Review: Disney+’s Gritty ‘golden girls’ Reboot is a Neon-Soaked Nightmare
The ultra-stylized and violent take on the classic sitcom is confusing, uncomfortable, and unnecessary.
When the new Disney+ series was announced last April, it tantalized viewers with an “edgy” take on the original Susan Harris sitcom featuring four mature women living together under one roof. While many of us thought this just meant even racier conversations about sex and 2021-friendly approaches to topics like queerness and race, few of us could have expected what the team behind golden girls had in mind.
Also, notice the style choice there. I mean all lowercase? Now that’s hip.
Like the original sitcom, golden girls features four mature women living in the same house. The first three episodes of season one follow the ladies as they navigate love, grief, dating, death, and aging in the second act of their lives.
The iconic house has been loving recreated with almost eerie attention to detail, right down to the wicker sofa. Half of the budget appears to have gone toward truckloads of puffy sleeves and shoulder pads.
Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end.
Reboots at their best can be a looking-glass experience, approaching an existing fictional universe in a new and innovative way. They can bring new audiences to a story and ask the questions lingering underneath the original.
At their worst, these reboots are more reflective of other media properties, mining relatively less risky or modern stories and twisting their original intentions into a younger, more market-friendly package. From its juvenile twists to its desperation to be “edgy,” golden girls showcases the worst tendencies of the ‘gritty reboot.’ It strips the original series of its best parts and adds nothing of value.
Picture it: Miami 1985. But this is not the light-hearted Miami original Golden Girls creator Susan Harris had in mind. It’s something more akin to mid-80s Michael Mann. The city is hot, desperate, and soaked in neon and sin. Opening with a series of glittering tracking shots of strip clubs, nightclubs, squad cars, sex workers, and drug dealers while a languid, breathy…