So I received several DVD sets of The Golden Girls for my birthday. It is one of my favorite TV shows ever. Part of it is nostalgia–I remember watching the episodes as a young girl, and I am at the age where I like to look back at the good things in my childhood–it aired on NBC on Saturday nights, and I used to watch the show with my dad.  (And for some reason, I am always reminded of a windy summer night when I hear the theme song. And windy summer nights were one of my favorite parts about growing up in SW Kansas.) Then in the early 2000’s I used to watch the show with my grandmother, shortly before she passed away, and she’d always laugh at Sofia’s lines, so Sofia always reminds me of her (although my grandmother did not have a cutting sense of humor).

The other part of it is because it is a genuinely good show. I always laugh out loud when I watch it. And it doesn’t just deal with embarrassing or ridiculous situations—it also had warmth and heart and a social conscious. There’s episodes that deal with homelessness, elderly issues (dementia, fixed incomes), mental illness, AIDS, immigration, anxiety, safe sex, pain pill addiction –all kinds of important issues. There is even a two-parter that deals with chronic fatigue syndrome. Dorothy finds herself exhausted and can’t figure out why and she has to battle with doctors to get a diagnosis. The doctor that finally diagnoses her provides a concise yet thorough run-down of the condition in the episode. Apparently the show’s creator Susan Harris has CFS and wrote the episodes about her experiences. This was in 1989. I vaguely remembered watching the episode when I was younger, but watching it recently made me so glad that the show was able to put out information about the condition so people could understand it. And I wonder how much of an impact it had on people understanding the condition.

Now I know that CFS is not fibromyalgia, but the conditions are both hard to diagnose and have similar symptoms, and both have similar reputations for not being “real”. I was lucky in that I didn’t have to wait for a long time or to fight with doctors to get a diagnosis, but many people with fibromyalgia and CFS do. And if someone can understand that CFS is a real thing that can be debilitating to the person who has it, then they can understand that fibromyalgia is as well.

Just another reason why The Golden Girls is one of my favorite shows–it makes you realize things while you’re laughing.