It’s hard to imagine someone who hasn’t seen or heard of the hit series The Golden Girls, especially following the high-profile death of actress Betty White. However, many people may not know that the show’s finale was more of a bookmark to a spinoff series that continued the adventures of three of the four titular women. Prior to Betty White’s death, Deadline reported that The Golden Palace was brought in its entirety, however short, to Hulu as a celebration of her upcoming 100th birthday, which would have been on Jan. 17. Unfortunately, she died on Dec. 31 at age 99, much to the dismay of comedy fans everywhere.
Fans of The Golden Girls didn’t have to go too long without seeing most of the characters they loved. The spinoff to the show The Golden Palace debuted in 1992, the same year that the final episode of the original series aired. It brought back Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty as Rose Nylund, Blanche Devereaux and Sophia Petrillo respectively. Bea Arthur, who played Dorothy Zbornak, decided that she was done with the sitcom after — as her son put it to Closer Weekly in 2020 — she felt the ideas for the show started to run out.
Undeterred, Betty White and her remaining co-stars agreed to reprise their roles almost immediately for a spinoff that saw the trio of women purchase a hotel only to find that all but two staff members (played by a young Don Cheadle and a younger Cheech Marin) had been let go as a cost-saving measure. This forced the former Golden Girls cast to perform most of the duties to keep the place running. Celebrity guest stars were frequent and the premise seemed sound. Unfortunately, the show simply didn’t have legs.
Like the Joey to Friends, The Golden Palace simply didn’t resonate with audiences the same way despite having most of the same star power, including the incomparable Betty White. Bea Arther even agreed to come back for a two-episode story arc that saw her check up on her mother after it was explained that she moved away from Miami, Fla. at the conclusion of the previous series when her character got married. The Golden Palace was canceled by CBS after 24 episodes that aired between 1992 and 1993, bringing an end to the Golden Girls franchise and leaving Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty’s commitment to their roles as a mere footnote in the larger history of the show.
Fortunately, the show is streaming on Hulu as well as high public demand to look back at Betty White’s incredible career have led to a collective second opinion about the show. The Los Angeles Times declared the show “worth watching” 20 years after its premiere. Sadly, renewed interest in the show is purely for its own sake. In a world of streaming and TV reboots, second opinions of shows like this often lead to resurgences. However, with the passing of Betty White, all the Golden Girls are no longer with us and are instead swirling in the heavens and the confines of sitcom history. Fortunately, Hulu is making celebrating their work that much easier by streaming The Golden Palace.