Category Archives: the great golden girls marathon

The Great Golden Girls Marathon: “Before and After” (S2, Ep. 15)

I have to admit that, contrary to what I usually say, this isn’t one of my favourite episodes of The Golden Girls. There’s nothing wrong with it, really, it’s just that it rather lacks the dynamic energy that characterizes so many of the other episodes of this season. In it, Rose has what she at first believes is a heart attack (it’s actually just an esophageal spasm), which makes her decide that she’s going to “eat life,” and her new lifestyle clashes with her roommates. As a result, she moves out, only to realize that nothing can replace the community she has with the other girls.

Among other things, this episode reveals a fundamental aspect of Rose’s personality, i.e. her willingness to sacrifice her own happiness in order to volunteer for others. The opening moments of the episode reveal the truly staggering array of activities in which Rose is involved, ranging from helping the neighbors by baking a wedding cake to various types of community service. While all of the women–including Sophia–frequently engage in community activities, there’s no question that Rose is the most involved in that regard. This episode is one of the few times that she starts to question the intrinsic worth of those efforts.

As with so many episodes of The Golden Girls, this episode addresses the fundamental issue of death. Given that all of them are over fifty, the reality is that death is always a possibility. In this case, it makes Rose reconsider all of the things that she has done and the way that she has lived her life. One can hardly blame her for this moment of self-reflection. After all she, like the other women, isn’t getting any younger, and so it would make sense for her to want to make sure that she gets the most out of her life while she still can. However, one can question the way that she goes about it, which seems by nature designed to alienate the women that she has already built such a strong relationship with, and the quickness of her decision to move out is, I think, one of Rose’s least-charming moments.

This is also one of the handful of episodes that sees one of the women takes up residence with someone else (Sophia does so in a later episode, for similar reasons). While the episode lacks the sort of social commentary that makes The Golden Girls such a wonderful series to watch, her exchanges with her new roommates does, I think, reflect something essential about how the series views personal relationships. For these new women, their living arrangement is one purely of convenience. They are, as one of them says, roommates, not friends. One can see this in every exchange that occurs , whether that’s one roommates leaving the room while Rose is in the middle of a story, the other roommate mistaking Rose for the other roommate’s mother, or the fact that the women know nothing about one another.

The purpose of these exchanges is, of course, to highlight the difference between these living arrangements and those shared by Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia. At a deeper level, however, I also think it says something about the state of American society in the mid-80s and about the fraying social bonds that once tied people together. It’s hard to imagine these other two women having any friends which is, I think, the saddest and most profound statement about the nature of American culture in the ’80s in the entire episode.

Next up, we come to an episode in which Blanche has to confront the decisions that she’s made as a mother.

The Great Golden Girls Marathon: “The Actor” (S2, Ep. 14)

It’s been entirely too long since I journeyed into the world of The Golden Girls, and so I thought I’d take a few minutes and share my thoughts on the 14th episode of the second season, entitled “The Actor.”

I know I’ve said this about many episodes of this show, but “The Actor” is without a doubt in my top ten favourite episodes. In it, Dorothy, Blanche, and Rose find themselves competing for the affections of a dashing actor, Patrick Vaughn, who has been contracted to perform with them in their community playhouse. Hijinks ensue, of course, given the fact that Patrick is carrying on an affair with all three of them, as well as with most of the other members of the community players.

Part of my love for this episode comes from the performances. In what is perhaps the funniest moment in the entire run of The Golden Girls, both Blanche and Dorothy recite lines next to Patrick. While Dorothy is swept up in her passion for Patrick in their on-stage kiss and “ad libs” a request for him to “take her, right here on this stage,” Blanche wears a pair of inflatable breasts that would make Jezebel blush. This moment, as my boyfriend has remarked, is a brilliant piece of blocking, as it requires that Blanche move about the “stage” in order to keep the viewer’s attention. It’s more than that, though. Blanche’s sheer exuberance, her ability to inhabit the role of Josie so completely, is hilarious precisely because it fits so neatly with the overdramatic southern belle persona that she has so thoroughly crafted for herself. The fact that Patrick inadvertently “pops her bosoms” just makes this moment all the more uproarious.

As humorous as the whole episode is, there is a moment at the very end that captures something deeply and emotionally resonant about this whole madcap affair. Each of the three women speaks of the thing that Patrick made them feel. He made Dorothy feel beautiful, he made Blanche feel young, and he made Rose feel smart. Though it is, of course, played for laughs–particularly when Dorothy responds to Rose’s confession with “God, what an actor”–it is also a moment of profound vulnerability, when each of them relates to the others their deepest insecurity. It’s one of those brilliant moments that the writers of The Golden Girls were so adeptly able to capture.

The only slight drawback is that Sophia is something of a bit player in this episode, though she does have some some great one-liners, such as her introduction of herself as “Linda Ronsatdt,” or when she informs Rose that she is off to “discover the Straits of Magellan.” Given that the episode focuses on the other three and their romantic competition, that makes sense. Nevertheless, her jokes are one of the key parts of my affection for the episode.

Yet the greater part of my affection comes from the fact that narratively it is the perfect distillation of a plot that the series will draw on several times: the competition for a man. In our culture, generally speaking it is precisely this competition that so often pits women against one another, forcing them to choose between their romantic desires and their bonds with one another. As this episode makes abundantly clear, they will always choose their each other, precisely because men are so transient, so willing to betray the women in their lives so long as it pleases their own desires.

Next up, we’ll see what happens when Rose suffers what she thinks is a heart attack and begins to change the entire way she lives her life, with very mixed results.

The Great Golden Girls Marathon: “The Stan Who Came to Dinner” (S2, Ep. 13)

Greetings, friends! Welcome to another installment of the Great Golden Girls Marathon. Today, we’re going to be talking about the episode “The Stan Who Came to Dinner,” in which Dorothy’s ex-husband Stan (played by the inimitable Herb Edelman) has to have open-heart surgery. While he makes it through the surgery without complications, his recovery in the girls’ house causes no small amount of conflict.

Personally, I’ve always really enjoyed the episodes when Stan makes an appearance. For one thing, there is an undeniable chemistry between Edelman and Bea Arthur, so much so that one can well believe that they were once married in real life (this is what happens when you have the talents of two very great actors playing against one another). For another, Edelman just plays the schmuck character so well that it’s hard not to find him charming, even if he is also very much of a sleaze (let’s not forget that the whole reason he’s Dorothy’s ex is because he left her for a stewardess). Much as you might find Stan absolutely infuriating, and as much as you might sympathize with Dorothy’s unquestionable dislike of him, you can also recognize what it was that drew her to him in the first place, and you also realize why she still finds herself a little in love with him despite everything that he’s done.

Indeed, this episode cuts to the heart of the relationship that Dorothy has with Stan. While it would be easy for her to simply tell him no when he asks if he can stay with them during his recovery, for better or worse he is still part of her family. After all, they did share 38 years together, to say nothing of their two children. More surprising, at least initially, is Sophia’s insistence that he stays there with them. However, it’s only surprising until you realize that for Sophia, with her distinctive old world sensibility, family comes before everything else, even if she might resent the fact that he’s family at all (as she says to Dorothy, “it’s your fault he’s family”). For Sophia, family really does trump everything else, and I actually find that fact a little touching.

At the same time, the episode really lays bare some of the pain and agony that Dorothy endured as she stayed with Stan, a man hardly known for his marital fidelity. Indeed, as he makes clear the night before his surgery, he cheated on her far more than she had ever believed, and while this belated confession seems to make him feel better, it really makes her reckon with the way that she thought about their relationship and their years together. Of course, she gets vengeance in her own way (a suitcase to the groin is always a good bet for a laugh).

It’s really the concluding scene that draws all of these threads together. Upon realizing that Stan has faked his relapse so that he can continue staying with them, Dorothy responds with outrage and, though she is moved by his confession of vulnerability, she makes it clear that she can’t be his emotional crutch any longer. What I particularly appreciate about this scene is the way in which it allows Stan to be emotionally vulnerable in a way that is more authentic than at almost any other point in the entire series (one exception being the series finale). Here, we see that he is, after all, a man leaving middle age, confronting the very fact of his mortality. At the same time, we also get to see Dorothy in one of her strongest moments, reminding Stan that, although she will always love him, she isn’t his wife any longer and that he has to set out on his own. Though it is, obviously, far from the end of their adventures together, it does mark a significant turning point.

This is, all told, one of the most emotionally mature episodes of the second season. Next up, we get to what I’ve always thought was one of the absolute funniest episodes the series ever aired, in which Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy compete with one another for the attentions of a very handsome and dashing actor. Stay tuned!

The Great Golden Girls Marathon: “Sisters” (S2, Ep. 12)

Okay, I know I say this every time I begin a new blog post about The Golden Girls, but I really mean it this time. I have always loved this episode, and I can say in all honesty that it is definitely one of my favourites. In this episode, Dorothy invites her aunt Angela to come to a Miami for Sophia’s birthday, not realizing that the two of them cannot stand the sight of one another. The result is some of the funniest one-liners in the history of the show.

A big part of what makes this episode so side-clutchingly funny is Nancy Walker. After all, when it comes down to it, how can you not love Walker as Sophia’s sharp-tongued sister Angela? Somehow, she manages to come across as exactly the kind of person that you would expect to be Sophia’s sister, full of zingers and stories that are just this side of believable. There’s also an undeniable chemistry between the two women, even when they are in the midst of one of their truly epic shouting matches with one another, in which they call down various outlandish curses (such as “may you put your dentures in upside down and chew your head off!) This a fine display of not only the show’s writing finesse but also the ability of two tried and true actresses playing off of one another’s strength to exceptional comedic effect.

Yet beneath all of the hilarious banter, there are two serious issues at stake. One is the power of memory and our ability to contort the past to conform to our own agenda. The entire episode hinges on the fact that each women recall the events of a party 30 years earlier very differently, and they’ve allowed their skewed recollections to poison their relationship to a pathological degree. Its both hilarious and a poignant reminder of the importance of checking ourselves occasionally and keeping lines of communication open with our loved ones. It is, in other words, one of those key life lessons that The Golden Girls, particularly in the episodes devoted to family, is so good at conveying.

The other important issue is, of course, family, and the complicated factors that often go into the types of feuds in which Sophia and Angela have engaged. As Dorothy says to both of them, this may be the last time that they see one another alive and, while it seems like a bit of a throwaway line, it’s one of those statements whose real profundity really hits you. Neither of these women is young anymore, and since they are separated by an ocean, they really do have to confront the reality of their own impending mortality (another recurring theme in the show). Though of course it’s no surprise that they end up reconciling (this is a sitcom, after all), it’s still a touching reminder of the power of family to overcome difference and rediscover love.

All in all, I’ve always found this episode to be both touching and hilarious and, underneath it all, startlingly profound. And, thankfully, it’s not the only time we get to meet Angela (who appears in a later episode of season two). Of course, this does also cause some problems in the series’ continuity down the line–when Angela is replaced by Bill Dana as Angelo–but, as with so many other incidents in the show, you just have to go with it.

Next up, we once again get to see Dorothy’s ex-husband Stan, who faces a health crisis. See you next time!

The Great Golden Girls Marathon “‘Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas” (S2, Ep. 11)

And so we come to that staple of most 1980s sitcoms, the Christmas episode. After exchanging their gifts, the four women are held captive by a deranged Santa while picking up Rose from her job at the counseling center. Though their plans to visit their own families out of state are ultimately foiled, they come to realize that they are more like family than they ever realized

The true highlight of the episode is, of course, the calendar that Blanche gives to the other girls, entitled “The Men of Blanche’s Boudoir.” Of course, we don’t get to see what is contained in said calendar, but that just makes it all the more hilarious when the women–particularly Dorothy and Sophia–respond to the…endowments of the men on display. Sophia’s remark is, unsurprisingly, very earthy (“I’m surprised you were able to walk in October,” she exclaims), and we find ourselves both vastly amused and very curious.

Despite the fact that we don’t get to see the men, there is something more than a little subversive about this moment. As most people will agree, it is typically women who are rendered into objects of spectacle for men, their bodies a source of erotic delight (the film theorist Laura Mulvery has a remarkable essay on just this subject). As they so often do, the women manage to flip the gendered dynamics that society so often relies upon, and it does so in a way that is all the more subversive for being played for laughs.

The real emotional center of the episode, however, occurs after they go to a diner to commiserate over their seemingly ruined holiday. The friendly waiter (played by Teddy Wilson, who would return in a later episode as a different character) remarks that, given how they were carrying on and teasing one another, he had assumed their family. This casual remark from a stranger forces the four women to recognize that, in reality, they are a family in all of the ways that really matter. This might seem trivial to some people, but to me it’s one of those moments in the series where you really start to realize how much these four women mean to one another. For queer people in particular–who often have a strained relationship with their families–there is something especially resonant about the way in which these wonderful women find such profound emotional fulfillment with one another.

Now, admittedly, there is something more than a little problematic in the scene that takes place at the counseling center, especially since it uses those with mental illness as the punchline. However, in cases like this it’s important to remember that, as progressive as it often is, The Golden Girls is still very much a product of its time.

Overall, I’ve always found this to be an enjoyable episode, even if it doesn’t pack quite the punch of some of the others in the second season. Next up, we’ll be talking about one of my all-time fave episodes, in which we finally get to meet Sophia’s estranged sister Angela (played by the inimitable Nancy Walker).

The Great Golden Girls Marathon: “Love, Rose” (S2, Ep. 10)

In today’s entry, we’re going to talk about one of the more touching episodes of the second season. In this episode, Blanche and Dorothy, dismayed at Rose’s loneliness–and at the lack of success she has when placing a personal ad–decide to pose as Rose’s perfect match, Isaac Newton (played by Paul Dooley). Unfortunately, things hit a snag when Rose actually contacts Isaac and asks him to go to a dance with her. Hijinks, of course, ensue.

This episode marks one of two times that the veteran character actor Paul Dooley appears (he makes another appearance at the end of season 5, in what was supposed to be a backdoor pilot for a series starring him and Rita Moreno). Though he’s never really ascended into the ranks of top actors, I’ve always had a lot of respect for Dooley (and not just because he’s from West Virginia, though admittedly that also plays a role). Somehow, he manages to imbue the character of Isaac–who is, to put it mildly, something of a tool–with some measure of humble humanity. It’s tempting to wonder what might have happened had Rose continued to date Isaac beyond the confines of this episode but, alas, that will have to remain in the space of conjecture.

Admittedly, the scheme that Blanche concocts is absurd in the most sitcomiest sense, but it’s also touching in its own way. Both Dorothy and Blanche clearly have a lot of love for Rose, and the fact that they’re willing to go to such a bizarre length to make her feel better about herself says a lot about the depth of their feeling for their friend. Just as importantly, it’s also a convenient way for the series to channel its subversive queer desires into a joke, a means of defusing queer desire in a safe way. Indeed, it’s hard not to feel more than a little verklempt at the scene in which Dorothy and Blanche confess that they met every word that they wrote in those letters.

One final, somewhat throwaway comment. My boyfriend and I were discussing the other day the fact that my sitcom scenarios from the 1980s would never happen now because the technologies and cultural practices that were their foundation no longer exist. It occurs to me that this entire episode is premised on a cultural practice that is now extinct: the personal ad. This entire episode couldn’t be written today (or, more precisely, could not take place in exactly this same way in our present moment), simply because no one reads print newspapers, let alone personal ads. Even such institutions as the personals on CraigsList have gone the way of the dodo, and hookup apps are a very different sort of creature than their print predecessors. Come to think of it, it’s actually a rather amusing game to think of how a Golden Girls episode would play out with Tinder…

Coming up, we’ll be talking about one of the series’ Christmas episodes, which is by turns infuriating, heartwarming, and sad. Stay tuned!

The Great “Golden Girls” Marathon: “Joust Between Friends” (S2, Ep.9)

Moving right along with our episode-by-episode breakdown of The Golden Girls, we come to another of those episodes where two of the women square off agains each other. In this case, the catalyst is Dorothy’s employment at Blanche’s museum. When it looks like she is going to outdo Blanche, the latter quits in a huff, not realizing that Dorothy has been put in charge of planning a party in her honor. Meanwhile, Rose adopts a dog, much to Dorothy’s chagrin.

This episode falls squarely into that set of Golden Girls episodes that explores the fraught territory of female friendships. This time, though, there’s no middle ground, since it’s pretty clear from the beginning that Blanche is in the wrong. Dorothy, as their therapist remarks in a later episode, cannot be blamed for being competent. And, of course, Dorothy takes the high road, even when it would be easier to give in to her baser instincts and just tell Blanche the truth. It’s also worth noting that the scenes of confrontation between the two of them–including and especially when Blanche pleads for forgiveness and Dorothy tearfully responds that she doesn’t know whether she can give it. As comedic as these scenes ultimately are, they still showcase just how extraordinarily talented these women were.

And yet, one can’t help but feel at least a bit of sympathy for Blanche and her plight. As she says to Dorothy, she’s been working at the museum for a number of years by this point, and to see Dorothy come in and do her job in such a short time is incredibly disorienting. Maybe it’s just my innate sympathy toward Blanche (to say nothing of my own fragile ego), but I can see where’s coming from, even if I think that her reaction to the situation is a bit overblown.

One of the things I like most about this episode is the fact that it’s Sophia that tells Blanche that Dorothy has been planning her surprise party, thus quite thoroughly shaming her. As biting as Sophia can be when it comes to interacting with Dorothy, incidents like this show that her loyalty to her daughter is deep and true. It’s one thing for her to insult Dorothy, but when someone else does–even if it’s someone who is like a daughter–she will definitely come out swinging. It’s one of those wonderful moments when we get to see just how strong the bond is between the two of them.

Of course, there are a number of continuity questions that this episode raises, particularly in the sequence where Blanche is describing Dorothy’s experiences (this is, I think, the only time that we hear about Dorothy’s study abroad experiences). Likewise, Dorothy’s reluctance/hostility to dog ownership is somewhat at odds with what happens in later episodes but still, it is touching to know that it stems from her deep, and ultimately devastating, love for a former schnauzer that lies at the root of her current antipathy toward pet ownership.

Overall I found this to be a very entertaining episode, even if it falls more into the category of filler than some of the others in this season. As always, we emerge reassured that Blanche and Dorothy have made peace with one another, at least until the next blow-up threatens their friendship.

Next up, Blanche and Dorothy concoct a clever (if ultimately rather silly) plan to make Rose feel better about her barren dating prospects.

The Great Golden Girls Marathon: “Vacation” (S2, Ep. 8)

Hello, fellow Golden Girls fans! Since I’ve now made a commitment to finishing up this marathon fairly soon, I wanted to jump right in with another installment. In today’s episode, “The Vacation,” Dorothy, Blanche, and Rose decide to go on a much-needed vacation to the Caribbean. Once there, however, they find that the advertisements were, to put mildly, misleading, and that they have to share their room with a trio of surly and spoiled young men. Sophia, meanwhile, takes this time to finally pursue a little dalliance with their Japanese gardener.

There are some truly funny sequences in this episode, and the sparring between the three women and the men are particularly amusing. The highlight of this portion, however, comes near the end, when the three of them are sitting on the beach, having survived the wrecking of the men’s boat. This incident brings out the best and the worst in the women, as each of them confesses some of their dark secrets that they’ve been hiding from one another (including the fact that both Dorothy and Blanche slept with Rose’s cousin). This sequence also features a very funny bit where Rose asserts her dominance over her squabbling fellows, one of those hilarious instances where Rose reveals that, beneath the midwest nice persona there’s a core of iron and badassery.

Now, admittedly, the sequences that actually take place on the island are more than a little problematic, perpetuating as they do the idea that places in the Caribbean are full of corrupt bureaucrats, decadent politics, and violent revolution. Now, I know that it’s played for laughs, but it’s worth emphasizing that, as progressive as it often was, there were times when The Golden Girls was problematic. It’s important to remember that there was substantial unrest in the Caribbean at the time, including notably the uprising that toppled the president of Haiti (an incident that Sophia alludes to in another episode), so it’s hardly surprising that this would have some impact on the series’ storylines.

As hilarious (and problematic) as the main plot is, to my mind the more significant aspect of the episode is Sophia’s little love affair with the gardener Mr. Mitsumo. The scenes between two of them are actually incredibly sweet, as they somehow manage to overcome the language barrier (he speaks only broken English and she, of course, doesn’t speak Japanese) to find that there is something deeper between them. The part of the scene where they kiss is incredibly endearing and I, for one, love seeing Sophia just as prone to feeling the prick of Cupid’s arrow as the rest of the girls.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable episode of The Golden Girls, though I would probably rank it in the bottom third overall. There’s not much significant political or emotional heft to the episode as a whole, and the humor is a little simplistic. It’s pretty average sitcom fare, and that’s perfectly okay.

In our next outing, we get to see yet another conflict between Dorothy and Blanche as they compete for accolades at the art museum.

The Great “Golden Girls” Marathon: “Family Affair” (S2, Ep. 7)

Sorry for my extended absence. I’ve been pretty swamped with a variety of projects, so I haven’t had as much time to devote to this blog (and this Golden Girls marathon), as I would like. Rest assured, I’m going to really try to publish at least a couple of these episode analyses per week, in the hopes that I can get all the way through the show within the next several months. That’s a tall order, but I do love a challenge.

This episode marks the first appearance of Scott Jacoby as Dorothy’s son Michael (woh would go on to appear in two other episodes as the same character). His visit to the women happens to coincide with a visit from Rose’s daughter Bridget, and while she is a future Oxford student, Michael he is a struggling musician. This doesn’t stop them from having a little afternoon delight, however, leading to a brutal fight between Dorothy and Rose that puts an intense strain on their friendship.

It’s hard to deny that Scott Jacoby is a very cute young man, and he has a fair amount of charm (certainly more than his brother, who played Blanche’s grandson David in an earlier episode). As a character, however, Michael exhibits the same sorts of frustrating behavior that so often bedevil the women’s children. Michael’s essential flaw is that he refuses to take life seriously; unlike his no-nonsense mother, he bounces through life, from job to job, with nary a care in the world. What’s more, he seems to have no sense of common decency, since he has sex with his mother’s best friend’s daughter. Hardly the behavior of an upstanding young man, is it?

The emotional center of the episode, however, is the vicious argument that breaks out between Dorothy and Rose regarding which of their two children was responsible for their liaison. Rose, in a rare show of aggression, declares that Michael is nothing but a loser, while Dorthy responds that Bridget is a tramp. The tension between White and Arthur has been noted (most especially by White herself), and I suspect they might have been channeling some of that into this emotional confrontation, which helps to give it a raw intensity that it might have otherwise lack. In the long annals of fights between and among the women, this one is right up there. It’s hard not to feel uncomfortable watching it, precisely because it feels so real and immediate.

What’s more, it allows the show to explore the often fraught space between one’s friends and one’s family. In this case, neither of the women is comfortable accepting uncomfortable truths about their children and, as a result, they start to take it out on one another. Usually, family strife in The Golden Girls is restricted to one of the women and whichever family member they happen to be feuding with (daughter, son, brother, etc.), so this change is actually quite refreshing.

Ultimately, of course, both Dorothy and Rose overcome their differences fairly easily. It’s not so easy, however, to come to grips with their children’s foibles. On Dorothy’s part, she has to recognize that her son, as much as she loves him, is never going to be the responsible adult that she wants him to be. Rose, on the other hand, in her innocence and naïveté, has to grapple with the reality that her daughter is an adult with sexual desires. Ironically enough, it is Rose who actually has the harder time accepting the reality that her daughter is now an adult.

Next up, we come to one of the more problematic episodes of the second season, in which three of the women take an ill-fated trip to the Caribbean.

The Great “Golden Girls” Marathon: “Big Daddy’s Little Lady” (S2, Ep. 6)

For today’s installment of the ongoing marathon of The Golden Girls, we come to another of those episodes that has become iconic. In the episode, Blanche has to contend with her father’s decision to marry a much younger woman, while Dorothy and Rose decide to enter a songwriting contest and, in the process, create one of the most iconic moments in the entire series.

This episode has some of the most memorable (and quotable) moments in the entire series. Whether this is Rose and Dorothy’s banter about whether “thrice” should be used in a word, or their attempts to find a word that rhymes with Miami (Rose suggestions include a skewed pronunciations of salami, hootenanny, and mammy). To my mind, this is some of the most brilliant writing in the entire series. Just as importantly, it also allows Betty White and Bea Arthur, so opposite in temperament and personality, to really spark off of each other. The result is pure comedy gold.

In the end, of course, the two of them do end up producing a song, one arguably as memorable as the theme itself. And, though they don’t ultimately get win the contest (coming in second place and, as Dorothy says, treated badly), they do get to perform it for our pleasure and their own. Indeed, the resulting number–which features all four of the women singing together–is one of those moments of pure, unadulterated joy that The Golden Girls seems to have had a particular knack for creating. If you don’t emerge from that finale with a smile on your face, then I think you might want to confirm that you are actually human.

On the more serious side of things, Blanche’s grappling with her father’s marriage to a younger woman reveals a great deal about her relationship with her father. This Big Daddy is a very different iteration than his appearance in the first season, in which he was much more the rascally old man that is such a key part of many of Blanche’s stories about him. David Wayne’s portrayal gives Big Daddy a certain gravitas that he lacked, and this makes him a perfect incarnation of the southern gentleman. It’s clear from the outset that he dotes on Blanche and that she, likewise, idolizes him. At least, she does until his new bride-to-be shows up, after which she (once again) tries to reign in her father’s behavior.

Of course, Blanche’s response to her father’s amorous adventures make sense, even if she does go about expressing it in a very abrasive and disrespectful way. Who wouldn’t feel at least a little bit suspicious if their elderly parent was marrying a much younger person? As always, I find it striking that it is Blanche of all people who takes it upon herself to judge what other people do sexually. It’s a big part of what makes her such a rich, complex, and compelling character.

This is one of those episodes of The Golden Girls that stands the test of time, one of those that you can watch again and again and have it be just as funny as the first time that you watched it. Next up, we get to meet Dorothy’s son Michael, as well as Rose’s daughter Bridget.