Thursday, April 27, 2017

Empty Nests (S2E26)

Synopsis: In arguably the worst episode, the girls console an annoying neighbor who is feeling lonely after her youngest daughter leaves for college and her busy husband neglects her.

Crazy Continuity
Apparently this episode took place in the future: it aired in May of 1987 but A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 didn't come out until August of 1988! (I'm pretty sure Susan Harris got her Freddy sequels mixed up)

Let’s Get Political
Renee: “At 2 in the morning, waiting for George to come home, I called a radio talk show I gave them the solution to the crisis in the Middle East.”
Rose: “Giving the Palestinians Greenland!?”
Dorothy: “Giving the Palestinians Greenland??”
Renee: “It's a big place nobody's using it.”

Picture It
Sophia: “In Sicily we had a guy with a multiple personality. Only they didn't get along. And one personality put out a contract on the other. You shoulda seen it, he had a shoot-out with himself in the piazza. He winged a priest, a waiter, and shot down the Cinzano sign. Fortunately he was able to beat himself senseless before anyone else got hurt.”

Zbornak Zingers
Jenny: “I went there to be with my boyfriend, but when I got there I found he was practically living with somebody else. He'd replaced me.”
Rose: “With what?”
Dorothy: “A hand puppet, Rose.”

Product Placement
Dorothy: “Oh, come on. You were never rejected?”
Blanche: “Well, once. But just once.”
Jenny: “By who?”
Blanche: “Weight Watchers for being too thin.”

Sassy Sophia
Blanche: “I've been in that position more than once.”
Sophia: “You've been in every position more than once.”

Back in St. Olaf
Rose: “I used to love washing dishes. In Minnesota, the whole family'd get together and wash dishes. Even Uncle Gustaf, after the giant Swiss army knife accident, learned to dry dishes with his feet. We used to laugh and carry on and have such a happy time.”

Best of B.E.D.
Blanche: “You wanna go to college where there are green lawns and willow trees and young men in chinos and ties and professors with just a touch of gray at the temple. Wise, learned men who look up your skirt if you're sittin' in the first row. Meetings with them so they can explain Plato. And they lean over your books with you and you can smell their pipe tobacco and their maleness. And then their arm accidentally brushes against your bosoms and the room is filled with the heat of a taboo lust.”
Jenny: “Where is this school??”

Reel References
Dorothy: “Come on, a movie will cheer you up.”
Renee: “What are you seeing?”
Blanche: “Nightmare On Elm Street 4.”
Rose: “Do you have to see one, two, and three to appreciate it?”
Dorothy: “No Rose, it stands alone.”

Golden Quotes
Blanche: “I never had that empty-nest depression. I couldn't wait for my kids to get out on their own. I got depressed watching them grow older 'cause it meant I was older. They were like noisy little calendars. The minute they all entered high school, I told everybody they were my husband's from a previous marriage.”


Critique: Well what can be said about “Empty Nests” that hasn't already been said? Everyone hates it. Sure it's terrible but even the worst GG episode isn't THAT bad. Ok it's pretty bad. Anytime the girls are onscreen it's fine. Most of the writing is still pretty good, Susan Harris wrote it after all. Though she never wrote many of my favorite episodes. The episode really suffers because it spends large stretches focusing solely on Renee, her husband George, her multiple personality suffering brother Charlie, and their weird friend Oliver. There is literally nothing interesting about any of these people. It's no wonder the entire “Empty Nest” concept was rehauled. The only thing that even remained when the actual “Empty Nest” spinoff series finally aired was the set and the title. Rita Moreno, looking as bored as the audience, is an Oscar-winning actress and she gives a completely dull performance matched only by the equally dull Paul Dooley who previously showed up this season as Isaac Newton. This is such a horrible way to end such a fantastic season, the writers and producers should be embarrassed (but not as embarrassed as Liza Minnelli for being in “Arthur 2”). In fact, I can't believe you've even read this far. You deserve some Chips Ahoy! Luckily for you I've already done all of Season Three so make like Blanche and get crackin'. GRADE: D+

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Piece of Cake (S2E25)

Synopsis: While preparing to throw a birthday party for a friend, the girls reminisce about past birthday moments.

80s Flashback
Sophia: “What's a lanai?”
Dorothy: “The porch.”
Sophia: “Excuse me, Krystle Carrington!”

Crazy Continuity
Does anyone else think that Lou the Plumber moonlights as Mr. Haha?

Musical Moments
Upon learning that Roberta's birthday party is actually a surprise party for Blanche, the girls and their male guests form a conga line.

That’s What She Said
Blanche: “Who wouldn't have fun eatin' a foot-long Mr. Ha Ha dog?”

Shady Pines, Ma
Dorothy: “Rose had planned a surprise birthday party for me, you were still living at Shady Pines.”
Sophia: “You mean 'the home.' Say it Dorothy, 'the home.'”

Lewd Ladies
Blanche: “Roger! Edgar! Burt! Leonard! Well, what are they all doin' here?”
Rose: “I invited everybody in your address book.”
Blanche: “The little red one by my night stand?”
Rose: “No, the little black one next to your hot body oil dispenser.”
Blanche: “Wait a minute, fellas. Now, no need to rush off like this. It is my birthday. Who wants to be the first one to spank me??”

Zbornak Zingers
Dorothy: “I told you I would pick up the cake.”
Rose: “Oh I know, but back where I come from most people won't eat store bought.”
Dorothy: “Rose, where you come from most people live in windmills and make love to polka music.”

Product Placement
Blanche, about Sophia's cake: “I think you put too much rum in it.”
Sophia: “So stick an umbrella in it, and serve it with straws. Everyone will think they're at Trader Vic's.”

Back in St. Olaf
Rose: “It kinda reminded me of a party back in St. Olaf, when I was a little girl. Big Sven and Little Sven were celebrating the first anniversary of their smoked herring hoagie house, when Big Sven-”
*timer goes off*
Blanche, Dorothy, & Sophia: “I'll get it!!”

Best of B.E.D.
Rose: “Well I don't see how anybody can hate birthdays.”
Blanche: “Well because they are constant reminders that with each passing year our bodies begin to sag, our faces begin to wrinkle, our hair begins to turn gray. Of course, none of that's happened to me yet.”

The Boob Tube
Dorothy: “I told Roberta to be here at 2 o'clock.”
Rose: “Do you think she suspects anything?”
Sophia: Please, the woman is 88, she still tries to find 'Gunsmoke' on Sunday nights.”

Golden Quotes
Mr. Ha Ha: “It says here on my Ha Ha birthday list that Bobby is 7, Jeanie is 9, and Dorothy is..”
Dorothy: “I'LL PUNCH YOUR HEART OUT, HA HA!”
Mr. Ha Ha: “Dorothy is the oldest!”


Critique: Two words: Ha. Ha. You know, I always wondered how Rose and Blanche got Dorothy to even walk into Mr. Ha Ha's Hot Dog Hacienda? Surely she had to know what she was getting into. Maybe they blindfolded her? But I digress. So the Mr. Ha Ha scene is probably a Top Five Golden Girls scene of all time right? I mean it's right up there with the condoms scene and the electric blanket bedroom scene. It's a classic scene and I could literally watch Dorothy reach over to strangle Rose over and over and over again. The second vignette takes a more serious turn and shows Rose in St. Olaf celebrating her first birthday after having lost Charlie. It's sort of a bummer, but Betty White really does nail it. It's also the only scene in the series that takes place in St. Olaf (Eagle eyed viewers will notice that Uff Da! mug on Rose's counter). The third vignette takes place in Brooklyn in 1956. A younger Sophia learns that she's actually two years older than she thought because of a mistake on her birth certificate when she immigrated to the US. This is the first time we see Estelle Getty in what appears to be her real life age and actress Lyn Greene playing young Dorothy in a dynamite piece of casting. The scene isn't all that particularly funny but it's a delight to watch (and Green will thankfully return three more times). The last vignette revolves around the girls trying to throw Blanche a surprise party, only to find out she hates surprise birthday parties. This episode really belongs to Mr. Ha Ha, the other clips are fine but not nearly as funny. Overall, "A Piece of Cake" - the show's 50th episode - is sort of a mixed bag, but still a keeper. GRADE: B+

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

To Catch a Neighbor (S2E24)

Synopsis: Two police detectives, thinking it's a good idea to put gorgeous private citizens in jeopardy, stakeout at the girls' house to investigate suspected jewel thieves living next door.

Crazy Continuity
Blanche says she worries about her son Matthew (even though he's only a CPA) but why doesn't she seem concerned with her other sons Biff, Bud, and Skippy? Especially since we know Skippy has asthma.

Let’s Get Political
Dorothy: “I'm worried about tomorrow. I don't know whether or not I should go on that mission.”
Sophia: “Dorothy, for 50 years you've come to me with all your problems. Who should I take to the prom? Where should I go to college? Do you think I should I marry Stan? These were things I could help you with. 'Should I go on this mission?' is out of my area of expertise. Who do you think I am, Oliver North?”

That’s What She Said
Blanche: “My pulse was racing, my heart was pounding! I could barely get my breath! I think that's the most fun I've ever had standin' up!”

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Stanley
Sophia: “I don't believe it. I'm dry! I got nothing!”
Dorothy: “It's OK, Ma.”
Sophia: “No, it's not. I feel like Tommy Lasorda should be standing by the bed, waving to the bullpen.”

Lewd Ladies
Dorothy, to Mullins: “Would you also try to remember to put down the toilet seat after you use it??”
Sophia: “Sorry, that was me. I was experimenting with something new but it didn't work out.”

Zbornak Zingers
Mullins: “Let's go over the plan one more time.”
Rose: “Check. At 1800 hours, we enter the suspects' domicile. At 1830 hours, we sit down to dinner. After wine is poured at approximately 1840 hours, I begin telling the story about Uncle Hertis and the three skunks and the fountain, which should last about-”
Dorothy: “1900 hours.”

Insult Watch
Dorothy: “Well if anybody's going to do it, it should be me.”
Mullins: “Why you?”
Dorothy: “Because I am the best under pressure.”
Sophia: “And she bears a striking resemblance to Barnaby Jones.”

Product Placement
Rose: “You won't believe what happened to me at the store. I saw the McDowells. Luckily, they didn't see me, so I followed them all through the store and I wrote down everything they bought.”
Mullins: “Why??”
Rose: “For evidence, silly!”
Dorothy: “Rose, they steal jewels, not Jeno's Pizza Rolls.”

Sassy Sophia
Mullins: “Don't worry, you won't have to change your lifestyles because of us. All we'll need is a bedroom, a bathroom, we'll use the kitchen as a base.”
Sophia: “Fine. We'll just cook in the fireplace and pee in the broom closet.”

Back in St. Olaf
Rose: “Oh I just love to welcome people to the neighborhood. In fact, back home, I used to run our town's Välkommen Wagon. Oh boy, was that fun! Whenever a new family would move in to St. Olaf, we'd all hop on the tractor and ride out to the new neighbors' farm, thirty or forty of us, carrying vats of smoked fish, and big pitchers of freshly-squeezed potato juice. While Cousin Dat played 'Getting To Know You' through the hole in his windpipe.”
Dorothy: “Tell me Rose, did you ever accompany him through the hole in your head?!”

Best of B.E.D.
Sophia: “They hate each other. They fight all the time.”
Blanche: “Very passionate fights. Oh it has all the signs of a classic love/hate relationship. And from the sparks of that conflict rise the flames of desire. Flames that ignite in an uncontrollable frenzy of lust, passion, and ecstasy!! I'm sorry. Where was I?”

Reel References
Rose: “Gee, it's a shame we have to plant that transmitter at the McDowells' tonight. There's a great movie on TV.
Blanche: “What is it?”
Rose: “'In Cold Blood.' It's about... this innocent family is brutally murdered when these two...”
Dorothy: “May I see that Rose...” *SMACK*

The Boob Tube
Sophia: “You're looking at a woman who lived through two world wars, 15 vendettas, four major operations, and two Darrins on 'Bewitched.'”

Golden Quotes
Dorothy: “You'll have to excuse my mother, she's a little upset. She just found out she has the same hairdresser as Whoopi Goldberg.”

and

Mullins: “Come on, Dotty!”
Dorothy: “What do you mean, come on? If you want me to do you a favor, you ask me.”
Mullins: “Alrighty I'm asking, you don't have to bite my head off!”
Dorothy: “You're a real charmer, you know that?”
Mullins: “Oh who are you, Lady Di?? Come on!”
Dorothy: “Do me a favor and join the bomb squad…. Oh, God, I am crazy nuts about this guy!!”

and

Rose: “They keep talking about that Noodle Head in the red dress. Could that be code language??”
Dorothy: “Only to the Noodle Head in the red dress.”

Critique: Let's get this out of the way first. This episode is ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as some of the stuff from the later seasons but it's ridiculous. But it's an 80s sitcom so there's no arguing it. Now that that's settled. Holy moly this episode is fun and exquisitely written. There are so many good lines here. And Detective Al Mullins is probably one of my favorites of all of Dorothy's beaus. It's disappointing that he never returned. And yes here's an early George Clooney before he was the Oscar-winning celebrity he is today. The performances here are really good. The highlights include Rose's delightfully goofy reaction to Mrs. McDowell showing up at her door. And then Blanche gets lots of opportunities for her Blanchisms, like “And I can arch my back until my head touches my heels” or spritzing herself in the face with a spray bottle after getting herself worked up from a typical Blanche monologue. Dorothy gets some great moments in her scenes with Al. She also has a nice moment with Sophia while they share a bed at night. Those are some of the best scenes of the series. If you can stand the silly premise this is overall an outstanding episode, or maybe it just seems great because the last episode was so dull by comparison. Note: There are so many good TV references throughout the series that I'm introducing a new category called “The Boob Tube” for any television related quotes. GRADE: A

Monday, April 24, 2017

Son-in-Law Dearest (S2E23)

Synopsis: Dorothy's daughter Kate arrives with big news: her husband Dennis had an affair and she's left him; Blanche and Rose, on the forefront of binge watching, stay up for an “I Love Lucy” marathon; Sophia poops a lot.

80s Flashback
Rose: “Dorothy, you're keeping a secret from us. I can't believe it, I tell you everything. I told you a secret last night.”
Dorothy: “What? That you're not a natural blonde?”
Rose: “I am a natural blonde.”
Dorothy: “Right, Rose. You and Tina Turner.”

Lewd Ladies
Blanche: “Sounds like to me Charlie was a little on the cheap side.”
Rose: “I'll say. Oh Charlie was a wonderful man, but he could squeeze a nickel till the buffalo pooped.”
Sophia: “Boy I'll tell you, there's something to the power of suggestion. Excuse me.”

Picture It
Sophia: “Picture this: Brooklyn. July. 1949.”
Dorothy: “Ma, can't you put a sentence together, you sound like a sportscaster.”

Zbornak Zingers
Sophia: “Alright, what did you and Kate have a fight about?”
Dorothy: “About advertising condoms on television. About Dennis!”

Insult Watch
Stan: “I can't believe it, I am going to be a grandfather. Think about it. Part of me is gonna be passed on to that child.”
Dorothy: “I'm sure we'll learn to love it anyway.”

Product Placement
Stan: “Do I smell waffles?”
Blanche: “No.”
Stan: “Could I smell waffles?”
Sophia: “What does this look like? The House of Pancakes?”

Sassy Sophia
Dorothy: “You're saying I should stay out of this mess between Kate and Dennis?”
Sophia: “I said it, I used it in a story. What do you want me to do, embroider it on your underwear??”

The Boob Tube
Sophia: "Dorothy, please, let me go back to sleep. I was dreaming I was being held captive on a desert island by Cesar Romero in a loincloth."
Dorothy: "Ma, Kate and I had a fight. I have to talk to you."
Sophia: "You know that washcloth in my bathroom? That's how big Cesar's loincloth was. Good night."

Golden Quotes
Rose: “Dorothy, would you like to stay up all night and watch 'I Like Lucy?'”
Blanche: “'I LOVE Lucy.'”
Rose: “Well I haven't seen it yet, so I don't know how I'll feel about it.”

and

Dorothy: “And do not call me Mother Dorothy, I hate it when you call me Mother Dorothy. I feel like I should be handing out rice on the streets of Calcutta.”

Critique: I always wondered if the show blew their budget on the sets for “Dorothy's Prized Pupil's” movie theater and “Diamond in the Rough's” "romantic diner" and the charity banquet because “Son-in-Law Dearest” is a borderline snoozefest that takes place over one evening and all in one location. The episodes where relatives show up are always a crap shoot. Sometimes they're hilarious (anytime Angela or Angelo show up) and sometimes they're dull (cue Rose's daughter and her Maple Syrup Honey Brown Sugar Molasses Rice Krispies log). Dorothy's daughter Kate is uninteresting and this story is obviously supposed to be a reflection of what happened with Dorothy and Stan but there is just something missing here. But let's focus on the good moments. I love a good Dorothy outburst (who doesn't?) and I'm pretty confident her “Stan take your damn hands off me!” is one of her best. Rose and Blanche's B-story about watching “I Love Lucy” is fine but so extremely trivial though it's worth it just for the Abbott & Costello-like scene where Rose bombards Blanche with questions: (“Why didn't Desi play Desi?” “He wasn't tall enough!”). We also get to learn that Rose and her husband Charlie had sex for like 7 hours a day. No wonder he had a heart attack. And lastly, I love a good poop joke and the fact that Sophia keeps running to the bathroom every time poop or gas is mentioned is a testament to why Sophia is such a fantastic character. GRADE: B-

Friday, April 21, 2017

Diamond in the Rough (S2E22)

Synopsis: The girls are organizing a banquet fundraiser and hire a caterer named Jake who Blanche has eyes on, but she's overly concerned about his unrefined, blue collar ways.

80s Flashback
Blanche: “I am simply gonna look high and low, far and wide, and never lose heart, for I know one day my prince will come.”
Dorothy: “Now what was that supposed to mean?”
Sophia: “I wasn't paying close attention, but from what I could make of it she's gonna sleep with that little black guy Prince.”

Musical Moments
Blanche: “I'm just so confused.”
Musician: “You think you're confused, take a look at our horn section.”

That’s What She Said
Jake: “It tastes better if your lips are warmed up first.”

Lewd Ladies
Rose: “You know, sometimes when people are under pressure, they sleep to escape.
Sophia: “Dorothy's father used to do that. Unfortunately, it was usually during foreplay.”
Dorothy: “Ma, the man is dead.”
Sophia: “Longer than you think.”

Picture It
Sophia: “My marriage was arranged, I had no say in the matter.”
Dorothy: “You mean you didn't pick Pop?”
Sophia: “He didn't pick me, either. We learned to love each other, thank God, but it wasn't our idea. There were eight unmarried girls and eight unmarried boys in the village that spring.”
Blanche: “How'd they decide who went with who?”
Sophia: “Height. If I hadn't stood on that rock, I'd have ended up with Luigi the Pig-boy.”

Zbornak Zingers
Rose: “If I ever got another chance at a second Mr. Right, I'd want somebody entirely different from Charlie…I'd like somebody really wild. Somebody impulsive, who'd sweep me off my feet. He'd pick me up in his convertible Porsche and whisk me to the airport. We'd fly to his villa in the south of France, where we'd blindfold the orchestra and dance until dawn. And then we'd watch the sun come up over two steaming cups of cocoa...”
Sophia: “Cocoa??”
Rose: “With little marshmallows.”
Dorothy: “Marshmallows? Rose, you trollop!”

Oh Shut Up, Rose!
Jake: “I stopped to help a lady who was stranded on the side of the road, and ended up fixing her transmission.”
Blanche: “Aren't there people who do that for a living?”
Rose: “Andy Granatelli does. Although he doesn't actually fix them himself. I guess he doesn't wanna get his trench coat dirty. But I hear he has this special school in Wisconsin... I know! Shut up, Rose…”

Product Placement
Rose: “I did learn that baked Alaska can actually be cooked locally.”
Dorothy: “Rose, I have an even bigger scoop for you. Mars bars are made right here on earth.”

Sassy Sophia
Dorothy: “Hi Ma, shouldn't you be finishing those invitations?”
Sophia: “I'm just here for a glass of water, the stamp-licking dries me out.”
Rose: “Why don't you use a sponge?”
Sophia: “I feel more comfortable drinking out of a glass.”

Back in St. Olaf
Dorothy: “Blanche, did you hire the band?”
Blanche: “Rose is supposed to do that.”
Dorothy: “Well, I warn you, we may end up with the Hansger Flügenhaben Yodeling Quartet.”
Rose: “That's not true, they broke up. But the Sonia Van Kügel Tuba Band is free.”

Best of B.E.D.
Dorothy: “Blanche, did it ever occur to you that possibly Rose or I might be interested in Jake?”
Blanche: “Yes.”
Rose: “And you still used every cheap ploy to nab him before we had a chance?”
Blanche: “Yes.”
Dorothy: “Then what do you have to say for yourself?”
Blanche: “Damn, I'm good!”

Reel References
Rose: “I keep having nightmares about the banquet… I'm at the banquet. It looks beautiful. I look beautiful. Everybody looks beautiful. And suddenly Charlton Heston walks in, dressed like Moses. And he tries to part the dessert table. And when that doesn't work, he rounds up the guests and leads them to the lingerie department of the nearest JCPenney's, where everybody starts making fun of the fat-lady underwear. What do you suppose it means?”
Dorothy: “That you spent too many years sleeping on curlers.”

Golden Quotes
Dorothy: “Ma, you can't sleep either?”
Sophia: “No, I'm sleeping so good I thought I'd come try it in the sink!”

and

Dorothy: “You'll have to excuse my mother, she was a witness to the Hindenburg disaster.”


Critique:Am I the only who won gets a craving to watch “Aladdin” after watching this episode. It's called “Diamond in the Rough.” You don't know what I'm talking about? Nevermind. So I'd say Jake the caterer is probably one of the more popular guys Blanche has ever gone after throughout the series. He's extremely likable and I'm curious how many fans wanna smack Blanche upside the head for letting him go. This episode is completely fine and offers some decently memorable quotes. Overall though there's nothing that particularly memorable about it. It's simply plotted and the fact that the girls are planning yet another fundraising banquet makes it blend in with all their other charitable work. Blanche gets the most to work with here but it's Dorothy's overly low-pitched “I forgive you” to Jake that is my favorite. Sophia also seems slightly underused here except for her funny quip about “those queens on the bandstand.” Overall this is a good episode that remains well-liked by fans but is still not up to the high standards set by this wonderful season. I also wanna see Rose put a layer of caramel on her face before powdering her nose. If the musician from the “all-female jazz band” looks familiar he played Otho in “Beetlejuice.” GRADE: B+

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dorothy's Prized Pupil (S2E21)

Synopsis: Dorothy accidentally gets her student Mario deported after submitting his essay to a local writing contest and, to add insult to injury, can't even pronounce his name correctly; Rose volunteers to be Blanche's personal servant after she misplaces her earrings.

Let’s Get Political
Sophia: “Blanche, I wanna ask you a question. Who is the President married to?”
Blanche: “Nancy Reagan.”
Rose: “Of course, the thin one he helps out of helicopter. This idiot thinks he's married to Broderick Crawford. Get some help, Rose!”

St. Olaf Vocab
veedeenflügen – a personal servant

That’s What She Said
Dorothy: “Good Lord, how could you fake it every year?”
Blanche: “Well, Dorothy, when I was first married I faked it three times a week.”

Lewd Ladies
Rose: “For one week I am gonna be your personal veedeenflügen.”
Blanche: “Can one woman do that for another?”
Dorothy: “Only if they're the same height.”

Zbornak Zingers
Rose: “What kind of a movie is this, Dorothy??”
Guy in movie: “RIP HIS THROAT OUT!!”
Dorothy: “It's a musical, Rose.”

Insult Watch
Dorothy: “I've heard that there's an article in here about Mario's winning the contest. Oh my God, there's a picture and I'm in it...I look terrible!”
Blanche: “Oh Dorothy, come on. You always think you look terrible in pictures, let's see it... Now, that's ugly.”

Tales from the Old South
Blanche: “I know just how Dorothy feels. Now, when I was a young girl, I witnessed a horse theft on my Grandaddy's plantation. Well, I screamed for help. My Grandaddy jumped on his stallion and rode that horse thief down. And then, to teach me about the justice system, Grandaddy dragged that horse thief into court, with me as the star witness. I had to testify in front of a packed courtroom.”
Rose: “You must have been terrified.”
Blanche: “Oh, honey, I was. I didn't know what to wear! I only had two dresses with me. One bright one, suitable for weddings or a cotillion, and one darker one, more suitable for funerals or a hanging.”
Dorothy: “See, my folks were poor. I just had one of those, ya know, reversible hanging/cotillion dresses.” Blanche: “Well, I picked the bright one. Now, when I took the stand, a hush fell over that courtroom. I told the judge exactly what I'd seen, and after my testimony, that horse thief's fate was sealed. Justice won the day!”
Dorothy: “Blanche, what the hell does that have to do with what's going on now?”
Blanche: “Well, like any good story, mine was deliberately ambiguous, thus affording the listener the opportunity to glean from it whatever he may. Besides I just hate it when I'm left out of the conversation.”

Product Placement
Sophia: “Girls, how's this dress look on me?”
Sophia: “What's the difference? In a half hour it'll be crumpled on the floor next to an empty bottle of Jack Daniels.”

Back in St. Olaf
Rose, explaining the origin of veedeenflügen: “We've done it in my family for years. Ever since Uncle Ben lost Lars Olsen's artificial leg. It was the day of the big four-county toboggan race, and without his leg, Lars came in dead last. That was a day to remember.”
Dorothy: “I think every American remembers where he was the day Lars lost that toboggan race.”
Rose: “Well, Uncle Ben felt just terrible. I mean, he tried to make it up to Lars and Lars said he forgave him, but you could tell there were still hard feelings. Lars kept trying to run Ben down with his bicycle. But with only one leg, I mean, now how fast could he pedal? Well, finally, Uncle Ben suggested something to clear the air once and for all. For one week he would be Lars's personal veedeenflügen and do whatever Lars wanted. And Lars agreed and it worked. It always works...”
Dorothy: “Rose, listen. I'm going to ask a question that I know I'm gonna hate myself for asking, but whatever happened to Lars's missing leg?”
Rose: “Oh. They found it at the annual Edelweiss and Jarlsberg Choral Festival. Uncle Ben had used it to beat off the wolves when he was setting up the bleachers.”

Rose: “I've only been to one surprise party in my life, but I'll never forget it. It was for Grandma Nylund's 100th birthday. She was from a whaling village in the old country, so we kinda made that the theme of the party. We all dressed as Vikings, with helmets and spears. And we all crowded into her little room up over the barn, and she walked in and lit a candle. And we yelled, 'Surprise!' And she dropped dead right there. We all thought that was such a nice way to go.”

Best of B.E.D.
Blanche: “Hmm, veedeenflügens, what a lovely idea. If we'd had them in the old days, we wouldn't of had to fight that disruptive Civil War.”

Reel References
Dorothy: “Arnold Schwarzenegger. He became an American citizen, started a whole new career, married a Kennedy. Right now he happens to be tearing off another guy's arm and hitting him with it, but you do see my point?”

Golden Quotes
Rose: “Dorothy, you've had a rough day. I'll tell you what. You go on and get into bed, and I'll bring you a nice up of hot chocolate... And I'll bring you some cookies and I'll move the TV into your room.”
Dorothy: “You really don't have to bother.”
Rose: “Oh, it's no bother... You heard her, Blanche. Get crackin'!!”

Critique: The timely “Dorothy's Prized Pupil” feels just as relevant today as it did over thirty years ago, but that doesn't necessarily make it a standout of Season Two. Not counting The-Episode-Thou-Shall-Not-Speak-It's-Name, it's probably most fans' least favorite of this outstanding sophomore season. But I'm more of a glass half full kinda guy so let's look at the positives. The veedeenflügen B-story is fun and offers some great moments for Blanche and Rose. I enjoy the third act scene at the movie theater because of how corny it is. (“WHOA! Oh I'm sorry Mario, I just, I never realized that ripping off a nose would leave that big a hole!”) How exactly does Dorothy know exactly what movie theater Mario would end up at? And if he's watching a movie where a guy gets his nose ripped off how did Mario get into the movie? But I digress. If anyone can give me a rational explanation as to why Dorothy pronounces Mario's name the way she does (when every other character pronounces it a totally different way) I'll die a happy person. Mario Lopez, in his pre-Saved by the Bell days, and his dimples are fine here but he was never exactly an amazing thespian. Lets just hurry up and get to the Jake the Caterer episode which thankfully is next. Though any episode that gives us Dorothy screaming WHOA isn't all that bad. GRADE: B-

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Whose Face is This, Anyways? (S2E20)

Synopsis: After visiting her college sorority for a reunion, Blanche is jealous of her plastic surgery-enhanced sisters which causes her to decide to have plastic surgery herself; Rose makes a documentary for her video class at the junior college.

Crazy Continuity
Rose says she'd be too scared to have plastic surgery, even segueing into a long St. Olaf story about how she doesn't even like it, but in the “Vacation” episode she admitted to having had her nose done.

St. Olaf Vocab
Alpha Yams – a sorority at an agricultural college in St. Olaf. They're very accepting as long as you can castrate a sheep

That’s What She Said
Sophia: “He should of stuffed the cannelloni in the traditional manner.”

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Stanley
Dr. Taylor: “It just so happens that breasts are my specialty.”
Blanche: “You have that in common with a linebacker I know on the Miami Dolphins.”

Lewd Ladies
Rose: “Sophia, how would you like to star in my video?”
Sophia: “Are there any nude love scenes involved? Because if it's integral to the plot I'll be more than happy to do it.”

Picture It
Sophia: “I was the most gorgeous girl in the village and I could have my pick of the town's most eligible goat farmers. Until Anna Maria Alonso Paladino, known to her friends as Muffin, moved to our village. Suddenly, all the men, who were always fighting over who would keep the footprints I left in the mud, were after Muffin. So, I decided...”
“Wait, just a minute. They would fight over who got to kept the footprints you left in the mud??”
Sophia: “It was a poor village, Dorothy. What did you want them to collect, Fabergé eggs? Anyway, I was too vain to be the second-most beautiful girl in the village. So, I went to Muffin and I told her how I felt. That was when I found out that beautiful girl was even more beautiful inside. She offered to move to the neighboring village.”
Rose: “And you felt guilty 'cause you'd been vain.”
Sophia: “Hell, no. I helped her pack! But it all backfired in my face because the next day, all the good-Iooking men in the village followed her. That's how I ended up with your father. Boy, talk about learning a lesson the hard way.”

Zbornak Zingers
Blanche: “Oh Dorothy, you cannot possibly begin to comprehend the terrible trauma a gorgeous woman goes through when she realizes her beauty is startin' to fade.”
Dorothy: “And who do you see when you look at me, Blanche? Joe Pepitone??”

Insult Watch
Dorothy: “You'll just have to grow old along with the rest of us.”
Blanche: “I couldn't go on if I had to look like the two of you.”

Product Placement
Sophia: “Blanche is a vain person and vanity can be a terrible thing. I should know. I used to be vain myself.”
Rose: “You, Sophia?”
Sophia: “What, you think I was born with white hair and a butt like Play-Doh?”

Sassy Sophia
Blanche: “I am gonna be perfect. I'm gonna be gorgeous. I'm gonna have my tummy tucked and my butt firmed and my breasts raised and my face lifted!!”
Sophia: “It's a shame to do all that and keep that hairdo.”

Back in St. Olaf
Rose: “Olga Fetchik was our town beautician, and one of God's most unattractive creations since the aardvark. Anyway, over the years, Olga had been secretly squirreling away money for plastic surgery. Well one day she left without telling anyone, had the surgery, and didn't return for months. Well, nobody could believe their eyes. Olga Fetchik had turned into a stunning beauty. Every man in town wanted her. And she ended up marrying St. Olaf's most handsome and eligible bachelor, dance instructor Adolph Step. The two of them moved back to Norway, decided to get into show business, and they became the internationally renowned Scandinavian dance team of Step and Fetchik.”
Blanche: “Rose, not that I care, but since you've already gone to so much trouble, just how did having plastic surgery ruin Olga's life?”
Rose: “Oh it didn't ruin her life, it almost ruined St. Olaf. I mean after she left, the town didn't have a professional beautician for years. Women started giving each other home perms. Pretty soon, everybody looked like Art Garfunkel. Husbands stopped sleeping with their wives, the population started to go down. Well the town would have gone under if Oslo's most famous hairstylist, Vidal Sassbogadotter hadn't relocated his shop in St. Olaf because of our more favorable tax laws. Now, you see why I don't like plastic surgery?”

Best of B.E.D.
Rose: “Are you saying you're upset because the reunion went great and your sorority sisters looked wonderful?”
Blanche: “Well of course not, Rose. That would be childish. I am upset because I was not the center of attention and nobody said I was the prettiest.”

Reel References
Dorothy: “You know how uncomfortable I am in front of a camera. Besides, I always come out looking like Fess Parker.”
Rose: “Don't worry, this is a documentary. It's OK if you're not good-Iooking.”
Dorothy: “Rose, stop trying to appeal to my ego.”

Golden Quotes
Dorothy: “Ma, why are you dressed like someone who just escaped from 'It's a Small World?'”

and

Blanche: “Seeing my sorority sisters was just dreadful… It was just as if time had stood still for 30 years. Every woman there looked wonderful. They'd hardly aged at all!”
Rose: “I saw a movie like that once. All the women were sucked up into flying saucers. And mechanical doubles were sent back to Earth to take their place. Did any of them mention a leader named Zardoz?”


Critique: For the record, Fess Parker is literally mentioned in this episode 5 TIMES. Overkill much? But I digress. I enjoy this episode because I think it works well with the Season Two opener “End of the Curse.” Both episodes are about Blanche, and her ridiculous ego, dealing with getting older. It features another fine performance from McClanahan. There are plenty of other fun moments one of my favorites being the ending in which the girls mistake a man covered in bandages for a post-op Blanche. (“Diodoro? Funny he didn't look Italian.”) There's nothing particularly outstanding about the plotting of the episode but it provides all the standard good moments we've come to expect at this point in the series. We get a good Sophia story and an all-time classic St. Olaf story. I still have no clue why Rose's documentary rough cut has no soundtrack when she was clearly using a regular VHS camcorder, but what do you expect from a Scandinavian nitwit? GRADE: B+

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Long Day's Journey into Marinara (S2E19)

Synopsis: Sophia's sister Angela returns and causes chaos when she moves in with the girls while apartment hunting; Rose looks after a friend's showbiz chicken Count Bessie.

80s Flashback
Blanche: “Sisters have a natural adversarial relationship.”
Rose: “That's cause it's genetic. It has to do with the double helix of the DNA molecule... It's true, I saw it on television. Peter Marshall played this microbiologist on 'The Love Boat' and he was conducting sinister experiments on the Landers sisters”
Dorothy: “My apologies, Rose. For a moment there, I didn't think it had been documented.”

Crazy Continuity
Sophia says that she and Angela are the last ones left of the original family. Though in future episodes Sophia has a brother named Angelo and no longer has a sister named Angela. Maybe Angela was a pioneer in the transgender movement??

Musical Moments
Count Bessie proceeds to play “Old McDonald Had a Farm” on the piano.

St. Olaf Vocab
Genügenflürgen cake – an ancient Scandinavian cake that Rose has “brought into the 80s”
Vertugenflürgen – from that old Scandinavian saying “I'm not one to blow my own Vertugenflürgen”

That’s What She Said
Dorothy: “Ma got something caught in her throat.”

Animal Alert
It's the appearance of showbiz chicken herself, Count Bessie!
Dorothy: “Rose, the woman keeps a chicken in her house, how normal can she be?”
Rose: “I kept a chicken in my home.”
Dorothy: “You see my point?”

Lewd Ladies
Sophia: “Open up, you tramp. I know you're in there... You can run but you can't hide!”
Angela: “Run? I can barely walk.”
Sophia: “Fine. Rub it in.”

Zbornak Zingers
Dorothy, after catching Rose playing Count Bessie's piano with her face: “Um Rose, do you know offhand if 911 is the right number to call for a straight jacket?”

Insult Watch
Sophia: “May the bags under your eyes grow so large your head falls in 'em!”
Angela: “May your shampoo get mixed up with Preparation H and shrink your head to the size of a mushroom!”

Tales from the Old South
Blanche: “You know, what is happening between Sophia and Angela is not unlike an incident which occurred between my sister Virginia and me when we were in high school. Now, can you believe that one's very own sister could seduce her sibling's boyfriend on the eve of that sibling's senior prom?”
Dorothy: “Virginia did that to you?”
Blanche: “No, I did that to Virginia. She deserved it. She borrowed my saddle shoes without asking. Well what are you lookin' at?? She scuffed those shoes. I hardly left a mark on that boy!”

Product Placement
Dorothy: “Aunt Angela!!”
Angela: “No Sophia Loren. I stopped using Oil of Olay.”

Sassy Sophia
Sophia: “Living with Angela the last three weeks has been a nightmare. I don't think she's ever gonna leave… She used up my entire bottle of Porcelana. Look at all these liver spots. I've got more brown skin than the Temptations!”

Back in St. Olaf
Rose: “Oh I always get tired after a long trip. I remember one time Daddy took the whole family cross state on our tractor to visit Great-grandfather Zigbauten. Great-grandpa Ziggy was a famous inventor. He developed the first, and to my knowledge, the only, low-voltage meter that could detect what kind of a center a piece of candy had.”

Best of B.E.D.
Dorothy: “Wasn't that story about the heart transplant amazing?”
Blanche: “Oh I wasn't paying attention, I was fantasizing what Tom Brokaw looks like naked.”

Reel References
Blanche: “You really like Tony a lot don't you Sophia.”
Sophia: “Why shouldn't I? He's the best catch in town. He's got his own hair, his own teeth, and a totally unrestricted driver's license. Hey, at my age, that's like dating Tom Cruise.”

Golden Quotes
Dorothy: “Rose, honey, think of the positive things. Now Count Bessie accomplished more in a few years on this earth than, than most chickens do in a lifetime. Give me a break, I'm making this up as I go along. Above all else, that chicken was a great entertainer. And a great entertainer deserves to be remembered in a special way.”
Blanche: “Yeah. Like with a roast at the Friars Club.”

and

Rose: “It's just such a tragedy. Who cooks a musician at the height of her career??”
Blanche: “Rose, you've got to put this in perspective, Count Bessie was a chicken. It's not as if Angela fried up Doc Severinsen!”

and

Rose: “Dorothy do you believe it. I mean four chickens and not one of them as any musical ability.”
Dorothy: “It's a sad commentary Rose all the young chickens are wasting their time playing video games.”

Critique: The typical sitcom often offers two story-lines. The main one is usually the “A story” and the second one, usually less significant, is called the “B story.” Usually they're unrelated. But the best written sitcoms know how to bring the two plot-lines together. “Long Day's Journey into Marinara” is a prime example of great plotting in a sitcom. Angel and Count Bessie are seemingly unrelated storylines but when the girls think Angela cooked Count Bessie for dinner it really sets off a string of comedy gold worth its weight in fried chicken. Aunt Angela is one of my favorite relative guest stars and I'm pretty certain I prefer her second (and last) appearance on the show. The previous episode (“The Sisters”) was great and established their love-hate sisterly relationship, but they spend so little time onscreen together that we finally get to seem them really sink their teeth into each other here. There are so many nice moments here, there's a good bit when Dorothy mistakenly eats “chicken chow,” Sophia and Angela's constant insults (Angela says the way Sophia would kill her is to force her to eat her baked ziti), and the look on Dorothy's face when Rose tries to train other chickens to play Count Bessie's piano. This episode is hilarious with line after line of quotable dialogue: “It was Angela. They're sleeping together, like I suspected. I'm going over to kill her. I'll be back in time for Wheel Of Fortune.” GRADE: A