Happy holidays, one and all! I thought it only fitting that, to close things out for 2018 (don’t worry! I’ll be back in January), that I should write about one of the Christmas episodes. I thought I’d start with “Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas” from Season 2 since it aired first. There’s a lot to love about this episode, along with some very interesting fashion moments and one infamous calendar!
The episode opens with Blanche arriving home from Christmas shopping with Ed the Santa in tow. They quickly scamper off the Blanche’s bedroom to find out who’s naughty or nice, but I think we all know the answer to that question! Blanche’s outfit is really lovely in this scene. I love the contrast in tones of blue as well as patterns. It also looked like the pants she was wearing matched the trim on her jacket, but it was hard to tell because she runs across the living room so fast.
Next, Rose and Dorothy come back from shopping at the mall. Rose had a great time, but Dorothy bemoans how Christmas has become so commercialized. Predictable, yet always timely: that’s our Dorothy! I love Rose’s blue dress, although on TV it’s actually more of a periwinkle color than it appears in my photo. The wrap front is also very on trend. As we’ll see, Dorothy’s fashion in this episode unfortunately goes from bad to worse, although her outfit in this first scene is not awful. I love that she’s wearing slim pants, for instance. Interestingly, the trim around her jacket almost exactly matches the couch cushions! The pattern I think is some kind of floral and foliage motif.
Blanche and Ed come running out to the living room in the middle of a little role play adventure (“Catch me! Catch me! Catch me!”) as she doesn’t realize that the other girls are back home. And here we can see that her pants and blouse do indeed match the trim! I’m fairly certain she wears them again at some point. The way this scene is set up is so good because Rose takes the whole Santa fling way too seriously, and we’re also treated to a description of Blanche’s Santa fetish.
A man in a Santa Claus suit drives me absolutely crazy. Maybe it’s the warmth of all that red, hot, sweaty flannel. Set against the austere coldness of those black patent leather jackboots. Or maybe it’s because those rosy cheeks and twinkling eyes bespeak a passion about to erupt from a man who spent a lonely year cooped up with dwarves. I’m not sure. But the sight of a Santa sets my body aflame with unbridled desire!
There are truly no limits to what and whom she’s attracted to but, hey, no judgement! I just love when the writers give her one of these monologues. Meanwhile, Sophia also comes back from shopping. Which begs the question: haven’t these gals heard of carpooling or what? But I really like Sophia’s light pink sweater and skirt. It’s definitely not a look we see her wearing very often. The Girls then agree that they’ve all spent too much on gifts already, and Rose proposes that they make gifts for each other. This is maybe Rose’s greatest idea of all time because it leads to Blanche’s creative calendar creation: The Men of Blanche’s Boudoir!
She’s made one for each of the Girls, naturally, but watch out for Mr. September! The real life back story of the handmade calendars is pretty great, too. It featured photos of some of the show’s crew members in “compromising positions” to get a reaction out of the actresses. The one above was Rue’s copy and sold for $4,000 a few years ago! Maybe after the popularity of the 2019 calendar that’s currently on the market someone will make a real version with Blanche and all her men. It could totally work! Anyway, the fashion in this scene is pretty great, too.
First, of course I adore Blanche’s shiny silver topper and matching pants paired with a gold blouse! She shimmies her shoulders as she tells the Girls that “each month has a picture of a man who’s brought some special joy into my life,” and the outfit practically becomes a disco ball. It’s just really beautiful. She’s given the collar a subtle pop, too. Dorothy’s wearing an oversized floral vest over an ivory blouse paired with a long tan colored skirt. It’s a little strange, but I don’t hate it somehow. Rose takes a cue from Sophia’s earlier ensemble and wears head to toe pink. Her skirt has a subtle print that almost looks like gingko leaves. Sophia is, of course, the other standout here. The floral tapestry pattern of her dress is beautiful paired with her signature lace collar and the pearl necklace. And is that a gorgeous Christmas tree or what? The Girls decide to spend a little more time gazing at it after finalizing their plans to leave town and see their families the next day. Then the scene ends with Rose singing the first verse to The First Noel before segueing abruptly into the beginning of a St. Olaf story, and suddenly it’s bed time!
Ok, just right quick we need to have a round of applause for this building exterior! I’ve seen it in at least three episodes at this point, and I’m positive it appears in others. Way to re-use that stock footage! This time it’s being used as the location of the grief counseling center that Rose works at. But let’s move on because there’s definitely a lot going on in this scene.
Rose is wearing a long, green Buffalo Plaid dress while she does intake. So much for privacy at this counseling center I guess! I do love how all of the clients are men, though. I realize this is on purpose to give a comedic counterpart to the women, but it’s still a subtle feminist touch that for once depicts men as the ones with the issues. Blanche is wearing another metallic ensemble, this time in silver with an abstract geometric print. The shoulder pads, pleated waistband, and tapered pants make this outfit a quintessential 80’s look. I love her long, silver necklace, too, which actually looks very similar to Rose’s gold one.
Now, brace yourselves because I’m about to make a sports reference! Dorothy’s sweater monstrosity reminds me of one of Steph Curry’s sneakers from last year, which received their fair share of ribbing on the Internet. Most people said they looked like an old leather couch. I’m really not sure what Dorothy’s sweater is reminiscent of, but it’s definitely one of her wackier outfits for sure. Also is she trying to sneak a Christmas ham past TSA in that right pocket or what? I’m just never a fan of the vests or blouses that stop just below her butt. It’s such a strange, unflattering look. Sorry, Dorothy! You know I love ya more than my luggage and let you get away with quite a lot in your defense, but this sweater is too outre even for me.
So while Dorothy and Blanche are hanging out, waiting for Rose to finish work and enduring a guy who’s a little too obsessed with matches along with another one that’s a pathological liar, of course it’s logical that an attention seeking Santa shows up with a gun to hold up the place! The stick ’em up scene was definitely a sitcom trope for many years that I feel like we don’t really see anymore. Thankfully, Sophia shows up after waiting in the car the whole time (“What am I, a dachshund?”), recognizes the gun as a fake, and the Girls are able to dash off to the airport.
I really love the airport set here, too! It’s so perfect. Even the chairs are the show’s signature shade of mauve! This set, like a lot of others on the show, was built especially for this scene and, even though it’s a short one, it just has such an impact. It really is a perfect example of why The Golden Girls is so memorable. Just the fact that the art directors and set designers would go to the trouble of finding mauve chairs and mini blinds! Oh, and there’s also the Hare Krisha, which is definitely a reference that a lot of younger fans today probably won’t understand. In the 1980’s members of the religion were known for hanging around airports–back when you could do such things–and hassling people for money. The Girls all miss their flights, though, because of a rare Miami snow storm and finally end up at a diner. According to an article from January of this year, the last time it snowed in Miami was in 1977 so, you know, don’t think about this little detail of the plot too much, ok?
The exterior shot of the diner is actually of a real life, famous location, The Roadside Diner, in New Jersey. It’s still around, too, and has been in lots of movies over the years because of its classic, retro appeal. I don’t have any other details about the interior for the set of this scene, but it completes the effect perfectly. You might also recognize Albert, played by the actor Teddy Wilson, from the “Brother, Can You Spare That Jacket” episode of season 4. He was a wonderful character actor on many television sitcoms over the years, including Mama’s Family and many others. I love him in this role, too, as the waiter who reminds the Girls that, even though they missed their flights, they’re still spending Christmas with family because they have each other. He offers the Girls cheesecake right after Blanche gets through telling the story of how she met George on Christmas Eve which, if I recall, is one of the show’s infamous plot inconsistencies. But the whole point is the set up to Dorothy saying, “Blanche, I could get herpes listening to this story.” Oh, and I almost forgot to mention Sophia’s lovely navy skirt suit and pink paisley blouse. I always love a good paisley print!
To close out the episode, the Girls tell Albert that they’ll watch the diner for a little while so he can run home and spend some time with his family on Christmas eve. They notice it’s snowing outside and, instead of a Christmas song, Rose accidentally picks The Beach Boys’ “Let’s Go Surfing Now” on the jukebox. As Dorothy notes, “Somehow, this Christmas it fits,” while the camera pans out to one of the most poignant shots of the entire series: the Girls looking out the door of the diner together as the snow falls.
I really love this episode because, even though it’s about Christmas, it’s not too Christmas-y, if that makes sense. It’s charming in a way that stands the test of time, perhaps because it emphasizes the concept of a chosen family in a way that resonated both then and now.
Thanks again to everyone for reading and supporting this blog! I really had no idea when I started it how much fun it would be to write and to get to know other fans of the show. I’m looking forward to exploring more fashion and other topics from the show in 2019!