The (brief) entirety of The Golden Palace has dropped on Hulu, and I am more than here for it. If you weren’t dedicated to The Golden Girls in the 80s, here’s what you missed when it ended: Dorothy (Bea Arthur) got married and moved away, and the remaining three girls bought and moved into a hotel (the titular Golden Palace), which they run with Don Cheadle as the manager and Cheech Marin as the chef. Yes, seriously. That is a thing that happened in 1992 for 24 glorious episodes, and now we have it to enjoy here again 30 years later.
The guest cast list is nothing short of stunning with classic masters like Dick Van Patten, Eddie Albert, and Anne Haney to the next generation, including Margaret Cho and Kim Fields. The second episode has a perfect performance by Bobcat Goldthwaite. When you’ve had such a stunningly successful seven-season run like The Golden Girls did, you can attract this kind of talent for nearly every single episode. And The Golden Palace does.
Here are a few of my favorite geek-adjacent (or deeply geeky) guests you’ll see through the series:
Tenacious D, High Fidelity, School of Rock, Jumanji, Kung Fu Panda. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you who Jack Black is. A few years ago, I discovered that early in his career, he played a cab driver on this spinoff that I felt like I was the only person to remember it existing. If you’re not already bingeing through TGP, there’s a fuzzy clip of his appearance on YouTube. (The show looks much better than this on Hulu.) Not only that, but this episode is one of only two with Bea Arthur, and it actually takes place in the legendary Shady Pines.
Of course he’s so much more, but it’s hard for me to think of Ricardo Montalbán as anything but Khan. With a career stretching from the early 1940s to his death in 2009, he’s been on Fantasy Island, Wonder Woman, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and done a good bit of voice work in his later years. And of course Armando in the Planet of the Apes films. In TGP episode 16, “Señor Stinky Learns Absolutely Nothing About Life,” he is the owner of the hotel next door disputing the parking lot between them.
If you don’t know who Harvey Korman is, you probably didn’t spend enough time watching Nick at Nite. He was everywhere in the 60s. So I almost feel bad pointing out–and yet I must–that he has a scene with Bea Arthur in the Star Wars Holiday Special. Now go watch some old Carol Burnett Show and try to forget that. Or episode 10 of TGP where he and the equally wonderful Tim Conway appear as local radio DJs. (Side fun fact, this episode also feature Good Times‘ Ja’Net DuBois, who also co-wrote and sings the theme song to The Jeffersons, as Roland’s mom.)
First of all, she’s Space Mom Carrie Fisher’s half sister. If you’re d’un certain âge (are we old enough to be d’un certain âge? oh dear…), you probaly know her best as Ellen’s BFF in the 90s sitcom Ellen. But she was also the voice of Lana Lang in the 1996 Superman: The Animated Series. You’ll see her in episode 14 of TGP, “Runaways,” playing Roland’s foster child Oliver’s mother.
Perhaps known most as Milton “excuse me, I believe you have my stapler” Waddams in Office Space as well as for his role on NewsRadio, you’ve no doubt seen Stephen Root in quite a few other things. For this list, I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t call out his time as Chode McBlob on Tripping the Rift. He also had a part in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation as Captain K’Vada in “Unification.” If you’re an animation fan, you’ve heard his voice many times, most recently as Cringer in the new Masters of the Universe: Revelation on Netflix and as police chief Earl Grant in Blade Runner: Black Lotus. On TGP episode 18, he plays a city health inspector who surprises the hotel just after a food critic is found dead there.
Charles Napier is one of those “that guy that was in that thing” moments. The guy who’s in an episode of everything. Passes through every movie. His list includes Star Trek: The Original Series and Deep Space Nine, Knight Rider, The A-Team, The Silence of the Lambs, Austin Powers, The Blues Brothers, Men in Black: The Series, the 1996 Superman: The Animated Series, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, the 2001 Justice League animated series, 2004’s Justice League Unlimited, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, The Simpsons, the 1978 The Incredible Hulk and the 1988 The Incredible Hulk Returns, the 1968 Mission: Impossible TV series, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, The 4400, 2005’s The Batman, and Archer. Oh, and of course, TGP episode 11, in a B plot of probably the show’s most well-known episode, in which Blanche books the Daughters of the Traditional South against Roland’s objection.
Aside from his most recognizable roles in Barney Miller and Sanford and Son, Gregory Sierra is another one of those actors who showed up in an episode or two of all your favorite shows, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Mission: Impossible, The Greatest American Hero, The X-Files. He also played Father Giovanni in 1998’s John Carpenter’s Vampires. In episode 5 of TGP, he plays a new chef and longtime friend of Chuy…who also slept with his wife.
I love a lot of 60s TV shows, but Get Smart was something special, and Dick Gautier played the humanoid robot Hymie, including on the TV movie version. He appeared in an episode of Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman series and replaced Burt Ward as Batman in a 1973 PSA about equal pay for women. In the 1986 Transformers series, he voiced Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime and went on to do a lot more animation voice work in his later career as well. You’ll find him in TGP as Bobby Lee, Blache’s new beau who wants her to have his baby, leading to an “everybody’s pregnant” dream sequence. Although this episode aired as #19, it is in Hulu as #24, “The Chicken and the Egg.”
Brad Majors got busy after Frank. In episode 9 of TGP, he plays yet another one of Blache’s targets until she discovers he’s a gigolo. …I’m sorry. I got distracted for 30 minutes in the middle of writing this paragraph upon the discovery that Barry Bostwick starred in a 2012 movie called FDR: American Badass! in which FDR gets polio from werewolves, who are also in charge of the Axis powers. Let’s all just go watch that. Right after The Golden Palace.