In the first episode of the second season, Dorothy and Rose are doing something completely out of character--breeding minks in their garage! While the B-story is whacky, the A-story of Blanche confronting menopause and all that comes with it makes for a wildly progressive (and hilarious) episode.
Below is the Enough Wicker podcast transcript for Episode 26: Minks, Menopause, and Stuff in a Garage, analyzing The Golden Girls Season 2 episode, End of the Curse:
Hello, and welcome to Enough Wicker, a podcast where we talk about the joys of breeding rodents, oddly enough, and the best TV show of all time, The Golden Girls. I'm Lauren.
And I'm Sarah.
And today we're tackling the 26th episode in the series and the first in the second season! And of the curse.
You know, I'm very proud to be on a podcast where we talk about breeding rodents.
Yes, well, who wouldn't be?
So progressive all around. I really liked this episode. I think it's really strong coming in for the second season. It -- it is a very wacky B-story, probably the oddest of the get rich quick schemes that we'll see. So it's kind of great that it's all uphill from here. But, you know, talking about menopause, and like, such a relatable, older woman issue that's, you know, just out there, but also just having the show centered around that is wildly progressive.
Yeah, I think Rue won an Emmy for this one actually. Totally makes sense. Yeah, I mean, I think it's super progressive to talk about menopause at all, and address it with a full, like, a full episode dedicated to that. But also, like, the fact that when they're talking about their periods, they say the, like, "I got my period when," you know, like, and I was racking my brain to think of another show where they just outright said that, and I know that there have been episodes, but I feel like it's always a very special episode, you know? Like, it's never put so casually, which is the way that women really talk. And so like, I just -- that really struck me when they're having that conversation in the kitchen. And there's no, like, there's a couple euphemisms here and there, but it's not the only way that we refer to it.
No, you're right. They say period a lot of times. Like it -- it's like, yeah. It just -- when you were talking about that, it makes so much sense. But it also reminded me of all just, like, the pad commercials with the blue liquid, where it's, like, come the fuck on guys, you know? So it's like, yeah, this is not -- you don't blue liquid your conversation amongst your gal pals when you're talking about your periods. You're just saying period. So no, it's -- it's a fascinating conversation. I love it. And actually, I mean, there's so much obviously before we even get to that part, but I would just want to focus on it now, because I love Sophia's reaction there. Where they're talking about, you know, there's so much of the period talk is caught up in this whole like, "Well, did anybody tell me about it? What was going on?" You know, Blanche had this whole thing where they were using euphemisms, right? To confuse a young girl, because this whole weird shit in our society where we can't actually talk about women's bodies because they're gross. And you know, Blanche is -- she's literally like, "I've had my period for two years, but people are talking about this curse," and something else that, you know, that's a very relatable thing. It's played for laughs and it's obviously kooky, ridiculous Blanche's, you know, past life stories, but it's very relatable. And it's, you know, the same thing where Rose is like "My, you know, my mother was very prim and proper, like, never talked about it." That's a relatable thing, too. Even though, of course, we've met Alma and she's the furthest thing from prim and proper, but okay. But then Sophia is, you know, representing the, like, older, older world thing not steeped in this, like, funky American culture -- not that there's not, you know, disgust of women -- women's bodies in Sicily, etc. Like, misogyny is everywhere, but where she's just like, you know, "I got it. Nobody told me. I didn't get it. Nobody told me. I figured this is life and I went back to my meatballs." And that part cracks me up and especially, like, I -- that's always struck me, even when I was watching this is as a younger, you know, kid and younger girl getting her period, but like, of just not caring, right? Like, just being like, "Oh, my body is functioning as it should be." Like, that trust, as opposed to thinking something's wrong. But it made me think of like, oh my God, we go on Web MD for everything today, right? There's not -- there's not that trust that like something wacky happening isn't wrong.
Yeah. And I mean, I think -- I think that, you know, like, we have -- I remember the period class, I guess you would call it that we had in 5th grade...
If you can call it, yeah.
And there was that and I think my mom was actually really great about, you know, opening that line of communication and being...
You went to public school, right?
Yeah, I sure did. That's why I can't do multiplication tables. But, you know, I know some of my friends have moms who or, you know, grew up without mothers or whatever, but like, didn't have somewhere to -- someone to talk to about it and we're just like, "Uh, what, what do I do about it?" You know? And like, I feel like too, they also -- when they're talking about the different ways that they handled getting it, it's again, just so relatable. And even though it's, you know, some of the details about their stories are dated, it's -- it hasn't changed I don't think. Like, I think if we got a group of tweens right now they would all have similar accounts of that. So, yeah.
It's true. It's true. And it's like, yeah, but -- you just really gave me a flashback there with the school quote unquote class, which is basically shoving a maxi pad into a dental -- a dental bag for us being like, "Sh, sh. Here you go. We have to separate you from the boys, because God forbid we tell them that women get periods."
Yeah, exactly. What were they talking about?
Oh god. Our society's so broken. Anyway.
Anyway. But you know what? So backing up a little bit, I guess, or moving forward. I'm not sure what direction this is, but Blanche actually thinks she's pregnant, right? Which is also a whole thing that is insane and, like, really, actually refreshing to see an older woman, you know, having this like, oh...
Have a panic.
Yeah! Like, you know, I feel like that story is never told from even the perspective of somebody who's, like, over 30. It's always a young girl trying to figure out what to do. And like, yeah, of course, that happens and I think those stories should be told. But I do think there are single women in their 30s and 40s who could get pregnant and do, you know? So it's -- I mean, Blanche isn't in her 40s, but she thinks she is so.
Yeah, exactly, exactly. But it's -- but again, like, you know, she is not prepared for menopause whatsoever. So, of course, her entire life up to this point, when you don't get your period, it means you're pregnant. Like, it totally makes sense. And it's, like, the transition is totally valid from -- from her point of view. I really -- I just -- I love this whole, again, like, kind of the group -- we've talked about this a little bit, too, and we see it so much in this series of just the instant rallying. Like, instantly Rose and Dorothy are getting giddy about helping raise the kid, you know? And that's -- that's not nothing.
It's, like, it's kind of interesting to have had conversations before, like, we can't raise a baby, you know? Like, this is -- we're grandmothers. This isn't fair at this point of life, right? That's the whole David conversation they were having, mostly because he was a shitty teenage boy, but they're excited about a baby. But it's -- it's pretty amazing. They instantly are like, "No, don't worry. We got you. We support you immediately," which is super cool.
Yeah, little Rick Joe Bob John Dave.
Yeah! Also, I love when they're chatting about, you know, about the boy going to Harvard or, you know, all that kind of stuff. Also, like, presuming the sex of the baby, come on guys. But then we get a rare view of the hallway and I really like that, which is pretty fun and like, a really hideous vase in the corner.
Yeah, I also love when Dorothy is -- they're talking to her door and -- and Dorothy just casually drops, like "You'll have the amniocentesis." Like, it's in the middle of all of these other justifications, which is great. I mean, you know, props to that researcher. But like, it just is so -- such a big medical word, you know, to be in there. I noticed it.
Exactly. Exactly. I think it was very big in the 80s, though, so it made a lot of sense.
Yeah, I'm sure.
But yeah, just that being the reassurance is pretty amazing. So. I also enjoy the, you know, "She's in there."
Yeah, I love that.
"Really, Columbo?" It's just such a perfect little play act. But speaking of seeing the hallway scene, we also get to see the garage, which is the site of, obviously, this hilarious get rich quick scheme, which, by the way, none of the real life girls enjoyed this storyline, particularly Betty White and Bea Arthur, who are both very big animal people.
They were like, "This is kind of fucked." So, I think this didn't go over very well and I think the writers sort of figured it out immediately after where they were like, "We won't do these storylines again."
I mean, it's crazy. And it also -- even in the episode Dorothy's, like, "Oh, I didn't know how you feel about this. I know you really love animals."
I kind of wonder if that was a rewrite.
I know, because she just dropped it and wouldn't stop. But it is -- there's a -- it does make for a couple funny lines. Like, there's the part about Rose is like, "Oh, I wish we could keep them alive." And Sophia's like, "Oh, yeah. Many women love to wear a coat that urinate." But we also need to talk about the fact there is a big plot hole here and it's whether or not Sam ever got Dorothy a mink stole. Because I thought he did and it was stolen, but in this one Sam wouldn't even buy popcorn at the movie, so he never got her a stole. So what is the truth?
But I love that, like, immediately second season we are already -- I mean, we've already sort of fucked things up back, you know, in terms of storylines or keeping families straight or anything like that. But, it's just, like, right out of the gate, we're just firmly establishing there is no sort of, you know, canon that we're following here. We'll just do whatever is funny at the time, which is perfect.
I love it.
It's great. It's perfect. You know, we're just going for the jokes. That's all we're going for. So, you know, they -- Sam never got Dorothy a mink except the one that was stolen and returned. But whatever. All of the things that I was looking at in this garage scene, which are not mink coats, were hilarious. I was trying to count as many weird things. First of all, Sophia is sitting on this, like, you know, speaking of Enough Wicker, this wicker throne, like, this enormous -- it must be just like a settee chair or something because it's not made for one person. She's sitting on it, like, you know, when she's cutting up the paper, talking about coats that urinate. It's amazing. But there's like multiple bicycles, there's a mounted fish, which may or may not be like a swordfish, which I think is, like, legally required in Miami. You just have to have that somewhere in your property. There's like pickled vegetables, which I thought was great. There's multiple strings of garlic, like, enormous things of garlic. There is that old fashioned coat and pants hanger that, like, sits on the ground. There's what appears to be vacuum tubes and hat boxes, which makes sense for, like, you know, ladies, their age, etc. But there's also a copper still.
Which I'm, like, YO! You guys home brewing or home distilling here? It's amazing. So anyway, that was, like, just a little fun activity for me. Because I was like, you just get -- you know, you get the rare view of the garage when it's not being redone to turn into a bedroom by a weird Italian invalid.
Yeah, somebody went to an encyclopedia and was like, Garage. Storage. Things that are kept in storage.
There is, like -- but the minks do -- I think there's a lot of funny moments within the menopausal conversation as well. But they do, you know, and I think the B-story -- I assume the logic for the B-story is, because it's sort of, you know, a really shallow metaphor, I guess for, like, humans being quote unquote to old to breed. Like, as we are mansplained to by the vet later in the episode.
Oh, God. Can we talk about how that is the oddest way, like -- what a way to work that line into some sort of flirtation, right?
Yeah. Not human.
"Geez, give us a break, would ya mack?"
Yeah. Oh, my God.
But actually, like -- like, the whole -- yeah, it is kind of a ridiculous metaphor throughout the entire episode. But I do think they do a very, very good job at the end, where, you know, they're talking about just because they're too old to breed, they're gonna get rid of them. And I love that the mink stay from Blanche and Dorothy just goes, "Right." Like, it's actually -- it's kind of -- it's kind of funny, because the way Bea Arthur reacts and delivers that line, is her realizing the metaphor as it's happening. So it's kind of, you know, like, she's like, "This is so ridiculous. It's too on the nose, like, that I have to actually react this way." So I actually appreciate that because it's almost as if they're, you know, the girls are in this schema of saying the metaphor is too apt.
Yeah, Bea Arthur -- I mean, you know, she's brilliant in this one, as she always is. But there's another -- which I actually feel like this joke will be used multiple times, and it will make me laugh every single time, and it's when Rose is talking about, I think it's a pig, and she's talking about how she doesn't -- like, they would breed them on the farm and one year one of them had a bunch of piglets and they didn't know who the father was and Dorothy is like, "My God, what did you do on Father's day?" So good.
That -- that -- you're right, that kind of beat interplay is perfect. Where Rose is super, super serious and Dorothy is over the top sarcastic, but it just comes off very, very funny. It's great. Because she's, yeah, -- "We never knew who the father was." I mean, God, it's just perfect. And remember, way back, waaay back when we were talking about, you know, the early episodes of the first season of how Betty White just nails Rose immediately more than, you know, any of the other three. She's just -- she just keeps getting better. She just keeps being more Rose, which is phenomenal.
There's so many of those instances in here. There's the whole diatribe about the Spanish fly/Spanish beetle situation. But also, I want to talk about the psychiatrist a little bit, because -- also Betty White at one point is like, "Psychiatrist means psych, which means psycho."
So good. It's like so -- you can tell like it's a very, like, internally held prejudice against psychiatrists, which makes sense considering.
It makes sense for who Rose's character is except, again for, like, talking about canon, for the fact that she worked at the grief counseling center, you think she'd be a little bit more amenable to the practice of psychiatry. In the -- okay, you just named two different scenes that I do want to talk about. Going back, my only comment on the Spanish fly conversation, other than it is actually usually held up as a very perfect example of this, like, almost Abbott and Costello routine of like -- of like someone of regular intellect explaining to Rose what this is and she just perfectly is responding of saying like, "This is ridiculous. I need to know more," just like you would talk to a five-year old. But also like, first of all, Rose has been to Spain?
That cracks me up. And also, like, do Spaniards wear sombreros as well? Or is Dorothy conflating it with Mexicans?
I think she's honestly just so exhausted that she was just like, "I can't talk about this anymore."
"I can't even." Alright, we'll give her a pass for that, conflating two cultures that have the joint language together.
I mean, it's certainly not as offensive as fucking Rose talking about how there -- Spain was a dirty country, which is not true at all.
Yeah! Exactly. Valen-CH-ia is how she says it too. It's perfect. Well, not only, like, Rose has been to Spain, but backing up a little bit too, Rose had a decorator help her with drapes once? Come on, man. She came from the farm, like, five years ago, maybe six at this point.
She didn't have puce drapes at her farmhouse. Like, get out of here. Maybe she did. I don't know. Maybe there was like one decorator in St. Elmo.
Yeah, I think she had the only one. And, you know, Blanche, I mean, Rue McClanahan is obviously the star of this episode. She's so -- I think we haven't talked about her as much, because her performance is incredible, but it's not super funny. Like, there's a couple parts that, you know, are light, but there are hints of the breakdown -- "The little ball of sunshine in the bag," which is amazing. But --
Like in the psychiatry practice. She's so good at that panic freakout to make it feel real and also funny. But, like, tow that line. It's amazing.
Yeah, and being so despondent about this sort of, like, inevitable thing. I will say I wasn't -- so she had no -- no idea that this might be coming. Like, you know how old you are and you know scientifically menopause is a thing. So I was like, a little bit meh, okay.
But I also -- I actually believe her being caught off guard about that only because she lies to herself about her age more than her being nine weeks late. And not realize -- like the way Dorothy reacts like, "Nine weeks late and you just relaxed." I mean, at least say like, damn, you had two full months. You have two full cycles in there, man. Anyway,
Exactly. But yeah. I mean, I think she's amazing and I think she's so good at being depressed. But also -- and she's not trying to hide it from her friends, but she is trying to make it seem more, I guess, like, she's more functional with it. And eventually she obviously does have to get there. And, you know, Danielle Steele's writing a book, so she has to hang around. But yeah, and I mean, also it is -- it's so Blanche to bounce back when she sees an attractive man. And I -- I think that this is an example of how this show does it so well, is like -- she doesn't respond to a man's attention. She responds to a man she likes, which is exactly what she was saying to Lucy. Like, she of her own accord that she's interested in him and it's not because he's, like, hitting on her, which I feel is so empowering. And, you know, just another great example of how wildly feminist this show is.
Yeah, exactly. And again, it's -- it's more -- it's not so straightforward. It's never presented so straightforward, like, you know, a man that she likes, and, you know, it's not -- it's not that she doesn't then appreciate the attention, he gives her back, right? Because that's part and parcel of liking anyone, right? Like, it's, like, it's always a confidence booster when somebody returns your, you know, your feelings. But again, like to your point, she's not going to bounce back just because a man, any man, you know, out there is going to, you know, give her attention. Like, it has to be something that she thinks is worth pursuing. And, you know, and she just goes, "he just loves me," you know, like -- it's like, she just gets so giddy and of course, like Dorothy's line, "She could be in a coma. Put a man within five miles, she'd roll over and shave her legs." Like, it's just phenomenal and it's, like -- you know, they give him credit at the end and then Blanche said "No, it was actually you guys." Like you -- and the thing, like, it's -- yeah. It's such a heart string moment. Like, you know, "You just let me carry on and be crazy. And you're with me here through it all." But of course, you know, it's such a lovely moment, and Sophia goes, "We live here!"
But it's so nice. It is so, like, just another -- like, another piece of recognition of how important female friendships are. And it's just, like, that is the real arc of this show. And I think we've kind of -- we might have said it outright, but I think that that maybe is why we both were drawn so much to the show, because not that we are opposed to romantic relationships, obviously. Like, we both have people that we love and partners that we love, but it always did irk me that every story was about a girl getting a man to fall in love with her. And like, so nice to see a show that's not built around that, but have that as a side to the main love story in the show, which is the friendship.
Yeah, absolutely. And that's -- that has been the thread, you know, throughout. And you're so right, that this was one of the few examples of that in an actual deep way, you know? And not very light like dumb sitcom families or other things like that, that didn't really strike any real, you know, emotional chord with me. But like, yeah. Especially when I'm younger, you know, even when -- when your friends are -- and you and I've talked about this before, of like, you know, not finding a partner for a really long time and just also you just feel so isolated, and you're like, but I have -- my friendships are the most important thing to me. Like, this is what I can control. And this is, like, this is what keeps me going. And this is what, when I'm sort of searching for a partner or dating duds, you know, it's the same thing that these ladies do where it's like, it's always -- those are always sort of secondary considerations to the friends that you have. And in this particular sort of citation from Blanche she basically says, "You guys didn't really do anything specific. You just let me be emotional. You let me go through this on my own and let me carry on and be crazy, you know, that whole thing." It's -- it's not like it was this we sat you down, we had this grief talk and we said, you know -- there's a couple moments in this show where, you know, one of them says something that really is a turning pivot point, but it's really just about being there. It's about supporting. It's about attending, you know -- going to the psychiatrists office with her, right? And just all those little things is what friendship is. So like I talked about before of just saying like, "When we thought you were pregnant, we're for it. Whatever you want to do. We're here to support you." And it's -- it's the coolest thing, because it's not the specific, like incident. It's just about being there.
It's the best Fluffy Buffy, Muffy and Joanne!
It's so great. But yeah, I think I do want to go over a few more lines, because there's so many great lines in this one. I didn't even realize. And to your point, Rue McClanahan is incredible and a lot of her stuff is serious, especially when she's doing her, you know, sort of dialogue with the psychiatrist in the office. "It means much more than that!" And like, you know, she says this twice, and she really, really is explaining, you know, out loud, and of course, like, immediately gets into the whole, like, an old friend, third party. You know, I'm happy she actually is able to open up to the psychiatrist after being so opposed to it. But she does have this great line where she's talking about her discomfort of being there and she's like, "Nobody in my family has ever seen a psychiatrist. Except, of course, when they were institutionalized." Just every time, like, that's one of the pre laughter lines for me.
So great. And the psychiatrist does a good job at -- which I will say that I think my expectations were low for that, but he does a good job at sort of trying to talk her down without acting like he can understand what it's like. Because I think, you know, you can -- you can empathize to a degree if you're not a woman who's gonna deal with menopause, but really, like, it's not -- you can't understand.
Exactly. Like he says, "Why wouldn't I understand?" But he uses that psychiatrist tactic of like, I want to hear it from you. And I think that's great, you know. And she talks about, like Cary Grant, you know, can have any man or woman he wants and, you know, later when she's talking to the girls or like, "They say we're crazy when we get them and crazy when we don't get them." And it's such -- it's such a perfect, you know, just women who get periods only conversation to have and you're right, it's like -- and it's difficult too, because again the psychiatrists being a man was probably a really good, you know, tactic for the show to take there, so she can actually have that conversation and bring out that dialogue. So, going back to the very, very beginning one of the other lines I love is like, "You know what else is a shame? When your thighs squish out to twice their size when you sit down. That's a shame." And honestly, it fucking is.
Yeah, no, I wrote that down too! And I was like, yeah. Welp.
So true. Just amazing from Rose. That's completely not anything. Also, holy shit. The outfits this season are phenomenal.
Oh my god.
Dorothy's outfits are unreal. Like there's at least three of them in this episode. Rose is wearing a sweater with a house, and a blue sky, and the sun in the corner, like a little kid drew a picture. It's so good. It's incredible. But yeah, and then of course, I'm pretty sure the earrings, like, the 80s earrings that Lucy was wearing were painted a more, you know, a black and silver color just for this scene.
Yeah, I think they're gonna lean more into the -- because we did see flashes of it in the first season of, like, each of their styles. But, I mean, I think it's in the third episode of this season that Dorothy is wearing that sort of, like, iconic green silk almost tuxedo.
Like, it's definitely starting here. And yeah, even when they're in the garage with the minks and Dorothy's wearing the sweatshirt, like, it's very -- I think, if you are a fan of this show, on any level, you can pick out which outfit belong to which girl. Like, they really made them have their own sense of style. So great to see that.
Exactly. It's fantastic. Yeah, and the -- sorry, I'm just going through all my scholarly notes. Sophia in this one, you know, she -- she's just, as usual in some of these episodes, you know, she's sort of the ultimate foil, right? Like, she's just kind of sassing Blanche about you know, like you said earlier, Rick, Joe, Bob, John, Dave. That's just -- she's just constantly poking at, you know, the situation. She's not exactly empathetic here. Like, she's the one that says, "We live here! What are you talking about? Of course, we're gonna be here," and not really absorb it. But just she's poking fun at Blanche and she's like, "Do you realize I'll be 60 years old when this child graduates high school?" And she just goes, "Try 70." And she gives this perfect look of, like, get over yourself, and it's magnificent. Where she's already, you know, just like, "My body will never come back from this one. It barely came back from the last one!" Like, it's just -- it's just cutting. It's terrible. So mean. But it's just...
"You just grow a beard."
Yeah. "I look like Arafat." It's so -- it's sooo great. Also, is this the first mention of Wolfie's?
I think it is. Yeah.
Yeah. Is, like, yeah -- "I'm here because you're going to Wolfie's after." Like, again, just not supportive whatsoever. "I'm in for lunch. I'm taking off." The guy is talking about the marshy land and the shipping yard and she's like, "I'm out. Goodbye." But of course, like she, you know, again, this is how everyone remembers Sophia more than like -- you know, she, I mean, she has these lovely warm moments and she's telling her wisdom and her story and she, you know, she brings that out, but everybody remembers her as the punchy -- punchy old broad from The Golden Girls. This is, like, this character to a T
Yeah, but I think -- I think in the scenes where she is in there, she does break it up. Like, you kind of need her, because I think it's thoughtfully inserted. It's like when Dorothy is asking Blanche, "When is your fertile period," which is such a scientific way to ask that question, and you know, they're talking about who the father is and whatever, and Sophia just comes in several times with like, "We know what she did. We don't know with who!"
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. No, you're right. It is -- I mean, it's the counterbalance of just having humor about this very serious topic, even if it was getting pregnant at 60 of all things. Oh, man, but anyway, a super strong start to our second season here.
Yeah, I love it.
Of course. So. All righty. Well, I think that wraps up End of the Curse. You can join us next time when we discuss the three R's: raffles, Reynolds and the ridiculousness that ensues after being mistaken for a prostitute. Take care, everybody.