I probably know the most about this show without having watched it. It’s about old ladies. Blanche is a slut. Estelle Getty is actually the youngest cast member. Sex and the City is actually a rip off of this show. In the eighties, when it aired, I had no interest in watching old women, I wanted to see kids in high school, flirting with boys, wearing cute clothes, and people with FUN lives! The Tanners! The Seavers! The Lubbocks!
Couple reasons I’m doing this blog. One, I’m an attention whore and just want more people to read things I write, and two, people I respect have mentioned how much they love this show. Un-ironically. And I kvetch all day about the role of women in television and movies, and here is a show FULL of ladies! I mean, they are sistahs doin’t it for themselves! Finally, I thought it would be interesting to write about the show while watching it for the first time. There’s no nostalgia factor, no comparison of how it holds up, I’m just watching for the first time.
Enough about me. Let’s dive into this pilot.
Credits. Ah, I miss the nineties when credits were just a montage of clips from the show and not a freaking million dollar budget movie in itself (Game of Thrones, am I right? Those paper cities?) Wow, most of these women are dead now.
A tall lady in a breezy linen pantsuit walks into a kitchen (just kidding, I know this is Dorothy) where she talks to a young Latino man, who looks like a poor man’s Tony Danza and I’m thinking, is this a prequel to Who’s The Boss? Dorothy kvetches to not Tony Danza that she has to teach a class where the kids have shaved heads and nose rings, and she told them that they were ugly to their faces. Oh, the eighties! When teachers could treat children like shit and it actually helped them learn respect and how to be a decent human being. Not-Tony Danza says he’s making enchiladas for dinner and Dorothy deadpans “why don’t you just shoot me!”. Two things we learn: Dorothy is a sarcastic woman who won’t take your shit, and enchiladas give her explosive diarrhea.
Next we have the other characters come in what I call the “march of story exposition.” Rose comes in and complains she had a rough day in her job as a grief counselor. What we learn: Rose is a positive lady. Next, Blanche, who still has her natural haircolor, breathlessly walks in asking to borrow a mink stole, wishes for a facelift that second, and then gets cucumbers to put on her eyes because it reduces puffiness. Rose asks if it works on thighs, because WOMEN BE GETTIN’ OLD. Blanche looks at Rose with the hate of a thousand suns, like she would like to just stick her head on that enchilada pan. By the way, we still don’t know who the hell not-Tony Danza is.
Blanche is going out with a guy named Harry who asked her to marry him after only a week, and Rose gets upset because if that happens, they have to move out. Dorothy and Rose live there after answering an ad. Early Craigslist, y’all. Rose has no money or anything, and only the “gay cook as collateral”. Can we please give the poor guy a name? Dorothy and Rose enter Blanche’s boudoir, which has real plans and then plants painted on the walls. This is where all that slutty sex that Blanche has happen. They try to talk her out of it, Rose talks about communicating with her dead husband and Dororthy cracks a joke about not even being able to call New jersey with her phone company. THE EIGHTIES, amirite?
Just then the doorbell rings, they think it’s Harry, but it’s actually Sophia, Dorothy’s spitfire mother! Her retirement home burned down, which is pretty grim, but not grim enough for Sophia to make racist remarks about her Cuban cab driver. OLD PEOPLE BEIN’ RACIST, y’all. Then she tells Blanche she looks like a hooker. I have a feeling Sophia is going to be a spitfire throughout this show. The gals wait up for Blanche to get home on their awesome patio while their gay housekeeper pours them iced tea. Oh, he has a name and it’s Coco. Then I think about living with other old ladies and having a gay man serve us iced tea when we are in our pajamas and I almost start crying because I want that life so badly.
Blanche comes home and tells them how they ate oysters, and Rose says she hates to eat anything that moves, and I swear Dorothy just wants to fucking slit her throat, dismember her body, and feed her to alligators. Blanche tells them she told Harry yes, and the gals sit up and talk about their weak bladders, which I often talk about with my friends. No joke. Sophia tells everyone that she can sleep through the night and pees every morning at 7am….wait for it….too bad she doesn’t get up until 8am! I’m sure Blanche is gonna love living with a woman that pisses herself every night.
The wedding day is here, which means Rose and Dorothy (the bridesmaids?) are wearing matching pastel dress suits (I could write a whole fashion blog about this show). Rose wants to warn Blanche about marrying Harry, but Dororthy just wants Blanche to be happy, and then one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in a sitcom happens: Dorothy picks up a makeup bottle from Blanche’s dressers, chucks it across the room, and says “Rose, go pick that up.” Bea Arthur is great woth physical humor, and proves it even more when she literally puts Rose in a headlock and then eventually shoves her into the closet and locks the door. Man, she HATES Rose. I can’t wait for the episode about elder abuse.
Of course, Harry does not show up for the wedding, because this is the goddamn pilot, and it would have negated the entire series. A police officer shows up at the door and tells Blanche that Harry is a bigamist and…how did that work? Did he get arrested while at the tuxedo shop? Anyway, he leaves a note saying that he “really, really, liked” Blanche. Blanche isn’t happy and Rose and Dorothy are there for her, and it makes my heart explode for their friendship. Alas, Blanche doesn’t come out of her room for three weeks, and they are pretty sure she’s going to off herself. The gals are hanging out on that amazing patio, and Dorothy holds up a mirror to Sophia’s mouth to ensure that she is breathing. Finally Blanche comes out and joins them, and declares that she was able to snap out of her funk because she knew she had Rose and Dorothy as her bestest friends, and they all declare their love for each other, and for the second time this episode I’m crying. They all decide to go to lunch, except for Sophia, who is going to the dog races with the “fancy man” (meaning gay Coco). “I didn’t know your mother bet on horses” says dumbass Rose, and Blanche replies “no, she rides them like a jockey” and silently adds “you dumb fucking bitch.”
Oh no! I just read that Coco was cut after the pilot episode. Seriously, we could have had some possibly groundbreaking gay character! Well, all the better because this show is all about the women, and besides, no one could out-sass that Dorothy.
Best-Dressed of the Episode: Blanche in her sparkly dress and fur. You would see this at Urban Outfitters today: