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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Thank You, Hell in a Handbag, for The Golden Girls - The Lost Episodes

Bea Arthur will always be the outspoken Maude Findlay.

Betty White will always be the man-hungry Sue Ann Nivens.

And I own every season of Designing Women on DVD - but no Golden Girls.

Now I've come to realize - especially from Facebook - that most gay men absolutely adore The Golden Girls, the 1985-92 NBC sitcom about four older women sharing a house in Miami. For many, it seems to be their favorite TV show of all time. But I must confess that although I've enjoyed watching episodes of the beloved series, I've never become a die-hard fan. One major reason for this is that The Golden Girls aired on Saturdays for its entire run, and as a college student when the show began, I rarely stayed home on that weekend night - and I didn't own a VCR back then. So I never got hooked on the cheesecake delights of Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia.

However, as I said before, a helluva lot of homosexuals fell head over heels in love with The Golden Girls. And since I'm sure at least a few of them follow DEEP DISH, I thought they might be interested in reading a review of the campy world premiere parody, The Golden Girls - The Lost Episodes, by Chicago's camp connoisseur, Hell in a Handbag Productions, and playwright David Cerda.

And I'm happy to report that I had a good time laughing at the silly R-rated situations "never before seen on television" that these Golden Girls find themselves in. I'm not going to reveal any of the hilarious hijinks and amusingly bitchy one-liners, but we do learn what happened to Coco the cook (who only appeared in the show's pilot episode). There are quite a few inside jokes that I'm sure avid fans will appreciate, but even for the most casual of viewers (like myself), these "lost" episodes are still worth seeing because of the four lead performances. Adrian Hadlock is almost a dead ringer as the bluntly uncensored Sophia, AJ Wright exudes the perfect amount of Southern sass as Blanche, Ed Jones makes a delightful dim bulb as Rose, and Mr. Cerda, of course, knows his way around a sarcastic line as Dorothy. Under director Shade Murray's guiding hand, these "ladies" certainly know how to put on a show and wring every last laugh from a script. I must also acknowledge the fabulous wigs by Keith Ryan that help make these girls golden.

So if you've seen all 180 episodes of The Golden Girls 180 times, I think you will definitely get a kick out of Handbag's new "lost" episodes. And if you just want to see four talented and funny guys strut their feminine stuff, then be sure to catch this show. Also, you might win a Golden Girls vinyl figure or a DVD of the show's third season if you correctly answer some trivia questions during a "commercial break". And here's hoping that next summer Hell in a Handbag will give us Designing Women - The Lost Episodes because I would love some delicious Julia Sugarbaker rants.

The Golden Girls - The Lost Episodes runs through August 26 at Mary's Attic (5400 N. Clark). For tickets, go to or call (800) 838-3006.

Photo credit: Rick Aguilar Studios


dmappin said...

I'm not sure why I almost never watched The Golden Girls. I cannot, to my regret, remember a single episode from the few I have seen. BUT like you, I am a huge Designing Women fan. Loved every single episode with the original cast--less so with some of the replacements, but even then I enjoyed the series.

Also, like you, I was in college when The Golden Girls and I was a weekend bartender at the time. Perhaps if the show had been on another night?

The play looks like fun, nonetheless.

Marc Harshbarger said...

Doug, I think if the show had been on another night, I probably would have watched it. But Designing Women will always be my favorite of the two. Thanks for your comment!