There are many memorable characters in The Golden Girls. Apart from the Golden Girls themselves, they have romantic relationships, family relatives, and for Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur), she has her ex-husband, Stanley Zbornak (Herbert Edelman).
Audiences have a love-hate relationship with Stan. He cheated on Dorothy and he always shows up at the house during the most inopportune moments, especially with his signature phrase, “Hi, it’s me, Stan.” He’s a jerk, but there are some occasions where he redeems himself.
Overall, Stan is an important character to the show, representing Dorothy’s sad and frustrating past. The show wouldn’t have been the same without him.
Throughout the show, Dorothy mentions how she got pregnant on her first date at a drive-in movie with Stanley when she was in high school. At the time, he claimed he was being sent to fight in Korea the next day. This wasn’t true, but he convinced Dorothy to sleep with him.
In the season five episode “The Accurate Conception,” Dorothy mentions how she wasn’t aware of what was happening during her date. She was unconscious, which means that Stan raped her. By getting pregnant as a result of this date, Dorothy was essentially trapped in her relationship with Stan. This is one of many flaws in the show that fans often overlooked.
In the season two episode “The Stan Who Came to Dinner,” Stan has unfortunate news: he needs an important heart surgery to possibly save his life. He’s scared to have the operation and Dorothy allows him to stay with the girls during his recovery.
While he quickly becomes annoying and overstays his welcome, Stan is vulnerable in this episode. He worries about his health and he has a serious conversation with Dorothy. Even though she usually slams the door in his face, Dorothy still cares for Stan. When he’s sick, she still takes care of him.
Before the show’s timeline begins, Dorothy divorced Stan after finding out he cheated on her during their marriage. He had multiple affairs with secretaries and one-night stands. He finally left her after having an affair with a flight attendant.
Being the coward he is, he didn’t even tell her goodbye. She received the news from their divorce attorney. He didn’t even have the guts to tell her about his infidelity. After 38 years of marriage, Dorothy deserved more from Stan.