Have you heard of The Golden Girls long-lost fifth character? The girls were originally supposed to have a male housemate named Coco.
Undoubtedly, The Golden Girls influenced people all around the world. Not only did the girls bring hilarious banter and witty one-liners, but they also changed the way Hollywood saw and portrayed older women. The entire show was revolutionary and paved the way for sitcoms to come. Sophia, Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy quickly became household names and are still iconic today. But they almost weren’t the only characters on the show. In fact, the show was originally written with a fifth main character named Coco.
Coco was supposed to be the girls’ male, openly gay, housemate. He was a drag queen-turned house helper and Charles Levin was cast for the role. The coolest thing about Coco was that the creators of The Golden Girls wanted to proudly portray him as openly gay. Not only were they changing the narrative around middle-aged women, but they were also pioneering portrayals of members of the gay community in Hollywood. Just one more reason to love The Golden Girls!
So, what happened to Coco? Unfortunately, when the crew filmed the pilot episode, it was five minutes too long. So, production had to cut certain scenes of the show. At the time Coco’s character wasn’t fully developed so he was mostly just seen serving drinks. So, to save time during the episode, the production cut all of Coco’s scenes. Yes, it’s difficult to imagine how another character would fit into The Golden Girls dynamic. But, even so, we wish we could have seen what Coco would have brought to the show.
Even Without Coco, The Golden Girls Was Progressive
Yes, The Golden Girls were known for being hilarious. But the show was iconic for so many more reasons than just laughs. The Golden Girls also pushed the envelope when it came to television-appropriate topics including homophobia. The show tackled homophobia several times throughout its seven seasons. Although today the show is considered a pioneer for gay rights, at the time, many people didn’t even realize the show was progressive. How could that be? During an interview in 2008, Rue McClanahan who played Blanche on The Golden Girls talked about why the show was able to talk about topics without getting caught up in controversies that other shows faced.
“I think because maybe we could get by with so much,” said McClanahan. “I heard Betty White say this so many times: ‘Four old broads are so non-threatening.’ We could do and say a lot of things that shows with younger actors couldn’t.”