HomeEntertainment‘Golden Girls’: Why Did the Iconic Kitchen Table Only Have Three Chairs?

‘Golden Girls’: Why Did the Iconic Kitchen Table Only Have Three Chairs?

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

When Golden Girls hit the airwaves for the first time in September of 1985, viewers took notice. The show offered something that TV audiences couldn’t get anywhere else. It was about the lives of four older women. Originally, showrunners hoped that women like the ladies on the show would tune in. However, it didn’t take long for fans of all ages to fall in love with Blanche, Rose, Sofia, and Dorothy. Thirty-six years later, people still enjoy seeing the fabulous foursome’s lives play out on the small screen.

A large portion of Golden Girls involved the ladies sitting in the kitchen. Their deepest conversations took place around the kitchen table. On the other hand, fans could expect Sophia to tell a story from the Old Country while enjoying cheesecake. Sometimes, Rose would spin a yarn about her youth in St. Olaf. All in all, the kitchen table was a huge part of the show. Think back to your favorite kitchen conversations and you’ll notice that there are only three chairs at the table. All four ladies might be in the kitchen, however, there was only room for three to sit.

This leaves some fans wondering why the Golden Girls kitchen table only had three chairs. It turns out that this was a technical decision. It allowed three of the actresses to sit comfortably at the table. Seating all four ladies at the table would have required that they be shoved in shoulder-to-shoulder or that one actress have her back to the camera.

A Fourth Chair Would Have Ruined the ‘Golden Girls’ Natural Feeling

Golden Girls remains so popular because much of the show feels natural. Packing the ladies in shoulder-to-shoulder wouldn’t have felt right. No one sits like that in their own home. At the same time, staring at the back of someone’s head would have taken viewers out of the scene.

So, they opted for three chairs and an island. This allowed all four actresses to be part of the scene without breaking the flow of the show. According to House Beautiful, John Shaffner, Golden Girls assistant art director said that this setup made viewers feel like they were watching a play. This, he opined, made the experience more appealing.

However, as a longtime Golden Girls fan, I think that the missing fourth chair does more than that. It almost works like a POV shot. We, the viewers, become part of that kitchen table conversation. It’s one more small detail that allows fans to connect with not only the series but also the characters. So, maybe there is a fourth chair at the table. It just happens to be the one you’re sitting in while you watch the show.