Why Penultimate episode “Home Again, Rose” would’ve been the better series finale than the one we got.

Do you love your zany Great Aunts, Mothers and Grandmothers? Do you like older women discussing their sex lives like teenagers? Do you like Cheesecake? Well, if you answered yes to all three questions then chances are you’re a Golden Girls fan. I grew up watching this classic series at my Grandparents’ house with my Grandmother like I’m sure most children who grew up with this show did, although I was a ten year old boy there was just something about these four ladies that made me fall in love with them and made me wish I could have them raise me like a adopted grandson. What started at 10 years old as a morning ritual with my “Ma” became a growing obsession to this day. The Golden Girls has one of tv’s most diverse and unique fanbases ranging from the target demo such as older women to homosexual men, children, teenagers, 25 and over, every race under the sun, rappers like DMX, straight men, lesbians etc. This show about four old white ladies sharing a house in Miami, Florida somehow became a universal obsession for many reasons but for three in particular:

  1. It was genuinely and hilariously funny.

2. It had one of the greatest tv ensemble casts of all time in those four awesomely talented actresses that gave us four characters we all can relate to and adore.

3. It gave us a unique type of family that we hadn’t seen before. They say that friends are the family we choose and The Golden Girls was all about how these four women chose each other after losing their husbands and their children having grown up and created their own families. It was this family that laughed at and with each other, poked fun at each other, supported each other, argued mercilessly with each other, had each other’s backs when the chips were down, cried, ate cheesecake and traded various stories (mostly sex related)with each other like all families do.

On May 9th, 1992 this family would take their final bow in the series finale “One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest” parts 1 and 2 written by Don Seigel, Jerry Perzigian and Mitchell Hurwitz.

Synopsis:

When Blanche’s Uncle Lucas visits, Blanche sets him up on a date with Dorothy and when they discover that neither is interested in the other, contrary to what Blanche led them to believe, they decide to get revenge by convincing Blanche they have fallen in love and plan to marry. Eventually, they fall in love for real, Lucas proposes, and Dorothy accepts, resulting in her moving out of the house permanently. Rose struggles with whether to stay in the house or to move in with her daughter and Stan makes one last gesture to show his love for Dorothy.

The series finale was a funny episode but also a real tearjerker, especially for its final scene where the family is broken up once Dorothy married Lucas and moved out breaking up the very family we’ve adored for seven years:

But should this have been the ending we gotten? One must beg this question as a fan of what the series represented: A made up family of four lonely people who came together late in life but became the most important people of their lives. In my opinion? No. Now, hear me out before you sharpen the pitch forks and light the torches. As wonderfully done as this series finale was by all involved, looking at it now as an adult I feel that it in many ways betrayed the premise that the show was all about, that found family that had each other for the rest of their days. What would’ve been my choice as a series finale you ask?

Picture it! April 25th and May 2nd 1992, two fine writers(Gail Parent and Jim Vallely) gave us penultimate episodes that would perfectly encapsulate seven years of laughter, fights, secrets and cheesecake that we all came to know and love.

Those episodes were “Home Again, Rose” parts 1 and 2.

Synopses:

Part 1:

Blanche convinces the girls to crash a local high school reunion, where Rose suffers a heart attack.

Part 2:

As Rose undergoes triple bypass surgery, Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia grapple with the possibility of losing her. Meanwhile, Rose’s daughter, Kirsten, arrives and expresses her disapproval of her mother’s living arrangements.

Why are these episodes the perfect series wrap up rather than the one we got? Simple, Pussycats. They pay off the entire series and the incredible bond built by Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia that developed over the years. They were also so perfectly Golden Girls blending outrageous humor:

With genuine and heartfelt emotion:

The premise of Rose having a heart attack and needing surgery with the possibility of her dying provided the perfect jeopardy for an audience that a series finale needs to make us believe that she could actually die and give us genuine fear and heartbreak, and even better the constant battles between Rose’s irritable daughter and the other three ladies is the perfect conflict to highlight how truly close the four ladies were to where Dorothy, Blanche and Sophia prove to Kirsten(and the viewers) that these ladies were never simply housemates but a real family. The episode also calls back a classic moment that felt like it even inspired this episode:

In the end Rose comes out okay and the episode ends in a classic Golden Girls group hug. There’s your perfect ending, folks! Not making us depressed that this family is breaking apart forever, but reassuring us that this family is not only still standing but will perhaps be even stronger than ever due to them surviving this heavy ordeal and realizing how much they truly mean to each other.

At the end of the day, I still liked how the show ended but I really would’ve preferred this ending because it felt far more true to the series and the characters than the finale we ultimately got. And, think about it, we could’ve also avoided that Golden Palace disaster. Alas, we dare to dream of what could’ve been.

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Kendall Rivers

Kendall is a screenwriter who’s a huge fan of classic tv and movies. He enjoys creating good stories and characters. https://www.facebook.com/kendall.rivers.3