‘Golden Girls’ Creator Susan Harris Once Called This Episode Her ‘Revenge Script’

by Tia Bailey

Classic TV show Golden Girls was loved by many viewers. The creator of the show shared which episode of the show was her “revenge script.”

Golden Girls was a sitcom that ran from 1985-1992, and followed four older single women (three widows and one divorcée) sharing a house in Miami. The four main characters, Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan), Rose Nylund (Betty White), Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur), and Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty), all got themselves into all kinds of crazy situations, and fans adored the show.

The creator of the show, Susan Harris, once revealed an episode of the show is what she called her “revenge script.” Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was the central topic, and Harris wrote it herself. The episode was the two-part season premiere for the 5th season, and followed Dorothy. She is having health problems, and visits several doctors, all who chalk it up to her age and mental health.

However, in the second part of the episode, a doctor finally treats her with respect and validates her, finding out what is going on. This makes the character angry at the previous doctors, and she even goes to confront one after the good doctor diagnoses her with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

This episode was based on Harris’s own experience. She began to feel very off at one point, and felt unusually exhausted despite getting a lot of rest. In an interview with Vulture, the Golden Girls creator shared that like Dorothy, she went to several doctors who ignored her and brushed her off.

‘Golden Girls’ Creator Based This Episode on Her Own Experience

In the 2017 interview, she says: “The chronic fatigue one was actually something that I was personally going through at the time. This was before there was a diagnosis of chronic fatigue. I had all the symptoms, but had very bad experiences with doctors, some of whom told me to dye my hair a different color and asked whether Paul and I were getting along in our marriage.”

Paul Junger Witt later read an article about a woman who had all the same symptoms, and the article had mentioned Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

“He said, ‘That’s you!'” Harris said. “So the episode was my way at getting back at all the doctors who didn’t believe me; my revenge script for all the people out there who had a disease like that. In the end, it turned out I did not have chronic fatigue syndrome — it was an adrenal issue — but the fact that the episode inspired so many people to go to the doctor was incredible.”

Junger Witt said that the episode also got people to stand up to doctors, and called the experience she had “a level of sexism he had never seen before.”