spot, which was fortunate for us because she was nothing but an old alcoholic kunt......

I wouldn’t wanna see this old bag for seven seasons......
I might have preferred her to Estelle Getty, the one weak link in the cast.
 

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Yes, as there were many GG episodes that only showed Sophia very briefly in them...
 

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I think the cast fitted supremely. Estelle Getty, from my understanding, struggled with remembering her lines, and wasn't thought of as one of the "girls" by the producers. I remember hearing a number of NBC executives say in documentaries and other interviews that Getty's Sophia helped Dorothy, Rose, and Blanche seem younger than their years, therefore making them the "girls" of the show's title. Getty was always nominated as Best Supporting Actress, and was often sidelined in the scripts.

Her being the "weakest link", in my opinion, is certainly debatable, although I can see why one could draw this conclusion. She faired best when used as the one dishing out snappy one-liners while either knitting or sipping on coffee. On the other hand, the episodes that had her at the helm occasionally fall flat, or simply lacked the spark of the others as a whole. I, for one, wouldn't call her the weakest of the four, nor is Sophia my least favorite character.
 
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Daniel Avery

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The original intent was for Sophia to be a supporting character, offering only the snappy one-liners and occasional observations when she visited. They were going to have her living off-screen elsewhere (probably at the rebuilt Shady Pines) and just drop by a lot. When the decision was made to move her into the house (after the pilot), it became much more difficult to keep her from being seen as the 'fourth girl', rather than the visiting mother of one of the 'three girls'. They still classified her as 'supporting' even as Sophia functioned as a fourth lead in most cases. The producers likely felt pressure to keep her prominent since Sophia was such a quip machine. The plot conceit about her stroke having made her "unfiltered" allowed them to put words in her mouth that none of the others would have uttered. They ditched the live-in cook character after the pilot and likely thought they needed to have Sophia "replace" that ill-conceived character in the household.

I've read in several sources that Estelle Getty had severe stage fright. In theater, EG could get more comfortable over time because they were performing the same show over and over...but on the TV show, it was a new script every week. She also spoke of feeling like the weak link because she was working with three experts in TV comedy, whereas she was mostly known for dramatic roles on stage.
 

Caproni

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The original intent was for Sophia to be a supporting character, offering only the snappy one-liners and occasional observations when she visited. They were going to have her living off-screen elsewhere (probably at the rebuilt Shady Pines) and just drop by a lot. When the decision was made to move her into the house (after the pilot), it became much more difficult to keep her from being seen as the 'fourth girl', rather than the visiting mother of one of the 'three girls'. They still classified her as 'supporting' even as Sophia functioned as a fourth lead in most cases. The producers likely felt pressure to keep her prominent since Sophia was such a quip machine. The plot conceit about her stroke having made her "unfiltered" allowed them to put words in her mouth that none of the others would have uttered. They ditched the live-in cook character after the pilot and likely thought they needed to have Sophia "replace" that ill-conceived character in the household.

I've read in several sources that Estelle Getty had severe stage fright. In theater, EG could get more comfortable over time because they were performing the same show over and over...but on the TV show, it was a new script every week. She also spoke of feeling like the weak link because she was working with three experts in TV comedy, whereas she was mostly known for dramatic roles on stage.
From my view, I think the producers and writers almost always viewed Sophia as a secondary character. More episodes sidelined her than highlight her, and those that feature her at the helm aren't always the best. She was a balance, someone for the other three to cling to for advice, look up to, and, in some ways, be held accountable to, but her nervousness, I think, limited her in ways. She was great at her job, but the writers, but not always the audience, were more eager to turn out stories about Dorothy's chronic fatigue syndrome, Rose's HIV scare, or Blanche dealing with a homosexual brother.
 

darkshadows38

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for me Sophia was my favorite Character and has been my whole life damn near, i love that entire cast actually, the only character i really never cared for was Stan but i like the actor.
i even like the Golden Palace even though it clearly wasn't nearly as good as the show it was spun off of. i don't watch any of today's sitcoms at all but i can go back and watch a slew of the ones from the 80's cause there were so many good ones and they were actually funny unlike today... which i think the the writing is terrible but to each their own who enjoy it.
 
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