Like a Rhinestone Cowboy

This time I wanted to pick an episode with less of a Rose focus, so I decided to watch the Big Daddy episode from Season 1.

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After Sophia tricks Dorothy into drinking some expired orange juice and cuts off Rose’s explanation for being afraid of a storm the night before, Blanche sashays in the room to announce that Big Daddy is coming to town! She regales everybody with a story straight out of Gone With the Wind, but 1980s day wear is in full effect here. In many ways, this episode belongs to Blanche, both in terms of the story and acting but definitely the fashion. I don’t have much to say about any of the other Girls’ outfits yet. They’re all pretty unremarkable, although I do like the style of Dorothy’s top if not the terrycloth fabric. I don’t know what happened with Rose in this scene. So let’s put the spotlight on Blanche!

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I really feel like this outfit is a complete outlier for Blanche. Although we see her in pant sets in other episodes throughout the series, I don’t think she ever wears a belted blazer again. It’s not even really a blazer. I guess it’s just kind of an open jacket without buttons, which also goes against her penchant for longer, more flowy things as the series progresses. The yellow is also an interesting choice for her. That color usually belongs mostly to Sophia and Dorothy. In fact, they both wear it in this episode. I enjoy the way this outfit captures Blanche’s enthusiasm about Big Daddy’s visit. Also note the earrings: they make another appearance in Season 2 in the Isn’t It Romantic episode.

Now, there is a little B storyline going on in this episode. Basically the tree from next door falls down on the lanai after the storm and the old fart neighbor dude, Mr. Barton, argues that it’s not on his property anymore so he shouldn’t have to pay to remove it. Cue Sophia putting a Sicilian curse on him!

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This scene just encapsulates everything about Sophia’s character. Here she is wearing a sweet little apron over a cute, and quite fashion forward, plaid dress. But don’t be fooled! She’ll put a boil on your butt faster than you can say spaghetti carbonara! Also I just want to give a shout-out to her eyeglasses chain for my good friend, Sarah, who loves those things.

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But back to Blanche. On the day of Big Daddy’s arrival Blanche really turns the Southern pastiche up to 11 in a dress she says is just like the one that she wore to her sweet sixteen. Sophia says she looks like the night hostess at Denny’s and, amazingly, Blanche doesn’t have a tawdry retort about how she slept with both of the Tarlington twins in the dress, too. Rose and Sophia are both looking casually cute in this scene. This is really a standout episode for Sophia, though, because she’s wearing something lovely in every scene. Her cerulean blue (or is it more of a cobalt? Ok maybe I just want an excuse to use the word cerulean.) cardigan is a nice contrast to the denim dress.

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But I have so many questions about this dress. Did Blanche buy it somewhere? Did she have it made? The style definitely reminds me of a Simplicity Halloween costume pattern, especially with the eyelet fabric on the sleeves. The flower at the bust is a nice touch and certainly accentuates, in Blanche’s own words from another episode, her “perky bosoms.” Nevertheless, I’m afraid I have to agree with Sophia’s assessment that the overall effect of this dress is more hostess than haute couture. Hold on to your horses, though, because here comes Big Daddy!

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Dorothy answers the door with a sarcastic, “What is it mouth?!,” thinking it’s Mr. Barton again. Nope, it’s Big Daddy himself, dressed just like the Kentucky Fried Chicken Colonel! That’s about all you can say to sum up this outfit. He wears something a little snazzier in the last scene of the show, but I want to brag on Dorothy here for a bit.

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I actually do genuinely love this outfit! The pattern is like faces and constellation patterns and so very Miss Frizzle, which is perfect for a substitute teacher like Dorothy. We so rarely see her wear something as whimsical as this, and I think the top underneath may actually be t-shirt, another rarity for Dorothy!

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Geez, there really is a lot of yellow in this episode. Maybe there’s a reference I’m not getting. Yellow rose of Texas? But nobody’s from Texas… Anyway, I would totally wear a dress in this fabric just in a slightly different style. Sophia really does favor the mandarin collar style, doesn’t she?

Ok, y’all, time to mosey on over to the Sagebrush Club for Big Daddy’s big night!

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Before I get into the outfits in this scene, I just want to say that I think it’s hilarious that TVLand gives The Golden Girls a PG rating! I mean, I guess Blanche can get a little hot and bothered sometimes, and occasionally we see one of the Girls or another character in bed with someone, but really?? Hilarious.

The only one who’s really dressed “appropriately” for this Gilley’s-meets-Grandy’s joint is Blanche. Her pale pink dress is a nice representation of her story arc in this episode. She’s decided to support Big Daddy after all! The ruffled neckline is quite becoming on her. Rose’s dress is pretty, too! I’ve noticed the bell sleeve making a little bit of a comeback lately, but the pattern mixing of the flowers on top and stripes on the skirt is what’s most interesting to me. Dorothy’s outfit here is, well, it’s mostly green.

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Here’s Big Daddy in his performance suit. It’s not quite a Nudie suit like Porter Wagoner would’ve worn, but it has some rhinestone touches. I like that the costume designer kept the continuity with the string bow tie.

The episode closes with Blanche and Big Daddy singing the chorus to his song that he wrote and sang for Blanche earlier in the episode, which I think is actually quite good!

It ain’t gonna worry me for long / It ain’t gonna worry me / I’ll get up in the mornin’ / And I’ll still be singin’ my song!

Sure, he’s no Glen Campbell, but that’s not the point after all. I love this episode because its sweet and straightforward. It has a lot of funny moments and interesting fashion details, and we get to see Blanche’s sensitive side as she learns to accept that Big Daddy has some dreams that he still wants to make come true for himself. As a certain Houston news personality used to say, “Have a good weekend: good golf, good tennis, or whatever makes you happy!”

 

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