Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sisters and Other Strangers S5E21

Synopsis: Blanche suspects that her sister Charmaine’s tawdry novel is actually about her; Stan’s Czechoslovakian cousin Magda visits and her Communist ideology drives Dorothy and Sophia up the wall.

Musical Moments
Sophia: “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie/That's amore/When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine/That's amore”
Dorothy: “Ma, that's lovely.”
Sophia: “What?”
Dorothy: “Your singing.”
Sophia: “That was me? I was gonna ask you to turn off the radio.”

Let’s Get Political
Dorothy: “Boy, sure took you a long time to spell Welcome Magda.”
Rose: “Oh I thought that'd be too boring. So instead I decided to depict Magda's escape from Czechoslovakia.”
Dorothy: “But isn't that barbed wire?”
Rose: “Isn't it amazing what you can do with icing?”
Dorothy: “Gee, you made that pack of dogs look very realistic. But Rose, the revolution in Czechoslovakia was a peaceful one. Nobody was chased by a pack of dogs.”
Sophia [tasting the icing]: “But they're good dogs, Rose.”

Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Stanley
Rose: “Charmaine! Blanche, look who's here. It's Charmaine.”
Sophia: “Oh, good. Ringside seats!”

That’s What She Said
Blanche: “And you ‘member that time Big Daddy caught us skinny-dipping with those boys?”
Charmaine: “And you told him it was our Bible study group ‘just practicin’ baptizin.’”
Blanche: “It would've worked, too, if you hadn't come up screaming, ‘Hey, y'all, things look bigger underwater!’”

Zbornak Zingers
Blanche: “What am I gonna do about my sister coming? By the time she leaves Miami, she'll be more famous here than I am.”
Dorothy: “Honey, only if they close the Sheraton.”

Insult Watch
Dorothy: “Blanche is handling this a lot better than I would. I would kill Gloria if she ever wrote about my sexual escapades.”
Sophia: “You'd kill your sister over a pamphlet?”

Product Placement
Sophia: “Magda is driving us crazy. All she does is complain about how awful things are in America. Everywhere we went, something bothered her.”
Dorothy: “We showed her the mall-- She said we live in a plastic society with no soul. This was after I bought her Beef Sticks and spreadable cheese from Hickory Farms.”

Sassy Sophia
Magda: “Ladies, ladies, I have very bad news. I must shorten my stay, Dorothy. In fact, I'm leaving tomorrow.”
Sophia: “Dorothy, move the coffee table. I wanna do a cartwheel.”

Back in St. Olaf
Rose: “This is terrible! I was raised to hate Communists. I remember in the early '50s when McCarthy came to St. Olaf to speak in the town square. I was never so moved by a public speaker. Although some people thought he was a puppet for the right wing. No, wait. That was Charlie McCarthy.”
Dorothy: “I'd have put money on that.”
Rose: “But still, St. Olaf's town motto was 'Better Ned than red.' Ned was sort of the town idiot.”
Sophia: “When? On your days off?”

Magda [discussing Communism]: “When there is one road, no one gets lost.”
Rose: “Not necessarily. Back in St. Olaf, there--”
Dorothy: “Rose. Is this a story about someone getting lost?”
Rose: “Uh-huh.”
Dorothy: “Well, don't tell us. Show us.”

Rose: “I have a sister story I think you'll find interesting…. There was a time in my life when I wanted to leave St. Olaf. I just didn't feel it was big enough for me. I had my eye on the Great White Way. So I went to St. Gustav, the city that never naps. That first night I walked around in amazement. They had their own Fotomat! Of course, it wasn't as large as the Fotomats you see today. Now, here's the scary part. Suddenly, I realized I was this frightened little girl alone in the big city. It started to rain, and I stood there in the middle of the town square and cried. There I was, drenched, and someone yelled out: 'Hey! Don't you have enough sense to come in out of the rain?' Well, then it hit me. And when I went home to St. Olaf, I passed on this bit of street-smart savvy. The next thing you know, in St. Olaf the in thing was coming in out of the rain. I was the town celebrity. Until the phrase 'Watch out for that tractor' caught on.”
Blanche: “What in hell does this have to do with sisters?”
Rose: “Didn't I mention? St. Olaf and St. Gustav were sister cities.”

Best of B.E.D.
Charmaine [about her book]: “Well, what did you think?”
Blanche: “I should've known I couldn't trust you. That all that 'let's be sisters' stuff was just a bunch of bull. You had no right to use my life for your book. To twist facts so that beautiful, sacred love became so much tawdry trash. I earned that A in history! For the first time in my life, I'm ashamed to be a Hollingsworth. Vixen: Story of a Woman is nothing but a vulgar collection of perverse sexual acts that are sheer and utter filth!!”

Sweet, Single-Digit-IQ Rose
Blanche: “You are not gonna believe this. My sister Charmaine just called me.”
Dorothy: “I didn't think the two of you were speaking.”
Blanche: “Well, we're not.”
Rose: “Then how did you know it was her on the other end of the line?”
Dorothy: “Rose, you're bringing down the curve for the whole country.”

From Feud to Food
Dorothy: “Oh, Ma, come here. I want you to taste this. Well?”
Sophia: “Wouldn't it be easier to put a pillow over my face while I sleep?”

What, We Can’t Learn From History?
Dorothy: “Magda, how can you be such an expert on America when you've only been here a few days?”
Magda: “I know that Communist system is more fair.”
Dorothy: “How can you say that? People all over the world are realizing that Communism doesn't work.”
Magda: “It worked for me. I had automatic can opener, I had toaster, and I was very near top of list to get electricity.”

Literary Intelligentsia
Dorothy: “Magda, there are two books that I want you to read. The first one is Thomas Paine's Common Sense. I think it'll give you some idea of what freedom is all about. And the second is Vanna White's autobiography.”
Magda: “Why should I read this?”
Dorothy: “It's just a helluva a book!”

The Boob Tube
Charmaine: “By any chance, do you happen to know what happened to Big Daddy's pocket watch? Virginia says you took it after the funeral.”
Blanche: “That pocket watch meant so much to me.”
Charmaine: “Big Daddy promised that watch to me.”
Blanche: “In writing?”
Charmaine: “It was in the will.”
Blanche: “Is this the same will where he promised the summer house to Gopher from Love Boat?”
Charmaine: “No, this is the sober will.”

Golden Quotes
Magda: “Dorothy?”
Dorothy: “Cousin Magda!”
Magda: “Such a beautiful home! Who sleeps with government official?”
Dorothy: “That would be my friend Blanche.”

Magda: “Rose, everywhere you look the rich take advantage of the poor. How can you deny there are inequities in this society?”
Rose: “Well, sure there are inequities, but at least we treat everybody the same.”

Magda: “Oh, oh! Oooh! Ow!”
Sophia: “You drank the Slurpee too fast again, didn't you?”
Magda: “It's like knife sticking in forehead. The pain. It is, it is, really good! These Slurpees are best thing about America.”
Dorothy: “What do you want me to do, throw her out?”
Sophia: “Yes, and while you're at it, ditch the Commie!”

Blanche: “My sister has turned into a deceitful old woman whose only pleasure is in hurting people. No offense, Sophia.”
Sophia: “None taken. Slut.”

Rose: “You know, isn't life funny? Last night in bed I told myself, 'Nobody listens to your stories, Rose, quit telling them.' And I swore I would never tell another story as long as I lived. And then you hear something like this, and you realize these stories make a difference. Oh! You know, something sort of like that happened to Hans Fliegelfleister...”
Sophia: “I hope it's Death.”
Dorothy: “Get it Rose!!”

Charmaine: “Oh, I write the same thing to everybody. Just like signing yearbooks, remember? You always wrote the same thing. 'You were the first.'”
Blanche: “Wrote it, hell, I had a stamp made.”

First thought, I've always wondered if Vanna White's book got a boost in sales after Dorothy's glowing recommendation? Secondly, I'm not quite sure why Sophia needed to rip Charmaine's book out of Magda's hands when there was a stack of perfectly unused copies right in front of her, but I digress. Oh my God I love this episode. We get two relatives. We get to learn more about Blanche's family. Is it me or does Charmaine look like she could be Nicole Kidman's sister? (She's even related to Nicole Kidman in Far & Away, so there!) I really like Charmaine, maybe I feel a tad sorry for her because she has a spastic colon, a tipped uterus, heart flutters, and attached kidneys? And then there's Stan's cousin Magda from Czechoslovakia who Dorothy refers to as Flora the Red Menace. I'm not sure why Dorothy is so concerned with Magda thinking America is a plastic society since we all know she's a modern thinker who isn't afraid to give a piece of her mind. I mean she hates George Bush after all. I can't even count how many classic GG lines appear here but it's brimming with absolutely delightful dialogue. We also get almost three St. Olaf stories. Dorothy's Mrs. Doolittle story is good but at tad overdone at this point. I'd take Rose's “sister cities” story any day of the week over that one. There's very little to complain about here with funny jabs at everything from Vanna White, to Hickory Farms, to bitter children of celebrities. It's such a well-rounded episode, everyone has their moment to shine. This episode is… it is… veeely good! GRADE: A


  1. I do love how many St. Olaf stories we get in this episode! When they bust out the relatives and other people from their world I love it too! Great selection of quotes.

  2. She should've named the book "Vixen, story of a mutant."

  3. There’s actually a double reference in Rose’s story about McCarthy. The joke starts off having you think she’s talking about Joseph McCarthy, but then she references *Charlie* McCarthy, who wasn’t a St. Olaf denizen but a dummy character portrayed by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen (father of actress Candice Bergen). Which gives the “puppet of the right wing” reference a double meaning as well: Joseph McCarthy being a conservative/right wing firebrand and Charlie McCarthy being a literal puppet. Pretty smart writing, if you ask me.

  4. I know that this area of politics has always been a controversial one, but the episode's flirting with McCarthyism feels kinda obnoxious. The conflict is very one-dimensional, although the resolution is actually pretty decent.

    As you said, Dorothy would probably be more on the fence about this kind of thing. I know Magda is written to be close-minded and annoying but I don't see Dorothy as the kind of person to reprimand her for judging American society so early while also denouncing the country she's never been in as having no "freedom". And if anybody would complain about how commercial their society is (or just complain in general), it'd be Dorothy.

    But, I digress. I have to say, Rose talking about discovering the concept of walking inside during the rain and Dorothy interjecting about her doll being destroyed (Bea's amazing breakdown-comedy stands out again). Also the secret police joke had really good delivery.