I’ve finally had the chance to get more Golden Girls DVD’s as of late (which is really a good thing now since Hallmark has wound up editing the show rather badly) and I’ve really been enjoying them. I recently finished season 2. And the only down spot was the season’s final episode, “Empty Nests,” which was a backdoor pilot for a spin-off. Rita Moreno and Paul Dooley played Renee and George, neighbors of the girls. Renee was depressed and lonesome as their daughter just moved out and her husband George is a workaholic. I’ve found Susan Harris to be one of the most legendary and significant creators and writers in television, but this concept based on that episode just didn’t work. It’s a really good thing this show’s format was retooled. Not just because the episode in itself wasn’t a good conception, but because what it did change to was something pretty great. When watching the original pilot, it’s hard to believe what came out of it later.
And of course, we fans know what did emerge from it. In its place would be Richard Mulligan playing widower and pediatrician Dr. Harry Weston. After his wife passes away, his two adult daughters, Carol (Kristy McNichol) and Barbara (Dinah Manoff) move back home. The role of the annoying next-door neighbor stayed and was still played by David Leisure, but his name was changed from Oliver to Charley. Also, at work with Dr. Weston was his wise-cracking and quick-witted nurse Laverne Todd (played by Park Overall). With this format, the show gelled much better. A lot of comedy came from high-maintenance Barbara and tough cop Carol.
One thing that I can’t help but notice with this show is lack of DVD’s. I can’t believe this show isn’t out on DVD or even rerun on television. It’s been years since that‘s happened. The last time was when it was on WGN in the late 1990’s. I’ll take a release anytime, but Buena Vista could have really taken advantage of it when The Golden Girls DVD’s were being released. The show ran for 7 seasons just like Golden Girls did so there could have been two releases of each show every time.
The episode chosen is an early one from the first season, "What's a Father to Do?", in which awards are given to both Carol and Barbara, and Harry can only be there for one.
Empty Nest, my online pick of the week!