Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Golden Girls

"Oh what a beautiful teddy.
He always had beautiful taste"
Television has been our friend on more than a few occasions. It is easy to laud the current crop of internet based series; i.e. Laverne Cox, "Oranges Is the New Black", "Doubt" and Jeffrey Tambor in "Transparent". They do enlighten and in most cases provide a positive story line. 

There have been other that have played with the transgender subject that I remember well. The one that came to mind this week was, Golden Girls episode 12 Season 6 – “Ebbtide's Revenge”. It aired December 15, 1990.  

In this story line, Dorothy’s (Bea Arthur) brother died and is being buried in women's lingerie. If you remember that would make him the son of Sophie (Estelle Getty). Phil was a some what a recurring character and was someone that cross dressed. 

The subject of his death was played both serious and with humor. Golden Girls after all was a situation comedy. The manner of his death as described by Dorothy, “A man goes out to buy an evening gown. You don’t expect anything unusual. Heart attract at his age trying on big gal’s, knock offs at Pay Less”.  A round of laughter follows.  

Not all bad – The serious part of the story, was that his mother Sophie, never came to accept the fact he was someone that cross dressed and also has a long term feud with Phil's wife. Sophie ask, "What did I do wrong?"  Good and meaningful discussions insured. As Dorothy told her mother, “His crossdressing fulfilled a deep emotional need”. And as only Rose (Betty White) could add, “Why didn’t he just drink?”  

Phil’s wife of 26 years, Angelia played by Brenda Vaccaro, is beautifully sympathetic and understanding. At the funeral home, she discussed what he is wearing in the casket and says:

It is a beautiful teddy – He always had such wonderful taste – That is one of the things I love most. We were married for 26 years and my family still talks about that wedding dress. God, I wish I could wear a plunging neckline like that. He was special.

Phil's Thursday Nigh Poker Friends
I am not going to spoil the whole story – It can be watched on Amazon; well worth the $1.99 it will cost if you have a Prime Membership. 

In a scene at the grave side three of Phil’s “Thursday Night Poker Group” all arrive in black dresses, face vials, and carrying a rose. I can only hope. 

Dorothy's eulogy is beautiful.  

In the end the serious discussion is; "Not letting shame ruin your life". A good lesson.

Although the show is 30 years old, the message that people deserve love, respect and laughter is timeless. Additional information here on how "How the Golden Girls fought for gay rights." 

So a little blast from 1990.  Although done with humor a writer who knew us, oh so well. Enjoy.  


  1. That must have been one of the Golden Girl episodes that I missed.

    1. It was a good one and the memory stuck with me for almost 30 years. Happy I got to watch it again on Amazon.

  2. Rhonda -

    If I remember right, Bea Arthur was a lesbian, and had a strong interest in treating the LGBT community with respect. I'll bet that she enjoyed doing this episode of the show, as it allowed her to say things to people that she couldn't easily do off screen.