I had to post Jill from Feministe's comments below on the passing of Estelle Getty, who played the tenacious and hilarious Sophia on Golden Girls. Writes Jill on the meaning of Golden Girls for her:
I'm a huge Golden Girls fan, and I maintain that it’s one of the best feminist shows ever created: It’s got an all-female cast; they women are all older and therefore outside of traditional beauty norms; the women have independent lives that involve men but don’t revolve around them; and the characters are funny and smart (with the possible exception of Rose, but she’s smart in her own little way). Where else have you seen a popular sitcom (or any show) that revolves around women who actually kind of look like average women, who aren’t young and fabulous and beautiful, who have interests other than finding male companionship, who put their female friendships first, and who have sex after menopause? More to the point, where can you find a TV show or movie that revolves around women like that, and those women aren’t the butt of the joke?
It’s certainly a rarity, and Golden Girls remains a bright spot in TV history. Estelle Getty was a class act.
I have to second that statement. Sure I've sat around with friends debating which Sex and the City character each of us is, but I've also sat around and talked about which Golden Girls character we are, or will be, or hope to be. I'm banking on being a decided Dorothy.