Under the Influence

Why an episode of The Golden Girls was removed in 2020

The final episode aired almost 30 years ago when Bea Arthur’s character marries and moves away, breaking up the gang. So it may surprise you to learn The Golden Girls got into a little bit of trouble this past year.
NBC's The Golden Girls. (NBCUniversal/Getty Images/Herb Ball/NBCU Photo Bank)

Sitcom The Golden Girls hit the air in 1985. It centred around four older women in their golden years who were either widowed or divorced and they all lived together in one house in Miami.

It starred Bea Arthur as the strong-willed Dorothy, Betty White as the spacey Rose, Rue McClanahan as the lusty southern belle Blanche and Estelle Getty as Dorothy's feisty mother Sophia.

The Golden Girls won Golden Globes and all four actresses won Emmys for their performances.

The show was a hit in sixty countries and ran for seven years. The final episode aired almost 30 years ago when Bea Arthur's character marries and moves away, breaking up the gang.

So it may surprise you to learn The Golden Girls got into a little bit of trouble in the year 2020.

Streaming service Hulu made a decision recently to remove an episode of The Golden Girls from its archive. The episode in question originally aired in 1988. The plot revolved around Dorothy's son planning to wed a Black woman twice his age.

When the son brings his fiancée home, Rose and Blanche happen to be giving each other mud facials - so when the couple walks through the door, the surprised Golden Girls are caught sporting a variation of blackface. Rose says, "This is mud on our faces. We're not really Black."

The episode titled "Mixed Blessings" is now purged from Hulu. And it isn't the only sitcom to edit its past.

Blackface episodes of Scrubs and Community have each been taken off their respective streaming platforms.

Tina Fey, creator and star of 30 Rock, specifically requested that four episodes of her show be pulled. All involved white actors in blackface. Fey believes the episodes are best taken out of circulation permanently. She went on to say, "I understand now that intent is not a free pass for white people to use these images."

In other words, not meaning to offend doesn't mean you're not offending.


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Under the Influence is recorded in the Terstream Mobile Recording studio, a 1969 Airstream trailer that's been restored and transformed into a studio on wheels. So host Terry O'Reilly can record the show wherever he goes.

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Terry O'Reilly leaning against his 1969 Airstream trailer turned mobile recording studio a listener dubbed the "Terstream." (Terry O'Reilly)

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