The Golden Girls debuted 32 years ago today. In honor of that milestone, revisit this MASSIVE post on all the best guest spots. After the jump, some of the show's most memorable LGBTQ moments ...
The Fancy Man
The Golden Girls was gay-adjacent from the get-go: Charles Levin starred as gay houseboy Coco in the pilot, “The Engagement.” Sophia snarkily called him “the fancy man.” He was cut from future episodes. (And speaking of cut, he was the high-strong mohel on Seinfeld.)
On 1987's “Strange Bedfellows,” Blanche was accused of sleeping with political candidate Gil Kessler (John Schuck). Dorothy and Rose turn on her when Kessler repeats the lie, all in a bid to make him look cooler to voters. In the end, it is revealed he was born a woman and transitioned.
Friends of Danny Thomas
On the 1986 episode “Isn't It Romantic?”, veteran TV actress Lois Nettleton plays Jean, an old pal of Dorothy's staying with the women. She comes out as a lesbian, throwing the woman — who fancy themselves to be worldly and liberal — for a bit of a loop. Best of all, she falls for clueless Rose, and in the process teaches Blanche the different between Lebanese and lesbians.
When Blanche's brother Clayton (Monte Markham) arrives for a visit in “Scared Straight” (1988), it's to come out as gay, which rocks Blanche's vision of her sibling. In 1991's “Sister of the Bride,” the topic turned to gay marriage, with Blanche reacting viscerally to the idea. Casting the women as open-minded and then challenging them with personal reactions like this was a hallmark of the series. In the end, they always make the moral, tolerant decision.
In “The Artist” (1987), Tony Jay plays sculptor Laszlo, with whom all three ladied are enamored. He sculpts them all nude, and each sees herself in the end result. His homosexuality was more of twist than a theme, but it was memorably revealed.
“Well, Excuse Me for Living, Anita Bryant!”
On “Sophia's Wedding: Part 1” (1988), Dorothy meets her match in the form of a stereotypically gay wedding planner, played by Raye Birk, who is apparently not gay in real life. The scenes with Birk offer lots to unpack — they're cliché, and yet have edge in that he is given the upper hand: Blanche's hysterical insult is immediately smacked down as homophobic and Dorothy isn't given a chance to make fun of the man. It's pretty damn funny, and not nearly as cringeworthy as so many other comedy scenes from 30-plus years ago.