Friday, June 4, 2010

Another Golden Girl Gone

I Want to be Treated Better Than You”

© 2010 Leighann Lord

When I heard that a third Golden Girl, Rue McClanahan, had passed away tears sprang to my eyes. And by tears I mean I was sobbing at Panera Bread into my cinnamon french toast bagel. As news spread the text messages, emails and Face Book wall posts of condolence came in from friends who know that I’m a hard core Golden Girls fan.

Betty White, The Last Golden Girl Standing said, “It hurts more than I ever thought it would.” I know what she means, especially since Blanche Devereaux was not my favorite Golden Girl. In the “Which Golden Girl Would You Be” game I am Dorothy. Smart, sarcastic, acerbic, socially awkward and flawed, Ms. Zbornak is my hero.

My Husband who, thanks to me, has a Jeopardy-esque familiarity with the show said,

I think you’d make a good Sophia.”

“Why, because I’m cranky?”

he said, “Because you can do a dead on and heart felt ‘Picture it, Sicily 1922 . . . ’
Could you ever be Blanche?” he asked.

“No, never! I’d rather be Rose. I’d sooner be simple than slutty."

ot so deep down, I’m a prude so playing easy would be seriously hard. An integral part of the Golden Girls team, Blanche’s uber-promiscuity was fun to watch, but difficult to emulate.

One of my favorite Blanche scenes was when she was dating guest star Ken Howard (who some of us may remember as The White Shadow). He was newly divorced, and unaccustomed to the dating scene, so he got up to speed by reading women’s magazines. What ensued was an episode full of horrible dates where he didn’t open Blanche’s door, pull out her chair or pay for her dinner. When she confronted him on his boorish behavior, he said according to the magazines women wanted to be treated the same as men. And Blanche ever so sweetly said, "I don't want to be treated the same as you, I want to be treated better than you." I loved it! Bravo, Blanche! Female chauvinism in action!

I actually got to see three of the four Golden Girls in person (Rue, Betty and Bea; Estelle was still alive then, but ill) when they did a DVD signing at Barnes & Noble. I stood in line for hours. There were velvet ropes, hand stamps and rock concert style security. When I finally made it to the front of the line, Rue – as if in character – was the epitome of southern grace and charm.

Rue and I crossed paths again when a Golden Girls gift basket was one of the featured items at a silent auction benefitting animal rescue organization, Bobbi & The Strays. The basket, donated by Rue – an animal lover – included two seasons of The Golden Girls a signed photo of Rue and an actual outfit she wore on the show. I had to have it. I don’t know what proper silent auction etiquette is, but I’m sure I broke it. I hovered by the table, making sure no one outbid me. I was leaving with my Golden Girls gift basket or I’d know the reason why. It now sits proudly on my bookshelf.

This has been a bad year for TV sitcom icons. We’ve lost Dixie Carter (Designing Women), Gary Coleman (Different Strokes) and now Rue. I’m not sure I can take anymore. Can someone please keep an eye on Bill Cosby?

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Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian. June 26 - July 5 she'll be performing for the troops in Kosovo through Armed Forces Entertainment. Check out her other upcoming shows @ Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.


susan9207 said...

You were the first person I thought of when I heard the news. I knew that her passing would affect you. What a nice tribute you've written.

Anonymous said...

you always know the right thing to say!............................................................

Maria Ciampa said...

Blanche was my fav, I even reference her in my stand up. Great read, thanks Leighann! Also, good to see you a few weeks ago.

Maria Ciampa said...

Blanch was my fav, I even reference her in my stand up. Great read, thanks Leighann! Also good to see you week before last. :)

Leighann Lord said...

Hey Ladies, thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed the piece. It was heartfelt.