I don’t know if you’ve ever listened to the podcast of Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm), but he sat down with Mitch Hurwitz this week and rambled in a very entertaining fashion for nearly 80 minutes about everything: Arrested Development on Netflix, Frasier’s lackadaisical writer’s room, Jeff Garlin’s diet, and Garlin and Hurwitz’s long-time friendship with Jon Stewart. It’s all pretty great, but the one thing that caught my attention (around the 17:00 mark) was when Hurwitz talked about his first job as a showrunner.
Turns out it was on Golden Palace, a spin-off of Golden Girls that I have absolutely no recollection of. Apparently, after Bea Arthur left the show, the rest of the cast were still interested in continuing. NBC wasn’t keen to make a huge commitment to the show, however, so CBS picked it up in the hopes that it would anchor their Friday night block, which was competing against ABC’s TGIF lineup. Anyway, the idea behind the spin-off was this: Sophia, Blanche, and Rose bought a hotel in Miami, which was ran by … Don Cheadle and Cheech Marin. There was also a little kid in it because of course there was.
Anyway, the show averaged 15 million viewers on Friday night, which is pretty much American Idol numbers today, but in 1992, it placed only 57th among all television shows and was cancelled after one season, along with most of the rest of their Friday night block (Major Dad and Designing Women at the end of their runs). But that’s where Hurwitz — and Desperate Housewives Marc Cherry — got their start. So, you know, when you’re watching Arrested Development on Netflix this May, just remember that the guy who made up the chicken dance used to write lines for Blanche Devereaux. Actually, you know what? That makes *perfect* sense.
Here’s the opening titles with a terrible, reworked version of “Thank You for Being a Friend.”