Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Golden Girls: "Mother's Day"

Premiered May 7, 1988.

It's Mother's Day and Dorothy (Bea Arthur), Rose (Betty White) and Blanche (Rue McClanahan) are waiting for calls from their children before they take Dorothy's mom, Sophia (Estelle Getty) out to brunch.

While they wait to hear from their children -- much to Sophia's dismay (she wants to get to the buffet before the good shrimp is all gone) -- the girls reminisce about Mother's Days past.

Dorothy recalls a time when she was still married to her ex-husband Stan.  They chose a Mother's Day visit to ask Stan's mother (Alice Ghostley) if she could lend them money.

Rose remembers spending a Mother's Day in a bus station with someone else's mother, a woman named Anna (Geraldine Fitzgerald).

Blanche remembers the last time she spent the holiday with her own mother, in a nursing home, and Sophia chips in with a story about a visit from her own mother, Dorothy's Grandmother Petrillo in 1950s Brooklyn.

RigbyMel says:

This episode from season three of The Golden Girls is both funny and rather sweet.

Each of the women's stories about past celebrations of Mother's Day feel like little one-act plays.  Every story plays on stereotypes a bit (the annoying mother in law, asking an elderly relative to move in or dealing with one in a nursing home, etc), but puts an interesting spin on each scenario.

Rose's story is probably the most touching, but also contains some very humorous repartee regarding the ... rustic simplicity of the residents of her hometown of St. Olaf. Anna, the lady Rose meets at the bus station is played by Oscar nominated actress Geraldine Fitzgerald, who appeared in films like Wuthering Heights, Dark Victory and Arthur during the course of her career.

We learn that perhaps Dorothy's mother in law doesn't hate her quite as much as she thought.

In Sophia's story,  we see a young Dorothy (played by Lynnie Greene -- best known now as the producer & writer of shows like Nip/Tuck) and meet Sophia's mom, who is played by Bea Arthur -- very meta!

My favorite line in the episode belongs to Blanche -- I don't want to spoil it, but it has to do with her unabashedly owning what people think of as her defining characteristic.

If you are a fan of The Golden Girls series, this Mother's Day episode is well worth revisiting.  If you're not, you should check it out to see a classic and sassy sitcom featuring feisty older women.

RigbyMel's rating:


3 and a half Mother's Day bouquets.

J.A. Morris says:
I'd never seen this Mother's Day episode until this year, but it's a great episode of The Golden Girls.  I generally agree with my co-blogger, but I think I liked it even better.  It's very sweet, but contains just enough of the series' trademark sarcasm to keep from ever feeling treacly.

Rue McClanahan gives a particularly great performance as Blanche here.  The scene with Blanche's mom gives Mclanahan the opportunity to deliver a monologue about Blanche's attempt to get married at age 17.  It's an Emmy-worthy moment.

Betty White is also very poignant in Rose's train station flashback sequence.

The flashbacks that focus on Dorothy and Sophia are played more for laughs, but that's okay.  They help balance out the sentimental parts, keeping "Mother's Day" from ever getting corny.

It should be noted that when she portrayed Sophia, Estelle Getty was made up to look much older than she was in real life.  Sophia's Brooklyn flashback gives us a chance to see how Getty looked when not wearing her "Sophia" makeup.

This episode streams on Amazon and it's also available on The Golden Girls: The Complete Third Season DVD set.

There aren't many Mother's Day episodes out there (this is the first we've reviewed) and this one contains the perfect combination of humor and sentimentality.  "Mother's Day" is an excellent episode of The Golden Girls and gets my highest recommendation.

J.A. Morris' rating:

4 Mother's Day bouquets!