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"The Golden Girls" The Complete Second Season DVD Review

Buy The Golden Girls: The Complete Second Season from Amazon.com The Golden Girls: Season Two (1986-87)
Show & DVD Details

Regular Director: Terry Hughes

Regular Cast: Beatrice Arthur (Dorothy Zbornak), Betty White (Rose Nylund), Rue McClanahan (Blanche Devereaux), Estelle Getty (Sophia Petrillo)

Recurring Characters: Herb Edelman (Stan Zbornak), Nancy Walker (Angela), Lynnie Greene (young Dorothy Zbornak), Sid Melton (Salvadore Petrillo)

Notable Guest Stars: Philip Sterling (Dr. Barensfeld), Burt Reynolds (Himself), Phil Rubenstein (Exterminator), Ron Michaelson (Carl), Nan Martin (Frieda Claxton), Johnny Haymer (Commissioner), Lois Nettleton (Jean), David Wayne (Big Daddy Hollingsworth), Scott Jacoby (Michael Zbornak) Marilyn Jones (Bridget Nylund), Paul Rodriguez (Ramone) Stuart Pankin (Jacques), Keye Luke (Toshiro Mitsumo), Paul Dooley (Isaac Q. Newton), Terry Kiser (Santa Claus), Teddy Wilson (Albert), Sam Anderson (Mr. Meyer), Lloyd Bochner (Patrick Vaughn) Janet Carroll (Phyllis), Deborah May (Liz), Christopher Burton (Norman Henderson), Ray Combs (Bob Henderson), John McMartin (Father Frank Leahy), Mario Lopez (Mario Sanchez), Joseph Campanella (Al Mullins), George Clooney (Bobby Hopkins), Barbara Tarbuck (Martha McDowell), Alan Blumenfeld (Mr. Ha Ha), Rita Moreno (Renee Corliss), Paul Dooley (George Corliss), Geoffrey Lewis (Chuck)

Running Time: 644 Minutes (26 episodes) / Rating: Not Rated
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Digital Mono 1.0 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: May 17, 2005
Season 2 Airdates: September 27, 1986 - May 16, 1987
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9); Suggested Retail Price: $49.99
Six-sided fold-out Digipak with cardboard slipcover

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Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

By Aaron Wallace

The first year of "The Golden Girls" was stronger than most series' premiere seasons, but it wasn't without its awkward moments.
The second season irons out most of those wrinkles and delivers an even funnier and more enjoyable set of episodes. The irritably stern Dorothy (Bea Arthur), painfully blunt Sophia (Estelle Getty), charmingly clueless Rose (Betty White), and hopelessly promiscuous Blanche (Rue McClanahan) return with strengthened friendships and even more laughs.

Gone are many of the formulaic crutches relied upon in the first season's storylines. While the girls still welcome many visitors and there is one marriage proposal, these are no longer plot-driving staples of each episode. Instead, a much stronger group dynamic is present, with most of the scenes featuring all four girls interacting, which is really when they are at their best. Instead of each episode following the adventure of one character, as richly characterized as they each are, most of the stories now involve all of them at once. The episodes now often venture outside of the house to a variety of sets.

"Thank you for being a friend." Dorothy talks tough with hookers in jail in "Ladies of the Evening."

Characterization is enhanced as well. Blanche is still a sex-crazed southern belle, but there's now much more to her character than vanity and the man of the evening. She's now a regretful mother and a compassionate friend. Sophia, once relegated to a "B" or "C" plot if she was even featured at all, is now as vital a part of the show as her main character status should afford her. If she's ever less involved than the others, it's appropriate, since as an octogenarian, she's a good deal older than her in-their-fifties roommates.

Lots of little stories not only provide hearty laughs, but color in the backgrounds of each character. Most notable are the now-frequent anecdotes from Sophia's hometown of Sicily and Rose's of St. Olaf, Minnesota. In fact, Sophia's snide remarks and Rose's naivety and wild imagination account for much of the show's humor.

Rose Nylund, typically confused. Blanche Devereaux recalling her French.

Of course, plenty remains the same. Dorothy is still the rock of the group, flavoring things with her biting sarcasm, and though the set-up of her jokes still occasionally feels too forced, her facial expressions are a riot. The girls still fight and reconcile, still pick on each other's faults, still devour cheesecake in nearly every episode, and still make countless references to all things Disney (the creators obviously wanted to pay tribute to their parent studio, evidenced also by the appearance of numerous Disney regulars). Dorothy's ex-husband, Stan (Herb Edelman), is still as ever-present as one can be without being part of the regular cast. Then-current references and somewhat racially insensitive jokes that might not slide with today's audiences continue to remind viewers that the episodes are from the late 1980s, as the otherwise timeless qualities might cause them to forget. Finally, the same beloved opening title sequence from season one remains intact.

The second season is stronger than the already-strong first season and the series would continue to strengthen in years to come. Many of the show's more classic, well-known episodes can be found here, too, and it even spins off a new series. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that this is its second consecutive Emmy award-winning season. Unfortunately, the DVD isn't nearly as thrilling as the show it contains.

A star () denotes my ten favorite episodes from the season.

Burt Reynolds pays a visit to Sophia in "Ladies of the Evening." Dorothy lectures her grown but irresponsible son in "Family Affair." One of Dorothy Zbornak's many classic facial expressions.

Disc 1

1. The End of the Curse (24:13) (Originally aired September 26, 1986)
The possibility of Blanche being pregnant comes as quite a shock to the girls and leads to apprehensions over menopause.

2. Ladies of the Evening (24:45) (Originally aired October 4, 1986)
Blanche scores three tickets to meet Burt Reynolds and Sophia is furious that Dorothy and Rose are chosen over her.
The tables turn, though, when the three mistakenly wind up in a prostitution club and are arrested, calling on Sophia to bale them out.

3. Take Him, He's Mine (24:50) (Originally aired October 11, 1986)
Stan shows up at the house one night after finding out that he's lost his business. Hopelessly depressed, he needs a shoulder to cry on, but Dorothy has plans for the evening and so Blanche reluctantly agrees to fill in and take Stan out for the night. When she enjoys herself and arranges a second date, though, Dorothy gets jealous. Meanwhile, Sophia talks Rose into partnering with her for a bacon, lettuce, and potato sandwich business in which they will compete with a character by the name of "Johnny No Thumbs."

4. It's A Miserable Life (24:51) (Originally aired November 1, 1986)
The girls try to save a tree in their neighborhood but run into problems with the crabby old woman on whose property the tree stands. Rose stands up to her, but has a stronger effect than she intended!

5. Isn't It Romantic? (24:46) (originally aired November 8, 1986)
Dorothy's friend comes to visit for awhile, but little do the others know that she has a crush on someone in the house. Meanwhile, Sophia develops an interest in adult films.

6. Big Daddy's Little Lady (24:50) (Originally aired November 15, 1986)
Big Daddy, Blanche's father (this time played by David Wayne), is coming back to town with yet another surprise: matrimony! Blanche is thrilled until she meets the bride-to-be. Dorothy and Rose also work together at pitching a jingle worth $10,000.

7. Family Affair (24:49) (Originally aired November 22, 1986)
When Dorothy's son (Scott Jacoby, who truly looks like he could be the son of Dorothy and Stan) and Rose's daughter (Marily Jones) both show up at the house for a visit, it doesn't take long for one to see where things might head. Though they don't get along at first, persuasion from a back-broken Blanche soon has them in a compromising situation and household tension follows. Fans might note the plug for Disney's The Journey of Natty Gann, which had been released the year before.

8. Vacation (24:46) (Originally aired November 28, 1986)
Dorothy, Blanche, and Rose take leave for a tropical vacation but when they get there, they find that the dream hotel they've been promised is a compromising slum. Back at home, Sophia strikes up a tender romance with the gardener (Keye Luke).

Christmas is almost foiled by a gun-toting Santa in "'Twas the
Nightmare Before Christmas." "The Sisters" Dorothy and her ever-present ex-husband, Stanley Zbornak.

Disc 2

9. Joust Between Friends (24:51) (Originally aired December 6, 1986)
When Dorothy needs a little part-time work, Blanche lands her a job by her side at the museum. Things take a turn for the worse, though, when Dorothy stars to win over the boss' praise. Dorothy has another worry too: she hates dogs but Rose is keeping a stray in the house.

10. Love, Rose (24:48) (Originally aired December 13, 1986)
A lonely Rose reluctantly places an ad in the personals column and when she doesn't get a response, Blanche writes a fake one and drops it in the mail. Dorothy hesitantly gets in on it too and it doesn't take long for things get wildly out of hand. Meanwhile, Sophia tries to shake a persistent elderly bachelor.

11. 'Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas (24:46) (Originally aired December 20, 1986)
Holidays usually make for some of the warmest episodes of a series, and this one is no different. The girls have plans to spend Christmas with their families but one misfortune after another has them together when the big day rolls around.

12. The Sisters (24:48) (Originally aired January 3, 1987)
Dorothy has a real surprise in store for Sophia's birthday: a visit from her sister (Nancy Walker) after thirty years of not seeing each other. When the time comes, Sophia is surprised, but not in the way Dorothy had hoped. As it turns out, a fierce grudge is what's kept the two apart for so long, and it's up to the rest of the girls to try to work things out. Walker is very believable as a Patrillo sister and really nails the role.

13. The Stan Who Came To Dinner (24:44) (Originally aired January 10, 1987)
Blanche and Dorothy are just about to set out on a double date with twins with Stan unexpectedly arrives with a grim announcement that forces Dorothy to stay in. She learns that Stan has to have major heart surgery and, upon Sophia's insistence, offers him a room at their house to spend the recovery period of three months. Stan settles in quickly after the surgery but gets on the rest of the house's nerves even sooner.

Sheriff Dorothy and her friends unravel the truth in "The Actor." Rose has died and gone to Heaven... literally. In another of "Bedtime Story"'s flashbacks, the girls are awakened by a cast of clowns in a train station when their train takes off a half-hour too early.

14. The Actor (24:45) (Originally aired January 17, 1987)
The girls are auditioning for a local play and are delighted to hear that a renowned actor with whom they are all smitten will be the star. Unfortunately, none of their auditions pan out, but even though they are merely extras, they don't mind at all when they land a much-more desired role: girlfriend to the famous star.
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The only catch is that he's dating Blanche, Rose, and Dorothy all at the same time and, through an intricate web of deceit, none of them know about the other. Of course catastrophe is inevitable as the truth starts to come out in this very well-written episode.

15. Before and After (24:49) (Originally aired January 24, 1987)
In this touching episode, a medical scare lands Rose in the hospital and though she recovers, she swears that she died and visited Heaven before coming back. Filled with a new thirst for life, she takes to partying with a new group of friends all hours of the night and shirks her responsibility at the house, driving the other girls mad. When the problem comes to a head in a confrontation, Rose decides to move out and live with her younger and hipper beach crowd. She soon finds that life apart from her former roommates isn't all it's cracked up to be and back at the house, Blanche and Dorothy sorely miss her.

16. And Then There Was One (24:47) (Originally aired January 31, 1987)
Sophia is determined that she can be victorious in a marathon run despite her age and the other three girls volunteer to baby-sit the runners' children, ending up stuck with a real brat and an infant whose parents don't show up to claim her when the time comes.

17. Bedtime Story (24:44) (Originally aired February 7, 1987)
More relatives are planning on visiting than the girls have room for, prompting a flashback episode (newly created material, that is, not a clip show) in which they recall the most bizarre sleep-related incidents that they've found themselves together in.

Jealousies run high when Dorothy moves in on Blanche's job in "Joust Between Friends." Dorothy and Rose in "And Then There Was One."

Continue to Page 2 >>

Order The Golden Girls: Season Two DVD from Amazon.com


Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

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The Golden Girls on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6 Season 7 NEW!

Reviewed May 14, 2005.