Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Charlie's Buddy S3E12

Buddy, an old army buddy of Rose's late husband comes to visit, but he’s not quite who he seems to be. Meanwhile, Dorothy tries to find a dress for a museum fundraiser.

80s Flashback
Dorothy: “Ma, Rose and Buddy are just friends.”
Sophia: “Sure and Michael Jackson was born with that cleft in his chin.”

Let’s Get Political
Blanche: “Dorothy, you found a dress for the banquet. Oh do you just adore it. Does it stir emotions from deep within you? Could you just throw yourself down a die for it??”
Dorothy: “It’s a dress Blanche, it’s not the Alamo.”

Musical Moments
Dorothy: “Ma, I need to talk to someone.”
Sophia, listening to the radio: “Sure, come in, I can listen to Pavarotti live from the Met anytime.”

That’s What She Said
Sophia, about Rose: “If you can find her. Ever since that guy hit town she spends most of her time out polishing his shillelagh.”

Lewd Ladies
Blanche: “Being with a man is not the same thing as living with a man.”
Dorothy: “You’re right Blanche, living with a man eliminates the need for an overnight bag and a stop at the drug store.”

Zbornak Zingers
Blanche: “This dress looks sensational on me; people expect to see me in a sensational dress!”Dorothy: “And what do they expect to see me in, a yarmulke and a Hefty Bag?”
Back in St. OlafBuddy: “In fact, and I remember there was some kind of a scandal. Uh, with a neighbor, I think.”Rose: “Phineas Wigler? I can't believe you remember that….The Wiglers were a very revered family.”Buddy: “Yeah, until the scandal.”Rose: “Oh, it was just terrible. The Navy came to town to take bids for a big submarine contract. They said they wanted three submarines built for around a million dollars. Well, Finneas said he could make 100 for half the money. So, of course, he got the contract. When the Navy came to check on the progress, six months later, they discovered there'd been a terrible misunderstanding. Finneas had made 100 hoagie heroes for $500,000. He claimed the reason they were so expensive was he had used all imported meats and cheeses.”
Picture It
Sophia: “Dorothy, let me tell you a story. Picture it. Sicily, 1922. A young military officer stationed far from home. He wanders the streets seeking a friendly face and a glass of Chianti. Finally, he happens into a dusty little cafe where he finds both. The man laughs for the first time in months. And finds inspiration in a beautiful peasant girl, wise beyond her years. When the cafe is closed, she takes him home with her.
Three glorious days, they make love and drink wine. He returns to his command prepared to lead his people through whatever battles need to be fought. Dorothy, that young peasant girl was me. And that young man was Winston Churchill.”
Dorothy: “Ma, you made that whole thing up, now what is your point?”
Sophia: “That I made it up. It was a little lie that gave me a lot of pleasure. If Rose is happy, and there was no harm done, let her have that.”

Insult Watch
Sophia, admiring Dorothy’s new dress: “Pussycat, you look sensational... who’s the designer? He deserves a Nobel Prize for miracles.”

Product Placement
Dorothy: “Why don't you think about it while you're inhaling your next cheesecake.”
Blanche: “How dare she imply that I overeat. Makes me so mad! Oh, darn, we're out of Chips Ahoy!”

Sassy Sophia
Buddy: “Rose Nylund?”
Sophia: “No. And if I start acting like her, pull the plug!”

Crazy Continuity
Rose says that you can’t get to St. Gustave by plane; you have to go by toboggan. But in the episode when Rose wins St. Olaf Woman of the Year, Rose says the only way to get to St. Olaf is to fly to St. Gustave and then take land transportation to St. Olaf.

Literary Intelligentsia
Blanche: “This is morally wrong. It is epically offensive. It's an out and out sin.”
Dorothy: “Why do I feel like I just fell through the looking glass?”

The Boob Tube
Sophia: “Two World Wars, a Polish pope and now this. I may live to see CBS come up with a morning show yet.”

Reel References
Blanche: “I am wearing this dress. Dorothy! It deserves to be displayed on a devastatingly beautiful body.”
Dorothy: “Who are you gonna send it to, Kim Basinger?”

Golden Quotes
Dorothy: “If I had lived with Stan before I got married, I could have spared us both some very painful times and a bitter divorce.”
Sophia: “And possibly given birth to reasonably attractive children.”

Critique: Another episode another fundraiser banquet. No wonder Rose eventually had charity work burnout. This is one of those episodes where a situation arises in which one of the girls may move out. Rose falls for her late husband’s old pal and his eyebrows, and after a short time decides to move in with him, but it turns out that he’s just a con man looking to grab her dough. Some funny bits arise with Dorothy’s insignificant “search for the perfect dress” storyline (“Hey, don't panic. Get one for Rose and you can go as The Pointer Sisters!”). There are some good lines to be had, mostly at Dorothy's expense, and yet another reference to her being compared to Quasimodo. And let's be honest, Dorothy looks ten times better in that peach colored dress than Blanche does. And as a final note, I really want to here the story of Uncle Fingerbinger and this thirty pound rutabaga. Overall it’s a solid if not particularly outstanding or memorable episode; it earns extra points for the fast and furious dress-related insults. GRADE: B

Monday, September 28, 2015

Three on a Couch S3E11

Synopsis: The girls are randomly at each other’s throats and decide that counseling is their only option.

80s Flashback
Sophia, to Blanche: “You know what I can’t stand any more, that phony accent of yours. What is this Designing Women?”

Let's Get Political
Blanche: “Dorothy, I have been waiting for Larry to ask me out ever since our eyes first met at Del's Route 1 Chevron. And I climbed on the hood of his LeBaron and wrote my phone number on his windshield with the heel of my Pappagallo pump.”
Dorothy: “Isn't that how Mrs. Simpson met the Duke of Windsor?”

St. Olaf Vocab
Gerkanenaken – the precise moment when dog doo turns white
Tutenbobels – the buttocks

That’s What She Said
Blanche: “Everyone says what a giving person I am.”
Sophia: “She’s talking about when you’re in an upright position.”

Lewd Ladies
Blanche: “She’s always harping on us to do everything just right. I’m surprised she doesn’t check our underwear before we leave the house.”
Dorothy: “Those of you who wear underwear.”

Product Placement
Dorothy: “Oh Rose, this is the personals column… You put an ad in the personals column that says that I will do anything for eight dollars an hour? And look it’s right under an ad that reads ‘History professor seeking non-smoking oriental woman who is into Wesson Oil and bears a resemblance to Florence Henderson.’”

Sassy Sophia
Dorothy: “Blanche, I am miserable!”
Blanche: “It is mind over matter Dorothy. Now, you can do it. You can get up off that couch. You feel better already. You're not sick anymore. Dorothy, you can heal yourself! Walk, Dorothy! Walk!!”
Sophia: “Hey, just because you put your makeup on with a butter knife doesn't make you Tammy Bakker.”

Picture It
Sophia tells the girls a story about a young peasant girl whose pepperoni goes missing. She comes to a raging river with pepperoni swimming upstream (even though pepperoni is a land meat). This supposed “act of god” is revealed to have been the result of a disgruntled factory worker who had blown up a nearby pepperoni factory causing the meat to rain all over the place. Which is where that old Sicilian saying, “It’s raining cats and pepperoni” comes from.

Zbornak Zingers
Dorothy, apologizing to a priest: “I’m terribly sorry. I promise that I will say Hail Marys until Madonna has a hit movie.”

Oh Shut Up, Rose
Blanche: “I'm 41 years old, I'm 5'6", I weigh 108 pounds, and my hair is its natural hue.”
Rose: “Sure, Blanche. Yours and Lucy's.”
Dr. Ashley: “What about you, Rose?”
Rose: “Well, to be perfectly honest, I use a touch of peroxide.”
Dorothy: “Oh shut up, Rose.”

Insult Watch
Blanche: “Rose and I rented that movie Aliens and it just scared us half to death.”
Sophia: “Scared me too. That Sigourney Weaver is a sweet girl but she really shouldn’t go without makeup.”

Best of B.E.D.
Blanche: “I’m Blanche Devereaux and I know it’s not pertinent at the moment, but I’m double-jointed.”

The Boob Tube
Blanche: “Dorothy, you've looked much worse than this. Remember that time you gave yourself a home perm, burnt your hair right down to the roots and ended up looking like Buckwheat?”

Reel References
Dorothy: “I didn't expect people to actually come here. I just figured, you know,, that I would be going to them.”
Man: “That's the way it'll work in the future when my video camera gets back from the shop.”
Dorothy: “So tell me, what type of work is it that you need done, Mr um-”
Man: “Toto.”
Dorothy: “Mr. Toto.”
Man: “Oh, no 'Mister.' Just Toto. You're Dorothy, and I'm Toto. At least for the next $8.00.”

Golden Quotes
Dorothy, who is sick as a dog on the couch: “Blanche, please please my body aches!”
Blanche: “Well so does mine, honey, that’s why I wanna go out on this date.”

Critique: Another episode, another Tammy Faye Baker reference. The Golden Girls writers were notorious for giving us “flashback episodes” but these were not “clip shows.” They featured flashbacks to different past situations (with a wrap-around story) that we as viewers had never seen before (see “One for the Money”). Many of these “flashbacks” contain some of the series’ flat-out best moments. One of which is the scene where Blanche is trying to get an under-the-weather Dorothy to attend their planned double date. Bea and Rue are just so darned good in this scene (“Dorothy, how long have you been inhaling this VapoRub??”). The “Want Ad” scene is particularly hilarious (“How would you like your rear-end kicked across the street!”). Overall, the episode is odd in that we’re forced to believe the girls would be bickering enough to actually want to split up, but I never bought it for a second. It just offered those moments when the girls are insulting each other which tend to be when the series is in top form. GRADE: A

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Audit S3E10

Synopsis: Dorothy is thrown for a loop when Stan informs her that they’ll be audited by the IRS; Rose and Blanche take a Spanish night class.

80s Flashback
Dorothy: “I can't sleep. Every time I close my eyes, I see Uncle Sam going through my purse.”
Blanche: “Still worried about the money you owe the government?”
Dorothy: “Oh, no Blanche, I'm worried about whether Michael Jackson will be able to buy the remains of the Elephant Man.”

Zbornak Zingers
Rose: “Norwegians are notoriously bad at Spanish.”
Dorothy: “I guess that’s why there are no herring tacos.”

That's What She Said
Dorothy: “And all the time, Stanley had his hand in the cookie jar.”

Lewd Ladies
Rose: “In the olden days, the Vikings would cut off your hand if they caught you stealing. They'd cut out your tongue if they caught you lying. They'd cut off your feet if they caught you trespassing.”
Sophia: “Too bad there wasn't a Viking around when Stanley knocked you up.”

Insult Watch
Dorothy: “I only have half of the 2500. And since I don't qualify for a bank loan, I'm just gonna have to sell some of my stuff.”
Sophia: “Hold it. No daughter of mine is selling her stuff. It's a sin, it's a crime, and let's face it, Dorothy, lately you can't give it away.”

Sassy Sophia
Dorothy: “Gee Rose, if I closed my eyes I’d swear I was in Ecuador.”
Sophia: “Sorry, that was me.”

Back in St. Olaf
Rose: “I've only cheated once in my life and I vowed I'd never do it again… Oh, it was the worst experience of my whole life. St. Olaf was rocked by the scandal.”
Blanche: “What'd you do, shortchange somebody down at the feed store?”
Rose: “Worse. I fed BB's to my prize lamb Harlan so he'd weigh in heavier at the county fair.”
Blanche: “Oh my God, Rose. How do you sleep at night??”
Rose: “I knew it was wrong all along, but I wanted to win first prize. And I would have, if Harlan could have held it just a little longer.”

Product Placement
Rose: “Being bilingual really gets me confused.”
Sophia: “Ziploc bags get you confused.”

Best of B.E.D.
Blanche: “Men go to night school - smart men. And nothing turns me on more than a smart man. Unless it's a stupid man with good hands.”

The Boob Tube
Rose: “Hi girls, guess what I'll be doing for three hours every Tuesday and Thursday night.”
Dorothy: “Cutting up your black pantyhose and putting on an Amos 'n Andy puppet show?”

Reel References
Stan: “I was just trying to do something to make things better for us. All our friends were moving up, and we were stuck with a one-way ticket to Palookaville. I wanted to be someone, babe. I wanted to be a contender.”
Dorothy: “Stanley, did you just rent On the Waterfront?”

Golden Quotes
Rose: “Do you know that promotion I was up for at the counseling center? Well, I found out I can't have it unless I become bilingual.”
Blanche: “Oh no, honey, don't do that. No job is worth having to date women.”

and

Sophia: “Let me tell you girls the three most important things I learned about life: Number one – hold fast to your friends. Number two- there’s no such thing as security. And three – don’t go see ‘Ishtar’. Woof.”


Critique: This episode is as entertaining as a tax audit. Ok it's not that bad… there are actually some good lines and moments. While no episode of The Golden Girls is flat out terrible (oh wait), this is definitely one of the season’s lesser efforts. The auditing storyline isn’t particularly interesting though it does give Dorothy and Stan some good moments as Bea Arthur and Herb Edelman (who was deservedly nominated for an Emmy for this episode) have tremendous chemistry together (“Shut up and put your hair on!”). Rose’s storyline about taking a Spanish class has its moments, but they’re mostly throwaways. Though her getting her verbs mixed up in the pawn shop is pretty priceless (“You've got yourself a ring muchacho!”). GRADE: B-

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Visit From Little Sven S3 E9

Synopsis: Rose’s cousin Sven comes to visit and Blanche ends up using him to make her boyfriend Floyd jealous; Sophia wants her driver’s license renewed.

80s Flashback
Dorothy, talking about Sven: “Uh Rose, could you introduce Blanche and me?”
Rose: “Oh of course, Dorothy this is Blanche, Blanche this is Dorothy! We have jokes like that around here all the time.”
Dorothy: “It’s like living in a house full of Howie Mandels.”

Let’s Get Political
Rose: “In the old country, when a woman dumps a man the man is allowed to shave the woman’s head and make her wear an itchy hat.”
Dorothy: “I hear Pakistan has the same penalty for jaywalking.”

St. Olaf Vocab
Flenderhooven – oatmeal served with crackers made of yak intestines, aka “yak snacks”

That’s What She Said
Rose: “The longer you wait, the harder it'll get!”

Lewd Ladies
Blanche: “Why, Rose Nylund! Why, that cake is in the shape of-”
Dorothy: “Blanche, we know what it is.”
Rose: “I thought it was in the shape of Florida.”
Blanche: “That reminds me, I've gotta give Charlie Milburne a call.”
Dorothy: “If this cake reminds you of Charlie Milburne, we could both give him a call.”

Zbornak Zingers
Blanche: “Rose, that's only one side of it. Look at the other side. He did get to kiss me.
Dorothy: “Big deal. More people get to kiss you than the Pope's ring.”

Insult Watch
Sophia: “Were you two the cousins who played the banjo in Deliverance?”

Tales From the Old South
Blanche: “You know, I've always had this trouble ever since high school. I was the head cheerleader and I was dating our star quarterback, Calwell Honeycutt. Well, time came to break up but I just could not tell Calwell to his face. I couldn't bear to inflict that much grief and suffering on one man. So I finally decided that the best way to handle it was just to lead my girls in a farewell cheer. Two-four-six-eight, who will Blanche no longer date? Calwell!”
Dorothy: “Did he get the message, or did the band have to spell out 'buzz off' at half-time?”

Sassy Sophia
Dorothy: “Ma, you went through the stop sign, you hit a mailbox, you almost ran over Mrs. Burlefine!”
Sophia: “Please the woman’s already in a wheelchair how much more damage could I do?”

Reel References
Blanche: “Doesn't that get confusing, having two 'Big Svens'?”
Rose: “There aren't Blanche. There’s Big Sven and Big Sven II, like Jaws and Jaws 2.”
Dorothy: “Rose, are any of your relatives named Psycho and Psycho II?!”

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Stanley
Dorothy: “Ma, you're 81 years old. Your eyesight is weaker. Your reflexes are slower.”
Sophia: “And who are you, Magic Johnson?”

Oh Shut Up, Rose!
Dorothy: “Rose, everything okay down at the counseling center?”
Rose: “Yes, finally. We had a manic depressive overload but luckily Dr. Ferguson had heard some new knock-knock jokes and that seemed to do the trick.”
Dorothy: “Knock-knock??”
Rose: “Who's there?!”
Dorothy: “Oh shut up, Rose!”

Product Placement
Blanche: “How long had you been together with this guy?”
Dorothy: “Thirty-eight years.”
Rose: “That was Stan??”
Dorothy: “And you know, to this day, he can belch out the chorus to 'Sweet Georgia Brown' on one Dr. Pepper.”

Best of B.E.D.
Blanche: “He said he had to go visit his sick mother in the hospital. Did you ever hear such a weak excuse?”
Dorothy: “And his mother isn't in the hospital.”
Blanche: “Of course she is, but he can visit her anytime. He can only see me tonight.”

Golden Quotes
Blanche: “You know, I never thought I’d say this, but I think Rose has got the brains in that family.”

and

Rose: “What’s this boat she keeps talking about?”
Dorothy: “Don’t worry Rose, you missed it.”

Critique: I know it's been a while since I've been in school but can someone explain Sven's reference to the Cape of Good Hope? It's in South Africa, so why would Sven need to sail around it to get home to Scandinavia from Florida? Or is it just one of the million jokes about him being as dumb as a box of hair? But I digress. Any episode that involves any of Rose’s weird relatives or family traditions is a winner in my book. I love the way Blanche is constantly mispronouncing Sven’s name. It’s also fun to see a person who is more naïve than Rose. But the standout moment of the episode is the brief bit with the cake from the Get It While It's Hot Erotic Bake Shop; it's a priceless, hilarious scene including Dorothy’s classic baritoned, “WHOA!” Unfortunately, Sophia’s storyline about getting her driver's license again is only an excuse to make jokes about running over people (even though they're still pretty funny). And this episode continues the writers' endless obsession with Burt Reynolds. GRADE: B+

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Brotherly Love S3E8


Synopsis: Stan’s brother Ted comes to visit and Dorothy has feelings for him. Meanwhile, Rose is suffering from insomnia.

80s Flashback
Blanche: “Try counting sheep.”
Rose: “I can't count sheep, I'm allergic to wool. I got to 23 and I broke out in hives. That's when I started counting the members of the Jackson family. Michael, Janet, LaToya, Tito… And then there's Stonewall Jackson but I don't remember him on the Victory Tour.”

Let’s Get Political
Rose [wearing a nightgown]: “It’s nice meeting you Ted, but I have to go to work.”
Ted: “Oh what do you do?”
Dorothy: “She’s Gary Hart’s campaign manager. It doesn’t pay much, but you don’t have to get out of bed to do it.”

Crazy Continuity
Sophia says she didn’t know Dorothy was pregnant until four days after Dorothy’s wedding but in most episodes it’s understood that Dorothy married Stan BECAUSE she was pregnant.
Also, Rose says she can’t count sheep because she’s allergic to wool, but in a later makes references to her wool skirts.

That’s What She Said
Ted: “Have you checked your thermostat?”
Blanche: “Why don’t you check it for me?”

Lewd Ladies
Stan: “I have a surprise for Dorothy.”
Sophia: “What, now that you’re off the blood pressure medicine, it’s working again?”

Zbornak Zingers
Dorothy, to an entire restaurant: “Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please. The gentleman at table five in the blue suit is impotent. Bon appetit!”

Insult Watch
Rose: “Oh I get it, play dumb, I can play dumb.”
Sophia: “Play? You could manage the team.”

Sassy Sophia
Dorothy: “After all, Ted is just a doctor and a pillar of his community. While on the other hand, you were the king of padded toilet seats.”
Stan: “Hey, they sold real well for a while; even put our daughter through college.”
Sophia: “They got me through some tough times too.”

Back in St. Olaf
Blanche: “Have you tried drinking warm milk before going to bed?”
Rose: “No, I can't drink warm milk. It reminds me of the time Cousin Enoch fell into the vat of milk at the dairy… In fact, it began the annual tradition of the St. Olaf milk diving tournament. I won three times in the low fat division. Eventually they discontinued the event when several spectators were caught dipping their Oreo cookies in the winner’s swim trunks.”

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Stanley
Blanche: “Why do men have to put up false pretenses?”
Sophia: “This from a woman who wears more padding on her chest than Johnny Bench.”

Product Placement
Blanche: “You know that attorney I've been dating? I caught him handling melons at the A&P.”
Dorothy: “And I take it they weren't yours?”

Best of B.E.D.
Blanche: “Well what's your hurry? Why don’t you come in for a nightcap.”
Ted “Oh I don't wanna put you out.”
Blanche: “Well I like to put out. I mean, it’s no trouble.”

Literary Intelligentsia
Dorotohy: “Honey, where did you come from?”
Blanche: “Oh I was hiding behind the drapes.”
Dorothy: “What is this, Hamlet??”

The Boob Tube
Sophia: “Don't mind me. The best of Carson is coming on.”
Blanche: “In here?”
Sophia: “No, Blanche, in Hollywood, but they pipe it through these little wires and it comes out here.”

Reel References
Dorothy: “I didn’t do anything wrong, Ted and I just talked last night.”
Sophia: “Right and The Godfather made all his money selling olive oil.”

Golden Quotes
Stan: “What about me babe?”
Dorothy: “Go hug a landmine.”

And:

Rose, half asleep: “Oh Blanche, you’re not a terrible person. You’re just horny all the time.”

And of course:

Dorothy: “Blanche, have you heard the latest ad campaigns? Join the Navy, see the world, sleep with Blanche Devereaux? Join the Army, be all you can be, and sleep with Blanche Devereaux? The Marines are looking for a few good men who have not slept with Blanche Devereaux!”
Blanche: “Just what are you trying to imply?”
Dorothy: “Slut!”
Blanche: “Trash!”
Rose: “Now girls, settle down before you say something you'll both regret.”

Critique: We’re all convinced that Sophia’s Sicilian sleeping potion is just Pepto-Bismol right? Anyways, whenever I watch this episode I feel iffy about it because the scenes with Ted aren’t very interesting and then I realize there are some truly great moments in this episode, even if the plot isn’t all that special or memorable. The sight of Sophia about to knock Rose unconscious with a sauce pan is simply priceless, as is her defense, “I was making a soufflé and it got away from me!” Rose’s insomnia storyline (it turns out Rose doesn’t know the difference between calcium and caffeine) gives Betty some truly great moments as she acts zombie-like throughout the episode. It even ends with a hysterical bit of physical comedy that finds Bea Arthur falling to the floor, a sight that is one of my favorite physical gags of the series and is almost as good as Patrick Vaughn tossing Dorothy to the ground. [Note: In honor of the upcoming Barbara Thorndyke episode I'm introducing a new category called 'Literary Intelligentsia' for all book, play, and other literary references] GRADE: B+

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Strange Bedfellows S3E7

Synopsis: The girls help out with the campaign for local politician Gil Kessler, but Blanche gets caught possibly having an affair with him. Sophia has a hunch.

80s Flashback
Dorothy: “Ma, you said you’d stay in your room until the meeting was over.”
Sophia: “Who am I, Alf?”

Let’s Get Political
Rose: “I haven’t had this much fun since I worked on the Dewey campaign.”
Dorothy: “Rose, you worked for Thomas Dewey?”
Rose, “No, Melvil Dewey, the founder of the Dewey Decimal System.”

Insult Watch
Blanche: “My backside is spread all across the front page, how could they do that!?”
Sophia: “They probably used a wide-angle lens.”

Picture It
Sophia: “Picture this. Sicily, 1922. The village is in a terrible wine crisis. It's the peak of the wine season. All our grape stompers are ravaged by an outbreak of athlete's foot. Soon the Chianti has a green hue and tastes like Desenex. They call in Sicily's foremost podiatrist, Bruno Bonofiglio. He's the one who prescribed arch supports for Mussolini… I take one look at him, and I have a hunch he's trouble. But nobody believes me. So what happens? He cures everybody and wine sales skyrocket... Now, everyone is living high on the hog and eating rich foods. The next thing you know, there's a gout epidemic. Nobody can stomp grapes. And Bruno makes a killing selling orthopedic sandals.”
Dorothy: “Now don't tell me. He went to America, and changed his name to Dr. Scholl?”
Sophia: “No. Actually, he developed a foot fetish and suffocated when he shoved his head in a lady's rubber boot.”

Zbornak Zingers
Dorothy: “Wait a minute, that looks like Blanche's red dress.”
Sophia: “And those look like Blanche's red shoes.”
Dorothy: “And aren't they her diamond earrings and gold bracelet?”
Rose: “That little floozy stole Blanche's clothes!”
Dorothy: “It's like having Agatha Christie right here in our kitchen.”

Product Placement
Sophia, on the phone: “Hello? I need the number for People magazine. The department that buys stories about politicians who sleep with sleazy broads. [looking at Blanche] Don't worry, it's not about you.”

That’s What She Said
Sophia: “I can't put my finger on it. But if I could, I would have to wash it.”

Oh Shut Up, Rose!
Blanche: “Can you give me one good reason why I would lie to you?”
Dorothy: “You're embarrassed because you seduced him. You're scared, and you're guilty because you've ruined his campaign.”
Rose: “Three good reasons.”
Blanche & Dorothy: “Oh, shut up Rose!”

Sassy Sophia
Dorothy: “Oh, come on, Ma. Remember your hunch about your nephew, Angelo? You said one day he'd be Pope.”
Sophia: “Dorothy, you gotta pay attention. I said one day, he'd sell dope. What do you think he went to Attica for, the volleyball program?”

Best of B.E.D.
Blanche: “Are you trying to tell me that people like you better now because they think you went to bed with a gorgeous, intelligent woman??”

Reel References
Dorothy: “Now look, Blanche, we're in public now. There's no reason to be hostile.”
Blanche: “Oh yes there is. I don't like you.”
Dorothy: “And horizontal stripes make you look like Roger Ebert.”

The Boob Tube
Dorothy: “I just wanna forget the whole incident. It's been a terrible night and I am very upset.”
Rose: “You mean because Gil dropped out of the election and Blanche hates us.”
Dorothy: “No, I’m upset because they haven’t rerun The Facts of Life Goes to Australia.”

Golden Quotes
Rose, referring to the newspaper: “Blanche it's you!”
Blanche, pointing to Sophia: “Oh, you're getting so good at that Rose, now who's that over there?”

and of course,

Rose: “I'm still confused about the operation Gil Kessler had. Is the man asleep during it?”
Dorothy: “I think so, Rose.”
Rose: “And what about the parts they put on? Do they test them first?”
Dorothy: “Of course Rose, you know, like windshield wipers.”
Rose: “What are they made of??”
Dorothy: “SILLY PUTTY ROSE!”

Critique: I'm fascinated by how big of a deal a political race for city councilman in Miami could possibly be. Like why would photographers be waiting in bushes outside Gil Kessler's house? But I digress. Season Three has been overall fantastic but “Strange Bedfellows” is not one of my all-time favorite episodes. It nonetheless offers a few key decent moments (including Dorothy's quick quip “That's an article about an earthquake in Guatemala!”) and a nice twist ending that doesn’t feel forced. Rue is really good in this episode, and Bea has too many good lines to quote here (but I'll do it anyway: “It sounded like Jim and Tammy Faye on Nightline!”) I love how obsessed the writers were with Tammy Baker. I don't really believe that Dorothy wouldn't believe Blanche as is the case in many of these episodes, but it allows for the insults to come fast and loose (that's what she said): “Indian Giver!!” B

Friday, September 18, 2015

Letter to Gorbachev S3E6

Synopsis: In what is probably the most far-fetched episode so far, Sunshine Cadet troop leader Rose writes a concerned letter about nuclear war to President Reagan and Soviet Union President Gorbachev and Gorbachev writes back! Meanwhile, Sophia is working on an act for a local talent show.

80s Flashback
Rose: “This is amazing, this is so amazing. To think I'm giving a press conference and next week we all go to Moscow. Can you believe it, Dorothy?”
Dorothy: “No, but then again I can’t believe that God wanted Jerry Falwell to go down that water slide in a cheap suit.”

Crazy Continuity
Just how many 'highest honors' does St. Olaf have exactly? So far there's Butter Queen and Large Curd Cottage Cheese Queen. And next season we'll add “Woman of the Year” to the list.
Also, while I know Blanche always claims to be younger than she really is, she claims to be in her child bearing years and yet there was an entire Season 2 episode about her going through menopause.

Let’s Get Political
The entire episode is political, but this line is one of my favorites:
Sophia, addressing the Soviet people: “I just flew in from Miami and boy I gotta tell you, your Moscow is one clean town. No litter on the streets and all the bugs are in the American embassy.”

That’s What She Said
Blanche: “Talent show? Can I be in it?”
Sophia: “Blanche, what you’re talented at isn’t generally done on a stage. This isn’t downtown Saigon.”

Back in St. Olaf
Rose discusses her biggest worries as a child, one of which was whether she’d ever be chosen Small Curd Cottage Cheese Queen, her town’s biggest honor, right after Large Curd Cottage Cheese Queen.
Also, later, Rose debates telling the press the story of when her Uncle Gustav got drunk and tried to milk a porcupine.

Zbornak Zingers
Blanche: “Oh my god, they’re back!”
Dorothy: “Oh, now I know how the family in ‘Poltergeist’ felt.”

Sassy Sophia
Sophia, to her “Sophia” sock puppet: “Tough break, Sophia, one minute you’re about to entertain the masses, the next your back on a foot covering a corn pad. Now you know how Valarie Harper feels.”

Musical Moments
Sophia: “Thanks for the Medicare/For BlueCross and BlueShield/For a hip that finally healed
Remember on prescriptions/Generics is a steal/We thank you/So much”

Product Placement
Alexi, after Blanche spits her drink in his face: “Is Coca-Cola no? No need to apologize, in Moscow I stand in line six hours for half as much.”

Insult Watch
Blanche: “I am still in my child bearing years.”
Dorothy: “Sure Blanche, you and Imogene Coca.”

Lewd Ladies
Rose: “What does this picture look like to you?”
Blanche: “Me, sitting on a throne dressed as Cleopatra watching while two naked men wrestle to see to gets to make love to me.”

Best of B.E.D.
Blanche: “Dorothy, I've been talking to that good-looking reporter over there. He just got back from Russia. He told me a couple of very interesting things. It snows there in the summertime and they don't have very many attractive women. Do you realize what that means? When we go to Russia, I will have my pick of any man in the country and you can make a snowman in June.”

The Boob Tube
Sunshine Cadet: “Threaten me again and I'll own your house!”
Dorothy: “Your father's a doctor, your mother's a lawyer. What are you, one of the Cosby kids?”

Reel References
Blanche: “We certainly can’t tell those Russians the truth… Because they’ll use it as a propaganda ploy to convince the whole world that all Americans are as dumb as Rose. Why that would rock the very foundation of our government, undermine our great leaders, and potentially topple our entire democracy!!”
Dorothy: “Rocky IV had a profound effect on you didn’t it, Blanche?”

Golden Quotes
Rose: “Come on now, you all know you use BOTH fingers for the Sunshine Salute!”

and of course

Sophia, after singing: “Ok what do you think, now don't hold back I can take the criticism.”
Blanche: “Depressing.”
Dorothy: “Awful.”
Rose: “Stinky.”
Sophia: “Go to hell! All of you!”

Critique: I guess it's good that Rose got over her fear of talking in front of large crowds huh? “Letter to Gorbachev” always felt like such a dated episode with all its talk about Russia and nuclear war, and yet it feels almost disturbingly relevant today. Had the episode come out today I'm sure Rose would be writing to Putin or possibly even Kim Jong-un. Though what it comes down to is that this is one of the more ridiculous early episodes. The plot is completely ridiculous, but the actresses really sell it; the reveal of why Gorbachev wanted to contact Rose is great and somewhat makes sense in the end. The letter that Rose writes to Gorbachev is rather touching. There are some good quotes here (“Gorbachev really respects your views on world peace. Boy you know when you say it out loud it really sorta lays there”), some of which are as dated as a plotline involving the 80s Cold War era with dated references to Bubbles the Chimp and Valerie Harper. Blanche even does a spit take. Rose’s dream sequence is a tiny highlight, but yet again Sophia is relegated to an underwhelming B storyline that does eventually tie into the main story in a clever but silly way though in the end still feels sort of pointless. B+

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself S3E5

Synopsis: Rose’s fear of speaking in front of crowds is put to the test when her aunt passes away as family tradition dictates that she must give the eulogy; Sophia enters the Daughters of Italy Cooking Contest.

Insult Watch
Dorothy: “Rose, I take it that no member of your family was ever a returning champion on Jeopardy.”

St. Olaf Vocab
Gernuxenluken – A family tradition in which the eldest niece has to give a eulogy, but its literal translation is a herring poacher you can wear as a sun visor

Zbornak Zingers
Dorothy, after drinking champagne: “Didn't make me relaxed. Just makes me wanna burp. We burp and the pressure in the cabin will change and we'll fly into a mountain.”
Rose: “That would be a good example of a mishap.”
Dorothy: “Rose, do me a favor, fasten your seat belt… over your mouth!!”

Picture It
Sophia: “Veal Parmesan, my luckiest dish. It saved my marriage once... Picture this. New York City, 1931. The Depression. Your father and I are newlyweds. One rainy night, we have our first fight. He says he's leaving, I say fine. He goes out the door, I start to cook. A few hours later, he comes back. He says he couldn't find a cab. We eat in silence. Halfway through, I look up. He's got tears in his eyes. He tells me, 'This meal is like our marriage.' The veal is like him, tough and stubborn. The tomato sauce is like me, hot and spicy. And the mozzarella is like our love: It stretches but it never breaks.”
Dorothy: “Ma, that's lovely, but I don't see what luck had to do with it.”
Sophia: “You were conceived that night, Dorothy.”

80s Flashback
Sophia: “I always drink wine during cooking contests and ‘My Sister Sam.’”

Back in St. Olaf
Rose tells how she was valedictorian of her high school, even though she was fourth in her class, because she drew the biggest straw. Her graduation speech topic was “There’s a Big World Out There But You Have to Change Buses in Tyler’s Landing If You Wanna See It.” Some of the people in attendance included: Old Yohansson, Young Yohansson, Big & Little Gustav, the Stringmeyer twins, and Fat Jerry.

Reel References
Dorothy (pretending that Sophia is sick): “She had a bad cannoli when she got there. Right now she is doubled over with cramps, crying out with pain and making… the most spectacular comeback since Dennis Hopper!”

Product Placement
Blanche: “And the plane was entirely full of bald men.”
Rose: “They were all former Mr. Cleans on their way to a reunion in the Bahamas.”

That’s What She Said
Blanche: “You think you could hold on to something else for a while?”

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Stanley
Dorothy: “Listen. You're not the only one who's gone through this. I had a phobia too.
Blanche: “You, Dorothy? You were afraid of something? Big, old, strong, strapping thing like you?”
Dorothy: “Who am I, Joe Frazier?”

Crazy Continuity
Here Rose tells of her high school graduation, in which she even managed to be valedictorian, but we’ll learn in a season four episode that Rose also says that after contracting mono she slept through the end of her senior year, graduation, and the integration of major league baseball.

Lewd Ladies
Blanche: “We have had some very special times together. Like the time there was that hurricane and all the power went out for two days and we huddled together to keep warm and sang campfire songs, and told stories.”
Dorothy: “And Rose admitted that Charlie was the only man she ever slept with.”
Rose: “And you admitted Stan was the only man you ever slept with.”
Blanche: “And I admitted my shoe size was really five and a half.”

Oh Shut Up, Rose!
Rose: “Dorothy-”
Dorothy: “We made a rule. No talking, it shakes the plane.”
Rose: “I just have to say one thing. If Blanche is right, and we are gonna die this afternoon, I'm glad we're together.”
Dorothy: “Yes, that's very comforting. Now, shut up.”

Sassy Sophia
Rose: “They’ll think I’m an idiot!”
Sophia: “Please, they’re family; they know you’re an idiot!”

Best of B.E.D.
Blanche: “Damn. I don't have one thing in black that isn't see-through.”

Golden Quotes
Captain Lord: “If you all look out of the left side of our aircraft… it’ll tip over! Sorry, just a little small airplane pilot humor.”

Critique: This is a very solid episode, but the real highlight is when they finally get on the small plane to go to Rose's aunt's funeral. Though a good early scene involves Rose and Blanche imagining what Dorothy looks like naked. Can we discuss how great the entire plane sequence is from beginning to end? Bea Arthur is especially really strong here (“It's all right, Blanche. The captain just turned off the 'no bald men' sign.”) and everyone has pretty some really great lines. There's Candi the sassy older flight attendant and her missing bolt from “the beverage cart,” all those bald men, and the fact that Blanche literally picks up filled glasses of champagne off the floor. Also, any chance to learn just a little bit more about St. Olaf and it’s weird traditions is ok in my book. I still don’t buy that these women would even remotely be scared of their so-called fears but I digress. And don’t get me started on how they could have possibly run into a tropical storm and not checked the weather beforehand. What crappy airline wouldn't know there was a tropical storm in their flight path? A-

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Housekeeper S3E4

Synopsis: The ladies hire a friendly but ultimately terrible housekeeper named Marguerite, and get into a bit of a pickle when she puts a curse on them after they fire her; Sophia attends her granddaughter’s wedding.

80s Flashback
Rose: “Look at all the wonderful things that have happened since Marguerite started working here. Blanche is dating Norman, you're sleeping better than you have in years, and Sandy Duncan is finally back on TV!”

Insult Watch
Marguerite, to Dorothy: “I was only trying to be helpful; I figured with those terrible bags you needed the rest.”
Rose: “Dorothy always looks like that.”

Zbornak Zingers
Dorothy: “Listen, I have an idea, why don’t you all take turns hitting me with a two by four?”

Let’s Get Political
Blanche: “I am the most attractive and available woman in all of Miami, now that Miss Donna Rice has moved to Hollywood.”

Product Placement
Rose: “I feel like crawling under the covers and eating Velveeta right out of the box!”
Dorothy: “I hear BB King does that when he’s tired of singing the blues.”

Sassy Sophia
Sophia: “What is this, the Miss Black America contest??”

That’s What She Said
Blanche: “She melted my buttons with the iron, now I’ll never be able to open my blouse again.”
Dorothy: “It’s a dark day in the history of mankind.”

Back in St. Olaf
Rose: “We had a similar situation back in St. Olaf, with Mrs. Gunderson, our grade school teacher. Oh, she was the nicest woman you'd ever want to meet, but as the years went by, she got her facts a little confused. In biology class she started telling kids that the human body was made up of 80% Ovaltine. While we were studying WWI, she told us mustard gas was something you got from eating too many hot dogs. That's why to this day in St. Olaf, everyone celebrates the 4th of July with a thin omelet on a bun.”

Musical Moments
Hulking housekeeper interviewee: “San Quentin. Fifteen years I spent in that stinking hole. I saw violence, I saw despair, I saw Johnny Cash eight times.”
Blanche: “Well, I guess that concludes the interview, unless there are any questions.”
Rose: “I have a question. Does Johnny Cash ever wear plaid?”
Dorothy: “It's not her fault. She's from Minnesota.”

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Stanley
Crow man: “This isn't the Orange Bowl is it?”

Lewd Ladies
Dorothy: “Oh, Marguerite, I could kiss you.”
Marguerite: “And I don't go for that freaky stuff.”
Rose: “Neither do Dorothy and I.”

Best of B.E.D.
Marguerite: “I don't mean to pry, but maybe I know a way to get Norman's attention.”
Blanche: “If it involves silk sheets and a parochial school outfit, I've already tried it.”

Reel References
Marguerite: “What's the matter with her?”
Dorothy: “She's a little upset. She just found out that Gene Shalit wants his hair to look that way.”

The Boob Tube
Dorothy: “Marguerite, I hate to interrupt your work, but we have to talk to you.”
Blanche: “Yeah but before we do, I just want you to know that Tootie is my favorite on 'The Facts of Life.'”

Golden Quotes
Dorothy: “Why should I be the one to fire her?”
Blanche: “You're the meanest.”
Rose: “Blanche, that's not true. Dorothy just looks the meanest. We hired Marguerite together, we fire her together.
Dorothy: “Thank you, Rose. And by the way, you look the dumbest.”

and

Blanche: “Girls we can't fire her now, she's makin' me an aphrodisiac!”
Dorothy: “Use vodka and black underwear like everyone else!!”

Critique: Wait a minute. Hold up. Why on Earth isn't Dorothy attending her own niece's wedding? They have enough money to hire a housekeeper but she can't go to the wedding of her brother's daughter? Is it because she allegedly looks like Abe Vigoda? Who knows? But I digress. I absolutely love this episode; with lots of great dialogue (“Stay away from me you jinx!”) and some well-timed moments of physical comedy (Rose getting hit with a baseball always makes me chuckle). The housekeeper adds a nice dynamic between the ladies and there’s even a decent level of suspense after Marguerite is fired. Though, it is silly to think that out of nowhere they randomly need a housekeeper, especially since they spend a majority of their free time just sitting around doing nothing. And yes Sophia is missing for nearly its entire run-time, but her lines when she finally returns are simply priceless (“What are we celebrating, did The Supremes get back together?”). A