In today’s entry for the Great Golden Girls Marathon, we talk about the episode “The Triangle,” in which Dorothy meets a handsome and eligible doctor, only to have him make a pass at Blanche. This, of course, generates a rift between Dorothy and Blanche, one that is only healed when Rose, in a stroke of brilliance, unmasks the philanderer’s duplicity, after which the two women are emotionally reconciled.
This episode is a particularly important moment in the continuing development of the relationship among Blanche and Dorothy in particular. While there can be no denying the powerful affective bond between them (especially given the fact that they are eventually reconciled at the end), it’s clear that Dorothy always bears some measure of resentment toward Blanche. Blanche is everything that Dorothy both wants to be and also resents, and it is precisely because Blanche is so sexually voracious that Dorothy finds herself unable (or unwilling) to believe the truth about her lover’s behavior.
It is Rose, however, who deserves a great deal of credit in this episode. Say what you will about her, but Rose has two qualities that make her the binding glue of this group of women. She has a certain measure of wisdom (a product, paradoxically, of her naivete), and a faithfulness to her friends that for the most part is actually stronger and more consistent than that of the other two. It is only through her feigned seduction attempt that Dorothy learns the truth,
While I often write and reflect on the ways in which The Golden Girls spoke in a very subversive (and sometimes downright radical) mode about the pressing political and social issues of its day, writing these posts has also allowed me to see something else. The show spoke about the personal in a nuanced way that one does not often see in sitcoms (nor, when it comes to female friendship, in any genre). Most of us have been in a situation at least somewhat similar to that of these women, torn between loyalty to our friends and the one that we think we love.
There is something uniquely resonant about the fact that the heterosexual romance plots so frequently on offer in the show remain thwarted. In the end, most of the men the women encounter are not worthy of the affection that the women lavish on them, and they provide the means through which the four of them continue to build and reaffirm their bonds to one another. And how fitting that, in the end, it is Dorothy who at last finds her wish fulfilled.
Next up, we meet Blanche’s delinquent grandson David, a truly annoying character but one that reveals a great deal about the ways in which the women treat and think about the role of their children in their lives.