OMG you guys! I can still log in to my blog. This thing still works! I know I’ve been MIA for about a year, but I am back, finally, although steering away from the topic of bad dates since I’m in a relationship with a pretty amazing guy.
So what am I here to talk about? I’m glad you asked!
Most of you know that my favorite show of all time is The Golden Girls (I own all seven seasons on DVD and went to Rue McClanahan’s book signing in Chicago in April 2007). The other day, one of the Twitter accounts that I follow posted something that got me excited because it was something I decided I wanted to write about:
Now, I have probably also seen every episode of Cheers, and I do remember that episode well, so I decided to rewatch them both and do a little comparison.
Up first – Cheers (Coach’s Daughter, Season One, Episode 5)
The episode actually opens with Diane asking Sam if she can be the Cheers caricaturist, assuring him that if he says no, she’ll be okay with it. Of course he says no and she says she is going to do it anyway, which is one of the many reasons I always found Diane Chambers maddening.
But this isn’t about Diane, this is about Coach’s daughter, Lisa, and her Jankmaster Skeez fiancé, Roy.
Lisa is bringing him in to the bar to meet her dad for the first time (her mom has passed away) and Coach is incredibly nervous.
Lisa comes into the bar first because Roy is parking the car. She’s not what I would consider traditionally beautiful, and I think that’s obviously done on purpose. (Although I’d like to note here that I don’t think Diane is anything to write home about and she landed both Sam Malone and Frasier Crane so what do I know?)
We find out Lisa and her fiancé work together – he is the company’s top salesman (selling suits door to door! Oh, the glamour!).
Sam’s response to that is, “good for you”, because of course it is. When Roy walks in, Coach greets him with the excitement of a child about to sit on Santa’s lap.
After gleefully introducing him to the bar as his daughter’s fiancé, this is their first exchange:
Lisa: And this is my father, Ernie.
Coach: It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Roy: Feeling’s ditto, Ernie.
Coach: Can I get you a nice cold beer?
Roy: Sure, Pops.
Ugh. Feeling’s ditto? Pops? Just stop it immediately. Then again, this is what we’re working with and so maybe I’m not surprised he talks this way at all.
The next thing he does is call baseball a dead sport, knowing his future father-in-law used to be in baseball. And goes on to sing the praises of female full contact karate while hitting on Diane in front of Lisa. (Although it barely registers a reaction from Lisa, which is a different issue I suppose.)
Lisa is Roy’s district manager and he is working NJ territory but desperately wants PA – and only Lisa can give him that. Now, this is a comedy show and this episode aired in the early 1980’s, so a lot has changed since then, but nowadays, this scenario would be an HR nightmare and/or lawsuit waiting to happen.
But, I digress.
Coach, Roy, and Lisa head to Melville’s (the restaurant above Cheers) for dinner. Coach comes back to the bar first and says, “the man’s a pig.” Diane urges him not to rush to judgement too quickly and that there has to be something fine and noble in every human being, including Roy.
Roy comes downstairs (sans Lisa) demanding a beer after he’s knocked over the dessert cart.
Carla dryly asks where Lisa is, and Roy mentions she is still upstairs “settling the bill.” Coach looks irate. (Again, in the early 1980’s, this was A THING. In 2017, probably not as much). Roy’s excuse, though:
Coach: Are you saying you had her pay for dinner?
Roy (aka Mr. Top Salesman): They wouldn’t take a post-dated fourth party check.
Diane asks to speak to Roy alone, which he obviously thinks is her coming on to him. She goes on to babble about how his strong personality can’t be the real thing and that he’s probably really shy and sensitive underneath, to which he responds, “you’re not wearing a bra, are you?”
That is all Diane needs to declare him pond scum to Coach.
Lisa finally comes back to Cheers and her father demands to speak to her in Sam’s office, telling her he cannot let her marry Roy.
Lisa, however, is no dummy. She knows her fiancé is rude, generally unpleasant, and most likely only marrying her to get the PA territory. But she’s going to marry him anyway. When her father asks why, she says, “isn’t it obvious?” (No, sweet pea, nothing is obvious to Coach. He’s a dolt. He was actually one of my least favorite characters on Cheers. Just watch Coach in Love (parts 1 & 2), and it will explain everything.)
“I want to be married and I want to have children! Roy is the first man who ever asked me to marry him, and I’m afraid he’s going to be the last.”
Coach is confused by this and then FINALLY Lisa launches into how she’s not beautiful and never has been. She points out how she looks exactly like her mother, and then sees the look on her dad’s face and pauses. A lightbulb goes off – her father loved her mother and thought she was beautiful so of course thinks the same about his daughter.
This seems to be enough for her to ditch the suit. She asks Roy if he thinks she is beautiful and at first he is confused by the question but then he says, “of course you’re beautiful. you’re stylish, contemporary and you travel well.” (That is how you describe a suit, not a person, Roy. Your priorities, like yourself, are janky.)
Lisa tells Roy she doesn’t want to marry him because she wants someone as good as her father, and his response is fairly predictable: “what about Pennsylvania?”
Yes this is definitely the face of a man who is broken up over being broken up with.
Lisa basically tells him to shove it, and Roy storms out of Cheers forever, with his suit and his attitude.
He leaves everyone much happier, knowing Lisa is not going to end up with such a skeezeball and is going to strive to do better.
Horrible Fiancé Score: 10/10 (rude to literally everyone, hits on Diane in front of Lisa, makes her pay for dinner, is using her for career advancement, his tie doesn’t match his vest, and he knocked over the dessert cart)
Next up – The Golden Girls (Blanche’s Little Girl, Season Three, Episode 14)
Like the Cheers episode, this opens up with something completely unrelated to the topic at hand. Sophia laments about her horrible day working for Pecos Pete’s Chow Wagon, which is just hilarious.
Blanche rushes into the kitchen, elated to receive a postcard from her daughter Rebecca, who has not spoken to her in almost four years.
The girls press her for details. Blanche reveals the fight was over Rebecca wanting to leave school to be a fashion model. Blanche forbade it, but Rebecca ran off to Paris and hasn’t spoken to Blanche since, but now she’s coming to visit. What could go wrong?
On the day of Rebecca’s arrival, Dorothy tells Sophia that she has moved some of Sophia’s stuff into her bedroom since they will have to pair up while Rebecca is in town. The ensuing exchange cracks me up:
Dorothy: Blanche’s daughter arrives today; you’re going to have to sleep with me.
Sophia: Let me respond to that proposition the way your dates do: No thanks, I’ll call you sometime.
When the doorbell rings, Blanche is too nervous to answer the door and runs back into the kitchen, passing the honor off to Sophia. When she answers the door, she is in for quite a shock.
Sophia’s response: What did she model, car covers?
Dorothy: You’ll have to forgive my mother.
Rose: It’s just that we didn’t expect you to be this fat.
(We can always count on Rose to say something so dumb yet so sincere in the most cheerful way possible)
Blanche is obviously quite shocked when she sees her daughter, making a subtle dig about her enormous happiness that she’s been reunited with her daughter. Sophia asks Rebecca where she found jeans that size and Blanche rightfully acknowledges that with a, “SOPHIA.” Rebecca assures them that even though she has lost her figure, her sense of humor is still intact.
Blanche deflects Rebecca’s question on if she’s upset about the weight gain by saying she’s just so happy to have her daughter back, which I believe is true. As she leads Becky to where she’ll be staying (Blanche’s bedroom), Sophia throws out this gem: “Now we know why she’s staying in Blanche’s bed. We know it can support the weight of an average female and two Venezuelan soccer players.”
Blanche tells Rebecca not to worry – she is going to put her on a diet and make her stick to it. Rebecca says she doesn’t want that and is happy the way she is.
This is very interesting given that the Cheers episode was literally the exact opposite. Coach had always thought his daughter to be beautiful, while Blanche now has to deal with her discomfort over Rebecca’s weight gain, while Rebecca is uninterested in losing weight.
Rebecca: Mama, mama, I don’t want your help, I’m happy just the way I am.
Blanche: Happy? Baby, look at yourself, how could you be happy?
I think part of Blanche’s discomfort has to do with that fact that she herself places looks above anything else. Blanche’s beauty comes up in literally every episode. So I’m sure she thinks that her overweight daughter reflects badly on her.
Rebecca astutely points out that Blanche is the unhappy one, not Rebecca, and she’s never been good enough for Blanche no matter what (even when thin). Blanche relents because she doesn’t want her daughter to go AWOL again and says she does love her daughter for who she is.
Fast forward to however many nights later and a nervous Blanche announces dinner is set up on the lanai for when Rebecca gets back from the airport with Jeremy. This is the first time we’ve heard his name and no one is quite sure what their relationship is.
When the doorbell rings and Blanche runs to answer it, the following ensues:
Rebecca: Hi Mama, this is Jeremy
Blanche: Well, nice to meet you Jeremy
Jeremy: Pleasure to meet you too (at least he didn’t say “feeling’s ditto, Blanche”)
Blanche: Won’t you come in and sit down?
Jeremy: Thank you. Oh, you have a lovely home here.
Blanche: Thank you. You seem like a very nice young man
Rebecca: He is a very nice young man
Jeremy: Becky, was she talking to you?
Rebecca: I’m sorry
Blanche is immediately concerned, as she should be. Both these jackholes (Roy and Jeremy) are ramping up the foolishness almost immediately. Roy hit on Diane in front of Lisa, and now within 30 seconds of entering Blanche’s house, Jeremy has chastised Rebecca in front of her mother. WHO RAISED YOU, ROY AND JEREMY?
When asked how Rebecca and Jeremy met, she describes that it was a sidewalk café in Paris, while Jeremy says that since there were no tables left, he just sat “at Becky”.
Blanche does not approve of this either.
After dinner, while Jeremy is complimenting the meal, Rebecca requests that he compliment her new outfit, because not doing so is not very nice.
Jeremy: Well I’m trying to be nice, that’s why I didn’t say anything.
In the kitchen, Dorothy asks Blanche how she can allow this type of abuse. Blanche is paranoid that if she interferes, it will cost her another four years, so she’s keeping her mouth shut as long as Rebecca is okay with how Jeremy treats her and that she’ll likely come to her senses.
Sophia comes into the kitchen to announce she’s overheard Rebecca and Jeremy talking about getting married. All the other girls are horrified to hear this.
Blanche goes into the living room and this is how Jeremy decides to ask for permission to marry Rebecca: Blanche, I’d like to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage. I’d take the rest of her but I’ve got a bad back.
Blanche pretends her tears are from happiness.
Next up is a spring training baseball game (at least I’m assuming, since the Dodgers do not play in Vero Beach).
Rebecca: Jeremy’s a big baseball fan.
Jeremy: Becky’s a bigger one. Becky’s a bigger everything.
Dorothy: Not everything, Jeremy.
When Jeremy makes a joke about seeing how many people will mistake Becky for Tommy Lasorda, Dorothy has had enough, but Blanche shuts her down, eager to keep the peace.
The final straw, for Blanche, though, is when she has to say goodbye to her daughter. She and Jeremy are flying back to wherever (Paris?) and Jeremy storms in, asking Becky to hurry things up.
Rebecca mentions it will be easier for their wedding if they just run off and do it, to which Jeremy responds, “that’ll be the day when you run anywhere.”
Blanche does not approve.
Blanche: Do you think you could be a little patient, Jeremy?
Jeremy: Look, I know things move kind of slow here at Sunnybrook Farm, but we do have a plane to catch.
Blanche forces Rebecca into the kitchen and asks her why she wants to marry “that lump of nothing out there.”
Rebecca: Because I want a husband, I want a family and Jeremy may be my last chance.
EXACT SAME ANSWER AS LISA OMG.
How sad is that, actually, that both girls think the same thing? Did the writers of this episode watch the Cheers episode first?
Then Rebecca tells Blanche to “open her eyes” because she isn’t beautiful or a catch. Again, exact same scene as Lisa with Coach. Also interesting because earlier in the episode, Rebecca seemed perfectly fine with her appearance.
Blanche points out the Jeremy is the one who needs Rebecca, not the other way around. Rebecca accuses Blanche of thinking Rebecca still isn’t good enough for her and storms out.
However, later that night, Rebecca comes back to tell Blanche that she was right and she realized how much Blanche really loves her and she can do better than Jeremy. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get to see the breakup, but I’m sure it involved fat jokes.
It’s interesting – the actress who played Rebecca in this episode was a one and done, but Rebecca as a character does return in seasons five and six. Jeremy is never mentioned. Rebecca ends up getting artificially inseminated and then Blanche uses her granddaughter to pick up a guy. Totally normal.
Horrible Fiancé Score: 10/10 (rude to literally everyone, makes fat jokes at every opportunity, emotionally abusive, and even though he didn’t knock over the dessert cart, if Sophia thinks you’re rude, that’s a problem)
The original tweet asked which episode was more touching. I have to go with Blanche’s Little Girl because Blanche had to overcome her own discomfort about her daughter’s appearance in order to stand up for her. The Cheers episode was very sweet, but Coach never had conflict about his daughter’s appearance. Either way, both dudes sucked and it is nice that the episodes ended with the girls realizing that.