The Great Golden Girls Marathon: “The Triangle”

After a long absence, I’m back (as often as the Dissertation allows, anyway). I’m resuming my blogging activities by picking up where I left off with the Great Golden Girls Marathon (which I hope to continue developing, albeit sporadically). Today’s episode is “The Triangle,” in which Blanche and Dorothy find themselves in the midst of a love triangle after Dorothy’s beau makes a pass at Blanche. Fortunately, Rose comes to the rescue

This episode actually features some of the harshest criticisms of any of the first season, as both Blanche and Dorothy have to reckon with the aspects of their personalities that are not entirely compatible with one another. While we are not encouraged to be on Dorothy’s side (especially since we know that Elliot was indeed the one who made the first move), we are also invited to recognize that Dorothy’s criticisms are at least in part well-founded. Both characters have to really take a look at themselves and what they believe to be true of one another. This episode is really the first true trial of the women’s friendship, and to some extent its a miracle that it survives at all.

Beneath all of this is an exploration of the tensions and frictions that inevitably emerge among even the closest of friends. It is almost inevitable (at least in the vision of the world typically offered by sitcoms), that will emerge a romantic competition among even the closest of friends. It is also worth pointing out that at this early stage Dorothy is still seen as eligible for romance in a way that would become increasingly rare as the series developed. However, it does illustrate that even at this early stage Rose is, to some extent, the glue that holds the group together, though the other three women do at times occupy that position. Just as importantly, it also shows that Rose has a particular kind of perceptive intelligence, though of course it often exists just beneath the surface.

Fortunately, the tension is resolved by the end of the episode, though this will not be the only time that Blanche’s promiscuous behaviour comes back to haunt (and strain) her relationship with her beloved friends. The show, despite its celebration of Blanche’s unrestrained sexuality, can’t seem to resist offering us the opportunity to judge her for her behaviour. As it so often does, The Golden Girls manages to straddle the line between progressive and regressive, just another reason to love and enjoy the series in all of its glorious complexity.

Next up, we encounter yet another family visitor:  Blanche’s obnoxious, juvenile-delinquent grandson David.


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