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S01 E 18: The Operation

S01 E18

Original Airdate February 8th, 1986

It’s been, um, *looks at calendar*, way too long. The world needs the Golden Girls and it needs them now.

We open on the front door, followed by a concerned Rose, with Blanche leading a wounded Dorothy. Apparently Dorothy hurt herself in “class” trying to do a “six-count Cincinnati riff with a double pullback.” Of course, we couldn’t possibly just say “Dorothy hurt herself tap dancing.” Nay, nay, we must showcase the fact Betty White is a dancer by having her show-off the move. Fun side note: the dad of one of my childhood friends had a huge personal library, completed with a book by Betty White about dancing. 

So that’s fun. Also, Betty White looks like a hoofer. Also, also, I legitimately hate tap dance. So this is gonna be a real fun episode. Real fun. 

Thankfully Sophia is there to quip that old people get frisky and agile on medication. Oh man, the old people jokes! They’re coming!

Blanche expresses concern over Dorothy being in their recital next week. I’ve been watching a lot of melodramas lately and I forgot the simple joy of sitcom episodes where hobbies only appear once. And thank God for that, because as I’ve mentioned. I hate tap.

Dorothy says she’ll be fine in time for the recital. She’s had this mysterious foot pain all her life and it comes and goes. Gee, I wonder why Bea Arthur’s character is the one with the foot injury? Can Bea Arthur, perhaps, not tap dance?

In classic distraction mode, Dorothy asks what Sophia is knitting. She’s knitting a sherry bottle cover, you know, so she can stealthy get drunk outdoors. Maybe I should do that…?

We learn that once a month Sophia gets drunk on sherry with some friends to discuss what the clouds look like. They call themselves The Cloud Society and this sounds like the next big superhero deconstruction in line with The Boys and Invincible. But that club sounds dope.

Sophia says once she saw Pat Sajak riding sidesaddle on a dolphin. I Googled that and was not disappointed. 

Everyone, but Sophia adjourns to the kitchen and she “knits one, purl two” and of course Rose uses this as an opportunity to show off her damned tap dancing again. 

Thank God Blanche is there to tell her to knock it off.

Rose says she has always wanted to learn how to tap dance and even as a child she’d get too excited about stuff and pet the cat too hard. Is it too soon to make jokes about Rose’s vagina? Because girlfriend is rough on pussies. 

Dorothy stumbles in pain while walking to the kitchen table. It’s some seriously fine acting…or whatever.

Blanche: …I’m tired of watching you suffer.
Rose: That’s what Daddy said to our horse, Old Toby when he broke his leg. Then he shot him.
Dorothy: Your family was awfully tough on pets, weren’t they, Rose?

Blanche asks Dorothy to have her foot looked at and she says she has. In 1965. She claims she’s fine, but when asked to perform a basic tap maneuver of course she can’t. So that settles it, she’s going to the doctor.

Dorothy: I’ll go…for the sake of the act.
Blanche: If you really wanna do something for the sake of the act, have one of those two left feet made into a right one.

Remember this little quip from Blanche! REMEMBER IT!

Because next scene Rose and Blanche are practicing and Dorothy had a twenty-three second solo (and I timed it). Rose and Blanche’s solos were like seven seconds each. Two left feet indeed. Who puts their worst dancer out with the longest solo? Only people who want to fail! That’s the plot of The Producers for God’s sake!

Dorothy comes home with a cane. She says she’s fine, doctor said she’s fine, just needs to take it easy. Sophia calls BS. We learn Dorothy has to have surgery. She’s got Morton’s Neuroma. Which apparently affects the balls of the feet. It can cause burning pain/sensation or numbness, so that’s fun.

Blanche: I think I had that once. How the heck did you ever catch it in your foot?

Well she got the burning part right…

Dorothy explains it’s a small tumor and she would only need to be in the hospital overnight. But of course she’s never having that surgery. She’s afraid of having her foot cut open. I’ll remember this fear of surgery when she talks about how she had plastic surgery in her youth.

Rose: Nobody likes hospitals, but there’s nothing to be scared of.
Dorothy: Oh really, Rose? What about blood? What about death? What about those nighties that don’t close up in the back?

A few months ago, I took my husband to the hospital for kidney stones. So much butt from him. Just, so much.

Blanche comes in as the voice of reason, telling Dorothy shouldn’t put her health at risk. Dorothy is willing to take this risk. While Sophia says watching her child suffer is more painful than the twenty-three hours of labor she was in to bring Dorothy into this world.

1)     Sounds like my mom when she reminds me she was in labor the longest with me.

2)     Twenty-three hours of labor? A twenty-three second solo? Coincidence? I think not.

Sophia listens the pains she went through and it wears Dorothy down.

Next scene we’re in the hospital before Dorothy’s surgery. Blanche tries to put her at ease and Rose wonders how many people never left that room. Dorothy is wearing a silk, pink, ruffly nightgown from her own home. I bet it closes in the back…

Sophia talks about having her appendix out in Sicily. Where they held a pillow over your face so no one could hear you scream. She doesn’t say “Picture it” but I’m counting it. Drink for a Sicily Story.

The nurse comes in to tell them visiting hours are over. And in classic sitcom fashion Dorothy tries to leave. She gets out of bed and it’s confirmed, her nightie does in fact close in the back.

Dorothy freaks out talking to the very unprofessional surgeon. Also, why is the surgeon having her fill out the liability forms? Isn’t that someone records job? Or like some sort of person in intake? Or literally anyone else in the hospital? I’m more annoyed by the doctor giving her these forms to sign than him running his mouth about the other surgeon’s malpractice suit. My doctor has never handed me forms to fill out? Why? Because the person at the front desk does that shit.

Dorothy continues to try to get out of this surgery. As she closes her eyes for sleep a priest comes in to give her last rites. Who runs this hospital? The priest is in purple, so it’s obviously Lent. I refuse to believe it’s Advent because the ladies aren’t complaining it’s freezing…in Miami. Then again, they’re all in sweaters, so maybe… anywho, we’re in the Lenten or Advent season, or this priest simply doesn’t give a fuck. 

Dorothy runs away from the hospital and sneaks into Blanche’s room. Wearing a trench coat like she’s gonna flash Blanche. I assume she’d open it in the back since you know, according to Dorothy her ass will be hanging out of the hospital gown.

Dorothy says she panicked when the doctor came in with the release forms and told her everything that could go wrong. Except, the doctor didn’t say what could go wrong. Not really. He admitted her original surgeon was being sued for malpractice and people got bent out of shape for little mix-ups. Then the priest said he’d come back the next day “just in case.” At no point did anyone tell Dorothy what could maybe go wrong.

Rose doesn’t make things better by talking about her days as a candy striper and the things she saw. But Rose was a candy striper in St. Olaf so she probably saw a lot of tractor accidents and Children of the Corn injuries. 

I assume the opening to Children of the Corn, is just another day in St. Olaf.

Blanche and Rose tell Dorothy everyone has fears, including Blanche’s fear of flying. She tells a very motivational story about it. Dorothy cuts her off filling the blanks that Blanche got over it by making passionate love. Blanche says she missed out a lot of things and never actually got over her fear. I’m also going to remember this when Dorothy has a fear of flying on her way to the Bahamas.

Rose tells Dorothy she needs to face her fear. Dorothy is afraid of hospitals because at five she was left alone while having her tonsils out. Sophia was at a funeral in Cleveland, but Dorothy’s dad was home. He left her because he had to go to work to pay for her tonsils to be removed. Of course a five-year-old is justifiably afraid of hospital. Sophia says she’s going to do the operation. Obviously this is just a lesson to show Dorothy how stupid she’s being.

Dorothy returns to meet her new roommate, Bonnie. Dorothy has an hour until surgery. She’s still in her personal nightgown, just a different one.

We learn Bonnie is having the same surgery she previously had. She’s in for a second mastectomy. Oof, poor Bonnie. She tells Dorothy she’s afraid, but she knows what she’s facing this time.

Since this is a sitcom, this opens Dorothy’s eyes to how foolish she’s been.

Back at the house, Blache is all dressed up to go to the recital. Rose comes into the kitchen, saying she found Blanche’s lost shoes. Now we learn one of Blanche’s other fears. Performing! 

As a child a terrified Blanche wet her pants on stage during a tap-dancing recital. Rose shows her competitive side by telling Blanche if she wets herself, then by golly, they’ll just start “Singin’ in the Rain.” Damn, Rose. Tough love over here.

At the hospital, Dorothy is out of surgery, alive and well. Sophia is right there with her. And she put Bonnie to work by making her go get her a sandwich. Rose and Blanche come in to bust up the party. They did so well, people want to book them and they let Dorothy know they’ve renamed their act, cutting her out completely. But that’s ok. At least I’ll never have to watch them tap dance again.

Shady Pines, Ma:
Blanche's Beaus: 1

Back in St. Olaf:
Picture it: 1

Out on the Lanai:


Next Episode: Second Motherhood



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