Turn on Channel 5, Lily burned the house down! Well, almost. Rose’s sister Lily, who recently lost her sight, comes for a visit, and the rest of the girls prep for the first of many garage sales at 6151 Richmond. The two stories allow the audience to bear witness to two equally difficult struggles: adjusting to life as a blind person and parting with a hockey stick once used by Bobby Hull.
Below is the Enough Wicker podcast transcript for Episode 23: Flying Blind, analyzing The Golden Girls Season 1 episode, Blind Ambitions:
Welcome to Enough Wicker, a podcast where we talk about how it's impossible not to see the amazement in our favorite TV show, The Golden Girls. I'm Lauren.
And I'm Sarah.
And today we're on the 23rd episode in the series, Blind Ambitions.
Oh boy. This episode always makes me uncomfortable.
And it's honestly -- I feel like you have a high tolerance for that. So that's saying something.
I kind of do. I think it's just, like, I, you know, -- you'll see a theme. Our wonderful listeners will see a theme with me where it's, like, there's just -- I have this particular heart string tug when old people are in trouble or not feeling well, and especially people who have disabilities and just, like, people who struggle, right? Like, especially if it's cute old lady or something. So this comes up a lot, but it's also just like, man, Lily, when she's all in the kitchen and shit, but we'll get to that. Anyway. I don't re-watch this one very often. I wouldn't say I would turn it off if it was on, like, where it would have to be a particular mood. But it was interesting rewatching it as a scholar, because there's so many things I missed. I completely forgot about the garage sale B-story.
Oh my God. Also, like --
Which is the first garage sale of many of course.
Yeah, but the other ones are so much better. Yeah, so the B-story super doesn't work in this one I don't think and I think when I was just rereading my notes, I think the reason I don't like it is because like, it's only Rose dealing with a situation that is horrible and sucks. But there's no growth that comes out of it. Like, she from the beginning is like, really you have to learn to adjust. Like, her stance on the situation doesn't change that, like, of course it sucks, but you need to learn to accept that you're living as a blind person. Like, she doesn't evolve at all. So it's just literally watching somebody that you love struggle with a situation that is, like, terrible. Like, I don't like it at all.
No, I know. And there's like -- there's one tiny moment where Rose was like, "Well, I'm gonna move out there!" And they're like, "You shouldn't." And then she's like, "Okay." And then any growth that happens with Lily happens completely off screen. Like, she goes to Chicago or some shit and is just like, "I'm fine now. Let's drive home."
Totally fine. Like, the pendulum is, like, insane. All over the place.
It is. You're right, exactly. So I would like to talk about -- well, one we open with them grilling out, which I just love. There's, like, Dorothy standing behind this, like -- it's just a weird scene, you know? It just doesn't appear again. Yeah, listen, it's the first season. They're trying stuff out. I get it, you know. But you know, somehow like the gardening on the Lanai worked better than this, like, grill -- it's set up very formally. Very strange. And Blanche tells the story where she's like, "Oh, they used to argue over who would lick the barbecue sauce off my fingertips." You know some other dude or something.
Hank, Beau, Doug...
"Kiss away the little drizzle of butter that dropped down my chin." And it's all taken -- it's fucking disgusting one, but it's all also taken very seriously and even, like, smiled at? Like, they're not like, "Blanche, get the hell out of here." Like, everyone's like, "Oh, that's adorable. What a fond memory." And you're just like, alright guys.
Which is especially crazy when you consider that the next episode is Big Daddy, which is amazing and full of that. They don't even touch on that here.
Right, exactly. And they could play on the ridiculousness -- I don't know. It was just weird. You need -- you need the other characters to like bounce Blanche's wackiness off of. It's just kind of -- or her Southern, her Southern wackiness, where it's just kind of hilarious. And to your point, the next episode Sophia, every single scene she's in, is just like, "This is ridiculous."
The next episode is so great.
It's so wonderful. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Yeah. Wait, I want to talk about the pendulum, where it starts, because I just saw this in my notes, actually I'd completely forgotten. But --
Did you actually use the word pendulum?
Yes, I did. Lily had a pilot's license at one point. Like, she didn't -- that's insane. That's not a major plot point, but like, it's just said in passing. Of all the people to lose their sight.
You are very correct. That is right. Oh my god. Unreal.
I do like, I mean, it's obviously -- there's a lot more to it now, but I do love the Cosby jokes that are made, like, about the show and like, "Hoping an amusing black family jumps by the new drive." It's very funny.
Yeah. Exactly. They do a good job. And obviously where they have -- they kind of do this a lot too where it's, like, with Rose's family, like, they go hard the other way where they're just like, "The rest of Rose's family is just as ridiculous as she is." But in this one, you know, she's set up to be the doof of her family where Lily's like totally normal. There's, like, nothing else. She tells the whole story about how like, "Oh, my father used to, you know, just drive us out just beyond the barn." And Rose was like, "What do you mean? Just beyond the barn?" And, like, it's delivered really well. You know it's coming, but it's, like, it's delivered very, very well that obviously Rose is, like, the slowest one to catch on. But it's like, all at the same time knowing what we know later in the series, like, it literally just doesn't work as a family member at all.
Oh, and the other thing, like, we'll talk more about Lily, but there's a scene where they're getting ready for the garage sale, which is, like, which is so terribly executed. Like --
It really is. Everything about it.
They saw the potential in it, because they use it like four more times. But --
Yeah. Obviously there's some thematic elements that do return. Like Blanche's Elvis obsession. And Rose's obsession with teddy bears.
Yes! Two teddys.
There's -- there's a lot. It's, like, almost like this was the trial run for later.
For, like, teddy bear at garage sale plot line. Like, basically that exact thing is reused.
Like Blanche's -- yeah, but like Blanche's wig? And like, Woodstock?
Yeah, I love it.
The whole thing is so ridiculous.
She looks so -- it's so funny. And it's so, like, Gidget, and --
But it's crazy that Blanche, who's afraid of New York City, would have been at -- who's, like, completely not -- you know, it's like Meghan McCain going to Coachella. Ohhh, ok, ok.
Yeah, exactly. That's the -- that's the whole thing. As soon as they said it, I was like furiously typing in my notes being like, Blanche should not go to Woodstock. Give me a break and then yeah. I was like, that's too far north.
Yeah, she would never.
Exactly. But what I do find hilarious about the garage sale element is, you know, we don't really know exactly how long they've been living together now, but, like, clearly three of the women of that house are tenants, right? So it's, like, somebody's like, "I can't believe I've kept it all," -- like Dorothy was like, "Can't believe I've kept it for all these years." Like, did you just move boxes? Like, a lot of -- all of your childhood boxes into this house? Like, I'm not sure. Like, two episodes ahead of where, you know, where we're flashing back, I just see you carrying one box into the house to move in, so I'm not really sure.
You're downsizing from, like, a family home in Brooklyn to one room in a Miami house. Like, you didn't throw anything away?
I know, I know. It's fantastic. But yeah, yo're just - you're just supposed to ignore that -- that fact.
I've never considered that is so --
And you bring Bobby Hull's hockey stick. Can we skip ahead and ask why does Dorothy have Bobby Hull's hockey stick? And why did she not want to sell it to somebody who appreciated Bobby Hull's hockey stick?
It's, like, the biggest thing. And it's, like, I -- you could have written Dorothy having a, like, an irrational attachment to even a sports thing. I think that could have worked. But like, they don't explain - it's just, like, so out of nowhere and never comes up again, obviously.
Nope. Never. It's unbelievable. Yeah, there's a -- yeah, Mr. Longfellow is --
The, you know, the bear which of course, Fernando is.
Yeah, he's no Fernando.
But what I do like about the B-story, it's within the A-story, because again --
Like when they move the boxes.
Oh, yeah, exactly.
When she's like walking through and they're, like, parting the Red Sea. I love it.
It is really actually very hilarious. But it's also so fourth wall-y, when you're, like, there's plenty of room for her to walk around those boxes. They were not in the way at all, but you're just putting them in the way frantically. But yeah, this episode, I mean, it's just funny to make fun of and also just to see, like we said, like, they're testing things out. They're just trying to see how things are like, again, I like the creativity of the B-story in the A-story. There's not a lot of growth, as you pointed out, but the girls still do chime in on Lily because she's a houseguest, right? Like, this is where so much of the great conflict comes in. And the different values that all the girls bring as to, like, how you would handle a situation is what makes for all the really interesting gray area, you know, problems to solve. But it's not a gray area when you have a blind person setting the kitchen on fire.
Yeah, like, that's a -- that's a really great example, actually of what you're just saying, because Rose is so non-confrontational, and she's so, like, protective of her relationships to a fault. So I think Blanche in that -- in that scene really says what Rose is thinking but can't bring herself to say, which is, like, "Yeah, you should not have been cooking on a stove you don't know. You can't SEE." Like, it's not that hard.
Exactly. It's not up for debate. And it's, like -- it is uncomfortable for someone else to have to say it. Someone else outside your family to have to sort of scold your family and houseguests and all that kind of stuff and, like, set it straight, but, like, come on. The fire is the scariest thing we've had since the gunshot. And as soon as I saw it, I was like, I know why this episode makes me so uncomfortable.
No, yeah, that's a great comparison.
It's why I don't usually watch that. I mean, seriously, it is crazy. But it's, like -- I do like how, again, I think the writers are really just trying different things out. I think the message of what they were trying to get across here, how be it as wonky as it does come across is, like, when you're older, like, you could actually, you know, gain a new disability and it's very likely that you will later in life, right? That's going to change the way you have to move through the world. And this is an older demographic, and it's, you know, it's very, like, I mean, at the present time, I think it's, like, one in five Americans has a certified disability, which is insane, you know? And it's just, like, much more likely to happen to you when you get older, and you just have to fucking adjust And it's really hard. And this one's, like, blown out to the extreme proportions of a pilot, you know, at first wanting to cook and set fire to a stranger's kitchen and you know, then swinging hard the other side and can't get a glass of water for herself. But then swinging hard of the pendulum the other side and then driving home from the airport in Chicago.
Who could forget.
Exactly, exactly. But I think, I think that they were -- that's what they were trying to go for. And that's what came to me, like, in this -- I see what you're talking about or I see the theme that you were trying for.
Yeah, I think that's totally valid. But I think the other problem is that Lilly is so annoying the whole time. Like, she -- I wish there was a more like nuanced way to say that, but I feel like that's honestly the issue, because so at first she's like --
You know the line that just came to my head? "I never thought you'd be a jerk in a wheelchair."
Oh, yeah! Yeah.
Like, I never thought you'd be an annoying blind person.
Yeah, exactly! Like, that's the thing. And, like, her reaction to it -- the whole, which, you know, I think we give her a pass for having trouble accepting the fact that she's lost her sight. Like, I'm sure that's awful. And I think she does --
Yeah, I mean, it would suck to be blind. Hands down.
Terrible. And I think the scene with the dress is actually really emotional. And, like, I think really makes the audience more empathetic to her maybe than they have been. But when she's talking about how she had the accident and Rose is, like, trying to talk to her about she's like, "Oh, I've been having accidents since I was two." Like, you know, that peeing in your diaper or your pull up is different than setting a house on fire. Like, those accidents are not -- they shouldn't be in the same category. And then, like, just when she is -- like, the shifting from being so unwilling to take any help to, like, totally sort of being in denial? I don't know. She could take a lesson from Mrs. Beatty and working through the stages of grief. I'll tell you that.
Yes, she should! We really compress it with Mrs. Beatty and Lily doesn't seem to know what she's doing. Also, they, like, the whole "Rose, you're a worrier. You're worried. You always worry. Worry, worry, worry." It's like --
It's too much.
It's way too much. It's just like -- it doesn't, it doesn't do Lily's character any favors.
That's what I'm saying, yeah.
I really appreciate her, yeah.
I want to talk about really quickly, Blanche is describing -- I don't know where George would have been fighting, like, what war?
You know what I'm gonna say. Like, some, yeah -- where they don't even believe in Jesus?
I think that whole story -- "Some godforsaken land where people didn't even believe in Jesus."
What!? First of all, he wasn't in the Crusades. I don't know why that's the thing that we're harping on. That -- like, I was thinking Korea? Or maybe World War II? Like, I have no idea, but, like, I was really trying to put some historical context to that but I was like, still not okay to say, regardless.
She -- definitely not. Well, it's either World War II or Korea and she was making canteens, which one, I don't believe at all and two, but that's gotta be -- I, I actually am very ignorant as to whether we were still having these types of lines and people were volunteering, women were volunteering in factories to make canteens for the Korean War. I don't think so. But, I could be wrong. Some historian who's out there listening, come check me. But yeah, everything is really off. That is not -- that story is so bizarre. It's so offensive. Oh, God. Anyway.
Yeah, no, and I mean, Blanche is kind of, like, she kind of pops up here. She's sort of peppered in the way that like we've seen Sophia used, because every time she comes in I do feel like there's some thing that she kind of grabs you, but she's not really -- she's not a heavy part of this episode at all. But, of course, the salt and pepper shakers and then her reaction to Elvis, which comes up so many times, because there's the Hunka, Hunka Burning Love Fan Club, which I love so much.
Quentin Tarantino, a little.
Quentin Tarantino, woo!
But then what's the other -- oh, when she accidentally invites all of the Elvis impersonators back, you know, there's a running theme here.
So it's nice to see.
Yeah, sorry. That was -- that was the, yeah, that's the two part episode.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
That's what it's all about. "I just got kicked out of an unauthorized fan club." Anyway. God, we're really skipping ahead. We're, like, filling in this episode talking about it with other episodes.
But that's the thing with so many -- exactly.
Exactly. What's interesting is, again, going back to what they were going for, right? This like, okay, you can get a disability. Something can happen suddenly to your -- gradually as it happened to Lily, and you just have to learn how to adjust. And, you know, again, this is maybe -- there's all sorts of ways that people process it and different, you know, timeframes. But, you know, Sophia talks a lot about when she had her stroke and she's like, "Oh, remember how bad, you know, I had it," and that kind of thing. And she describes, like -- it's, it's a good analogy, but she described Dorothy like, "Screamed and hollered at me to get myself fixed up. I was feeling sorry for myself," which I do believe and I don't believe, too. And one, the "scream and holler at me" thing doesn't fit with the Shady Pines story at all, so they don't have that even on the radar as a possibility until like two episodes later. But yeah, it's really, it's really fascinating of just how they're trying to fit in the other perspectives, but this one doesn't fire as well as so -- I mean, like, literally the vast majority of the episodes in this series like to really puzzle piece all the pieces together. This one is just, like, ehhh, I see where you're going but it doesn't really work.
Yeah, I think you can tell this is an earlier one, because it's, like, there's no -- and I also feel like that's reflected in the bigger theme of Rose not evolving at all. But I will say like -- so first, the weird thing is this episode also does a weird time jump thing, which none of them do. Like, we fast forward to two months later when Rose is gonna go visit her, which is super bizarre, and the scenes in the airport are just, like -- you can just tell it's so low budget. It's -- it's really not as refined as it gets much later, obviously. But when Rose is talking about going to visit her and she's talking to Dorothy and Blanche and she's like, "I can't say no again. I won't be able to do it." Like, I do think that is a good -- that's a good piece of writing and it's also delivered so well. I think it's very relatable.
Yeah it is. And to your point earlier, it's, like, Rose wanted to say all these things, but she's just, as a person, is not really capable of standing up for herself in that same way or being as firm lined, you know. So, when Blanche kind of spoke for her concerns earlier, as you mentioned, then the same thing of, like, she's gonna be alone and not be able to deflect it, but it's all okay! Because Becky and driving -- whatever. And we just like glaze over it and we're, like, "Okay, sounds great! Woo-hoo."
Yeah, she took air Florida to Chicago. That's the airline that she flew. She got all the peanuts. It's very like --
"I can only," -- what does she say?
"Ten packs is all I can give you. I told you that on the plane." It's a, it's a good -- it's really funny actually.
It is actually a really good -- it's a good delivery of that one, because she has this customer service smile and then she's just like, "Wait. We've been over this."
You know that's how Rose really is on an airplane.
Exactly, exactly. And blocking the whole traffic and nobody says move out of the way. I also -- what I really do like when Rose is talking to them before she leaves, is a particularly dated reference, which is great when she's -- not necessarily dated. There's still collect calling. But she's, like, "I'll call you collect and you could tell them I'm not home and that way you won't have to lie to the phone company." But I love that Rose is using the trick of, like, you know, asking for herself as the signal so you don't actually have to pay or, like, when you cram -- used to cram in the message of being like, you know, "Hi, you have a call from --"
That's such a time -- like, such a dated reference.
Exactly. It's amazing. But yeah, like, Rose cheating the phone company is a big concern. I really liked that line, because that one -- that one made a lot of sense. So --
Yeah, it's very fitting.
Yeah, we kind of alluded to this in the beginning, like, this one is like a -- god, kind of, I feel like there's a lot that is tested out and ends up working really well later, but not -- not working well in this one as well as it does other times.
Yeah, it's just -- it's just thin. It's thinner than most of the intricate scenarios that play out. And yeah, it's just, again, watching it as a scholar, there's just extra bizarre stuff that I had not caught, such as Bobby Hull's hockey stick. I don't know. I can't get over that one.
Exactly, exactly. So, but yeah, that's all I got for you.
Alrighty, well next time we're gonna discuss whether your father playing guitar or selling the entire family estate without consulting anyone is a bigger issue. Take care, everybody.