THE GOLDEN GIRLS

THE GOLDEN GIRLS: “ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?”

BETTY WHITE’s passing on New Year’s Eve 2021 was a kick in the pants to all of us and sent shockwaves throughout the entertainment industry and American culture ( and those around the world familiar with ours ). I think it’s safe to say that Betty ( if I may ) ~ who was such a vibrant personality on television ~ had a terrific ‘second act.’ She made an impact on television with talk shows, game shows and a tv series. Three, in fact! You’d be hard pressed to find an actress as successful as Betty with three prime-time tv series under her belt: The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “The Golden GirlsandHot In Cleveland.”

                      

Before I begin . . . I’d like to raise a glass of cheer to dear Paddy Lee ( Caftan Woman ) who passed away March 7th, 2022. The blogosphere will not be the same without her. Click on this poster to   to read her blog———–>

        

Now, I’m not writing just to hear myself read. I’m here for the blog: A Shroud of Thoughts’ 8th Annual “Favourite TV Show Episode” Blogathon. The title is self-explanatory and we’re all gathered here to talk about our favorite tv show episode. Click on this banner to see all the entries. Go on…you know you want to:

I decided to pick a “Golden Girls” episode entitled: “Isn’t It Romantic?”

SPOILER ALERT!

It aired November 8th, 1986 ~ Season 2 Episode 5. I must warn you with a flashing SPOILER ALERT, plot points may be revealed. The premise: Dorothy ( Bea Arthur ) gets a visit from her old college classmate, who becomes attracted to one of the golden girls.

I like this episode a lot. First, it features one of my favorite actresses Lois Nettleton. Count me a big fan. It also deals with Lesbianism. This is a funny episode but it does not make lesbianism the butt of the joke. Nettleton’s character Jean, is not made fun of, but the girls’ misunderstanding is played for laughs. The show is so well-written. I love how the plot is layered in its unfolding. I’m going to lay it all out for you.

Dorothy informs her mother Sophia  ( Estelle Getty ). Sophia doesn’t bat an eye about Jean’s lifestyle, but does have a question for her:

     

“The lesbian thing — do you keep it under your hat or what?!”

MA!! I think its Dorothy’s efforts to protect Jean’s privacy and not out her, that leads to results she doesn’t want.

Jean’s not ashamed of anything:

“Listen Dorothy, I’m not embarrassed or ashamed of who I am. And you know your friends better than I do. You think they’re the kind of people who can handle it, I prefer to tell them.”

So that’s the set up. Now on to meet Dorothy’s two roommates. We’ve got the worldly and hot-to-trot Blanche ( Rue McClanahan ).  

  

Blanche: “We’re going to have so much fun. I know where to
find the best restaurants, the best night clubs, the best men.”

Dorothy: “Blanche—”

Blanche: “Oh I’m sorry, was that insensitive of me? Maybe
you’re not ready for men yet.”

Sophia: “You don’t know the half of it!”

When Rose innocently comes out of the kitchen with an ice cream confection with a cherry on top for everyone, Jean says to Dorothy:

  

“It’ll be our little secret.”

As Hitchcock has taught us, suspense is built from the audience knowing something the characters of the story don’t know. And we know something Blanche and Rose don’t know. But even that will get turned on its ear.

The two actresses have their characters firmly and expertly in hand. With this exchange we see the hottentot way of Blanche and the sincere naïveté of Rose when they both try to advise and commiserate with Jean about moving on from her widowhood:

   

Blanche: Don’t you think it’s about time you plan something
‘special’ if you know what I mean
.”

Jean: Oh, well, I couldn’t.”

Blanche: Come on. It’s been a year. Of course you could.”

Dorothy:Believe her Blanche…she couldn’t.”

Rose comes to Jean’s defense against Blanches pushiness:

  

Rose: I know just how you feel. I couldn’t think of another
man for years after my husband died
.

Blanche: That’s exactly why you have bad muscle tone.”

Rose’s stare is everything. She lets it breathe. You gleefully fill in the blank.

All four actresses are just a joy to watch. They’re like pitchers who hide the curveball until the last possible moment. They have such great straight deliveries until the last minute and then BOOM across the plate with the curvy funny line. But there’s pathos there too. Blanche needs to have a heart~to~heart talk with Dorothy:

 

Blanche: Dorothy I don’t want you to take this the wrong way
but, there’s something about Jean that bothers me.”

Dorothy: Bothers you?

Blanche: “Mmm hmmm. Every time I suggest she go out on a
date, the two of you change the subject. Dorothy, I may be a lot
of things, but naive is not one of them. Face it. Your friend Jean

is seeing a married man.”

  

Dorothy: “Blanche, that’s absolutely uncanny.”

Blanche: “I wasn’t born yesterday.”

Now Jean needs a heart~to~heart talk with Dorothy:

Jean: Blanche, do you mind if I spoke to Dorothy privately?

Blanche: “Mind? Why of course not. Listen, and don’t you worry.
Your secret is safe with me.

Ha! Blanche still getting it wrong.

Rose and Jean discover they both grew up on a farm, giving them some shared values in common. Rose’s innocence and concern takes on new meaning for Jean.

I love how the show mixes the serious with the joke on top of a joke.

This scene is like a double-decker…a triple decker of misunderstanding when Blanche goes in to talk to Dorothy and Sophia:

Blanche:I heard you laughing. What’s so funny?

Sophia: “For starters, Jean is a lesbian.”

Blanche:What’s funny about that?

Sophia:You aren’t surprised?!

Blanche: “Of course not. I mean I’ve never known any
personally. But, isn’t Danny Thomas one?”

Dorothy: “Not Lebanese Blanche. Lesbian.”

Blanche: “Lesbian. Lesbian?  LESBIAN!”

The scene goes up a notch from even there…adding another deck to that bus. But I’ll let that play out for you if you have not seen the episode.

    

     

 

ThanxXx again for reading. There are more entries in the Shroud’s 8th Annual “Favourite TV Show Episode” Blogathon. You merely have to click on this banner below:

 

 

 

 

~ [   H O M E  ]  ~

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10 thoughts on “THE GOLDEN GIRLS

  1. I’ve always loved “Isn’t It Romantic?” too. I think it’s yet another example of why The Golden Girls was such a good show and why it has held up over the years. At the time a lot of sitcoms still made homosexuality the butt of jokes, but The Golden Girls didn’t. They handled it in a mature way, with the humour coming from the character’s misunderstandings. Anyway, thanks for reminding me of one of my favourite Golden Girls episodes and for taking part in the blogathon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Terence for including my essay. That was a great episode, building joke upon joke upon joke. ( “NOT LEBANESE!!!!” ) and not at the expense of any one group. Thanks again! I see I’ve got some essays to read. xoxo

      Like

  2. Loved your review but wished you had gone on and just reminded us what happened in the rest of the episode. I do so agree that the Golden Girls writers are the very best. I watch clips on Instagram and the dialogue is just hilarious. Of course the casting is superb.
    How come nobody mentions The Betty White Show (1977) which I love. Her costar was John Hillerman as her ex husband ,and her character couldn’t be more different from Blanche. She plays the star of a tv series called ‘Undercover Woman’. only 14 episodes but Betty’s character is more like Bea Arthur.

    Liked by 1 person

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