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The Golden Girls S01 E04 Transplant


S01 E04Original Airdate October 5th, 1985
Blanche is in a cleaning frenzy! The house is a pigsty! But as we all know the house looks the same as it always has, except there are a lot more fresh flowers around. Too many fresh flowers if you ask me.
All we know is Blanche doesn’t want “her” to come and she just hates “her.” The script writers added tons mystery to the opening seconds of this episode by not naming or indicating who “her” is. 
Thankfully Rose enlightens us that it’s Blanche’s sister, still unnamed, that she hates and that is making Blanche's life such a living hell.
Blanche: I wish I’d gotten a decorator. Nancy Reagan’s decorator!
Inquiring minds had to know, who was Nancy Reagan’s decorator. So obviously I looked it up. His name was Ted Graber. He was born in 1920, served in WWII, and lived with his partner, Archie, for forty years. He died in 2000 at the age of 80. If Blanche did get him to decorate for her, I hope he isn’t listed as collateral like Rose tried to do with poor Coco.
Rose: I’ve never heard of such a thing.
Blanche: You never heard of anyone hating their sister?
Rose: Never. Maybe it’s southern.
Blanche: Sleeping with your brothers is southern.
Oh God. Where to start. It’s confirmed later Blanche does have at least one brother, so *drink for Blanche’s beaus…?* And of course it’s southern. Just ask Cersei Lannister. 
Rose: Sophia, if you hated your sister would you clean the house?
Sophia: I’d put Vaseline on the tips of her walker.
Sophia is cold blooded. But at this point in time she actually does hate her sister. But that won't be revealed for several seasons. Just rest assured Sophia is dreaming of putting Vaseline on her walker.
Dorothy busts in with a baby named Danny. She’s babysitting while this baby’s unseen parents are at the hospital. She agreed to babysit an infant in a house she shares with three other people and didn’t think to call and ask if this was OK for her to do so. Real dick move, Dorothy. This is the first of many babies the people of this neighborhood let these ladies babysit, that we will never see again.
Blanche says she cannot have a baby in the house because her sister is coming. To which Dorothy quips “does she eat them?” OK, but this is Blanche’s house. She is one of your roommates. You brought a flesh bag that just poops and cries a lot into the house when she is expecting a guest, all without discussing it with the THREE OTHER PEOPLE YOU LIVE WITH. I think Blanche has a right to be indignant here.
But whatever. Dorothy will not be denied and Rose and Sophia aren’t going to back Blanche up because she’s ridiculous in their eyes. But ok, whatever, moving on I guess. I’m on your side, Blanche.
Rose finally gets an answer out of Blanche on why she hates her still unnamed sister. There’s a whole litany of reasons to hate her apparently. She’s the baby and so Blanche wasn’t important to her parents anymore. She was the gorgeous one, the brilliant one. And she was hateful. Apparently this unnamed sister would bite herself and run and tell Mama and Papa Hollingsworth that Blanche did it. Blanche was then called the bad seed. So Blanche would get into trouble. But by far, the most awful thing was she knocked the Christmas star off the tree and broke it. Then convinced Blanche to put it on her finger and plugged it in. So attempted murder and a Good Son situation? *
Hey look, a Bad Seed remake to tie in with Blanche's murderous sister.
If you're unfamiliar with the Bad Seed or the Good Son, essentially sociopath children kill other children out of jealously while desperate mothers try to figure out how to stop them. Blanche was accused of being a bad seed and her sister tried to kill her by electrocution. This just got dark.
We finally meet her sister and we finally get a name. Virginia. Who is being pretty nice and complimentary of Blanche, her house, and her friends. She’s a real devil this woman. The most evil of evil.
But well Blanche has been hurt in the past, so she won’t be nice in return. Instead she says her place was done by Nancy Reagan’s decorator. Ted is obviously doing the lord’s work with all this wicker furniture.
Blanche and Virginia trade barbs about saggy skin at their age. Which is the first mean thing Virginia actually says by telling Blanche not to jog without a muumuu. But she immediately backtracks and tries to play nice, but again Blanche is not having it.
But now we’re on to Plot B which is the baby, who is crying. Remember when Dorothy defended this baby saying it would ONLY make a mess in its diaper? Now it’s screaming? Yup…
Rose: It’s colic, you give them brandy for that.
Sophia: For colic?
Dorothy: Yes, after dinner with a cigar. Rose, you give brandy for teething. You rub it on their gums. 
Rose: Oh, I thought I gave it to them for colic. In their bottles. Well, my babies were very happy.
To my pregnant friend, Lauren, if you’re reading this, I hope you’re taking notes from Rose.
Rose marvels at the wonders of modern baby technology and it’s thrilling. I promise. So thrilling I’m going to fall asleep from boredom.
But we do learn about Dorothy’s brother Phil. Who apparently stopped breastfeeding at 12. The first of many Phil mentions. 
Blanche busts up the party and she is going to have dinner with Virginia tonight. Blanche acknowledges her sister was nicer than ever and of course assumes the worst. But before anyone can say “maybe she’s just trying to change her ways” we scene jump to dinner that evening. 
Virginia continues to be nice in spite of Blanche’s continued harassment. She even proposes a toast and Blanche cuts to the chase about a childhood of abuse from her sister. We learn Virginia stole Blanche’s boyfriend, Tom, who she then married. *drink for Blanche’s beau*
Except Virginia denies she knew Blanche was even interested. So we’re only seeing Virginia being nice and thoughtful to Blanche. But Blanche is maintaining the hurts suffered at her sister’s hands. Virginia does acknowledge some wrongdoing, in the form of taking a few poodle skirts and a cashmere sweater, but denies stealing Blanche’s boyfriend, Tom. Sooo who to believe? There’s nothing to suggest Virginia was nearly as bad as Blanche claims, but Blanche is completely put out by her presence, so she at least believes that Virginia was out to ruin her. Blanche, no one actually gives that much of a crap. It probably is all in your head.
Virginia: Would it help you to know Tom fooled around?
Virginia even tries to make Blanche feel better by revealing her husband’s infidelities. Let it go, Blanche! Virginia is trying her hardest to have an adult relationship with you and you’re being a real twat about it. All she says is “what goes around comes around.” Blanche believes bad things happen to bad people and that they deserve it. I’m going to tuck this moment away for later in the series when Blanche tells Rose “HIV is not a bad person’s disease.” Where’s that Blanche? The Blanche the recognizes bad things happen to all people, good or bad, and it’s not their fault and it not some cosmic punishment. I like that Blanche better than this one.
Virginia reveals she’s sick and dying. And Blanche says “it explains it…why you’re looking so much older than I am.” Now, in Blanche’s defense, she looks pained and confused. She knows she’s been a jackass this whole trip and doesn’t know how to respond to this life changing news.
Back at the house Sophia is loudly eating Fritos to Dorothy’s annoyance. That baby is still hanging around for no real reason beyond the writers thought it was a good idea.
Blanche comes home and in the grand tradition of this show a character babbles on about nothing while everyone else is like “WHAT HAPPENED?” She finally tells Dorothy that her sister is dying. Rose comes in not knowing this bombshell has just been dropped.
Rose: What?
Sophia: Dying. She’s dying.
Rose: Oh my God, Blanche! Honey, I didn’t even know you were sick!
Many laughs are had by the studio audience. Nothing funnier than human mortality, I guess. Dorothy explains Virginia is the one dying. Of course Blanche is proved right that her sister wanted something from her. Turns out Virginia needs a kidney and she has asked Blanche. If you want to know what ill-defined disease Virginia has, well you can keep on waiting. It causes renal failure though.
Rose: Why would she need a kidney?
Dorothy: To feed the cat, Rose!
Rose is a grief counselor and she just asked that question in earnest. If she doesn’t get a kidney she’s die and a grief counselor asked why someone who is sick could possibly need a kidney. 
Rose: You hold her life in your hands?
Blanche doesn’t know what she’s going to do. Blanche says it's not like Virginia is her daughter, someone she would give to without thought. She’s her sister. She’s worried if she gives one kidney, her other one will stop working. Or that she’ll bloat. I’m glad she has her priorities straight here. As she’s talking she is laying a feast on the table, talk about bloat. I’d like to make note of the fact every piece of food pulled from the refrigerator is completely uncovered. After putting this food out, Blanche leaves in a tizzy, leaving her roommates to put the food away. Dorothy should be made to put it away because she brought the no-plot-point baby into the house without permission.
The remaining three all agree if it was their children they wouldn’t think twice about handing over vital organs.
Sophia: I give to all my children. Except Phil. 
Rose says she’d give a kidney to her old dog, Fluffy. Which Dorothy and Sophia don’t understand, but as my dog sleeps next to me on the couch, yeah, I get it.
Next scene Virginia tells Blanche she understands that she needs time to think. Proving, if Virginia really was a terror in her youth, she’s changed now. She even tells Blanche she understands if the answer is “no.” Blanche asks why Virginia didn’t ask their older sister Charmaine. Apparently Charmaine has conjoined kidneys that can’t be separated. And of course they pile on to Charmaine for being a whiny hypochondriac. What a loving family the Hollingsworths are. I would like to say Charmaine couldn’t participate in gym class because she had a tipped uterus. Which I decided to look up and the first thing in the search was “In most cases, a retroverted uterus won't cause any problems during pregnancy.” So what was Charmaine doing in gym class that was more strenuous than childbirth that her tipped uterus prevented her from doing?
Virginia says she doesn’t know what she would do if the situation was reversed. They hug good-bye and that she loves Blanche. And just like that all my sass is gone.
In the scene jump Rose gets off the phone with the doctor because that baby is still there. Blanche quipped earlier “we’re going to have that baby until college” and I’m inclined to agree. The father was hurt in a water skiing accident and had to have minor surgery. But where’s the mother? Is she just at the hospital 24-7? Her husband’s minor surgery is so important she has gone days without seeing her baby?! She can’t come home at night, get the baby, and then drop him off in the morning when she goes back?
Blanche decides she’s going to give Virginia a kidney because she’s the only family she has.
Rose: I thought you had a sister Charmaine?
Blanche: You can’t count her! She’s an awful, selfish, neurotic woman who made me and Virginia miserable our entire lives.
All that stuff she accused Virginia of in childhood? All bullshit. It’s confirmed. Blanche needed to play the victim and she found public enemy #1 and when things turned around on that front she just found a new enemy to hate on and be victimized by in stories.
Baby Danny is finally going home and thank God that completely pointless subplot is over. There’s some useless banter about how much Rose and Sophia don’t like hospitals. Thank God Dorothy comes back in to deliver the news Danny’s parents, Ted and Lucy, said they can watch him next month when they go on vacation. Thankfully this is an 80s sitcom and they will not make good on that threat.
Blanche comes home and we find out Blanche’s kidney couldn’t be used because her blood vessels were too small. Remember that pile on over Charmaine’s conjoined kidneys? Neither does Blanche.
But Virginia is getting a Mormon school teacher’s kidney. Everybody wins. Except maybe the Mormon schoolteacher? Is she just giving a kidney to be a good person? Or is she dead and was an organ donor? No one cares to ask if another person has died so Virginia can live. 
Blanche suggests they do something crazy. Like picking up over the hill astronauts. Instead they get crazy by eating Rocky Road from the freezer. Holy shit. They didn’t go on the lanai once! I feel terrible about that.
Drinks Counter:
Blanche's Beaus: 2
Tune in next week for The Triangle

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