“The Golden Girls,” the superhero quartet of choice for people who found “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” not bad-ass enough, turns 30 years old today. The Miami-set series enjoys a huge following even today, which is no surprise when you consider that the show's four lead actresses all won Emmys for their work.
To celebrate their awesomeness, let's pick the Golden Girls' best non-“Golden Girls” moments.
Rue McClanahan in “Starship Troopers”
Look at Rue McClanahan owning that Blanche Devereux sauciness and absolutely terrifying Casper Van Dien and Denise Richards in “Starship Troopers.” Her Karl Lagerfeld-like intensity is fantastic. Even Robert Heinlein couldn't have predicted how welcome McClanahan's presence would be in a sci-fi caper.
Estelle Getty talks feminism on “The Joan Rivers Show”
Since everyone's bemoaning that Vanity Fair photo of the all-male late night hosting crew, let's take a moment to remember how kickass Joan Rivers' show was. Here she is with Estelle Getty and Lily Tomlin chatting about feminism and being really old. A dream. Getty's self-possession is untouchable, and her willingness to admit she was a horrible standup is awesome.
Betty White in any episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Or “Pyramid.” Or anything.
Ever since Betty White enjoyed her pop culture renaissance in “The Proposal,” I'm always surprised at how little we discuss her hilarious work as the rabidly man-hungry Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” She has the scheming edge of a “Big Brother” champion and the knowing sinisterness of a film noir vamp. Enjoy her seduction of Lou Grant here. (Close second place: Betty White is the greatest celebrity game show contestant ever, full stop. Her work as a player on “Pyramid,” “Password,” “Body Language,” and “Match Game” speaks for itself — brilliant game-playing from a woman who used to host charades parties with husband Allen Ludden and invite over Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft.)
Bea Arthur at “The Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson”
Bea Arthur was a trailblazer on “Maude” and an incomparable stage actress, but I think her showstopping work at Comedy Central's roast of Pamela Anderson marked a new level of authority for her. Mocking Pam Anderson's literary efforts requires a serious straight face, and no one dished out an unimpressed smirk like Dorothy Zbornak.