In The Triangle, Dorothy's housecall-making doctor boyfriend makes a pass at Blanche, and Blanche is put in the awkward position of having to decide whether to tell Dorothy and risk the repercussions, or watch her close friend pursue a future that will almost certainly end in heartbreak and a ruined coming out party.
Below is the Enough Wicker podcast transcript for Episode 5: Ask the Towel Lady!, analyzing The Golden Girls Season 1 episode, The Triangle :
Hello and welcome to Enough Wicker, a podcast where we talk about the queens of Miami Dade County, The Golden Girls. I'm Lauren.
And I'm Sarah.
And today we're on the fifth episode, The Triangle. So I just want to say this is, I think the funniest one that we have talked about so far. There are so many moments from beginning to end where I just laugh out loud. I think I had like, seven different exchanges that I wrote down that were funny.
Lots of pre-laughing, in this one.
Yeah. Oh my god. This is definitely the first one that I laughed before a line was delivered to which, as we've talked about, is a problem. And also a really lovely thing that happens when we watch this show.
It's only a problem when there's like a third party, trying to trying to process something for the first time. Or the fourth time. Not the 18th.
So the first thing that happens is Sophia is sick and they're getting a doctor to make house calls, which like, fine, I guess, sure.
I actually really appreciate that Dorothy acknowledges -- she goes, 'We're lucky we found a doctor that still makes house calls.' Because if they were gonna let that, like, sit out there, it's gonna be like, look, dude, it's the 80s -- not the 60s or you know, the 50s or what no.? Well, yeah, it was kind of fading out. So I appreciate that sort of grounding.
Yeah. But so one of the things that I wrote down is that I think this might be the first appearance of the real bamboo purse. Sophia has it when she's first sitting on the couch waiting for the doctor. And she carries it around with her throughout the episode. So that's sort of an iconic, iconique element of this one.
When she's trying to go to Mildred's to watch the adult movie channel, which is great.
Also a running theme! Sophia trying to access porn.
Exactly. Well, that purse, I think They made replicas of it, because they were so worried -- it was so iconic, they were so worried that it was going to get lost. So they had like, a few on hand to make sure that like, you know, from a props perspective, because it wasn't a created prop. It was like a real purse.
Yeah, no, of course you wouldn't you would need them.
And then so Elliot -- the doctor Elliot comes -- and it's one of the pieces that I noticed is that he's talking to Dorothy about what's going on Sophia. And Sophia intervenes, and she's like, what am I two years old? Like, he's asking Dorothy, all of these medical questions. And it's really interesting, because it's not a heavy moment at all. But I do feel like there must be some truth in that for anybody who's watching this, who has had to have somebody else answer medical questions for them, or -- and certainly, older people who I think you know, are like, sort of a lot of the time, babied. And I think Sophia's sort of advocating for herself, and for herself as as an adult who can make her own decisions. And I think that's really, really cool. I don't recall another time ever seeing that actually.
Exactly. And I think, yeah, she's just like talking about her body. She's like, 'if something goes wrong, I'm the first one to hear about it.' And it's, it's so -- it's so true. Because I think that happens a lot with older people. And it's like, well, we'll actually cover it a little bit later in the season with Rose's mother, but just how the dynamic really shifts from like a protective standpoint, and you know, it happens not with older people to, as you said, and I think, actually, it was funny because that was one of the most important things for me when I was pregnant and going to give birth that I was just like, you need to talk to ME. Like even though I'm in pain, like I'm still the person that you're dealing with, and I don't want to have a proxy communicating, because I want to be treated like a whole person. So I really appreciate that she calls, you know, both of them out on it.
Yeah, that's thinking of actually honestly is like childbirth. I feel like it's like the most sort of like common time where that happens to somebody is not an older person, who's totally otherwise, sort of, you know, able to make their own decisions.
Okay, so Elliot comes, there's some tension with with Dorothy right away. And it's -- it's interesting because she's so, you know, Bea Arthur's so good at like, channeling what you think somebody who was like her would do when they were trying to be flirty, right? She's just like, she straightens up, she, like, she just her tone, she softens -- like she just really hits it.
And you know immediately what she's doing. And Elliott does, too.
Yep, exactly. I love her look to Rose where she baits him with the very obvious 'I'm sure Mrs. Clayton...' enjoys it, too -- and oh 'Mrs. Clayton and I are no longer together.' She does this little like tongue -- she sticks her tongue out with Rose, like oh my gosh! It's such a cute, like giggly girly -- like, just, like, you know, excited about a new crush type of action for this older woman, which is just, it just strikes a perfect chord. She does the exact same thing once she actually gets the date. And she goes like, 'oh, thank you for being a kind and generous god,' you know, sort of to the air after she closes the door, and it's so cute because it's like, exactly how anyone at any age would act after scoring a hot date.
Yeah. And so while Dorothy's sort of working it, Blanche walks in, you know, and she makes eye contact and she's just sort of, like, snaps in the Blanche mode and she becomes this like super sort of like vixeny, go-after character and then Dorothy intervenes and sort of is like hey, like I'm already working this -- please back off.
It's perfect. I mean, it's such a bar scene, and it's like happening with a doctor house call in their living room -- like, it's amazing. By the way, the dress that Blanche is -- that Blanche enters in -- you know, that'll 'stop traffic' in the doorway. I feel like that's exactly something that you'd wear, Lauren.
Oh my god. Yes, I would! There are so many things in this in this show where I'm like huh, like, I gotta look on eBay. But I love that exchange between Dorothy and Blanche, because Blanche is sort of selling herself as, like, you know, somebody who's just meant to be with this guy -- this guy of all guys, even though she's always with every guy, and she says 'we were meant for each other. He's a man, I'm a woman' and then Dorothy just like, right away is, like, 'what am I, Little Richard?' and that's, you know, it's sort of a dated reference, but not really, I think we sort of like we can all get it.
Exactly, exactly. Oh, man even before though my -- that one's great. But my favorite again, because this episode is so rife with great quips. She goes, 'but he wants me I can feel it' and she goes, 'let somebody else feel it'. Just, I, like, wish I had said that to someone in real life.
It's so on point with those two.
Speaking of dated references, they also -- she mentions Burt Reynolds and John Forsyth, okay? Together, which is amazing, and that, of course, comes up later in the the first season and both of them together, so it's just -- it's just amazing that they're just like 'we are hammering home that these are attractive men of 1985. It's awesome.
It's so great.
Yeah, but it's such a perfect, like -- it's the first true flirt scene. I mean, we saw Rose do her little, like, you know, sitting on the bed sexy for for Arnie in the state room, but it's like first true flirt scene for someone that's not Blanche. Right?
Yeah, yeah. And I noted that it was interesting because while we've established that Blanche sort of has, you know, a past and dates a lot of guys or whatever, we haven't -- Dorothy making jokes about Dorothy being chronically single isn't something that goes on yet, because I think that we're still too fresh on the second episode where they explained the divorce with Stanley. So, I don't think it's it's quite there yet, so it's not as it's not as sort of unfair or, like, not nice of Blanche to do this, you know, I think if this happened later, we would have been like, Blanche, just like let her have him, you know? So I think it makes sense that they have this conversation and Blanche does ultimately back off, to be fair.
Of course. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And she is very lackadaisical, like she's reading a book just by herself where, you know, when he comes in for their date, that kind of thing, and they go to the bar, which is -- just cracks me up, right? Like in -- in front camera, you know, fourth wall, bar. Amazing. So this scene, you know, where he actually comes on to her. Where he says to her, I just -- I love the Blanche character here because I think it is just a perfect feminist stance and it really like strikes a lot of chords with me, from -- like, from everything happening today, like still for the feminist movement. It was, like, he goes, 'you're a very attractive woman, Blanche' And she just goes, 'I know,' like, completely like not like -- It's this idea that a lot of men have, and a lot of men who aren't really seeing women as full people, right? It's like, it's kind of it's almost a cliche at this point where it's like, a guy will -- especially online dating -- will pay a woman a compliment, and that she doesn't say like, oh, thank you so much. Ah ha ha. Or like, like, sort of defer to him about being like, Oh my gosh, it's it's that whole idea of like, what is that shitty boy band that has like, 'you don't know you're beautiful' song?
Oh, yeah. Uh, One Direction!
Yeah, one direction. There you go. So no offense, One Direction, whatever -- I probably know, like two of their songs. And that's one of them. But that song is just so ridiculous. Because it's like, the appeal of the woman is that she doesn't know she's beautiful, right? It's just I mean, even like, oh my god, Amy Schumer parodied it and said, like, you know, like, oh, 'you don't need no makeup.'
You know, oh my god. Yeah, exactly. This ridiculous idea that the only reason a woman is like presenting herself is for a man to compliment her, and that she wouldn't be either doing it for herself or even know that she's attractive. So just the fact that Blanche just straight up is like, I know, like -- what's your point? It's, it's amazing because it's like, and the audience laughs right, but she's fucking right! Like, she's like, what of it? You know, it really, really struck me as this fantastic moment that is so relevant to even just like online dating and other ridiculous spaces for women today.
Oh, yeah, know your worth. And I think it goes back to sort of what you were saying earlier, where Blanche, at one point isn't so confident and isn't -- when she's going on the honeymoon to New York in the first one, and she's like, oh, sure, we'll go there because that's where he wants to go. Like that is not who she is. And I think that that's, you know, that's definitely what we're seeing here. So Elliot hits on her, sloe gin fizz --
She punches him!
Yeah! What a dirtbag!
Totally! But I mean like I'm -- good for Blanche. Like she she says she's not accustomed to being manhandled, like, wriggles out of them. And then when he doesn't seem to, like, let go, she actually punched him. I was like, fuck yeah, good job.
Yeah! So then you know this happens. Dorothy goes out, Blanche is -- you know, obviously torn up about it. And she happens to -- you know, she goes to Rose, she tells her what happened, she doesn't know what to do. And Rose is very adamant that she needs to tell Dorothy. And Blanche -- this is where I -- this is where I laugh before the line's delivered, because Blanche goes on this crazy Song of the South tale about her friend Anderbeau and her boyfriend and like how she lost Anderbeau AND her beau, and then it comes back to Rose, who's a very Minnesota farm girl, kind of simpleton and she's like, I don't even know who Anderbobo is, but when Blanche is finished telling the story and it's just frozen on Betty White's, like, completely blank face, I laugh right away and I'm laughing because of the Anderbobo line like, it's, it's just so -- ugh, I love that scene so much.
It's perfect writing. And she again, Blanche -- I'm sorry, Rose -- is so in the right here, right? Like, you get the compulsion that like, you know, Blanche is like oh, you know she's gonna not believe me, which of course does happen, and -- but Rose is like, no I mean it doesn't matter even, like, you're right and she needs to know about this, so she -- then Rose goes on HER fanciful tale of what might happen, you know, if they they settle down and she goes, 'they could have a child!' and then of course there's a huge laugh and then she just goes 'they could adopt a child!' and it's just perfect. I love how Rose realizes her mistake. No one has actually say anything to her.
But doesn't let her go off course -- continues with the tale.
Exactly, exactly. And then she you know goes on this whole thing with, 'At little Mei Ling's coming out party,' find out that Elliott has bonged every woman at his country club. And, I must say, I really would love to know the origin of how they settled on 'bonged.' Because clearly the network wouldn't let them say bang, but I don't even know like at 1985, was that like your that was the word of choice? It's just -- oh my god. It's just amazing. Every time she says, 'bonged.'
It really fits, though. I would say I wouldn't change it if given the opportunity.
Absolutely, absolutely not. It was perfect. But I just -- I really would love to, you know, have been in that meeting, where they decided the line was.
So great. And the Mei Ling story is so wonderful, because it does come up later. First of all, like, it's one of those things that I love that I mentioned last time that like continues throughout the episode.
They have Dorothy react to it too. That's the funny part, too. When they when she brings it up again, I'm just glad little Mei Ling's coming out party was ruined. They actually have Dorothy react to it, which I feel like sometimes on this show, they don't, but a lot of other shows they'll have a reference to something said earlier, but there'll be new characters around and the new characters will just glaze over it even though Dorothy, in this case, does exactly what you would do, which is, what are you talking about? Right? Like it's so true to life.
Yeah. 'Ask the towel lady!' Yeah, but it's a really, it's a really good one. And then I think -- so then Sophia sort of comes in, and they let her in on what's going on. And we almost get a 'picture it' -- it's in the wrong order, but there's like a Sicily --
It's a 'picture this'
Yes! Picture this. Yes, but we do get this Sophia sort of being wild and having like a money-making scheme, and it's of course Mama Celeste, her former business partner from Italy.
Which, to skip ahead a little, like frozen Mama Celeste is better than Sophia's homemade pizza at the end? Like, come on, guys.
Yeah - there's no way.
She defrosted this. It's the 80s. There's preservatives in everything.
So basically, Dorothy doesn't believe her -- and, to sort of go back about what you were saying how Rose was like, you have to do this, this is totally right -- I think Blanche's point, while, obviously you know, we would all want her to do what she does end up doing, is a fair one. You know, I think once you, especially if you've ever lost a friend from telling them you don't like their significant other, or there's a -- you know, like a rift somewhere and you you say that? I do think that's really -- that's the thing that really scars you and I think that that's what Blanche is is dealing with.
It's true. It's true. It's very -- it's very right. I just think that it's, it's so fascinating Rose as the peacekeeper here. You know, I mean she, she saves the day. Yes, she knows that it's right. And she knows that Blanche does have that conflict, you know and -- and Blanche, of course gets mad at her, when she's like, 'see? I told you this would happen', right? So she's, like, so torn up about it. It's great.
Yeah, no. So I love Rose as the peacekeeper, and actually, that's that's sort of where I wanted to go next -- like, so then there's this long, you know, we can we can insinuate that it's been a few days of tension between between Dorothy and Blanche. And they're just, like, not speaking to each other, but of course they live together. So they have to, and they -- at some point, somebody asks Dorothy if she wants to do something, and if she would like to do something with Blanche, and Dorothy says she would rather use Willie Nelson's hairbrush, and Blanche, she comes back and is like, 'must you attack everything Southern?' and I just I love it. I love the leaning into that character.
It's so great, but also, is it because he's a dirty hippie? I'm really confused about it.
No, no, I mean, I think it's to get at Blanche and that's it.
He has... braids. Yeah.
Doesn't look so dirty.
It's just really funny where -- like to think of where they were going with that, you know, it's amazing.
So then Rose basically can't take it anymore, and she asks Sophia what to do. And Sophia is like, you know, don't do anything, let it play out. It'll be fine. But once it comes up that Blanche has asked Dorothy to move out, which is also so ridiculous.
I know. I know. It's so dramatic.
How long has she been dating this guy? It's insane. You're, you're in your, like, 60s and you haven't realized that maybe you should wait to see how serious this gets? Okay. So anyway, Rose sort of gets fed up with it, and finally just kind of, like, puts her foot down and it's like, okay, like, we're going to deal with this. Whatever. And I love that version of Rose. It's a real glimpse, I think into the future of both when she coaches the football team -- which is insane -- and also, even maybe more wild and unbelievable, when they get stranded on the desert island. Those are all things like -- where I think Rose is really strong.
I didn't even think about that. Those -- the glimmers of of the desert island chieftain Rose. It's amazing. And she is -- she's persistent when she's laying her hilarious trap for Elliot, where he's like not taking it whatsoever, and asks if there's something wrong with her leg. She's very persistent. Like he denies it twice. He, actually, like, he really -- you know, she's like, Oh, no, like, you know this what you said, Dr. Man. It's kind of amazing that, like, she really gets him to fess up.
Yeah, and it is. It is really funny -- Betty White, to go back to what you said I think last episode or the one before, but the physical comedy, when she's like, doing -- I don't even know what you would call that, like with her knee, but it just -- it works so well, because you can somehow see that to her, that is what she's going for. But obviously it's really bizarre to everyone else watching.
Exactly, plays it perfectly.
Yeah. So of course Dorothy sees it, and is forced to sort of reconcile with the fact that Blanche was telling the truth. And there's some really heated exchanges between them, too. Like, I brought up the funny one earlier, but Dorothy says she could never be friends with another woman because she's a slut. Like, that's a really harsh, and I think very realistic exchange, between them, too, I think like anybody -- I feel like unfortunately, girls are often fighting over men who are trash and you know, it's bizarre that this continues to happen so late in life.
Absolutely. And we still see that theme come up, right there's still issues. I mean, one of my favorite episodes, like way down the mix, when they're actually at the Rusty Anchor together of just, like, the sort of like this jealousy, but also the distrust of Blanche's, you know, just desire of men that kind of comes between the female friendship that both of them have, and desire for men and attention. And you know, everything that Dorothy is sort of accusing her here, like this, it's like a real friendship and real relationship -- they make up here, but it's still a theme that constantly comes up between them, because those that's who they both are.
Yeah, so ultimately, you know, I do think we get some nice -- a nice wrap up. Dorothy kicks him to the curb.
Oh man, she is so cool when she when she tells him off, too. Like, again, like you said, when Bea does such a good job flirting, like, she does a perfect job at the end where she's like, 'I really have nothing to say to you.' She's like, sitting down. She doesn't even do him the honor of like getting up again, or throwing him out. Like, it's like, she's just down. She's like, that's it. I'm done. Like it's very empowering. It really is.
We are not playing anything anymore. Sit down! Like yeah, it's perfect.
We don't have to wear these stupid clothes because apparently you have to wear stupid looking clothes, play golf.
Putt with bare hands.
Also, can we talk about how Rose's golf gloves are 'under her clarinet'?
Oh my god -- what?! 'They're under my clarinet.'
There's so many -- like, it's just writers, you know -- it's just like the writers in the writers room being like, oh, they're in my drawer under my,,, clarinet. That sounds like a Rose thing.
Like a Madlib. Yeah, I love -- there could be a whole like sort of side thing about all of the weird things that Rose does in her bedroom, like when she -- what does she use to play army?
Gulliver's Travels with the gummy bears?
It's incredible. Also, probably, we glazed -- we glazed past the scene already, of course, because we're at the end, but I know in addition to the Mei Ling bonged story, my absolute favorite line of this episode -- again the pre-laughs just kept coming about 30 seconds before -- where Blanche is flustered trying to tell Dorothy, on Rose's advice, what happened, that Elliott made a pass at her, and she's just stuttering over it and stammering and just like, 'Elliott made--,' 'Elliott made--,' 'Elliott made--,' and Dorothy is doing the exasperated thing, where she just goes, 'Elliott made--' 'What did Elliott make, a ship in a bottle, what?' It's just, it's like on paper. It's a funny line. But then just like in the hands of Bea Arthur, it just makes it it makes it much funnier than it even should have been in the beginning. So I just really appreciate that part.
Yeah, and leaps and bounds away from the last one, from Transplant. I think you know, we've already established the order of filming and the direction and things like that were different, but watching these in order, you know, it's impossible not to notice when you can see they're they're vibing and they know their characters and their timing is on and things like that. And this one is definitely one, I think, if I were doing like a greatest hits compilation, I think I would put this in, because it's got all the stuff from the first season, but it is a real -- it's really funny.
Yeah, of their arguments and fights, you know, like the sort of the inter Golden Girls drama that they have as opposed to, you know, drama with a boyfriend or you know, external boyfriend by themselves, or you know, obviously a sister like the last episode, or another family member like the next episode. They really -- they do a great job of playing all of their personalities well, like we were saying before, it's very true to life what might happen not only between women, but between these women's personalities. Yeah.
It's the first fight, too, in addition to it being a pretty significant one. It's the first time we see, like tension in the house.
And, you know, we sort of see the impossible situation of Sophia and Rose, which is that you can't really not involve yourself when you're living in these close quarters, and you're all so close. You can't just be an observer.
You care so much. Exactly. You care so much about these people. And not only not only do you care so much, but like you said, they're up in your face, like they're having fights and arguments in front of you. Yeah, and also Rose knows, you know, like, come on, like she, as she said before, in the pilot, like she is arguably the most concerned and the most aware of how special the relationship is, or at least most vocally aware of how special their relationship is at this time in their life. So she's the most paranoid about losing what she has, and she knows she's like, this guy is not worth it. She even says that she smelled something weird about him right at the beginning, you know. Right before anything happened. So he's a scuzz bucket, I think, is what Blanche calls him.
Yes. All right. You got anything else?
No, I think we can -- you know, you could join us next time when we discuss whether or not you'd smack a 14 year old blasting heavy metal in your house at 2am.
Sounds great. All right, goodbye!