Last weekend I had some time to catch up on my GG binging by watching all of the random episodes recorded on our DVR. The “Nothing to Fear, But Fear Itself” episode from season 3 was one I hadn’t seen in awhile. I’m glad I decided to watch it because I had forgotten how hilarious it is! While this episode is centered around Rose, each of the other girls have some great moments, along with some interesting fashion choices, too.
Wow, that lasagna looks amazing doesn’t it?? I bet it’s Stouffer’s, which is honestly fine by me. This episode opens with the B story line because basically Sophia needs something to do while she stays at home and the Girls go leavin’ on a jet plane a little bit later. She’s competing in the Daughters of Italy cooking contest and trying to perfect her recipe. For some reason the quality of this episode was really bad in the first half, so it’s hard to see the beautiful, bright floral pattern of Sophia’s dress. I love the blouson sleeves, too. Dorothy’s vest is odd, to say the least. It’s almost like a stretched out version of a photographer’s vest. If you were trying to disguise your lower half then the pocket placement here is totally not cutting it. But the bright blue blouse is lovely. I just think it would’ve been totally fine on its own. Blanche is wearing a salmon colored pantsuit. Not her finest moment or the best color on her and, in fact, I think this might be the only time we ever see her in it. Rose enters the scene next with the news that her scary Aunt Gretchen has died and she has to give the eulogy because “generptionloken,” which means she’s the oldest niece. Those wacky St. Olaf rules will get you every time!
Of course, Rose is scared of speaking in public. Dorothy’s advice is to imagine everyone naked. I would’ve told her to just imagine she was at home telling one of her St. Olaf stories. But then I suppose we wouldn’t have the cringey moment that comes next. First, let’s take a look at Rose’s outfit. If I remember correctly, the pattern on the cardigan is some sort of horse and large dots. It was really hard to get a photo of it. I do like how she’s paired it with the white and light blue striped shirt. The pants are a bit dowdy, but the light brown offsets the blue tones. Now, after Dorothy dispenses with her advice, Blanche takes a glance at Rose, then they both look at Dorothy and start laughing. This is exactly the kind of joke that was made at Dorothy’s appearance and expense quite a lot in the first few seasons. Bea got fed up with it later, and told the writers to knock it off.
In the next scene, Sophia is back in the kitchen, only this time she’s making veal parmesan for the cooking contest. Her dress features a fun bandana print in blue, and the apron floral accents are really cute, too. Dorothy comes into the kitchen wearing a beautiful and interesting purple tunic with contrasting stripes and a white collar. It also features a diagonal placket with buttons down the front. The shoulder pads are nicely disguised by the seaming at the shoulders. I really love this top on Dorothy! It’s one of her looks that’s closer to the avant garde of 80’s fashion and definitely redeems the previous scene’s outfit. Sophia tells a story about how the veal saved her marriage once, leading to Dorothy’s conception. I think she tells another story in a later season that contradicts this, but there’s no time to focus on that when Blanche and Rose enter and we’re also treated to a St. Olaf story! Rose relates that she was the valedictorian of her high school (they drew straws to decide, see) but she froze when she was supposed to give her speech, and she’s been afraid of public speaking ever since. The topic of her speech was classic, though: “There’s a big world out there but you have change buses in Tyler’s Landing to see it.” Dorothy also reveals that she used to have a fear of flying.
Now, Rose’s dress in this scene really isn’t anything to write home to St. Olaf about. The green is a nice color, but it’s got that styling I really hate with the epaulettes and the useless flaps over the bust. Blanche’s outfit, however, totally steals the scene! I love that something like this is kind of her lounging around the house attire. It’s sort of like a very elevated version of sweats, if you will. The top features dolman sleeves with banding at the elbow, and the bodice is decorated with all sorts of interesting lace and fabric appliqué pieces. I’m not sure what the color is exactly. It’s sort of a pale pink with a bit of periwinkle mixed in. The shoulder pads are an unfortunate addition, and I’m quite sure they weren’t original to the top because the one on her left shoulder appears to be pinned on. They also give the neckline an odd floating effect. Overall, this is a great example of shoulder pads being totally unnecessary in certain outfits.
Rose goes off to her room to work on her speech. The end of the scene when Blanche and Dorothy tell each other what they would say for the other’s eulogy is my favorite.
Dorothy: What would you say about me? Come on. I told you, you can tell me.
Blanche: All right. Well, I would say I always felt safe having you in the house. And I would say I always enjoyed talking to you when I’d come home from one of my numerous dates. And I would say I always looked up to you like an older sister.
Dorothy: Thank you, Blanche. Oh, and I forgot one thing. I would also say you’re fat.
The complete ridiculousness of Blanche’s reply and the way she said it really made me laugh when I was watching this episode. Of course, the fat joke here isn’t the best, but Blanche had already made multiple comments about Dorothy’s size, calling her a “big, old, strong strapping thing” earlier in the scene.
So there’s another scene out on the lanai where Rose practices her speech and convinces Blanche and Dorothy to fly with her to her Aunt’s funeral, but the fashion was the same. Except, as it turns out, Dorothy isn’t really over her fear of flying. Nevertheless both she and Rose conquer their fears with a little pep talk from Blanche, and see them on the plane after the commercial break.
The scene inside the plane is pretty great, too, with lots of fun back and forth dialogue between the Girls. Everyone is dressed in their funeral finery because I presume they’re going straight from the airport to the service. I suppose the 80’s were still a time when people got dressed up to fly. Also, at some point, we really need to talk about how airplanes on television are never the same as the ones in real life! They always seem nicer and roomier. Plus, in this scene, I guess the Girls sprung for first class because Dorothy is guzzling champagne right after takeoff! Good for them. Anyway, I actually really like all of their outfits here. Yes, they’re dark, but each one has some sort of accent that helps them stand out and not seem so drab. Blanche is wearing a lovely and unique gold brooch with pearl drop earrings. Dorothy’s white blouse and striped scarf are quite smart paired with the large silver earrings. Rose is definitely the best dressed of the three, which makes sense. I love that she went with a red blouse! Her earrings with the red accent in the middle are also a very quintessential 80’s style. Red is always a power color, and perhaps it helped inspire Rose to take the plane by the intercom and deliver her eulogy on the plane after a bit of turbulence. She ends up just talking about her Aunt Gretchen rather than reading what she’d written out. Everyone on the plane applauds, and Rose has conquered her fear!
You probably also recognized the flight attendant from a few other episodes. She’s played by Meg Wyllie, and this was her first appearance on the show. I usually remember her from the Mother Load episode in season 7, but she was also in Blanche’s Little Girl and part 2 of There Goes the Bride.
The Girls end up back home because of a tropical storm, and Sophia tied with Louise Pallito in the cooking contest. It went to sudden death, though, and Louise literally died. The episode ends with Sophia telling a corny joke saying guess who she volunteered to give the eulogy, which is a little too cliche of a sign off for me. Overall, I appreciate the simplicity of this episode as being one that doesn’t have too much going on and truly focuses on the humor and comedic timing between the Girls. It’s not the most memorable of the series, for sure, but it definitely delivers on the laughs.