Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Fiddler on the Ropes S4E18

Synopsis: Sophia uses the girls' investment money to buy a Cuban prize fighter. Obviously.

80s Flashback
Dorothy: “Ma, that's it. Forget it. Take him back.”
Sophia: “To where, Customer Service? Besides, I believe there's a no-return clause on fighters. Unless you're Robin Givens.”

That’s What She Said
Dorothy: “We could be holding the man's fate in our hands.”
Blanche: “I once held a man's fate in my hands.”

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Stanley
Dorothy: “Ma, what are you doing, you don't know the first thing about boxing.”
Sophia: “Please. I used to be known as the Don King of Sicily. Of course, I used to wear my hair differently then.”

Lewd Ladies
Blanche: “Girls, you are my very best friends in the entire world, and I trust and respect you more than any people I know. So, I want you to tell me the truth. Now, honestly, do you think I'm competent at what I do?”
Rose: “Based on the sounds from your bedroom, I'd bet you're damn near spectacular.”

Picture It
Sophia: “Picture it, Sicily, 1920. Two young girls pack their bags and leave their tiny village to seek fame and fortune and a meal cooked without oregano. Their journey takes them to a seaside town where a ship prepares to depart for the New World… Anyway, the price of steerage turns out to be 900,000 lire. Or approximately a buck and a quarter. Which is exactly the amount of each girl's life savings...One girl chooses to spend her money and take a chance on adventure. The other plays it cautiously and books only a ferry to Sardinia, saving the rest of her money for a rainy day.”
Dorothy: “Lemme guess, Ma. You were the one who chose adventure.”
Sophia: “I'm the girl who played it safe. Maybe if I'd made the other choice, I wouldd have been prime minister of Israel instead of my good friend Golda Meir.”
Dorothy: “Ma, you never met Golda Meir!”
Sophia: “Please! I almost married her husband, the man who perfected the hot dog.”
Dorothy & Sophia: “Oscar Meir.”

Zbornak Zingers
Sophia: “You still better get some sleep.”
Dorothy: “I can't, Ma. I'm too nervous.”
Sophia: “About the money?”
Dorothy: “No, Ma. I'm always a wreck the night before any welterweight Division B match-up at the local arena.”

Insult Watch
Rose: “I might be able to help Pepe, too.”
Sophia: “Yeah, you can be a constant reminder of what might happen if you spar without headgear.”

Tales from the Old South
Blanche: “It was back in high school. I was dating the quarterback of the football team. All the major colleges were trying to recruit him. I was pretty sure he was leaning toward Notre Dame 'cause he asked me how to spell it. But secretly, I was hoping for Alabama. Going to Notre Dame would put such a wrench in our relationship, with all those priests skulking about the campus. Anyway, one nigh, he told me he'd finally made his decision. He was gonna enroll at the little junior college just five miles outside of town. When I said, 'Honey, why? They don't even have a football team,' he answered by slipping a ring on my finger and proposing marriage. Well, I could not believe it. I sat there for almost half an hour just staring at that ring. Finally I said, 'Honey, this will not do. I cannot accept this ring.'”
Rose: “Because you loved him so much you didn't wanna stand in the way of his career.”
Blanche: “No, because it was a piece of cheap glass, and the band was turning my finger green.”
Dorothy: “Well, no matter what your reasons were, you obviously made the right decision. He probably went on to a very successful career in football.”
Blanche: “Actually, he was so crushed by my rejection that he gave up football and turned gay.”
Dorothy: “You don't turn gay. You're either gay, or you're not. You had nothing to do with it.”
Blanche: “Dorothy, if he had been gay before, he would have had better taste in jewelry.”

Product Placement
Rose: “I still feel uncomfortable about going through Pepe's things.”
Blanche: “Me, too. Although it was kind of exciting opening his closet and seeing his little boxing trunks hanging there with that provocative nickname on 'em.”
Dorothy: “Blanche, Everlast is a brand name, not a nickname.”

Sassy Sophia
Pepe: “In two days, I have an audition for the Juilliard School of Music.”
Sophia: “Yeah, right. And I'm Jimmy Swaggart's favorite way to pass a lonely afternoon.”

Sweet, Single-Digit-IQ Rose
Rose: “I just don't know what I'd do if I retired. No problems to solve, no challenges. I'd be afraid my mind would go soft.”
Dorothy: “Don't even talk that way, Rose. That's crazy talk.”

Literary Intelligentsia
Dorothy: “You let Ma leave the house with $3,000 of our money?”
Rose: “What's wrong with that?”
Sophia: “What's wrong?! Odds are she'll probably come back with a handful of magic beans!”

Reel References
Pepe: “Look ladies, I guess I've got some explaining to do.”
Rose: “You sure do. Like why you snuck out on us. Like why you used us. Like why you're speaking better English than Sylvester Stallone.”

Pepe's violin coach: “What about your hands? What if something happens to your hands?”
Pepe: “They'll be fine. And after tomorrow, I'll never fight again.”
Pepe's violin coach: “Or never play the violin again.”
Dorothy: “Excuse me. Are we back to real life? Or are the two of you performing a scene from Golden Boy?”

The Boob Tube
Blanche: “I'm so glad Pepe has the opportunity to be an actor.”
Sophia: “Why? When was the last time you saw a Cuban Macbeth? He'll get out of school and spend his whole career getting arrested on TV cop shows.”

Golden Quotes
Blanche: “I swear, sometimes I think I just wanna throw in the towel and take an early retirement. I wonder if you can collect Social Security at 49, 50.”
Dorothy: “4950, what is that Blanche, the address of the Social Security building?”

and

Dorothy: “I never had a mind for money matters. I always used to let Stanley handle all our investments.”
Rose: “Did he have a head for numbers?”
Dorothy: “Stanley? The man used to have to get naked to count to 21.”

Critique:
This is one of the more controversial episodes among fans. Some people downright hate it but it has too many good moments and lines to outright dismiss. But let's get one thing straight before we talk about anything else. Why the hell is Pepe's violin audition being held in the same seedy warehouse where he practices at night? And why the hell does his violin audition all of a sudden turn into an acting audition? But I digress. So sure this episode is preposterous. But didn't they sneak into a locker room to find Bob Hope in the last episode so Season 4 is already a tad… ridiculous. There's a fun dynamic with Pepe around and even if the episode threatens to cross into borderline un-PC territory there is plenty to like here. Sophia has some particularly strong lines (“Why does every fighter become an actor? Just once, I'd like it the other way around, if for no other reason than to see Chevy Chase get his butt kicked”. And at least we know Pepe will eventually find great success as a consumer reporter and eventually move up to the network. GRADE: B+

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