'The Golden Girls': The Meaning of the Exclamation Point on the Door Explained

The Golden Girls was popular when it originally aired in the 1980s and early 1990s. In the years since it left the air, it’s gained an even bigger following. Loyal fans were quick to notice that an exclamation point appears to be painted into the front door of the roommate’s Miami home. Speculation about the meaning of the exclamation point has run rampant for more than a decade. John Shaffner, the set designer for The Golden Girls, has set the record straight. The exclamation point has absolutely no meaning. 

Bea Arthur is often credited with adding an exclamation point to the set of ‘The Golden Girls’ 

Larger, high-definition TVs have made small details from the set of some shows a lot easier to pick out. The Golden Girls is one of those shows. The details of Blanche Devereaux, Dorothy Zbornak, Rose Nylund, and Sophia Petrillo’s Miami home look a lot sharper now than they did when the series initially aired. 

Fans of The Golden Girls have picked out an exclamation point that appears to be carved onto the corner of the front door, just above the doorknob. When watching the series, the exclamation point is very clearly visible. Since the front door is seen in most scenes filmed in the living room, fans of the series have had plenty of chances to analyze the mark. 

With analysis have come theories. Different theories about the punctuation mark have been bandied about the internet, but one idea seems to have taken hold. Fans seem to think Bea Arthur, the actor who portrayed Dorothy, carved the mark into the door for good luck at the start of the series. The theory has become so rampant that it is often accepted as a fact. As it turns out, Arthur apparently had nothing to do with the mark. 

John Shaffner said the exclamation point has no meaning 

While fans have plenty of theories about the anomaly, Shaffner insists that there is no special meaning. He has said that the exclamation point was not a conscious decision. Shaffner also set the record straight regarding Arthur’s involvement in the design choice. He said she did not put it there. 

In an interview with Jim Colucci, the author of Golden Girls Forever, Shaffner explained that the exclamation point revealed itself after the crew had added a finish to the door. The wood grain most likely affected how much stain or paint was absorbed into that area. So, while there is clearly a mark, it appeared organically. While fans of The Golden Girls would like it to have a deeper meaning, there simply is none. At least there is no meaning as far as Shaffner knows. 

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