[TRANSCRIPT] Episode 21: The Girls Get the Flu & We Get Our First Vibrator Joke (Episode 21, s1/e21)

The flu knocks out Blanche, Dorothy, and Rose just in time for the charity event of the season. The girls, sick and irritable, are at each other's throats over the misplacement of a Nyquil cup and a stolen heating pad. They force their recovery, however, when Sophia reveals a rumor that one of them is winning the big award at the banquet.

Below is the Enough Wicker podcast transcript for Episode 21: The Girls Get the Flu & We Get Our First Vibrator Joke, analyzing The Golden Girls Season 1 episode, Flu Attack (aka The Flu) :



Lauren 0:01

Hello, and welcome to Enough Wicker, a podcast where we make ourselves sick with glee over our favorite TV show: The Golden Girls. I'm Lauren.


Sarah 0:09

And I'm Sarah.


Lauren 0:10

And today we're on the 21st episode in the series: Flu Attack, aka The Flu.


Sarah 0:15

The Flu.


Lauren 0:17

Original--


Sarah 0:19

Original. Exactly. This is literally--it's one of my all time faves I think. I think it would definitely be in a mix that I gave a new fan to watch as an example of just sort of like the way the their friendship is bonded and also ends with, you know, the charity work community event that ties it together. I mean, it's I think it's a really good example and very, very funny.


Lauren 0:45

Yeah, I agree. I think they're all really leaning into their personalities in this one too. And I think it works because you know, when you're sick, that's often when you're the most vulnerable but also the least approachable. which we will definitely see. But I--


Sarah 1:04

It exaggerates your bad qualities.


Lauren 1:06

Yeah, yeah, exactly. I would put it on a compilation for sure. An intro.


Sarah 1:13

"Intro to the Golden Girls." Yes, exactly. Yeah, this one just, it feels classic for some reason. Maybe it's just because every time it comes on I'm very excited. But yeah, going back to what I was saying about like sort of that community event, the social event of the season--it cracks me up because this is such a picture of this era that is really largely lost today. And the way that we like communicate with the world. It reminds me of that book Bowling Alone, you ever heard of that or read that?


Lauren 1:45

I don't know--


Sarah 1:44

It was talking about how, you know, through the 90s but especially into today, that you've lost like, community centers or just a lot of public interest, infrastructure or like, everybody used to belong to like, Lions Club, or The Rotary, or the ladies' aid, and all this type of just-- I mean, literally just community work. And it's talking about bowling leagues being a part of that, and just ways you would interact with people and not hyper specialize, you know, given like, your social circle, and there's less and less of that. So it's just like, it's fun, like the social event of the season is actually a community event to celebrate giving back, which is interesting. And I feel like you know, there's-- we both live in New York, there's definitely, you know, this and that charity event or, you know, we work for nonprofits, we each have our galas and fundraising events, but there's just so many. And I just love that this is like a collective, Miami-- you know, seemingly older-person-skewed, however, still, you know, a collective event where people come from different parts of town, and it's a really cool idea.


Yeah. And I love that they're honoring-- First of all, I love that they're revealing who wins the award at the banquet. I think that's really cool--


Yeah--


Lauren 2:59

And--


Sarah 3:00

You know, my love of surprise?


Lauren 3:01

Yes! It's a good thing I didn't know who was winning. But I also really like that these women are all active in the charitable-- the charitable work that they're doing, but they're not billionaires, obviously. And I feel like both of us, or-- I don't wanna speak for you, I guess. But my experience is that like, working for nonprofits, we honor rich people who will give us money for honoring them, right.


Sarah 3:24

Absolutely!


Lauren 3:24

That's like--


Sarah 3:25

Absolutely.


Lauren 3:25

--how it is now. So it's cute to see that-- I mean, you know, it's hard to say and like, what was going on in Miami in the 80s. But at some time, we did reward pure, honest intention. So that's nice.


Sarah 3:38

Exactly, exactly. And that's kind of what I'm getting at. It's like, it feels like everyone's connected. So why wouldn't you honor some of like, us. Like we are doing the work, right? Not just douchebag McGee who just happens to have exploited workers somewhere else, but here he gave to the firehouse.


Lauren 3:54

Exactly.


Sarah 3:56

It's so ridiculous. I also love that Blanche, also, is like-- I mean, beyond the, uh--speaking of firehouses--


Lauren 4:03

Yeah!


Sarah 4:03

Beyond what, you know, she was working on for her more lofty social achievement of slipping her tongue to every fire in their county. But it's just kind of funny. It's an interesting turn for her character where we do see that she is involved in things beyond her, just, self interest. Despite also like, the many, many suitors that she almost got married this year, she somehow managed to have time to also give back.


Yeah, she was so close to getting married all those times, but she couldn't find a guy decent enough to bring her to this charity ball because she's sick and doesn't look great. Like--it's crazy.


Oh, so, on that topic-- "At least I have a man," like, get out of here. I hate that line. And it's so stupid. But I also like the scorpion tattoo guy.


Lauren 4:50

Oh, yeah.


Sarah 4:51

I would totally love to have him as my date. He's got some fucked up stories, man.


Lauren 4:56

And Raul, who doesn't want Raul?


Sarah 4:57

Well, of course, Raul's the winner. Yeah. It's a pleasure to be here.


Lauren 5:02

And okay, so this opens with them in the kitchen-- So before they get sick, obviously, you know, that's a spoiler, I guess, but read the title-- efore they get sick, Sophia is making a garment for Dorothy and she's measuring her with a yardstick. Which is so funny because it's obviously just another play on like, how the height disparity-- it's so cute. And the way that when Rose comes in and she's like, not feeling well, and Dorothy-- the way that Dorothy reacts is like, "what he-- how he-- you should leave," like that kind of feedback. That I feel like is so relatable when you live with roommates, or like you hear--


Sarah 5:41

Oh yeah!


Lauren 5:41

that somebody's sick and you're like, or, I mean, it hits differently now for sure, but my biggest pet peeve is like when somebody comes into the office, and they're like, sneezing everywhere, and obviously--


Sarah 5:51

Oh, yeah.


Lauren 5:51

It's just like, go home.


Sarah 5:53

Oh, my God, it's insane. I also do love that scene too, because Dorothy is running down the types of aspirin that they have. Which I think also is a very 80s thing right? Like all of this commercial products of just like, this different type and this different brand and that's, you know--just how many X number of ways can we sell this fucking thing to you? But it's also very true for a whole house of old ladies-- like of course they're gonna have every possible variety of a pain reliever that they can have. Yeah, it's just it's a great little bit. And you know, the whole bragging of Dorothy saying she, you know, she's a hypochondriac, of course. And then Blanche bragging about bugs, she never gets sick: "I treat my body like a temple." "Yeah open to everyone day or night!" I mean, that's, that might-- that also was like one of the classic lines that maybe-- like one of the first ones I basically had memorized from the series, which is also probably why this episode is helping to feel like a classic to me.


Lauren 6:51

Oh, yeah. And you know what else-- it calls to memory when Rose-- um, it's much later but-- when Rose has the drug problem, and she's like, "Has anybody seen my pills?" When she walked in the kitchen, I was like, oh, wow. Like I could have-- I could have wondered whether or not this was that episode. You know, like, that scene was so--


Sarah 6:52

Yeah--


Lauren 7:11

Where the first season, I feel like, is just a nod to to how long they're able to make that dynamic last. Um, so then they cut to-- which I think is also a very iconic visual--when the three of them are on the couch, and they're doing the "hear no evil, speak no evil," --like that--


Sarah 7:29

Oh, I know, it's so perfect. That's great.


Lauren 7:32

Even an amateur Golden Girls fan has that in their Instagram, you know?


Sarah 7:36

Yeah! It's very true. Speaking of memes, as well. Um, but yeah, I think what's really impressive, too, about this episode to me, every single time-- so they're on the couch and they're all sick. They all are such good sick person actors! Like the voices? I think I-- like every time I think about this, I try to pretend that I have stuffy nose and I just sound like a douche. Like I don't sound good at all. It's actually really really impressive. Like how well they sort of play the stuffed up role without overdoing it, you know, but just making it like obvious that they have the flu.


Lauren 8:14

Yeah. And this is sort of, I think the picture of what I was talking about when like, they're all really portraying who they are. So Blanche has the line where she's like, "Isn't it amazing how I can feel so bad and look so good?" And then Rose comes in with her hot toddies, which are like, all alcohol. Drinking like, a ton of whiskey.


Sarah 8:33

Exactly. "I know!"


Lauren 8:38

But you know, of course, like Rose is super-- in spite of having a fever and feeling sick and whatever, she's this, like, incredibly bright and cheerful person, which really grates on all of them, but especially on Dorothy.


Sarah 8:52

Oh, yeah. And that's actually, what strikes me this time, too, is that is actually what Bea Arthur thought about Betty White in real life, right? That she just like, they didn't get along famously--now after being passed away--like the cat was out of the bag. They didn't really get along very well. But what is interesting is just like, it was kind of in that vein of just, how can you be so disgustingly cheerful? Just Bea Arthur's so grounded in reality, it was just like, totally missed that Betty White just seemed to be in a good mood all the fucking time.


Lauren 9:23

Yeah


Sarah 9:23

Which is amazing.


Lauren 9:24

And I think maybe, you know, I don't feel that way in my real life. But I think when I'm sick, like that is the type of sick person I am like, leave me alone. Don't talk to me. I don't want anything. I'm fine. Don't talk to me, please.


Sarah 9:38

She really, I mean, I really noted too that like she really is the crankiest, worst sick person. And if you are not that kind of sick person or you are a well person around that lady, oh my God, I would be like get the hell out of here. Be fine. Go watch whatever you want. You know, I don't want to fight with you.


Lauren 9:54

"The continuing story of another world."


Sarah 9:57

You know, what's actually funny? Rue McClanahan appeared on that show at the time--


Lauren 9:59

Yeah, oh, what a tidbit--


Sarah 10:01

Or that soap opera? Whatever. Yeah, it's hilarious. Also, another fun tidbit that I read about in our favorite book was that the director of the episode was basically like: "Everyone, after we filmed this episode, like, felt like we had the flu." Because again, they're so good at acting, but they had to be like, this deflated sick person the whole time, but you would totally, you know, get it in your head that you're like, oh, man, something going around a lot of that going around.


Lauren 10:28

Yeah! And we have another-- Okay, so they're sick, right? They have another house-called doctor.


Sarah 10:35

Yeah--


Lauren 10:35

This time, it's a lady!


Sarah 10:37

Count it! Also, I noted this was $50. How much was Elliot's? I forget?


Lauren 10:46

I don't remember because it was so...yeah, it sounds right.


Sarah 10:50

Yeah, exactly. But yeah, um, but yeah, there's also a trans joke? I don't really appreciate that. Just-- just playing off of a little female doctor humor like speak for yourself, woman--


Lauren 11:04

Yeah, it's pretty-- it's another, you know, these will continue to pop up in small doses I think, that it's a pretty transphobic moment and I think it's a sign of the times, you know, whatever. But the whole exchange is bizarre because Blanche-- it starts because Blanche is like, "Oh, I don't really believe a female doctor's ever examined me before." It's like, you've never had a female-- ? I mean, I guess maybe in the 80s but like, you've had children like-- never?


Sarah 11:34

Yeah, exactly. Exactly! I didn't even think about that, from an OB perspective or a midwife for Christ's sake!


Lauren 11:43

But I guess the South was a different--


Sarah 11:46

Different time, you know, the women are on the porch exchanging a pecan pie recipe.


Lauren 11:50

So the focus of the episode I think-- Blanche, Dorothy and Rose-- but Sophia-- the way that Sophia is peppered throughout the episode is perfect. When she has that totally bizarre story about the widow Caravelli's ear salve --


Sarah 12:09

And she's eating raisins? Which is just-- for some reason I can't actually like, picture these lines in my head without picturing the raisins. And she's like "I'm supposed to be colorful," because it's actually one of her more bizarre stories. But this lady-- or this idiot rather-- invented pesto sauce? But yeah it's a really good-- you know, like-- weaving of Sofia throughout. And of course, you know, the reveal that she's actually the the winner when the rest of them have been fighting over who's more worthy is perfect, right? Like you don't actually think about the fact that she's actually in there doing community work. But of course she's the best one. And it's just great, you know? And she does her Sofia thing where she just very lightly makes them feel guilty in that perfect mother and grandmother ugly way without actually saying it, at the end with her speech. And, you know, unifies them all back together. Even Rose, who actually, if you look closely, is not clapping for Sofia, because she's so bewildered that she didn't she didn't win. I actually looked carefully for that this time, because I'm usually focusing on Darcy's, like, explanation, but it's great. She is like, Rose plays, you know, Betty White plays it perfectly, because Rose is, of course, like the competitive edge, and she's like, "yeah, I'm happy for Sophia, but what the fuck?"


Lauren 13:27

Yeah, I mean, also, even when she's explaining to Dorothy why she won't win, and she's like, "not enough people like you, sorry!" The sorry is so good. The tension, and the chemistry, and the timing-- it all really just comes together so perfectly in this episode. And I think we do absolutely need to talk about the scene where Dorothy has what we believe to be a heating pad.


Sarah 13:55

I mean, that's a classic like, you know, roundup of the sexual wellness of the Golden Girls that would make people be like, "Oh my gosh, like a vibrator joke!" Like, it's amazing. And I clearly didn't get that like way back when I watched this the first couple of times, but as soon as I did get it, I was very very pleased that they snuck that in there.


Lauren 14:13

Yeah, so I don't know if you've had this happen to you, but I remember the first time I watched-- I don't know if it was this one or if it's the one where they're talking about, like, orgasming the first time you had sex? But I remember the first time I watched it and got it and being like, "No, that can't be-- is that what they mean?!"


Sarah 14:29

You're so conservative!


Lauren 14:33

I know! Well I mean, I was like, fifteen, watching it for the 10th time.


Sarah 14:38

Exactly. Exactly. So they obviously have that fight, and that's also a very real thing, right? They're talking about like the cap, and the Vick's Vapor Rub --.


Lauren 14:48

Love that.


Sarah 14:48

Like, this is such a roommate thing, too. Of just like, we're all in our worst moods ever because we're all sick with the same thing. We're all using these various, you know, amenities around the house, and people are, you know, just every single thing that a roommate would have done to irritate you irritates you 10 times more. And it's just great. But I love that when they finally get into like, you know, Blanche is, basically, very sternly yelling at Rose in the kitchen, talking about how she's a nerd. And Rose, like, starts to respond and then breaks down crying. I'm like, "it's me!" That's exactly, so true to life for me. I'd just be like, "Alright, I'm gonna escalate," and it just hurts too bad and you just lose it. Like especially when you're sick. Are you kidding me? Oh my God. I love that scene because because it's just so perfect.


Lauren 15:38

It's so funny to me that calling her a nerd is what breaks her.


Sarah 15:41

Yeah, exactly.


Lauren 15:42

But at the beginning of that, when I think Rose asks if there's any orange juice left. And Bea Arthur, just like-- there's no lines, right? Like it's crazy to steal when you're not speaking, but she pours the juice into her cup and then she kind of shakes it so there's not even a drop left. It's so good.


Sarah 16:01

I love it. It's perfect. And again, it's all that, the quiet the silent humor is just--they're perfect in this. Again with like going back to the "hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil." It's wonderful. I would also like to note that those pussy willow sticks that Blanche is holding from 'Transplant'? They show up in the background! It's like, "oh man, there they are!"


Lauren 16:25

Recycled.


Sarah 16:27

Exactly, exactly. Oh god. Um, and then the other thing I wanted to call out to, which I thought was wonderful, especially for an English teacher, is when they're all discussing kind of early on about being like, "Oh, you know," after the doctor comes, like, "Oh, we have the flu," and like, "we're not going to be able, I'm not going to be able to attend the banquet. None of us is."


Lauren 16:48

Yeah!


Sarah 16:48

It's like such a perfect, like, proper grammar nod, like no one talks like that. None of us is instead of none of us are? I just thought that was great. I was like, "way to go writers." Like making sure that we've got the real deal.


Lauren 17:01

Their writing in this is amazing because-- so after they have, after Rose cries because she's frustrated and they all kind of like reconcile, they're only reconciled for like two minutes right before--


Sarah 17:11

Oh yeah.


Lauren 17:11

We start competing over who's gonna win. And Dorothy to get the-- so they're all going around like, basically praising each other which is which is nice but then nobody praises Dorothy. So she's like, "AHEM!" And then Rose is like "Dorothy, why don't you use your handkerchief?"


Sarah 17:26

Yeah, exactly! Or at the end with Rose is like, "well, I guess that settles it, I won the award!" And I already mentioned this line, but the whole like, "I'm sorry, like, slipping your tongue to half the firemen in the county was a more lofty social achievement." Like that is also a brilliantly written line. It's fantastic.


Lauren 17:47

It's great. And also, I mean, it's in line with who she is, but like, Blanche's idea to use a real person for a CPR class is insane, and also got the Miami Fire Department to be like "yes, we need a live body."


Sarah 18:04

Also, did you do just the breathing part of CPR?


Lauren 18:07

Yeah, that's what I was saying!


Sarah 18:08

And not the-- the part you really need to practice is not the slipping your tongue part. I'm just saying. Oh God. But yeah this one has-- it's a great wrap up, it works really well to create animosity without it going overboard and where they get dramatic like "I'm moving out by the end of the month." It's very realistic. It really sucks, everyone's together you know, it's just-- it's just so-- it's just such a great episode.


Lauren 18:36

Yeah, so great. And I have two-- I have a couple things so first of all, at the banquet--


Sarah 18:42

Break out your list!


Lauren 18:43

I do think that Sophia is wearing this amazing sequin top that I--you know what I'm talking about.


Sarah 18:50

Her skirt is so glittery and gold and it is just-- it's perfect.


Lauren 18:55

And in the beginning of the episode, Blanche is wearing a floral suit, like a top and bottom, which I love so much. But! On the fashion-- they have Don Johnson's coat at the banquet! What??


Sarah 19:08

Oh yeah. Again, we just Miami Vice-ed all over the place. Like-- who said it was, it's just of the moment. Apparently in real life like Bea Arthur laughed hilariously at that outfit. Like, she just couldn't believe-- she just really thought that was a perfect joke, because it was so ridiculous but of course of the moment, everybody worships Miami Vice, etc. It's really funny because there was no comment about like, what Bea Arthur thought about the whole nice and easy Ed storyline in that book. So I wonder if like, they felt this one first, or I could easily see her being like, "Alright, this is too Miami Vice."


Lauren 19:09

Yeah.


Sarah 19:12

But apparently in this exact scene where they're just like, "we're gonna send his clothes," she thought that was brilliant.


Lauren 19:47

Yeah, and I mean of the time, for sure. He was such an iconic dresser. But it's just wild that like, over the course of like three episodes or something, we're already to Miami Vice references. And one is like, built around-- one episode was like built around the Miami Vice thing.


Sarah 20:02

Yeah, a third of the episode is. Exactly, exactly. Also on the banquet, and you know, you and I discussing how we are very familiar with nonprofit galas-- the sort of hook of bringing Don Johnson, and having him appear at this event to sell tickets, and then he's not there-- like that-- you're gonna get in trouble, I think. Refunds! Or unless the people of Miami are very, very understanding of Don's, you know, schedule, but I feel like they probably-- a lot of people bought tickets just for Don.


Yeah, they couldn't even get like a surrogate, like the other guy on Miami Vice?


Yes, yeah exactly! They could have had Ed! A lot, lot of different things.


Lauren 20:44

Yeah, this one is maybe-- maybe my first one-- my favorite one in the first season. I don't know that I would like, sign a contract that said that, but I really love it.


Sarah 20:55

Yeah, it's wonderful. Is that all you got? Yeah. All right. Cool. Well, join us next time. We're going to discuss how stamp collecting and a historical knowledge of Vikings can maybe get you a hospital administrator job. Bye bye!




FIN

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