Puzzle and coloring books for adults have soared in popularity in recent years, and one new trend that combines the best of all possible worlds is sticker art puzzle books. Of course I was super excited when I discovered that The Golden Girls were getting their own version! The Golden Girls Sticker Art Puzzles book includes 15 puzzles with 100+ full color stickers for each. You can try your hand at completing the puzzles on your own or, if you’re nervous about putting the stickers in the wrong spots and creating something more like a Picasso painting, there are solutions pages, too. I’ve seen other sticker puzzle books in stores, but this was my first time trying one. It’s a lot of fun! Who doesn’t love stickers, right? The pages are perforated, which is a nice touch that makes working on the puzzles so much easier.
But this isn’t just any puzzle book, either. Along with all of the gorgeous photos and stickers it also features magazine-style pages filled with fun facts, trivia, and commentary about the show. This makes it perfect for any fan of the show. Arie Kaplan, the book’s author, reached out to me on Twitter. It’s evident on every page that he’s a true fan of the show, so I was thrilled when he agreed to an interview. As you’ll read, Arie is a multi-talented writer who works on a variety of interesting projects.
I was so excited when I found The Golden Girls Sticker Art Puzzles book! How did this project come about?
Well, I had already been hired to write a Minions Sticker Art Puzzles book (which comes out next year from Thunder Bay Press). And I believe I got the Minions SAP gig partially because I’d written so many books about pop culture history, and partially because I wrote a Despicable Me Little Golden Book, which was one of several Little Golden Books I’ve authored for Penguin Random House over the years. The Despicable Me LGB was an adaptation of the first Despicable Me film, and you have to know the whole Despicable Me/Minions world pretty well to write something like that, so I guess that meant I was qualified to write the Minions SAP. And while I was gearing up to write the Minions book, the Thunder Bay Press people wanted to know if I’d be interested in writing a Golden Girls SAP book. The Golden Girls was one of my favorite TV shows growing up, so of course I said yes.
You really bring the show to life alongside the puzzles. What aspects of writing this book did you most enjoy?
Thanks! Well, when I was writing this book, it was great fun to revisit/rewatch Golden Girls episodes. And while I was doing that, what really struck me was how good the writing is. There are some SOLID jokes in each episode! It’s an immensely quotable show. The whole writers room is just bringing their A game. But also the cast is uniformly excellent. There’s not a weak link there. All four ladies are just spectacular. And they probably realized what a rarity it was to be on a show that depicted older women as fully-fleshed-out characters. All four lead characters on Golden Girls had a sense of agency and a romantic life. Most shows would depict senior citizens as caricatures, but not The Golden Girls. I think all four of the show’s lead actors knew that a show like that only comes along once in a lifetime.
In a recent interview you talked about bonding with your daughter while working on the Mythical Creatures books. Is she a Golden Girls fan, too?
She is not, but she’s sort of aware of The Golden Girls, in that she knows The Golden Girls is a sitcom that Cyborg is a fan of on the Teen Titans Go! animated series. My daughter Aviya and I watch Teen Titans Go! together (she’s 10 years old). I don’t know if you know this, Claire, but one of the funny things about Cyborg on that show is that he is a huge fan of 1980s pop culture in particular. And in one episode, Cyborg gets a Green Lantern ring, and he uses the ring to create the Golden Girls. Well, energy constructs resembling the Golden Girls.
Obviously we need to know what some of your favorite Golden Girls episodes and moments are.
Well, the 2-part episode where Dorothy is gaslit by her doctor (“Sick and Tired, Parts 1 & 2”) is a personal favorite. In part 2, the scene where Dorothy sees Dr. Budd in a restaurant and confronts him is SO well written. It manages to be funny, emotionally moving, and tragic, all at the same time. An incredible piece of writing. And Beatrice Arthur acts the hell out of that scene. It’s so good. In lesser hands, that scene could come off as maudlin or preachy. But it doesn’t fall into that trap. And I think that’s why The Golden Girls is such a beloved show – it didn’t take the easy way out, creatively speaking.
I also liked the episode where Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy spend the night in jail (“Ladies of the Evening”), and Rose tells her friends about how she was cheated out of becoming the Butter Queen of St. Olaf. Speaking of which: just in general, whenever I re-watch episodes of the show, I’m constantly amazed at all of the “St. Olaf” jokes. The Golden Girls writers had so much fun with the idea of how cartoony and over-the-top St. Olaf was. And it certainly helped that they had someone as comedically gifted as Betty White delivering that material. When she told that “St. Olaf” stories, you really believed that St. Olaf was a real place, even if it was the most ridiculous place on Earth (which is how it was portrayed).
Would you be open to writing a comic book or even a children’s book in the style of The Little Golden Books that you’ve worked on?
If you mean, would I be open to writing a Golden Girls comic book or a Golden Girls children’s book, the answer is a very enthusiastic YES. I’d love to do that. In addition to my work as an author of “licensed character”-based books, I’m also a television comedy writer. So I’d love to write a Golden Girls comic book, because writing dialog for all four ladies would be so much fun! And yes, I’d love to do a Golden Girls children’s book. In 2018, I wrote a Jurassic Park Little Golden Book for Penguin Random House. So I know how to take something that was designed for adults and remove the more adult-oriented aspects, making it appropriate for kids. And I’m 100% sure I can do that for Golden Girls. If I ever got the opportunity to write (for example) a Golden Girls Little Golden Book, that would be SO much fun! I should make it clear that I am in no way saying that I’ve been hired to write a Golden Girls Little Golden Book. As far as I know, that book doesn’t exist. But if I WERE approached to write just such a book, I’d jump at the chance.
What other creative Golden Girls books or merchandise would you like to see?
Well, I’d really like to see something along the lines of a Blanche Devereaux Etiquette Book. I used to live in the South, and I’ve known people like Blanche. I’d also love to read a St. Olaf Travel Guide. In fact, and I’m just throwing this out there into the universe, if anyone who is reading this wants to hire me to write either of those books (or BOTH of them), I’d definitely say yes. (HINT HINT.)
I absolutely love the idea of Blanche’s etiquette book! Are there any other projects that you’d like to let readers know about?
Yes, there are a few projects I’d like to mention. I’m currently writing the scripts for a mobile game called eQuoo: The Next Generation: Lodestar. The game is a complete, top-to-bottom relaunch of a game called eQuoo, which came out a few years ago. PsycApps, the company behind both versions of eQuoo, uses gamification and psychology to help people maintain their mental health.
Aside from eQuoo, there are a few other projects I’ve been working on recently. For instance, there’s the trio of “Mythical Creatures” graphic novels I wrote for Capstone. These are graphic novels for kids, and each one is about a kid who becomes friends with a mythical creature of some sort. The titles of my three “Mythical Creatures” graphic novels are: Frankie and the Dragon (illustrated by Cesar Samaneigo), Trevor, the Very Best Giant (illustrated by Miguel Diaz), and The Troll Under Puzzlefoot Bridge (illustrated by Alex Lopez). All three of those books came out on New Year’s Day, 2021.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been writing a few Little Golden Books for Penguin Random House. For example, there’s the Loki Little Golden Book, which is illustrated by Hollie Mengert. It’s a story about Loki (the Marvel Comics version of Loki). And it’s a story about a prank Loki pulls on Thor, which gets WAY out of hand. The Loki LGB came out on January 5th, 2021. And I’ve written two other Little Golden Books which come out later this year. In fact, they both come out in May. One of them is the SING Little Golden Book – which is an adaptation of the first movie in the SING animated film franchise – and the other one is Mr. DNA’s Book of Dinosaurs. Mr. DNA’s Book of Dinosaurs is narrated by Mr. DNA, the animated DNA strand we see in the first Jurassic Park movie (from 1993). Mr. DNA also has a very quick cameo in the first Jurassic World movie, from 2015. In Mr. DNA’s Book of Dinosaurs, Mr. DNA takes young readers on a tour of the Jurassic World theme park, and as he does that, he teaches them about dinosaurs. Mr. DNA’s Book of Dinosaurs was illustrated by Paul Daviz, and that book comes out on May 11th, 2021. The SING Little Golden Book was illustrated by Elsa Chang, and it comes out on May 25th, 2021. (BTW, Elsa also illustrated the Despicable Me Little Golden Book, which I mentioned earlier.)I have a few other upcoming projects, and I’ll be announcing them on my website (www.ariekaplan.com) soon.
Thank you so much to Arie Kaplan for sharing so generously with The Golden Girls Fashion Corner!
Definitely treat yourself to a copy of The Golden Girls Sticker Art Puzzles book. You could even take a little inspiration from Sophia and start a puzzle-by-mail rivalry with a friend!