We take a look at the 12th episode of the Golden Girls, which has us exploring the complexity of sibling rivalry and relationships as Gloria swoops into town. After a minor spat with Dorothy over her lack of social life, Sophia contemplates leaving her life with a slut and a moron to join her daughter who visits once a year in her mansion in Burt Convy's neighborhood.
Below is the Enough Wicker podcast transcript for Episode 12: If Everybody Wants You, Why Isn't Anybody Callin'?, analyzing The Golden Girls Season 1 episode, The Custody Battle :
Hello and welcome to Enough Wicker, a podcast where two friends who are basically like sisters gab about their favorite TV show, The Golden Girls. I'm Lauren.
And I'm Sarah.
And today we're tackling the 12th episode in the series, The Custody Battle. We meet Gloria!
Yes, exactly. More family affairs. Very exciting.
Mmm hmm. So, um, you know, Gloria is here. I also -- Sophia's back to looking a little bit ragged, and I feel like she's a little bit -- she's pretty mean in this episode right away.
Oh, yeah, she definitely is. It's -- I mean, it sets up the whole like they're kind of having a spat or a longer fight or, you know, they're wearing on each other, type of thing, sets up the whole drama for the 'battle.' But yeah, it is -- it is kind of irritating.
Yeah, so she's like, right away, I noticed that she's just harassing Dorothy about getting a date. But, you know, and I guess that's already pretty mean. But it's mean -- she's like, well, it's not like you have a date tonight or any day, and it's like, whoa!
I know. Chill out, man. Aren't you proud of her for rejecting her ex-husband, the yutz?
She just slept with him! Give her a minute! But I do love that Dorothy never wavers and you know continues to know her worth. So Sophia is like, harassing her about never having a date. And Dorothy's response, which is just so simple and so true, and I wish so many more women would take this as their life philosophy -- She's like, 'when I find someone worth going out with, I'll go out with him.' And yeah, that's it!
That's it. That's that's the whole thing. That's what you need to do. But it's also funny because, again, with this whole, you know, running argument that they have, which again, as we said, Dorothy's clearly in the right here, it really just -- it smacks of the triangle episode where like, Dorothy and Blanche have like a little tiff and then it's like, MOVE OUT! Oh my God! It's the same thing here. It's like, Gloria shows up right on time. Yeah, I'm just gonna move out. I'm not gonna like talk to you about it at all. It's stupid. But to be fair, you know, I mean, Gloria does have servants, so it sounds like a pretty sweet gig.
Oh yeah, I'm ready to bring Gloria down a peg.
All right, let's do it!
So -- well first of all, before Gloria gets there, -- first of all, we haven't really gone into the fashion of this show. But Blanche's dress in the first scene where she walks in this episode is so great, I love it. I would buy it now. It, you know, like you touched on this before but there's more jewelry exchanging in this series than like anything I've ever seen.
They only have, like, four pieces of jewelry. It rotates. This is another fun fact, which I'm sure you know, is that you know Rue McClanahan wrote into her contract that she got to keep all of the fashion from this show.
I don't think I don't think I've included the jewelry -- the four pieces. But definitely the dresses, which is great.
Yeah. And so also before Gloria gets there, we've talked about dated references that are somehow still funny. But when they're talking about Jane Pauley, who at the time was the host of the Today Show, and is now on CBS Sunday Morning, and I love her. And Rose is, like, speculating about whether or not Jane Pauley can stand up, and says, 'maybe Willard just has to carry her around the set' because you know, TV anchors always sitting at a desk. It's so cute, it's so, like, innocent Rose, assuming that the TV anchors are never standing.
Seriously. And again, like, again, the date reference just from Jane Pauley alone, but the fact that it's like a TV anchor. Yeah, like it's such a different format. It's amazing. Also, another funny clarification of -- is when Blanche comes in and she's talking about she goes, 'Macbeth' and then she goes, 'in Mr. William Shakespeare's masterpiece Macbeth.' Oh, that Macbeth, thank you for clarifying. Did they feel like the audience wouldn't understand this literary reference? I don't know. It cracked me up.
Yeah, there's a lot of community theater in the series. So it's, um, you know, we're seeing the roots of that here, I guess. Yeah. And I love Blanche is asking, so when she's asking for jewelry she's also asking for, for makeup, I think? And then, you know, like some, they start talking about something else, and then they don't get it and then somebody brings it back and Blanche is like, 'Oh, why paint the peacock?' and it's just so -- it's so perfect. So she's very confident she's going to get to play Lady Macbeth.
Absolutely, absolutely. Cuz 'I got this part in the sack.' 'You mean in the bag!'
She means in the sack. Which comes up yet again. Which is so fantastic. So all right, so so Gloria gets there.
So Gloria gets there, blow it out your ditty bag, first of all. So Gloria gets there amid this tension with Dorothy and Sophia, with kind of no real root, it's just that they're sort of getting on each other's nerves, which I also think is pretty accurate. Like, you know, like resentments in short periods, not like long terms. But I think that happens a lot, in any relationship is like, you'll get a little annoyed about one thing and then it's like, every annoying thing that person does is just like, so much worse, and you feel the need to point it out. And I feel like that's where they are. They're just like, butting heads with no, like, there's no deep-rooted issue, I guess that we're coming up with.
Oh, yeah. Yeah, it's like it's the 'bitch eating crackers' thing.
But it's also interesting too, because, you know, we've had this dynamic with again, 'I haven't seen my sister in a long time' with Virginia with Blanche in the Transplant, and they have you know, we talked a lot about how they have such a weird family tension and competition, etc., etc. And it's a similar thing here, but it's -- it's complicated by the fact that the mother is present, right? Like she's in between and you know, before Gloria even gets there, you know, Dorothy says Ma, she calls you three times a year when she -- when Sophia is talking about how many, you know, dates Gloria is going on and all this other stuff. And you know, she's just making excuses for the other siblings. And that's a total other natural reaction. Obviously, as we pointed out, Sophia is being pretty mean here, and being very direct about like this -- your sister's better than you! And except poor Phil, you know, he's never better than anybody.
But, but it's, it's, uh, it's very interesting, because it's like you of course, you would get pissed off, of course, you would carry all of these weird tensions from before and have a fucking complex, because your mother's literally like, you know, just worshiping your sibling and you're like, 'what am I chopped liver?' Like you're sitting off to the side.
Yeah. And then I think fuels the competitiveness between Dorothy and Gloria. And I wrote I noted like, neither one of us have sisters. So, and I do think the dynamic with brothers is different, but Michelle has two sisters and I think like I am obviously very close to that. And I do think the competitive slash sort of like keeping-up-with-the-Joneses theme is much stronger in -- not all the time, I assume but -- same gender, sibling relationships, like there's a lot of pressure to, you know, because you can theoretically measure your life on so many similar levels.
Right, right. Exactly. I mean, I didn't even think about that. That's fantastic. The -- sorry, skipping ahead to like when Gloria shows up and she brings presents, like immediately. Like it's this -- it's again, it's like a natural thing, I guess, you would do. But it just sets the tone immediately, right? For who she is. She's like not even -- she's at the hotel. She's not even staying, you know, with them, all that kind of stuff. They have an argument. I also -- I also love the presents thing, where it's like a TV gimmick to save time, I get it, where she's like, open these! This is what they are. It just cracks me up. So again, it's just like this, you know, again, like you were saying -- the sister -- you can compare yourself on so many fronts and you're already irritated slash nervous about your sister coming, because your mother's like, so excited about it and you are feuding with her. But then your sister immediately walks in and just tries to buy her off.
Yeah. And so -- Gloria comes in for like -- It's, you said this but, so Sophia sort of guilts her about staying in a hotel. Yeah, but then later, they talk about how Gloria arrived in a limo, which is just so excessive and so -- so she's, she's arriving in a limo. Why wouldn't she stay at like the Ritz Carlton? And honestly, if you're staying at the Ritz Carlton, you wouldn't want to stay at 5161, you'd be like, 'No, thank you. I'm, I'll be much more comfortable at my fancy hotel.' So
Exactly. Or fuck, you know, once you get a room at the Ritz for your mother? And your sister while you're at it?
She's so rude. It's so -- so like Dorothy and Gloria. I mean, they actually seem pretty okay, right. Like they're sort of excited to see each other. But when they're -- when Gloria is in Dorothy's room and they're having this conversation. And Gloria is sort of talking about all reasons that Dorothy could resent her and she's weighing in -- she's like, 'not even because I'm really rich and you're really poor' or 'because all of my --'
'Even though my children are professionals and yours aren't?' It's like how many other places can you hit her?
I mean, jesus christ Gloria, it's excessive. And it's funny because the actress plays it so well, as the sort of like light-hearted like 'even though this,' 'even though that' -- like she actually like does it in almost a warm way until you're like, what, what, who talks to people like this? Get out of here! Also, the practicing professional thing just reminds me of Dennis, the podiatrist, too, where you're just like, oh, well, my son in law is barely a practicing professional. He's only a podiatrist.
And Michael, we haven't even heard about Michael yet -- that fuck up.
Oh, man. I know -- that fuck-up that really should be 45 except he's 23.
He's also 30 later? I don't know.
Yeah. It's amazing.
But so, so Dorothy's dealing with this like, really complex issue in her family and, you know, she's fighting with her mom and her sister who like is the 'Gloria Gloria Gloria', like the perfect, you know, model sister. And then of course Rose comes in with, like, these tales of her perfect childhood on the farm. Like the Christmases and like how they would all gather around the tree. And it's really funny cause Dorothy, you know, like is so just like, oh god, and it's like another -- it's like almost a St. Olaf story. You know, like it goes on too long. There are too many unknown details. And then they're walking out and Rose -- they're at one point leaving the kitchen and Rose starts again, with like, 'this reminds me of when daddy would take us to go get hamburgers,' and Blanche just like slams the door in her face. It's so good.
Totally. Dorothy's like, who's your father? Michael Landon?
That's one we get!
But it really -- But it totally like rings true. Again, I -- there's so many people where -- and it's not just with family dynamics but definitely with family dynamics -- but just other parts about life where somebody could just completely be clueless and go on and on about how perfect 'X' about their life is and how wonderful it is while talking to someone who literally at that moment is going through the opposite, you know? I feel like there's so many times -- and even I catch myself sometimes, too, I have -- I have no complaints about my childhood, just Williamsburg, Virginia's vacation didn't really nail you know, the 14 year old me, but that's not my parents fault, that's me being a crummy teenager -- but um, you know, my life is awesome. And it's like I also want to be aware, too, of like, well, you just naturally want to share details that relate to people, right? That's why like, like, we're talking about family, and then Rose is like let me tell you about my family! You're like you're so frickin' clueless to bring up like, everything was wonderful for us. But, of course, she's embellishing because, you know, they had their farm problems, too, but, but it also was just one of those things where you're just like, come on, man. Like the last thing she needs to hear right now is like how perfect your relationship was, because she's literally telling you that she's struggling with hers.
Yeah. And we see Dorothy, like, you know, she's pretty open with the girls, but she and Sophia aren't able to address it and they're not able to address it because they both are being stubborn, right? Like it's not like a weird uncomfortableness. Like at one point, so Gloria decides that she wants Sophia to come live with her -- which is also like, so annoying. Like you never call her, you never visit, also, why are you never visiting if you're so rich? I don't understand, Gloria. But so now she wants Ma, too, and like so she asks her to come do it -- and instead of Dorothy being able to be like, 'I don't want you to leave,' she's like, 'if you need any help packing, let me know.' And it's it was like a big like, roll my eyes moment. It's like, Oh my god, you guys are being so silly.
Totally. Totally, but honestly even before that -- that part's a bit ridiculous. But when she is talking, when Dorothy is talking to Gloria, right after her 'even though even though even though' when they're when they're talking in the bedroom, the conversation flows really naturally. And it actually divulges so much background information about the characters that just -- it feels normal. And it leads up to this whole thing about Sophia leaving, right that Dorothy and her can't talk about in you know, in any way that normal person would talk about it. I just think it's fascinating that it's like -- that it's really good writing to make it feel natural, even though again, they just have to cram in this whole ridiculous premise of Gloria sort of 'stealing' Ma, you know, in 23 minutes or what not.
And Sophia, like what you were talking about when she says, 'help packing' or what not. When she goes, 'I'll do that.' And it's like this really dramatic, like pull-out of the camera on Sophia, where she's like in her room by herself. It's like such a painful moment.
Yeah, they're so unable to, like, really say like what they want to say, because they're both being so stubborn about it. It's so ridiculous. And I love when Dorothy tells the other girls that Sophia is gonna move, right? So it's like this really -- and they're, they're shocked and they're like, 'well, you can't let her' and Dorothy is like, 'well, what am I gonna like?' I can't -- you know, she's just so defeated by it, but also coming back to that point that like, she's a grown woman and she can decide whatever she wants.
Mm hmm. Exactly. And the -- you know, they actually say like, who's gonna tell us stories about Sicily? which is interesting, because we've only heard one like, direct callout story about Sicily, right? Like clearly this is gonna be a thing, just like St. Olaf stories -- like St. Olaf hasn't been mentioned yet, but like they're still St. Olaf stories as part of Rose's character. I thought was an interesting like allusion, little, little nod to like, what's gonna come up ahead or who the Sophia character's supposed to be.
Yeah, they they really recycled this big arc of, like, somebody deciding to move out, like either Sophia is going to take care of one of her kids or she's moving out because she's fighting with Dorothy, or Rose is moving out because she wants to be with her new friends, like, you know that -- they they really kind of like work that angle a lot.
They really do, you're right -- oh my gosh, it's so funny. Actually, even in the first season, like, there's at least three sort of threats to move. Which is just interesting to cover. Like, does this happen this much? How's the real estate market?
I mean Blanche is engaged twice, like, so I don't know, I guess it could be realistic. So yeah, so they're kind of going back and forth, and and we also do -- you'd mentioned this before, but we hear about Phil a little bit more. There's still no mention of like the 'big thing' about Phil, which is that he likes to wear girls clothes, but it's mentioned that he played with matches. So it seems like they're not totally sure what they're going to do with with him. But they -- they want you to know, like it's been mentioned a few times, like he's the bad kid. He's like the black sheep.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And it's funny the, the Gloria being the baby, right where Dorothy talks about her sort of torturing her to tell her that, like, you know that she's not part of the family and like there's, you know, she's scaring her at night and everything like that. They actually have a couple of sweet moments of the reminiscing about like, the exciting -- like, even when Dorothy announced her, like my sister Gloria! like she does have a like, there's there's somewhat of that complicated sibling relationship. She might drive you frickin nuts, but you have really nice shared memories together. Even if it's bonding over the fact that, like, Phil was a weirdo. Your brother was strange.
Yeah. And what was it? Oh, Rose. This is sort of unrelated to that. But when they're talking about their childhoods, Rose is talking about her imaginary friend. She says, like, her imaginary friend wouldn't tell her his name, and he's just like, very like, sort of similar to how she had like the perfect childhood. Like, of course, she had an imaginary friend who wouldn't tell her his name. It's like -- it's very on brand.
But I just wanted to go back to B story really quickly, because that's also funny. So Blanche is, like, convinced that she has the part of Lady Macbeth. Obviously because she --
in Mr. William Shakespeare's masterpiece, Macbeth. Just in case you forgot.
Like sweet little Rose has to tell her that she's witch number two.
No, number three!
Ah, you're right!