Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mixed Blessings S3E22

Synopsis: Dorothy’s son Michael comes to visit and announces he’s getting married to a woman twice his age, much to Dorothy’s dismay. Michael’s fiancé’s family objects as well: because he’s white. Meanwhile, Blanche and Rose are getting into shape while Sophia spends the weekend at Epcot.

80s Flashback
Rose: “You know Dorothy, I just thought of something. Lorraine’s family’s gonna be black too aren’t they?”
Dorothy: “Yes Rose, you know you could probably make them feel welcome if you do your version of the dance that the Huxtables do at the beginning of The Cosby Show.”

Crazy Continuity
How come Michael's child is never mentioned again? Even in a later episode when Michael announces he's getting divorced the fact that he has a kid is never brought up again.

Let’s Get Political
Rose: “Are you nervous because you haven’t met Michael’s fiancé?”
Dorothy: “No Rose, I’m nervous because if Sonny Bono gets elected mayor of Palm Springs he’s gonna make all the postmen wear leather bell bottoms and a fur vest.”

Best of B.E.D.
Dorothy: “What can a woman in her 40s possibly have in common with a boy in his 20s?”
Blanche. “Sex! At 20 a man is in his peak and a woman in her 40s is also in her peak, so when the two come together, hot damn!”

Lewd Ladies
Sophia, to Lorraine’s mother: “There’s something important we didn’t discuss this afternoon and I’d like to get that cleared up before we talk about anything else. Is it true what they say about black men in bed?”
Blanche: “Oh yes, definitely.”

Zbornak Zingers
Lorraine’s mother: “Roger?! What do you want him to be a choreographer? It’s Lamar.”
Dorothy: “Lamar Zbornak. Why don’t we just pin a kick me sign on the kid?”

Insult Watch
Rose, upon mistaking Dorothy’s reflection for her own: “Oh my God I look horrible! Oh Dorothy it’s you.”
Dorothy: “I’m sorry Rose, I’m sorry. I forgot it was a full moon.”

Product Placement
Sophia: “Oh, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. This is your fiancée?”
Michael: “ Yeah, that's right.”
Sophia: “You couldn't find someone your own age?”
Lorraine’s mother: “What is that supposed to mean??”
Sophia, to Lorraine’s mother: “No offense, but it means your daughter looks like she’s been around the block more times than the Good Humor man.”

Sassy Sophia
Sophia: “What's all the racket? Oh, Martha and the Vandellas are back.”

Back in St. Olaf
Rose: “Blanche is right. The same thing happened to the Vikbotters back in St. Olaf. You see, Gretchen had this thing for Buddy, but Mr. Vikbotter didn't approve. He did his best to keep them apart. But one day he came home early and he found Gretchen and Buddy in how will I say it? A most indelicate situation. He yelled at them to stop, but they wouldn't, so he turned the hose on them... They were in the front yard!”
Dorothy: “Wait. Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Rose. Buddy and Gretchen weren't people, were they?”
Rose: “Of course not. They were dogs. Gretchen was a Dalmatian, and Buddy was a schnauzer. And Mr. Vikbotter wasn't too happy when he ended up with a litter of schnalmations.”
Blanche: “You know, Rose. Sometimes I wish somebody had turned the hose on your parents.”

Oh Shut Up, Rose!
Dorothy: “Wait a minute. Wait a minute! Just who are you calling a skinny white boy?”
Rose: “I think she meant Michael.”
Lorraine’s mother: “You got that right.”
Rose: “Oh, it was easy.”
Dorothy: “Oh shut up, Rose!”

Literary Intelligentsia
Sophia, upon seeing Lorraine and her family for the first time: “What is this, a revival of ‘Raisin in the Sun?!’”

The Boob Tube
Blanche: “We firmly believe that all men are created equal.”
Rose: “That's a bunch of baloney.”
Dorothy: “Rose!”
Rose: “Well it is, if you don't believe me, just turn on your television set and watch a white person dance down the line on ‘Soul Train.’”

Reel References
Dorothy: “I couldn’t sleep so I thought I’d watch a little TV to unwind and take my mind off my troubles.”
Rose: “What are you watching?”
Dorothy: “Judgement at Nuremberg.”

Golden Quotes
Rose: “Can I ask a dumb question?”
Dorothy: “Better than anyone I know.”


Michael: “You are being very small-minded.”
Dorothy: “You know a wise philosopher once said, ‘There are no small minds, just big heads.’”
Michael: “What the hell does that mean?”
Dorothy: “I'm not sure. Come to think of it, it wasn't a philosopher. It was Rose.”


Lorraine’s mother: “Honey, it's just a phase. Ever since Diana Ross started marrying white men, everyone's gotta have one!”

and of course:

Rose: “Stop it, all of you. What difference does it make that Lorraine's a little long in the tooth and Michael's a skinny white boy? Can't you see they love each other? We should be celebrating, not arguing whether or not it's right. Now, what do you say we all join hands and sing a chorus of ‘Abraham, Martin, and John.’”
Lorraine’s mother: "Is she for real?”

Critique: So who else wishes we got to see little Roger or Lamar at least once? What a simply delightful episode this is. The misunderstandings are great: when Lorraine shows up they assume it’s her mother, she kisses Michael it then becomes clear except to Rose who exclaims, “He’s certainly getting along great with his new mother-in-law!” And when Lorraine’s mother and aunts show up, who don’t know Michael is white, they assume Dorothy, who answers the door with a duster in her hand, is the maid. “Mixed Blessings” is a great episode because it features standout lines of sidesplitting dialogue while also dealing with the interesting issue of interracial relationships which, even for the late 80s, was somewhat taboo strangely enough. They did it with laughs (Rose and Blanche unwittingly - and controversially -  caught with brown mud masks: “This is mud on our faces we're not really Black!”) and interesting role reversals (like the black family objecting because of race). And even if the episode suffers a bit by having Sophia sit out for most of it, her return in the episode’s third act is certainly worth the wait. This is a great episode to show someone who you’d like to introduce to the show as well. This one is a real classic, though not without controversy. It was the one removed from HULU in 2020 but has since returned.  GRADE: A

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rose's Big Adventure S3E21

Synopsis: Rose’s boyfriend Al retires and wants to sail around the world with her. Meanwhile, the girls have trouble turning their garage into a guest room.

80s Flashback
Dorothy: “If you walk out that door you can forget about ever coming back. I sound like I’m on ‘Ryan’s Hope.’”

St. Olaf Vocab
Sperhooven krispies – An ancient Scandinavian midnight snack. They’re done when you’re about to throw up from the stench. To enjoy them properly you have to hold your nose with one hand and eat them with the other. They allegedly taste like cheesecake, fresh strawberries, and chocolate ice cream.

Crazy Continuity
Blanche tells Sophia that a woman is at her sexual peak at age 33. But in the very next episode, Blanche claims that a woman in her 40s is at her sexual peak.
Also, Dorothy says she loves champagne, but in “Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself” on the plane she says she doesn't like champagne.

That’s What She Said
Ernie, the contractor: “Mrs. Devereaux, do you want it fast or do you want it good?”

Lewd Ladies
Sophia, translating Vincenzo’s Italian: “Dorothy, you’ll hold the window in place, Rose will do the hammering, Blanche you’ll do the screwing. And he came up with that one on his own I swear.”

Picture It
Sophia: “Picture it: Sicily 1939. The war is on. A promising young architect is offered a job to spearhead construction of a new wing at the Vatican… The young man is torn. Taking the train to Rome means running the risk of enemy bombs. But staying home means passing up a chance to make history! In the end, he chooses safety. It's a decision he still regrets half a century later. His conclusion: Life without risk is no life at all.”

Zbornak Zingers
Blanche, to Rose: “You upset because you still don't know what to do about Al?”
Dorothy: “No Blanche, she's upset because Jimmy Swaggart can't cover his motel bill.”

Insult Watch
Ernie the contractor, to Dorothy: “A good-looking lady like that sleeps alone, I’m shocked.”
Sophia: “You’re letting a man with taste like that remodel our garage?!”

Sassy Sophia
Sophia, upon seeing the girls holding their noses: “Hey, give me a break you can’t smell that from the hall.”

Best of B.E.D.
Sophia, translating Vincenzo: “Drill a toggle bolt, anchor with a 5/16th bit, and miter-cut the quarter-inch plywood after you attach the studs.”
Blanche: “The only thing in there I recognized was studs.”

Back in St. Olaf
Blanche: “Rose, haven't you ever done anything just wild and crazy and impetuous?”
Rose: “No. I'm from St. Olaf. We're forced to sign a pledge when we're 15 that we won't do any of those things.It keeps people from painting their houses silly colors.”

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Stanley
Sophia: “In Sicily, every region has its own dialect. Actually, every town has its own dialect. Actually, every household has its own dialect. This also explains why the Italian army is as effective as a Jamaican bobsled team.”

The Boob Tube
Rose: “Al, we have to talk.”
Al: “Can't it wait till after Moonlighting? There's a special episode on tonight. It's only been rerun three times.”

Reel References
Sophia: “Here they are, Dorothy. Vincenzo's new work crew.”
Dorothy: “It looks like the road company of 'Cocoon.'”

Golden Quotes
Sophia, translating: “Before we begin, let’s make one thing clear: I am in charge. I am the boss. I am the master. I am the walrus.”
Dorothy: “Ma, either your Italian is rusty or he’s the world’s oldest hippie.”

Blanche: “I love champagne.”
Dorothy: “Me too, the only problem is after a few glasses I’ll kiss any man in sight.”
Crewman: “Man overboard!”
Blanche: “That was just a coincidence Dorothy.”

Critique: This is an extremely funny episode filled with great lines (“He thinks I'm neater than hard salami!”). The two storylines don’t quite connect in any real meaningful way but they each have their merits. Most of the humor comes from the Italian man they hire to remodel the garage. The line about Dorothy kissing any man in sight after drinking champagne and the instant splash sound is impeccably timed and Sophia teasing Dorothy about a man wanting to sail around the world with her is hilarious. Also, in a classic GG scene, Rose shows the girls how to eat Sperhooven krispies (“Rose if these had been offered to the Donner party they still would have eaten each other.”). Good stuff here. And lastly, did any one else notice all the references to barrels in this episode? GRADE: A-

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Larceny & Old Lace S3E20

Synopsis: Sophia begins dating a former gangster named Rocco much to Dorothy’s dismay. Meanwhile, Blanche has been secretly reading Rose’s diary and is shocked at what she's read.

80s Flashback
Sophia: “I was at the police station to identify the guy who stole my purse. Rocco was there on a trumped-up charge.”
Dorothy: “Ma, they caught him on a billboard spray-painting something obscene on Spuds MacKenzie.”
Sophia: “The dog they use in those ads is really a female. Rocco was just making Spuds anatomically correct.”

Let’s Get Political
Rose: “Hi, girls. Gee, what's my diary doing here? Next to a pair of pliers.”
Blanche: “Rose, whatever it is you're thinkin', it isn't true.”
Rose: “Good. Then George Bush isn't married to his mother”

Picture It
Sophia tries to tell a story about three friends huddled over a camel cigarette in 1930s Morocco.

Insult Watch
Sophia: “What the hell are you doin' home? I thought you had a four o'clock beauty parlor appointment.”
Dorothy: “I did. They finished with me early.”
Sophia: “On Christie Brinkley, they can finish early. You need every minute they can spare. Now get back there!”

Zbornak Zingers
Dorothy: “I cannot believe my mother is hanging out with that cheap hood!”
Rose: “You mean Rocco?”
Dorothy: “No Rose, I mean Spiro Agnew.”

Tales from the Old South
Blanche: “When George and I were courting and it was getting to the intimate stage, we went for a date in his big old Packard. Well halfway home, we ran outta gas. It was dark, it was cold. So we held each other close. Both of us knew, right then and there, this was the night. Sure enough, pretty soon the windows were all fogged up from the heat generated by our bodies. After we were married, I told George that the only thing that could've made that evening more romantic was if we'd had candles and wine and a big blanket. So, on our tenth anniversary, George fired up the old Packard, and we drove along the same route as on that date, and wouldn't you know, we ran out of gas on exactly the same spot. And George said, 'Blanche, why don't you look behind that tree?' So I did, and there was a basket with candles and wine and two long-stem glasses and a big blanket. We had a perfect evening...”
Rose: “But isn't it a shame you didn't look behind the tree the first time, you could have had two perfect evenings!”

Product Placement
Rose: “I see you’re with two double-crossing ex-friends of mine, I’ll come back later.”
Sophia: “What do you think this is the 7-Eleven? I’m not open all night!”

Sassy Sophia
Sophia: “It’s the last time I let a man toy with my affections, from now on, it’s strictly physical!”

Back in St. Olaf
Rose: “Gee. The most any man ever did for me was getting all his sheep to lie down in a field and spell out my name.”

Product Placement
Blanche: "“Listen to this: 'Dear Diary, I don't know how much longer I can stand living with these two pigs. At first, moving in with them seemed like a good way to save money, but it's just getting out of hand. If one isn't keeping me awake all night with her squealing, the other one is belching in my face.' You do that sometimes, Dorothy. After you've had a Denver omelette.”
Dorothy: “Now, you know this is a real invasion of Rose's privacy. And it's a Spanish omelette.”
Blanche: "Doesn't it bother you?"
Dorothy: "Not if I take a little Gelusil."

Crazy Continuity
Dorothy has always maintained that she got pregnant in high school which basically forced her and Stan to marry each other. If they were in high school, how were they old enough to celebrate their engagement with champagne? Not only that, but if Dorothy was pregnant should she really have been gulping down champagne?

Best of B.E.D.
Blanche: “It just goes to show, your hair may turn gray, your skin may wrinkle, but you're never too old to for romance... So don't give up, girls!”

Oh Shut Up, Rose!
Rose: “Sophia?”
Sophia: “I'm not in. Wait for the beep. Then leave a message. Beep.”
Rose: “Hi. This is Rose. I-”
Sophia: “Rose, shut up and get in here!”

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Stanley
Dorothy: “Rocco, are you saying that you were in the Mob?”
Rocco: “I ran Detroit.”
Sophia: “The marathon. He ran the Detroit marathon.”

The Boob Tube
Blanche: “Okay, music history. Here goes. What famous Mozart composition, completed in 1787, is a serenade in G for two violins, viola, cello, and double bass in four movements?'”
Rose: “Eine kleine Nachtmusik.”
Blanche: “That's right. How did you know that?”
Rose: “Well they always play it during the chases on The Bugs Bunny-Roadrunner Show.”

Reel References
Rose: “Hi Blanche.”
Blanche: “Must you always be so cheerful you empty-headed Mary Poppins knock-off!”

Golden Quotes
Dorothy, describing Stan's proposal: “And then I just downed the champagne in one gulp. And it didn't go down smoothly. Later, Stan told me he put my engagement ring in the bottom of the glass… it turned up three days later.”
Rose: “Where’d it turn up Dorothy?”
Dorothy: “On the Home Shopping Network, Rose.”

Critique: First things first. I'm concerned it took Dorothy three days to shit out her engagement ring. Then there's a second thing I always wondered. How exactly does moving in with two pigs save a person money? Speaking of which, I’m still not quite sure why Rose would get so mad at Blanche and Dorothy for reading her diary considering it's only about raising pigs. And why would Blanche just sit in the middle of the living room trying to break open Rose's diary?? But I digress. This is solid episode with a decent storyline for Sophia. I actually kind of find Sophia and Rocco’s romance to be somewhat dull and boring but they are pretty cute together. Mickey Rooney does have great chemistry with Estelle. The episode is notable for some pretty funny moments including the revelation about Rose’s diary (which is kind of stupid but funny anyways) and the story that Dorothy tells about her engagement. That remains one of my all-time favorite “kitchen scenes” (and Rose is particularly stupid in this scene). Overall this is a generally solid, if not particularly outstanding, episode. B

Monday, November 16, 2015

And Ma Makes Three S3E19

Synopsis: Sophia feels lonely so Dorothy invites her along on outings with her boyfriend, but then she begins to get too clingy; Blanche runs for fashion show chairman.

80s Flashback
Rose: “Are you still upset because your friend Bernice moved back to Chicago?”
Sophia: “No Rose, I’m upset because I can’t relate to ‘thirtysomething.’”

Musical Moments
Sophia begins singing “The Banana Boat Song (Day Oh)” when she thinks she’s going to the Bahamas with Dorothy and Raymond.

Let’s Get Political
Blanche, referring to the woman who won the fashion show chairman election, “She promised everyone a discount on liposuction. Two cheeks for the price of one.”
Dorothy: “That’s what swung it for Nixon in ’68.”

St. Olaf Vocab
Sonja Klingenhoffer – a popular St. Olaf comic strip

That’s What She Said
Dorothy: “Ma, how long were you listening at the door?”
Sophia: “I wasn’t listening at the door.”
Dorothy: “Oh? Then why was your face pressed against the crack?”

Picture It
Sophia: “Picture it: Sicily, 1921. A beautiful young peasant girl saves her lira and takes a trip to Paris, the city of lights, also the only place a guy can wear a cape without getting a lot of funny looks. She wanders into a restaurant and ends up sharing a table with a dashing young Frenchman. They drink, they talk, they burn a cork, and draw mustaches on each other.”
Raymond: “What?”
Sophia: “Just wanted to see if you were listening. Anyway, the next thing she knows, it's hours later, the place is empty, and the Frenchman's got his schnoz down her blouse. This begins a beautiful love affair. Kids, I was that peasant girl, and the schnoz was Charles the Mole.
Raymond: “Charles the Mole?”
Sophia: “Yeah, Charles the Mole. He was the wheel man for Louie the Ice Pick.”
Dorothy: “Ma, you said Charles de Gaulle.”
Sophia: “Yeah, right, I slept with Charles de Gaulle. I could've been the first lady of France, but I married your father instead, a man who cleans his toenails with a shrimp fork.”

Zbornak Zingers
Dorothy: “Rose, honey, I hope you don’t mind, I borrowed your golf gloves, I have a date to play this morning.”
Blanche: “With a man??”
Dorothy: “No Blanche, with a Venus flytrap.”

Lewd Ladies
Blanche: “What do you do when you and Raymond wanna, you know, make love? How do you handle it?”
Rose: “Yeah, Dorothy, how do you handle it?”
Dorothy: “Handle it? I can't even get close to it!”

Insult Watch
Dorothy: “Okay girls, which goes better, the silver chain or the pearls?”
Rose: “The chain.”
Blanche: “An amateur's mistake. Can't you see that the chain accentuates the many folds of that turkey-like neck?”
Rose: “Well that may be, but the pearls draw attention to the non-existent bosom.”

Product Placement
Sophia: “I swear on your father’s grave. Or what used to be your father’s grave. Now it’s a Wienerschnitzel.”

Sassy Sophia
Sophia: “Hey, hey give it a rest Raymond; you’re in her mouth more than her dentist.”

Back in St. Olaf
Sophia: “It's not that easy to make new friends.”
Rose: “It sure wasn't for the first Eskimo family that moved to St. Olaf. Especially after they sawed a hole and went salmon fishing in the middle of the local ice skating rink. And then there was the Halloween they gave all the kids whale blubber. And then there was the time they borrowed every ice tray in town to build an addition over their garage… Well, gradually they were able to make friends, and they ended up the most popular family in town.”
Blanche: “But only because they went out and met people. Isn't that right, Rose?”
Rose: “No. It was because in the drought of '49, their house melted and kept the town from dehydrating.”

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Stanley
Rose: “You're dumping your own mother??”
Dorothy: “Faster than CBS dumped Jimmy the Greek.”

The Boob Tube
Rose: “You know, with all the work I put in on this campaign, I might as well run for fashion show chairman myself.”
Blanche: “Rose, you can't be fashion show chairman. Why, you thought Giorgio Armani was a puppet on Ed Sullivan.”

Reel References
Blanche: “Oh girls, I just had the most disturbing dream. I was stranded on a desert island with Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steven Guttenberg. Three men and no baby...”

Golden Quotes
Dorothy: “Why don’t I just wear a sign that says Too Ugly to Live?”
Blanche: “Fine, but what are you gonna hang it from, the chain or the pearls?”
Dorothy: “Neither! I’m gonna spray paint it on my hump!!”

Blanche: “I'm gonna win.”
Rose: “ Well I don't see how that's possible. Everybody on the committee is female. Who are you gonna sleep with?”
Blanche: “Are you insinuating that I cannot win it on merit alone? All women??”

Critique: This remains a very solid episode with the real highlight being the insults being chucked at Dorothy throughout. That's why I sort of prefer Rose and Blanche's B-story about running for fashion show chair. Though it’s nice to see Sophia getting more of a legitimate storyline even if it has to do with her being a clingy old nuisance. As a bonus, we get two St. Olaf stories. As a side note, something that this episode brings up that I’ve always wondered is how long exactly does it take an old woman in her 80s to play a round of golf? Cue the Titanic meme “It's been 84 years...” GRADE: B+

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Golden Moments S3E18

Synopsis: Sophia announces that she’s moving in with her son Phil, so they reminisce about previous memories.

That’s What She Said
Dorothy: “Oh Rose, have you been feeding those strays again?”
Rose: “I can’t help it Dorothy, I heard them howling and moaning all night. How do you ignore something like that?”
Dorothy: “I’m getting used to it, you know my room’s next to Blanche’s.”

Shady Pines, Ma
Sophia recognizes the smell of Seafood Medley cat food because she says they fed it to them every Sunday night at the home

Critique: Ugh, the dreaded clip show. And it’s not one that features new footage. To make matters worse, the episode is a two-parter so it lasts for nearly an hour! At least most of the moments are worth remembering (such as the time they were all in bed when the heat went out). As funny as many of these memories are, it’s just lazy, lazy writing (as lazy as writing lazy twice). They could have at least had some new memorable lines, which there aren’t many. They even seem embarrassed in that photo up there. C