[TRANSCRIPT] Rose the Prude and the Great Arnie Injustice of 2017 (Episode 3, s1/e3)

Lauren and Sarah relive an agonizing third-place Golden Girls trivia finish and take a scholarly look at the third episode, Rose the Prude. Hear your favorite GG Experts examine how Betty White's Emmy-winning performance forced audiences to realize old people do actually have sex, and sometimes it can be pretty complicated.



Below is the Enough Wicker podcast transcript for Episode 3: Rose the Prude and The Great Arnie Injustice of 2017, analyzing The Golden Girls Season 1 episode, Rose the Prude :

Lauren 0:10

Okay, hello and welcome to Enough Wicker, a podcast where we celebrate an incredible group of women, The Golden Girls. I'm Lauren


Sarah 0:21

and I'm Sarah.


Lauren 0:22

And today we're on the third episode. It's called 'Rose the Prude' and there's a lot to that title. So Sarah, what did you think?


Sarah 0:34

Well, this is a super funny episode -- this is great. This is a -- I don't know if the last episode with the wedding and the family and so much heady stuff all at once kind of like threw off the the pattern for me, but this this is like the first episode that like I feel like they catch their groove. And apparently it's not I'm not the only one who thought this, obviously: Betty White actually won an Emmy for this episode. The first of the four girls -- all four of them eventually won Emmys for outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series -- but this is the episode of Betty White one for, which is just a fun fact.


Lauren 1:09

So early! The third episode ever.


Sarah 1:10

Exactly! Like, the first season to win is pretty amazing, but yeah, third episode that they they created which is fascinating.


Lauren 1:18

I also really liked this episode. I agree because I think the pilot is never going to be the funniest episode. you know. there's so many things to work out and chemistry and things like that. And the second one, yeah, was much was heavier and the first thing that I noticed about this episode is the Sophia and Dorothy having sort of like a fun competitive nature to their relationship, and you know, they're gonna play gin all day -- that's like their the whole plan.


Sarah 1:47

And Dorothy actually gives up the date -- like Blanche offers Rose's date to her first. She gives it up to play gin, which is great.


Lauren 1:56

Yeah, it's so it's so heartwarming to see because again, like I talked about this in the last episode, but I love to see like flashes of Sophia being maternal, without being sort of like, over the top. And so that's really, really nice. And I think it also is a fun sort of precursor to a long running string throughout the whole series about the role that competition plays for all of them, but particularly for Sophia and Dorothy. You know, every episode where they're sort of competing about something I think is automatically funny because of that storyline.


Sarah 2:28

Exactly. Yeah, I didn't even think about that. It really sets that relationship up. It's not just about the chatting and sort of the banter and that whole thing to remind everyone that they are mother and daughter -- that they do have this fun competitive streak.


Lauren 2:44

Yeah. Related to development, things like that, I think Blanche really sort of emerges as somebody who grew up very wealthy. And that one sort of exchange that I love is when Blanche comes out of the kitchen, and she hands Dorothy the jar of macadamia nuts. And she asks her to open them or whatever and then Dorothy's like, 'why wouldn't you just try to open them yourself?' And she's like, well, 'you work with your hands all day.' She's a teacher like she's not like, chopping wood.


Sarah 3:19

'I don't shuck oysters.'


Lauren 3:13

Right! But I love I really love that sort of like, almost caricature element of Blanche, like how quote unquote out of touch she is. And I think we start to see that here and I -- you know, it's built upon layers. So that's why I think it works, but I think it starts to work in this one.


Sarah 3:32

Oh, yeah, and she's got -- and you know, like taking right off with Blanche. There's so much here that are firsts, but also just stick with the Blanche character -- like where she, she has this great quote, which I so relate to, which is just hysterical, that she's like, most of the boys I dated in college were just for the stories. Like she tells, you know, the story, like we're talking about, you know, they're sitting around the table for the first cheesecake scene, right, and I'll talk about that in a little bit more in a minute -- but, you know, Blanche immediately, pontificates, you know, they have this moment where she is talking about the Reverend, you know, at the funeral for her husband, and as soon as she mentions it, Dorothy just like, you know, does a like a tsk noise and just like, you know, crashes her coffee cup a little bit, and just says, like, 'Oh my god,' you know, she just has a sort of like, Blanche, you are a caricature of a person, right? Like she has that reaction that you would have in real life. Like, I can't believe you're telling this kind of a story and embellishing it, et cetera. And it's just it's perfect, because like that is that is the Blanche character. She's not put off by Dorothy's reaction, whatever -- she just goes on into the fantasy. And it's fantastic.


Lauren 4:46

Yeah, and I think because Rue McClanahan does that and seems to be like so okay with that part of her personality as a character, that enables jokes that are -- that would otherwise not be as well received. Like at one point, Dorothy Blanche how long she waited to sleep with a man after George died. And you know, Sophia says til the paramedics got there. It works because Blanche isn't hurt or like put off by it, but it's a really nice, it's a really interesting juxtaposition to what you said about the first episode, how when Sophia calls her a prostitute, she kind of laughs. You know, and it's interesting to see that develop, even over just these two episodes.


Sarah 5:29

Oh, absolutely. And you know, where sort of -- one of my favorite, favorite moments again -- these these women are so good at all sorts of comedy and drama and emotion, but like physical comedy, is something that this show isn't necessarily like you wouldn't -- as a casual fan -- really think that that would be something you would cite, but like they're VERY good at that. And one of those is when Rose is sort of admitting to Blanche and Dorothy, she's getting at the fact that she hasn't slept with anyone since Charlie died, but she doesn't say it out right. She's just describing how she's going away with this guy named Arnie, and like they're going to be on a boat, and they're going to be in a stateroom, together, alone, with one bed -- and Blanche just does this amazing shoulder shrug to Dorothy like behind Rose's back, like I have NO idea why this is a problem because it sounds like a dream to her, right? And it's just a very very subtle little piece. But it's just perfect. It makes me laugh out loud every single time.


Lauren 6:28

And so we should sort of talk about what happens with Betty White, then, so the cruise.


Sarah 6:35

With my favorite -- you know, all like 1980s when they have to use stock footage, it looks like you are recording it on like a Super 8 film that's super grainy from, like, back in the day, and it's like this really far away view of a mini Titanic or something. It's hysterical.


Lauren 6:55

So she goes with Arnie Peterson from Plainfield, New Jersey.


Sarah 6:58

Yes, indeed.


Lauren 7:01

And I think we should just get it out of the way right now -- we have some we have some things to address regarding Arnie Peterson. And it's, it's been far too long.


Sarah 7:11

Listen, this is our third episode, I think our listeners deserve to hear.


Lauren 7:17

Yes. So I guess three years ago? two years ago? some some years ago. Um, I'm just going to tell you the whole story because you have to know. So, Sarah and I went to Golden Girls trivia, fully expecting I think to win if I may speak...


Sarah 7:34

I mean, why, why else -- Okay, to even back up from there, I personally had never lost a Golden Girls trivia in my entire life. Like I'm talking casual bar, you know, just like, you know, acquaintances or strangers, to personal friends to official, you know, tournaments or whatnot. And I think the only you know, the closest I came to losing was our aforementioned draw when I first met Lauren at the smokey bar in Hell's Kitchen, so, so yes, we went in expecting to sweep it.


Lauren

Yes. Okay, so we're going along, we picked our team was called Parrot Village, which I still think was really good. I stand by that. And the question was, I kind of forget the wording of the question, which I actually think is important, but I think it was like, who, like, 'What is the name of the man that Rose first goes out with?' or something like that? Does that sound right?


Sarah

I guess so. I honestly -- to fully admit, I kind of blacked out this entire incident. Might have had to do with the gin that I had, but... carry on.


Lauren 8:48

Might have. So I think that I think that that was the question. I think the question was definitely the answer to the question was Arnie, for sure. But then, we thought that maybe we were too smart for the questionnaire. And I think that there's a little bit of hubris in that, so I will own that. I know, I'll never forgive myself for this decision. But so -- so Sarah was like, okay, we know it's Arnie, we know it's Arnie. And I know that I was I was in the wrong and I was like, but I don't know if they're gonna know, it's Arnie, because they think they're trying to trick us. We just didn't know, I didn't know what they knew!


Sarah 9:22

it was actually -- it was alarming. It was the kind of trivia that we would write, if we were trying to eviscerate -- actually, it wouldn't be the kind of trivia we would write if we were trying to be fair, if we if we were trying to completely eviscerate the competition, in terms of making impossible questions. So I think you were right to be suspicious of like, what they were actually getting it. It just, yeah, it was a shame. So I think, you know, we got third place, which is -- you know, admirable for anybody -- but for us, I mean, it was a tragedy. But um, but yeah, it's a moment.


Lauren 9:56

It's a moment.


Sarah 9:57

But I am happy that Arnie is from New Jersey. Both of us are from New Jersey, which is a really great homage, which is lovely. And he's obviously charming as hell. I mean, that's why he shows back up in the series as a steady boyfriend, Miles Webber. And I think that speech that he gives about you know -- it's actually funny because I was admiring him as a character, as I'm watching him talk about like, you know, my wife died and it's, you know, it's really emotional and you know, I didn't let it stop me, hahaha. But he but he then says: 'I patted a few bottoms' -- I was kinda like, goddammit, Arnie, like I was kind of thinking that you're pretty cool. But Jesus, this does not hold up in 2020.


Lauren 10:42

Joe Biden's tagline. [groan]


Sarah 10:45

Well, yeah, he says, 'patted a few bottoms,' which is just like a terrible, terrible little little blip that sneaks in there. But I do love how cute they are. I think Betty White just nails it, again, with the physical comedy when she's trying to lay sexy in bed when he's still in the bathroom. You know where Miles is talking about -- ugh, Miles!


Lauren 11:08

See?!


Sarah 11:08

I'm so attached to him as Miles, I know. Arnie is like, 'oh I bought this from my grandson -- sounded so good, I kept it for myself!' The portable tape cassette player. I just love that there are there so many of these amazing dated 80s references -- like earlier in the episode like they talk about Willard Scott, and the 100-year-old people that get on the Today Show. Dorothy says something about how they keep changing the taste of Coke. Like it's just perfect, because it's just -- I remember even watching this as a kid. Because of course, I'm not like up on the when later, you know, in the episodes, they make references to people of their age who would know references from 50s, 40s, and beyond. I just remember being really confused. And now that we have Google, I'm like, you know, still looking up things to see what they're talking about.


Lauren 11:56

Yeah, no, I mean, I feel like the whole reason I know anything about Michael Dukakis is because of this show. But yeah I really love the chemistry she has with Arnie. I think it's he's so great and I do love the Miles character. You know what I thought was interesting is like they bring Miles back -- do you know around about (I should have looked this up, actually) when Miles comes back? It's later on --


Sarah 12:20

Yeah, yeah, I don't I'm not even gonna answer now, cuz I don't know.


Lauren 12:23

I don't think it's in the first season. [editor's note: His first appearance is in Season 5's 'Dancing in the Dark'.] But anyway, like, it's interesting. They, she like kind of goes out and like, sows her wild oats and dates other guys and, you know, Miles, you know --


Sarah 12:34

I think that it's interesting because again, this is the this is the first true sort of sexcapades episode, right? Like it's been referenced before, but like this main plot is around sex. And it's significant for women on television to talk about it so openly, but older women, like to talk about this idea of, does it feel like you're cheating on your dead husband, if you have sex again? I mean, there's just it's like, so complex. It's really cool. And again, I think it's one of those things where you can watch it today and take it totally for granted that this was kind of a mind-blowing topic that they covered when this was launched.


Lauren 13:10

No, I mean, like you think about when Sex in the City came on, and obviously that's different in terms of the levels and in things it was doing, but it it was groundbreaking in sort of the same way like you know, it's wild to have women talking about sex at all, talking about like enjoying or pursuing sex the way that that Blanche does, and the way that they all do eventually. But yeah, so I actually one of the things I wrote down was the sort of different role that it takes because you have Blanche, who I think is -- it's still new, so I don't think she's totally like in the groove of it yet, but she is definitely somebody who is comfortable talking about her sex life, and like you know, again, the thing with the priest looking right at her --


Sarah 13:53

And also the sex life, like, in Miami, right? So this show, this episode specifically covers a lot of that dating older men, right where Blanche is constantly, like she's complaining about her date Jeffrey. Of course, she's like, I'm gonna date both brothers before I give one away. And she's like, you know, Jeffrey, Jeffrey doesn't dance it says that makes his ankles swell. And just like all of this, like old people humor, like really just like, it paints a picture of what they're going for in the show. So it really, you know, sex plus old people, it's amazing.


Lauren 14:26

But, yes, so sort of on the other side of that you kind of have Rose in -- I never thought of this before and obviously it's maybe a bit of a stretch, but it does sort of feel like an episode about virginity loss, when she's sort of contemplating if she's ready or not to, you know, have sex with Arnie and if she's comfortable, and if she's doing it for the right reasons, and also like it feels so weird -- like there were so many elements of that sort of like almost after-school special without, you know, without being that cheesy. That it was really -- and I do think that's also you know, super progressive to paint a woman as somebody who's like, deciding whether or not they're ready for that to become part of their life, that you know, like, it's very just owning that part of it.


Sarah 15:10

I never actually thought about it that way. But that's exactly what it is! And honestly, like, even if you, even if it's not a metaphor, like that's actually what Rose is going through anyway, because I mean, you just been with one man, he's already been dead for 15 years, as they say -- which again, timeline's off, as we mentioned. everything's so whacked out. But yeah, it's it's fascinating. You know, it's such a disappointment that it struck me this way, but where Dorothy is just like, well just go and give it a shot, like totally encouraging and not. There's not this subtext, and I know you probably couldn't cover it, but of course, there's always a subtext in this conversation, even with like young women, where you're like, okay, well if you're going away, you know, with a man he's gonna expect it. Like you're gonna have to do it, like this is part of the sharing the bed. This is what you're signing up for. Right? There's not a conversation like that. There's totally the assumption that Arnie is going to be a perfect gentleman and go wherever Rose is comfortable going, which I really liked. I think that, I mean it just painted him as like a really good guy character, despite his patting a few bottoms. It was just, like you said, you could really focus on the whole. you know what Dorothy tells Rose, where it's like, you know, you can you know, 'good things happen or bad things happen. But if you don't take a chance, nothing happens.'


Lauren 16:25

Yeah, that's a really interesting takeaway. I never thought of that before, either. But it is. It is really nice to not have that be like the whole arc of the episode. Which it usually is.


Sarah 16:34

Yeah, And it just strikes me just because I'm putting myself in that position of talking to a friend who would be doing this, like a girlfriend that would be doing this, and it's like, oh, yeah, you would definitely cover much, much more in-depth topics than that. So I'm Blanche shrugging behind Rose, like what's the problem?


Can we go forward a little bit, to -- Well, I kind of back a little bit to what we were talking about the cheesecake scene -- where they're the first sort of 'night talk' that they have?


Lauren 17:05

Yeah, of course.


Sarah 17:06

Yeah, they're talking about, you know, when the first time that they slept with anyone after their husbands either died or they got divorced. And you know, again, aforementioned Blanche talking about the Reverend: 'took about 10 minutes, he wore his watch and his socks and I never saw him again.' They talk about the mirror -- using the mirror to actually look at yourself, right, to look at yourself with a mirror above you versus, like, looking down on a mirror. And that was the first cheesecake scene, essentially. And I remember reading that, you know, Susan Harris, who created The Golden Girls, they really needed something to anchor that conversation, that really brought it into kind of what they talked about in the first episode where you mentioned where Dorothy is talking about feeling like a young woman with all these young women, and then looking at herself in the mirror, being reminded that she's old. It's sort of the same idea of, like, how gravity takes its toll on your skin, and they are kind of swapping techniques to like not, you know, feel bad about yourself or even look good, that kind of thing. Well, Susan Harris wrote the scene like on a plane to New York and she phoned it back into L.A. and they added it in like super last minute, and it ended up being such a classic skit, you know, sketch like that piece of the sketch that they performed it for the Queen in England like years and years later when they did like a mini Golden Girls live --


Lauren 18:33

Wow!


Sarah 18:33

-- like, because she loves the golden girl so much, which is great. Yeah, they wrote that bit into it.


Lauren 18:38

Amazing.


Sarah 18:39

But it's just so perfect because, again, it's when you're imagining just sitting around chatting with your girlfriends, like, it's like it's something that at that age, you would be like, oh, here's a tip! Like definitely look at yourself this way. So, but it just yeah -- it stands out is so classic, and it's just great that it anchored that first sort of cheesecake scene and that's where they sort of took it and ran with it for the rest of the series.


Lauren 19:04

Yeah, no, that's so -- that's so interesting. And it really, like, there's a very funny exchange there, too, when Blanche is upset because of the way she looks when she leans over. So Dorothy gives you the tip to lean back, um, that you mentioned, and then Blanche, she's like, 'Oh, I'm gonna have to meet men lying down.' Like, 'I thought you did.' And -- the timing is so perfect -- it's like, a second before you think it's gonna come. You know, it's very quick, but it's just -- we're, I think we're in full swing. I actually think -- not to get too ahead of myself -- but I actually think we take one step back in in step four. It's like two step forwards with this, Episode Four, we go back


Sarah 19:46

Don't quote me on this, but I do think that these episodes were filmed differently out of order. So I do think that the next episode was an earlier episode. So, in the in the order of like actual broadcast, that we're following, I think it's a little wacky. So we can maybe talk about in the next episode. [editor's note: we do!] So, but again, going back to the the timing, and when the things that we see -- you mentioned earlier where doctor says -- I'm, like, laughing now, it's just fabulous that I could like recall these things I've seen a million times and still genuinely giggle -- you know, Dorothy says, oh, how long did you wait Blanche, you know, after after George died, and Sophia says, 'til the paramedics came' and then immediately Dorothy does the overlapping 'Ma!', like she admonishes her for it, and it's perfect cuz it's like the first one. Earlier in the episode, Dorothy actually -- I noted -- she says mom, instead of Ma.


Lauren 20:41

Oh my god, I wrote that down too!


Sarah 20:43

Like, get out of here. She's not a 'mom.' So it's really funny that she has that -- like they kind of find their groove in that that cheesecake episode. Or you know, the cheesecake scene. But another just complete -- just going into the non sequiturs here. You know Sophia's line, where Blanche goes into the fridge and she goes, 'watch what you grab, I got a specimen in there.' And again, with the physical comedy -- Blanche just looks at the, like, she pulled out, I think, like the half-and-half or the milk or something in a little pitcher, and she kind of just looks at it perfectly subtly just being like, 'it's not -- okay, perfect.' It's amazing.


Lauren 21:27

I wrote that down and it's crazy because I know that this is impossible, but I felt like I'd never seen that before -- like heard that line before. Which is crazy, because it's probably been at least 100 times.


Sarah 21:40

You know what line I felt like I had never heard before, because it's the very last line of the episode? It's when Sophia and Dorothy are, you know, playing there again after Sophia has been like, Hey,we have really good conversations, you know when we play this game. She goes, you know, she had mentioned earlier that her Aunt Jean, Dorothy's Aunt Jean, had skinny-dipped with Charles Boyer. So Dorothy asked asks about it, and Sophia just goes, 'You know your Aunt Jean, she was always two steps away from the gutter.' Like, I'm sure I've heard it passively, but like it really just, it spoke to me about talking about your relatives. And it really rounds it out -- Again, like you're talking earlier, like they are mother and daughter. Like they have a shared language and this commonality of like, their relations. So it's like, oh, yeah, you know, your Aunt Jean. It was just it was just a wonderful way to describe her personality.


Lauren 22:35

It really is. Well, that's a great way for us to wrap!


Sarah 22:36

Absolutely. The last line of the episode. Exactly. All right. Well, next time you said, you know, we're probably gonna maybe take a step back in terms of the progress that it's making, but we're gonna discuss whether or not you'd let your sister die because your childhood was kind of complex.


Lauren 22:53

Yeah, tune in! Don't wanna miss that!


Sarah 22:56

All right, take care, everybody.



FIN



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