Tag Archives: Sophia Petrillo

The Golden Girls Character Review-Stanley Zbornak

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

This will be the final character review for The Golden Girls. The next group of characters I will be reviewing is…..you will have to come back and find out.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Golden GirlsRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from The Golden Girls.  to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When we get married, we hope that the person we are marrying is going to be a loyal, communicative and supportive spouse. We also hope that we will be married to this person until we shuffle off this mortal coil. But that is not often the case.

On The Golden Girls, Stanley Zbornak (the late Herb Edelman) is not exactly the ideal spouse. Married to his ex-wife, Dorothy (the late Bea Arthur) for nearly forty years, their marriage ended because of infidelity on his part. The courtship was just as contentious. A first date led to a one night stand, which nearly led to an unwed pregnancy.

After Stan and Dorothy divorced, he re-married twice. But he still popped in and out of Dorothy’s life. The result of these appearances were doors slamming in his face and insults from both Dorothy and her mother, Sophia (the late Estelle Getty).

Stan can also be shifty. Always looking to make a quick buck, he has the tongue of a salesman, but not the business person’s acumen to succeed. He thinks that he is a charmer, but Dorothy, Sophia and their housemates are not always pleased with his presence.

If there is one thing that Stan has going for him underneath the unreliable used car salesman shtick, he loves Dorothy. She also still loves him. There are moments in their post divorce relationship that reflect that love and the nearly four decades they spent as man and wife.

Though Stan is a comic character, there are moments where he shows that he has a heart and emotional depth. It is those moments and the balance of comedy and drama that make him a perfect character. When creating characters, writers often add a surprising quality that is not obvious to the audience at first glance.

That is why Stanley Zbornak is a memorable character.

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The Golden Girls Character Review: Sophia Petrillo

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Golden GirlsRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from The Golden Girls.  to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes to women of a certain age, the impression is that time have taken their toll. At this point in their lives, they are living quietly, without the excitement of their younger years. Sophia Petrillo (the late Estelle Getty) on The Golden Girls proved that women of a certain age do not lose their lust for life just because their younger years are behind them.

Sophia was born in the first few years of the 20th century in Sicily. One of three children, she immigrated to New York as a teenager. After the death of her husband and being hospitalized for a stroke, Sophia moved in with her daughter, Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur).

The stroke took away Sophia’s ability to censure herself. This often led to conversations that ended with Dorothy threatening to send her mother back to the home. “Shady Pines, Ma” was often heard out of the mouth of an exasperated Dorothy.

Though she openly mocks her housemates, Sophia loves them as if they all were her flesh and blood. It is that love that sustains her, especially after Dorothy re-marries and moves in with her new husband.

To sum it up: It would be easy to create a character of a certain age who has taken a back seat to life. It is harder to create the same character, especially if she is female, with the same vibrancy and joie de vivre as a younger woman. Fans of The Golden Girls love Sophia because she is sassy, she is smart, but most of all, she loves her daughter.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

The Golden Girls Character Review: Dorothy Zbornak

The next group of characters I will be writing about are….characters from The Golden Girls.

*-I apologize about the delay in posting. Life as it does got in the way.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Golden Girls. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from The Golden Girls.  to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

No one goes through life without challenges. The question is, is this person destroyed by these challenges or can they rise above them? On The Golden Girls, Dorothy Zbornak (the late Bea Arthur) has been through a lot in her 60ish years. Born to Italian immigrants in New York City, Dorothy grew up in a loud and complicated family. The oldest of three children, she has often been pushed aside for her younger siblings. In her late teens, after getting pregnant, she married Stanley Zbornak (the late Herb Edelman). After nearly 40 years of marriage, he left her for another woman.

Dorothy is known for her bookish ways, her sharp tongue and her grounded view of the world. She also has a soft side for her mother, Sophia Petrillo (the late Estelle Getty), who can also be a thorn on her side. Their verbal confrontations often end with the following statement: “Shady Pines ma”.

To sum it up: Though Dorothy has been through a lot in her life, she is able to rise above what has stood in her way. She may have her ups and downs, but the fact that she can rise above those downs is a testament to her strength and her courage. It is a lesson that we all can learn.

That is why Dorothy is a memorable and beloved character.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television