Seriously fan-favorite characters from the Golden Girls series

On the r/theGoldenGirls subreddit, u/Mapuches_on_Fire draws a line in the sand between two kinds of minor characters. “For some reason, I like straight characters,” they wrote, “that is, those who are not too stupid or outright villainous. Instead, the caption reads, “Jin is my favorite single episode character.” Other Golden Girls fans chimed in to show their support for Jean (Lois Nettleton), Dorothy’s friend who makes a guest appearance in the second season. “Jin is a lovely character,” they wrote. u/LemonFizzy0000. Added u/IAmPussycatOne“Isn’t It Romantic” is my favorite episode! I love Jean. I want to be her friend too.”

Reddit users opened up about other fan-favorite characters on the show, including Lahey’s father (John McMartin) and Dorothy’s lonely ex, Glenn, played by Jerry Orbach. But Jean, a lesbian mourning her recently deceased partner, is a prime example of how The Golden Girls is a uniquely LGBTQ+-focused sitcom that portrays queer characters with empathy and nuance.

While Jean’s sexuality evokes some light-hearted humor (Blanche mistakes “lesbian” for “Lebanese” for example), the jokes are never at her expense. “Gene is a good person,” Sophia says at the beginning of the episode. “It just so happens that she likes girls, not guys. Some people love cats, not dogs. To be honest, I’d rather live with a lesbian than with a cat… unless a lesbian sheds, I don’t know.”

The Golden Girls showcased several gay characters, including a transgender politician, and addressed the AIDS crisis, making it a landmark series with loyal LGBTQ+ fans. Betty White herself spoke about this phenomenon at a panel in Paley Center. “On Saturday night, the gay bars would stop the music and the show would start at 9 o’clock,” she said. “They all watched the show, then turned it off at 9:30 and started dancing again.”

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