If I’m Blanche Devereaux, Then I Got Some Things To Work On
Ask almost anyone*, and they could tell you which Golden Girl they are (*anyone with taste). Some instantly know their sass, smarts, and sense makes them a Dorothy. Others relate to the storytelling and comeback queen of Sophia. Others realize their sweetness, pragmatic selves are Rose.
Recently, I’ve found myself to be a Blanche. Your immediate thought is that I’m a promiscuous drama queen with a penchant for selfish behaviors. And to a degree, I’d accept that label. In a world where things can be boring — why not be a Blanche Devereaux who shakes things up? Both Blanche and I have an appreciation for strong dating life, a natural eye for the arts, and we’re not above wanting finer things.
But recently I’ve been wondering if I relate to some of Blanche’s more problematic moments. For example, in one iconic episode for the 1990s, Blanche’s brother comes out as gay. Blanche immediately is in shock — how could her brother be gay? Certainly, Blanche supports gay men, but her own brother…it’s almost social macabre! Blanche certainly comes around — but only after having to
Blanche is arguably the most judgmental character of the girls. There are episodes devoted to her uncertainty to date men for all sorts of different episodes: “He’s so old”, “He’s in a wheelchair”, “He’s blind”. And while the common theme is that Blanche lets go of her judgment and preconceived notions, karma lets her off with a slap on the wrist.
Her judgment carries over to her personal relationships: she judges her daughter for deciding to get pregnant of her own volition, she blames her deceased husband’s affair child on the child. And that same gay brother whom she learns to accept comes back with a boyfriend — to which Blanche cannot accept.
One might argue that in the world of a sitcom, characters aren’t meant to evolve. They’re supposed to stay relatively the same. Which holds true in The Golden Girls — where much of the character evolution doesn’t really stick like Sophia’s homemade pasta to the wall. You’d think after judging a man, for one thing, she could let this go. But she doesn’t, she continues to make the same mistakes.
And I do the same thing — whether it’s in my professional, personal or romantic life. Except there’s one difference: as much as I may demand my life to be a sitcom, it’s not. I can’t approach each week or month of my life as an episode that causes my character to reset to a baseline of flaws and benefits. I have sharp initial thoughts regarding the world around me — the same way Blanche does. But what am I doing to actively change myself for the better?
We love Blanche Devereaux for her outrageous and confident self — but we also love who she is when she’s flawed. We shake our heads and roll our eyes when she succumbs to her judgments and weaknesses. And maybe that’s the approach I need. It’s okay to acknowledge your issues and move forward to be better. But it’s more important to realize the wholeness of the soul. I am as bold as I am a coward; I am free as I am chained. Perhaps the only difference is I’m not an old lady in 1990s Miami?
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