In the 7th episode of the series, the girls go bowling. Rose takes it too seriously, Blanche just wants to look cute in her bowling outfit, and Dorothy and Sophia make what seems to be a uneven wager.
Below is the Enough Wicker podcast transcript for Episode 7: Bowling with a Full Heart and Full Bosom, analyzing The Golden Girls Season 1 episode, The Competition :
Hello and welcome to Enough Wicker, a podcast where we spend our episodes bowling over with laughter at our favorite gals, The Golden Girls. I'm Lauren.
And I'm Sarah.
And today we're tackling the seventh episode in the series, The Competition. Which, if you've seen, you will get my intro. The girls are bowling. They're in a bowling tournament. And it's a very high stakes game.
Yes. And, you know, there's a lot of Scandinavians involved. It's pretty amazing. And Italians, really. But yeah, this is -- I really like this one. It's not super heavy, really, in any -- in any of the A or B stories, which, of course, are interconnected. And it's, it's just a fun one. It's a really fun one. I think there are some great lines and we see, again, further character development seven episodes in.
Yeah, so I mean, it opens with Sophia making that sauce and you know it's her --
Which, the food mess really looks real, I noted, you know? They do a really good job of -- it's usually like plastic food or something like that -- but it really looks like she's got real sauce stuck to the edge of that pot that she's been cooking for 14 hours.
Yeah, it's much better set dressing and we'll see in the next one after the house has been ransacked, allegedly.
So we open with Sophia in the kitchen, which is, you know, pretty quintessential old Italian lady. And she's making this sauce. She's singing to it. It's her special 14-hour sauce, and you know all the girls are really interested in and you know, sweet, Minnesota Midwestern Rose comes in and she's like, 'That smells heavenly! Is that Chef Boyardee?'
'Stick it in my heart, Rose, it'll hurt less.'
So it just kind of kicks off like that, and it definitely sort of continues through that. So, they're having this conversation. And we come to find out that Rose and Blanche have been bowling together for some years and, at this lane, and yeah.
It's just a perfect, like, older-people-in-the-80s type of like, you know, hobby. I love it. I think like this was begging for some sort of bowling tournament.
Yeah, so there's this team that always dominates the, the Swedish, I assume Swedish? twin sisters. And so, they're talking about the tournament and it's coming up and Blanche is sort going on about how much fun it was. And we sort of see the first flash of hyper-competitive Rose. And Rose -- first of all, her eyes sort of go to the side and she kind of like slumps, and Blanche is like you know, it was so much fun last year and Rose is like, 'it was okay.'
In this very like, the cute Rose way, but like you can tell something's brewing beneath the surface of, like, rage. Like it's -- it's again a testament to Betty White's acting. It's just so good.
Yeah, so then, you know, that's like sort of what's going on there. And then Sophia, her old boyfriend is a -- She was gonna marry this guy?
Yeah, yeah. Like her -- "Sophia has a past."
Didn't need penicillin.
Exactly, exactly. Um, she actually receives a telegram about it, which I had not noted the first time, I guess. I mean, I guess I just sort of passively noted it, but I just love it that she just takes it out of her apron to finally confess why she's really making this 14 hour sauce. Which is fantastic.
Right, and it's sort of like what you were talking about in the episode with Dorothy flirting with Elliott, where it's really cute and endearing to see an older person flirting or being sort of giddy about a crush in the same way that we usually think of much younger people doing.
Exactly, exactly. Like she's so concerned with how she looks, right, she's just dressed as a widow. So he knows she's available, but like she comes out and she has a franticness to it, you know, she has that Sophia -- Estelle Getty does that like cute little Sophia walk, right, to appear older, but like she comes out even more frantic and she does, like, the turn around just the same -- exactly like you were getting ready for a date you're excited about, it's just it's really fantastic.
But it's in funeral garb, so!
Yeah, exactly. So it's extra -- and Rose comes in and says, 'oh, Sophia did your friend die?'
It's so sweet. Oh my gosh, it's so sweet. So Augie comes, they have this cute, I don't know, awkward sort of but overall very sweet...
Oh, he's but he's, he's such a good actor. He's perfect for this role, you know, and like he can't get up and sit down very well. I mean, it's real.
Oh yeah, he seems just off the donkey from Sicily, like he is -- he is not --
'Just off the donkey..'
So they're reuniting. And they, you know, like they go for a walk -- you know, we assume that that things are happening with them. And then you go back to sort of the Rose competitive thing happening. And so it leaks out somehow during a conversation that Dorothy -- both Dorothy and Sophia are very good bowlers. So immediately Rose hears that, and she is figuring out how she can be paired with somebody better than Blanche.
Right, and her eyes are just like 'boing!' like she --
So then, you know, she's sort of goes into it a little bit more her like competition problem. And, Sarah, I reviewed your --
That's what she goes, Oh yeah, I had to leave beacuse of a 'field hockey incident' and she just -- she going back for her, you know, transfer high schools. Just, again, the Betty White snarl. It's like a bit of that physical comedy. Sorry, what were you going to say?
That's what I was gonna say! I was gonna say we both wrote that down. Yeah, looking off into nowhere like sort of lamenting on this really dark memory. It's a 'field hockey incident.' And so I love that, I love that whole thing. So basically, you know, Dorothy agrees to bowl with Rose, initially. But Rose really dumped Blanche and Blanche has to deal with that and then you know, the big twist is that Blanche finds out that the sisters are feuding, so she picks up one of the really good sisters. And now, Dorothy, you know, kind of on her moral high ground wants to leave Rose.
Oh, yeah, I don't have to -- did they actually, did Dorothy actually even agree? I feel like it was just sort of implied that she didn't realize that Blanche got ditched. Like the whole time, Dorothy is being above board. She doesn't care.
Until the side bet.
Well, of course of course. Exactly! We're getting there, I'm sorry! Jumping ahead.
So yeah, so she kind of throws Rose throws Blanche over and, yeah, it is kind of like unbeknownst to Dorothy in Rose's head she's assuming she's gonna bowl with Dorothy, and Dorothy does have to say like, I am not bowling with you. Until again, so the side bet comes up.
She tells -- she goes, 'Rose, get professional help.' And yet, I mean just another, you know, Dorothy delivery line, but it is really like -- but like you said earlier the first signs of Rose's hyper competitiveness. And it really runs her ragged and it runs over her relationships, like, she really just gets like hyper-focused and nothing else matters. So it's pretty fun.
You know, we've talked a little bit about the inconsistencies on this show, but that is one that really lives through and it both comes through when she's competing with someone else, but also when she's pursuing athletics or, you know, anything sort of like feat herself. She gets very wrapped up in it.
And I wonder, do you think -- I don't remember reading any of this I think this is just something from my very brain -- but you know, I mean, Rose is such an innocent and, in a lot of ways, lovely character. You know, there's not a lot of like edge to put to her. I wonder if for Rose this is a character trait that they put in purposefully to give her that edge, to really just have you know, something where she gets fully consumed, which is kind of, you know, out of her normal day-to-day demeanor.
Yeah. I mean, that's definitely a possibility and I think it -- it does make her, it just automatically makes whatever's going on funny, sort of like how I was talking about how whenever Sophia and Dorothy are competing, whenever Rose is hyper-invested or sort of like being a boss, I feel like the rest of the everything else that's going on doesn't matter as much ,because she just nails that. It's just so ridiculous to see this very sweet, like, you know, 'did your friend die?' like that woman screaming about bowling. Like, I love it.
WE WON! WE WON!
A GUTTER BALL!
Going back to well, if we want to talk about the side bet, right, so it comes about because you know, Sophia is really you know, she's she's got her first love interest of the show -- first true love interest. That's, like, present day and she wants to go back for a visit to Sicily with Augustine Baggatelli, and you know Dorothy says, 'absolutely not.' And I also love that when they're chatting and it's lovely and she's like, it was really nice to reminisce with him, and all this other stuff, and like Dorothy is like all for it, working on putting some plants on the lanai -- to give her something to do -- and Sophia immediately where, you know, like Dorothy's like no, like you're not going to Sicily, and Sophia just goes. 'Who's asking?' And she just -- it turns, like the conversation turns on a dime, because like Sophia's like, well hang on. I was sharing a nice moment and TELLING you that I was going, give me a break. And I just, I think that's so realistic with family members. Like, if I'm talking to my brother or something, like we could immediately like shift gears to something where it gets argumentative, even if it's just like a casual conversation. I also love -- just as a note on the reason that they're going back is to go to the San Gennaro Festival -- which, one, is an Italian-American festival. It's not an Italian thing, much less a Sicilian thing. And two, it is not even 65 years old at the time of this show. So, this was not like a thing where they had their first kiss. It's just really funny. I just loved that they were like, Well, you know, that's all that general America knows about Italians.
Yeah, I didn't mean also not for you know, not to perpetuate the stereotype that older women shouldn't be allowed to do whatever they want. But, in Dorothy's defense a little, like, you're 80, you just had a stroke. You think you're going to a foreign country before the time of cellphones? Like,
Right and they're gonna ride donkeys. Like for real.
Also, the man can't even get up from the couch like well enough. It's not like she's going with an able-bodied individual. So yeah. Completely fair. Dorothy's concern is like rings true, a lot.
But so she says, No, and Sophie is like, Well, you know, like what you said, like, she's like, I'm going whatever. But then it comes up that the ticket costs 1200 dollars, and of course, Sophia does not have 1200 dollars. And it's sort of -- yeah, it sort of reminds me of like a conversation that a teenager would have with their parents, like somebody who's just turned 18, or just got their driver's license or something, and you're like, I'm not a child. You can't tell me what to do. But then you ask them for money to do the thing you know you're not allowed to do.
Or you're like fine! I'm gonna go to my room in the house that you pay for and eat your food and use your internet or you know, something like that. That's great.
So anyway, they have this competition, and then during another -- a little bit later, when Dorothy and Blanche are talking about how --or, Rose and Blanche are talking about how Rose dumped her for a better bowler, Sophia kind of hears it is like, oh, we can do a side bet and that's where it's born.
Yeah, we can we can team up. Yeah, exactly.
So basically, if Dorothy wins, Sophia gives it's -- earrings? It's a piece of jewelry.
Yeah, her antique earrings.
If Dorothy wins, or if Sophia wins, she gets the 1200 dollars to go to Sicily with Auggie. So it's a pretty high stakes going in, and also of course Blanche and Rose are playing for pride.
Yes, exactly. Because you know everything Rose owns is so damn ugly, and Blanche doesn't want anything. I also just -- the idea, it just got me thinking even just now, not even watching the episode, of just like, why won't you let her borrow the earrings? Like what is -- what is this about? There's a lot of jewelry and jewelry borrowing -- there's also jewelry stealing we see later. So it's just it's just really funny that that was like what she honed in on, you know, as Dorothy's end of the bet, rather. But it's great. I also like -- they catch each other, you know, going to practice basically, you know, they're coming and going and you know, of course Sophia and Dorothy have, like, matching bowling towels around their neck, which is just -- just like golf, you know, in the Elliott episode, like you have to wear the ugliest clothes. You have to have bowling shirts. Like you can't bowl without bowling shirts. It's hilarious. But I -- when they talk about like getting in extra practice, and they're waking up in the morning, I'm just like, 'how early is this bowling alley open?!' But then what's great, is when they actually pan to the stock shot, you know, of a bowling alley, it actually says '24 HOURS'!
Oh, ok, so that owns up!
I was like great job, you know, whoever the location scout was to film that B roll, it was awesome.
Sort of related to that, and kind of on the polar opposite end of how Rose is so competitive, Blanche doesn't care at all. She only wants to look cute, she doesn't want to be going this early for practice. So basically, Blanche is with one of the twins, the twin gets back with her sister, so now it's a Blanche and Dorothy on one side and Rose and Sophia on the other side. So that are -- the those are the teams going into the tournament.
And they -- also the the twin, one of the twin sisters was sleeping with the other one's boyfriend, not telling him that they had the wrong twin -- I always wondered if that was, like, supposed to be a wider topic for, like, a whole episode or like a writer, you know, really thought that that would be like a funny concept, but that it didn't really fit anywhere. So they're like all right, let's just make up a side story about characters off screen.
Yeah, and their names are like Olga and Sonia and the boyfriend's name is Lars, so I feel like we're, it's like the test run of these like, sort of bizarre-like Nordic names and characters that eventually will obviously play a huge role in Rose's background.
Exactly, exactly. It's very interesting that they went with that, you know, Scandinavian like you said, it may be Swedish or Norwegian is what I was thinking but you know, some ABBA country. But yeah, I never thought of that, because I always thought it was interesting that they went with that anyway, because of the overlap. But you're right, because this is way earlier -- you know, we obviously haven't heard the words 'St. Olaf' come up, and we haven't really gotten super, super Scandinavian yet, so yeah, that should have been a precursor. I like that. Finding these little writerly Easter Egg in this episode.
Yeah, so they're at the bowling alley, and you know, Rose is like super in the zone, and they're trying to mess with Dorothy. And I love that their tactic for messing with Dorothy is that Rose calls Sophia 'Ma.' And you know, Dorothy gets really pissed off. And it's funny, because you noted in one of the very, very early episodes Dorothy says 'mom,' and we were both like that does not work.
Yeah. Totally. I actually, being from New Jersey and calling my mother Ma, you know, when I stopped calling her 'mama,' like when I was younger, just a couple of years ago I had her name in my phone as 'mom cell' and I was like, this is so weird, why the fuck did I put 'mom'? Like I never call her 'mom' and I changed it to Ma, which is great. And it just fits so much better when Ma texts me now and feel the exact same way with Dorothy and Sophia -- like they're not a 'mom' kind of relationship.
Not at all!
But, but yeah, it's it's very, very cute that they, you know, they have that. And then of course, you know, they wear Blanche's, you know, bowling shirt, that she wants to look cute in. And it is really funny to me -- oh man, and then there's like a great -- you know, I mean, they're they play off of the fact that Betty White has a nice rack, like, in later episodes and writing, but like they do this boob shake, to like, flaunt it. Because she goes yeah, she's like, 'it looks so much different on a woman with a full bosom,' which is again, this cutting cutting remark from Rose, who's, like, the sweetest woman and it's just -- she just plays it real, you know, just like real chill, like she was that character all along and it's fantastic. But yeah, but I -- it actually is surprising in general that Blanche is, you know, even at the bowling alley. I mean, you do have to put like your delicate hands and fingers. You know, you can break a nail -- like there's a lot, a lot going on. So it does make sense that --
Yeah. And we find out that she's really bad under pressure. Which is also another sort of like polar opposite of Rose, and also sort of what you would -- opposite of what you would expect from Blanche, who's usually very confident and poised, or at least she presents herself that way. So I like it, I think it makes her -- it makes her more endearing. It's sort of like, otherwise, I feel like you would, you know, like, if she had command of everything, it would be sort of hard to ever feel bad or empathetic or anything towards her. And it's really nice. And you kind of said this, but this episode is really just funny. Like there's there's this emotional layer of Sophia and Augustine, and Sophia and Dorothy, but it's really just, you know, a laugh out loud episode. And a lot of that comes from the bowling alley, and it's so funny. They're, you know, like Rose is so in it, and she's really like, waiting for the frames to come and waiting for them to see if they're -- where they're gonna place.
Also, the extras in the background, man, the like older folk extras -- which also, like, again groundbreaking television show, that like they're actually showing these older women in these situations but, man got some really good Hollywood business to have like grandmas, you know, be extras -- I feel like there was a lot of good, you know careers going around. But they're so funny -- like they're amazing. They're all like they're laughing, when they're like mocking each other. They all, like, very slowly gather -- like whoever did the blocking on this was wonderful -- they like slowly gather when they realize that like, you know, it's down to the nine pin, and like it's really -- it's pretty it's pretty well done. It's pretty funny and it reminds me of how cheap food was at bowling alleys.
Yeah, the turkey and cheese sandwich! Two dollars!
Exactly. It's amazing. So ya know, it's it's a great scene. Also, Blanche goes, 'eat chalk, nylund.' Is there chalk in bowling?
I never heard it but I don't know. I always just assumed it was like another thing I didn't get.
I was like, well, it's not pool, you know, like, I know that in pool like there's chalk everywhere. I feel like I bowled a lot and I haven't -- maybe there is some, you know, for professional bowlers in a tournament such as this...
Yeah, you never bowled at that level?
Yeah, I guess not! But it's -- yeah, it's just lovely. And like you said it doesn't get super deep. I think, you know, the deepest piece is the relationship with Dorothy and her concern for Sophia going, but of course, you know, she sees how cute she is, and earlier in the episode, you know, like, Sophia when she's when Dorothy's prohibiting her from going, she says you know, 'at my age, I can't worry about that., I can't worry about things like oh, I'm too old, that kind of thing. I just have to live my life, and you know that that theme comes up way more in depth and it's covered like way more in depth in a few episodes with Rose and her mother. But but here it's it's a little bit lighter, but that same theme comes through. And of course, you know, Dorothy's heart melts a little bit. She throws the tournament on purpose. Rose screams, 'A GUTTER BALL!' like we talked about.
You know, A League of Their Own moment -- it's a spare that's Dorothy's made 100 times, and she -- that is it's a very, very sweet moment. And then, it just kind of -- one of my favorite jokes of all is that at the very end, so Sophie ends up going, they come back and Rose is sort of trying to, she's trying to reconcile. And so she comes in the house, and they're all sitting there and you can tell it's like a little bit tense, but you know, it's mostly fine. And she, Rose, like in an effort to show that she's grown and she's the bigger person, she brings the trophy in and she's like, I had all of our names engraved on it. And she's passing it around. And it's this -- another moment of Bea Arthur just being able to say so much with her facial expressions, and she holds them, she pauses, and you can tell there's something up. She's like, why is your name three times larger than ours? And then you know, Rose, grabs it from her and takes it like she's a child. It's like, well, because I'm the one who actually won. It's so perfect, because she's like, if you ever want to look at it, it'll be in my room.
So great. I also every time it's funny, you brought that up because every time I hear that line, in my head, I'm like, hmm, did she put Sophia's name on it? But like lower down? Even though she was technically on your team? Like I go through this whole hilarious like, you're not supposed to have deep thoughts about the engraving on this trophy.
Yeah it'll go in her room with her clarinet.
Oh, perfect. Well, that is probably a great ending to our light little bowling theme, which is great. So I think next time, if you want to join us, we're going to discuss the frightening ease of being able to become an irrational gun owner in Florida. Just some light fare.