[CLIP] SOPHIA: Dorothy, I never understood why your brother liked to wear women's clothes, unless he was queer.
DOROTHY: Sophia, people don't say "queer" anymore, they say "gay."
SOPHIA: They say "gay" if a guy can sing the entire score of Gigi, but a 6'3", 200-pound married man with kids who likes to dress up like Dorothy Lamour, I think you have to go with "queer.”
[NANCY THEME MIXED WITH GOLDEN GIRLS THEME]
GUEST 1: From WNYC Studios, this is Nancy.
GUEST 2: With your hosts, Tobin Low and Kathy Tu.
[THEME PLAYS ENDS]
KATHY: There are two things that I love in the world.
TOBIN: What are the two things?
KATHY: One, soup.
KATHY: And two, The Golden Girls.
[GOLDEN GIRLS THEME]
Thank you for being a friend...
TOBIN: This is one of my favorite things about you. You are low-key a hundred years old.
KATHY: Whatever! You also love The Golden Girls.
TOBIN: I do love The Golden Girls. I used to watch it as a kid, and maybe, even though I didn't have the word "queer" yet, I was like, "This is a queer show." I love this show. I'm so glad that we are going to make up for lost time today, so that I can talk about it openly and proudly.
KATHY: Let's make up for lost time, Tobin. [TOBIN LAUGHS] Let's do it.
[GOLDEN GIRLS THEME COMES TO A CRESCENDO]
Thank you for being a friend!
TOBIN: Well, and also, I wanna say, young Tobin wasn't wrong. This show has been totally claimed by queer culture. It's like, in the canon. And there are the reasons that people have written about before -- you know, they talked about the AIDS crisis when not a lot of people were talking about it, they had gay characters, there's themes of chosen family ...
KATHY: Right, right, right. But, also, that's not quite it, though, you know? It's not -- there's something else about the show.
TOBIN: There's something about these four women and their stories, it just kind of resonates out and out and out ...
KATHY: So, today we're doing sort of a banquet of Golden Girls stories. Think of it like a multi-course meal.
TOBIN: A cornucopia, if you will.
KATHY: [LAUGHS] Cornucopia. yes.
TOBIN: Okay. We're gonna pump the brakes for a second, though.
TOBIN: Let's do a quick refresher ...
KATHY: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
TOBIN: ... of who all the ladies are.
KATHY: Okay. So, The Golden Girls was a sitcom in the mid-'80s, early '90s. And it featured four older ladies living together in the same house in Miami.
TOBIN: So there's Betty White as Rose -- she's sort of the sweet and naive one:
[CLIP] ROSE: Even a trip to the bank can be exciting ... if you wear a ski mask! [LAUGHTER]
KATHY: And we had Rue McClanahan as Blanche -- she's vivacious, she was always hooking up with guys:
[CLIP] BLANCHE: All that manliness in one room, in one crowded room! [LAUGHTER]
TOBIN: Bea Arthur as "I'm not taking any of your shit" Dorothy:
[CLIP] DOROTHY: Go to sleep, sweetheart. Pray for brains.
KATHY: Scary Dorothy. Yes. And Dorothy's mom, and my personal favorite, [BELL DINGS] Sophia Petrillo, as played by Estelle Getty.
[CLIP] SOPHIA: I'm Sophia Petrillo, and my idea of a good psychiatrist is a bartender who pours without a spout. [LAUGHTER]
TOBIN: I have to say, my favorite thing about this show is that, now that it's streaming on Hulu, it is the show that I watch while I'm eating take-out. Like, I cannot taste the flavor of food unless this show is on my laptop.
KATHY: Tobin, that's weird, and ... you should get that checked out.
TOBIN: [LAUGHS] But, to go back to Golden Girls being on the interwebs -- also very fun is seeing people, like, discovering this show for the first time.
KATHY: It is never too late to start watching The Golden Girls.
TOBIN: Never too late.
TOBIN: So, among these ... let's call them "first-timers" ... is Saeed Jones. If you don't know Saeed, he's, like, a super well-known poet, he's the executive editor of culture at Buzzfeed.
KATHY: And he's huge on Twitter.
TOBIN: Huge. And one of the things he cannot stop tweeting about is this show. He, like, live-tweets episodes. He will tweet about the cultural relevance of the show. He'll go personal!
KATHY: He gets a little rant-y.
TOBIN: He does. [KATHY LAUGHS] So good at a rant. One of my favorite tweets of his is "I swear if I had watched Golden Girls as a kid, I would have come out of the closet much earlier, and I’d be a drag queen now.”
SAEED: Oh -- oh yeah, absolutely. [TOBIN LAUGHS] Yeah. You know, I’m working on a memoir now, and it’s so interesting to look back at myself when I was younger at different periods of my life. When you’re looking in retrospect, you’re like, “Wow, I really thought I was the only one. I really thought I was the only person who had these questions, or felt this way.”
Certainly there weren’t a lot of gay boys, but there wasn’t a great diversity of manhood when I was growing up. It was like either you were, like, tough, or you were, like, a drunk, or you, like, didn’t exist. And I was, like, well, I’m none of these things.
And to see a show, even though it’s about women, that they are fully developed characters, they are interesting, that they are imperfect, they all have their strengths, their all wonderful and they are so different. There are so many ways to be. And to be happy. And I think if I was a kid and kind of getting to see that, I think I would have -- maybe I wouldn’t have been a drag queen, because I don't ... you know, tucking ... it’s just a lot. But I would have breathed a lot easier.
TOBIN: You also tweet a lot about Stan. He’s the ex-husband of Bea Arthur’s character. He’s kind of this deadbeat who shows up every couple episodes -- and one of your tweets said, “Stan is absolute garbage.”
SAEED: Stan is cultural herpes. They can’t -- they can't get rid of him. And I obsess about it. I mean, in the end, it’s a very smart aspect of the show because again, every time that door opens, you see it in Bea Arthur’s entire posture.
[CLIP] DOROTHY: Hello, Stan.
STAN: Dorothy, hello. You look fantastic.
DOROTHY: Please. Please, Stan. No hugging, no kissing. Let’s just do it, and get it over with.
STAN: Sounds like the last few years of our marriage.
DOROTHY: I wish it was that good.
SAEED: However rooted she is in her new life, her past is, like, still active and is gonna come back. He’s gonna show up and admit they have tax problems and now they're gonna have to deal with this. Or ... his new wife that he left her for is leaving him and he needs a shoulder to cry on.
[CLIP] STAN: She left me. [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER]
STAN: Crissy left me for a younger man. [AUDIENCE APPLAUSE]
DOROTHY: Younger than Crissy. Where did she meet him? Camp Snoopy?
SAEED: I think Stan kind of reminds me of the ways we toned ourselves down, the way we, you know, buffered our edges or dulled ourselves, particularly when we were in the closet. And I would say even when we are out of the closet. I think even when you’re out, you are in relationships where you are suppressing parts of yourself because you believe that’s what you’re supposed to do. And to see that even Dorothy is shaken when her husband comes in with his toupee -- it’s kind of like, “Wow, who is my Stan?”
TOBIN: Well, it also gets at this thing that I wanted to talk to you about which is like ... sometimes when shows write explicitly gay characters, I don’t see anything of myself in them.
TOBIN: And yet there are other characters who are not written explicitly queer at all, but you’re like, “THEM.”
SAEED: Right. Oh yeah. Rose, or Blanche ... the women, you find yourself identifying with them in unexpected ways. And that is what queer people always have to do. Or black television viewers, or Asian American television viewers ... we’ve just developed the skill. Because if you’re going to enjoy pop culture at all in a mainstream form, you’re going to have to get used to identifying with characters in kind of unexpected, slanted ways.
TOBIN: Is Dorothy the Golden Girl that you identify with most?
SAEED: It’s kind of like your zodiac sign. There’s the moon and the sun or whatever. My friend Ashley Ford said, you are totally Sophia.
SAEED: And I was like, “Is that shade?” And now I'm like, "Oh no, that’s totally true." And she -- Sophia is so funny and reads the room down. Like, Sophia v. Blanche, yo.
[CLIP] BLANCHE: Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take a long, hot, steamy bath with just enough water to barely cover my perky bosoms. [LAUGHTER]
SOPHIA: You’re only gonna sit in an inch of water?
SAEED: She has some lines. So, I’m like, OK, I’m cool with it. But I definitely -- I think Dorothy has some of the qualities that I aspire to the most. She’s the leader, she definitely holds the house together, and she’s a teacher. Except for the time she gets Mario Lopez deported.
SAEED: Yeah, girl. Okay! So, listen -- I realize, like, I’m in deep. There’s an episode where little baby Mario Lopez plays one of her high school students, and she’s tutoring him, and she submits one of his poems to a contest, and he wins, and, like, his poem is in the newspaper.
[CLIP] GOLDEN GIRLS: Surprise!
MARIO: Oh, this is great. What a surprise! But it isn’t my birthday.
DOROTHY: I know, honey. We’re celebrating you winning that contest.
MARIO: Oh, wow! Thank you!
SAEED: And it turns out that Mario and his family are undocumented.
[CLIP] DOROTHY: Is something wrong?
ICE: I’m with the immigration and naturalization service. We have reason to believe that Mario is in this country illegally. Mario, I’m afraid you’ll to have to come with me.
SAEED: He ends up getting deported. I was a bit shocked that this show wasn’t going to come up with totally some unrealistic happy ending. But I was also like, “If this ain't the whitest thing I have ever…” [TOBIN LAUGHS] Because the episode totally focuses on how bad Dorothy feels. Like, I think the episode ends with all of the women hugging Dorothy in the kitchen.
[CLIP] BLANCHE: Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.
DOROTHY: I could sure use a family hug right now.
ROSE: Dorothy, you’ve had a rough day.
SAEED: And I’m like, “GIRL, you got this Latino boy deported!” And you’re out here consoling? They’re like, “We’ll write to you! We won’t give up!” It is still a sitcom centering white women ... and we can’t forget that.
TOBIN: Right, well, so, like ... how do you square that for yourself? Like, this is a show that you love, but it’s also still about, you know, like, four sometimes problematic white women.
SAEED: Honestly, if if I have to make a list of problems I have with the way white people are behaving, living, and using their power right now. And like start casting aside aspects of pop culture -- I’ll have nothing -- I’ll have nothing to listen to, nothing to watch. So I feel like with Golden Girls, you know, it’s one episode of -- I don’t know -- 4 seasons or whatever. And I think talking about a show’s failings are .. is just as insightful as talking about, like, you know, why the show succeeds. =
TOBIN: I also, like, I just wanna talk about this other thing, which is that -- with queer people, it's not just choosing which Golden Girl you are, it's like, with the whole friend group ... It's like they see their friends reflected in these women.
SAEED: Absolutely. And it’s all about love. It’s all about love. Because that’s the thing, you know, a lot of ... Okay, let’s just talk about gay men. We all have other gay men in our lives ... you know, as acquaintances, as colleagues, as exes, future-exes, funders, VC ... whatever. But not many of them are friends, if we are honest with ourselves.
My grandmother, when I was little, something she would say was, “Saeed, everybody ain't your friend.” And I was like, “How dare you! What are you talking about? Obviously if somebody’s talking to me, we’re friends.” Um, that’s not true.
The reason their friendship works out on the show is because at the end of the day, even if they’re fighting, they come back to love. They see the value in each other. Whether it’s Dorothy’s leadership, Blanche’s storytelling and color, just ... she brings something to the room. Rose’s hope. Sophia’s literally, like, bringing that wisdom. And that is real friendship.
And for queer people, it takes a long time for a lot of us to find that harbor. Right? Because it’s not just about coming out of the closet, it’s not just about becoming -- moving towards sex positivity, it’s not even just about your relationship. Getting to a point where you have healthy, platonic friendships. Like, it actually takes a lot of work.
[MUSIC COMES IN]
SAEED: Bless them. Bless them!
[MUSIC FADES OUT]
[LIGHT FLUTE MUSIC]
KELSEY: My name is Kelsey Padgett, and this is my wife-to-be.
SAMARA: My name is Samara Breger. Kelsey and I are gonna get married.
SAMARA: So, when we pitched it to our wedding planner, what we said was we want Jurassic Park-Golden Girls vibe. [BOTH LAUGH]
KELSEY: Which we thought was really clear.
SAMARA: We thought it was SO CLEAR. We want, like, the lush jungle of Jurassic Park with like the tacky hominess and Miami vibrance of The Golden Girls.
KELSEY: I watched Golden Girls for the first time with Samara two years ago. And they're just so funny, and great, and sex-positive. Like, what? Ooh!
SAMARA: In the floral arrangements, it is very much, like, big leaves and little pops of pink and orange and whatever ... I wanted people to be able to take pictures with, like, an actual, like, 4’ 8” Sophia Petrillo but her head is a T-Rex head.
KELSEY: I am going to make that happen. We have five weeks.
SAMARA: Is that true?
KELSEY: And I am crafty as shit.
SAMARA: Shit, we have five weeks? Are you kidding?
GUEST 1: You're listening to Nancy. We'll be back after these messages.
[DRAMATIC STRING MUSIC]
[CLIP] DOROTHY: Welcome back, sweetheart.
TOBIN: Kath, I wanna go back to a thing you said earlier. You said Sophia was your favorite. Do you think you're a Sophia?
KATHY: [DEEP BREATH] I want to be a Sophia, but I think I'm Rose.
TOBIN: [LAUGHS] You say that with a disappointment of someone finding out they're a Hufflepuff.
KATHY: Tobin, I am a Hufflepuff!
TOBIN: I'm a Hufflepuff, too.
KATHY: But here's the thing -- even though I might be a Rose, my connection to Sophia runs so deep.
TOBIN: Tell the people why you love Sophia so much.
KATHY: Sophia was so many things. She was funny --
[CLIP] SOPHIA: Beat it, you 50-year old mattress.
KATHY: -- she was honest --
[CLIP] SOPHIA: Go to hell, all of you!
KATHY: -- she was wise ...
[CLIP] SOPHIA: No matter how bad things get, remember these sage words: You’re old, you sag, you get over it.
KATHY: But I think my favorite thing about her was her stories.
[CLIP] SOPHIA: Picture it. There we were, a tired, poor, huddled mass eating marinara sauce out of a can. It was hell. And the entertainment? Some guy from Palermo forgot his accordion, so he sat around singing "O Solo Mio" while squeezing a monkey.
KATHY: [LAUGHS] If you’ve never heard a Sophia story before, they're these long, detailed anecdotes, I would say, about Sophia's life growing up in Sicily, traveling to the New World, and they're written, sort of, to get to a punchline. But Teenage Kathy decided that there was deeper meaning there.
TOBIN: But, like, why? It's a sitcom!
KATHY: It was more than a sitcom, Tobin. I watched a lot of TV when I was a kid. My parents worked a lot, my grandparents were all in Taiwan ... so I didn't really have a relationship with them. But somehow I knew that older people had wisdom, and their job is to pass it on to younger people.
KATHY: And, so, I took this very seriously. Golden Girls was in syndication at this point, and I would tape those episodes and transcribe Sophia’s stories into my Word document that was on my super-old computer, basically creating a Sophia Bible, if you will. [TOBIN LAUGHS] That I would refer back to. Because I believed that Sophia had lessons for me, and I was there to receive them. [TOBIN LAUGHS] This is sounding very religious.
[CLIP] SOPHIA: Picture this. New York City, 1931. The Depression. Your father and I are newlyweds. One rainy night, we have our first fight. He says he's leaving, I say, "Fine." He goes out the door, I start to cook. A few hours later, he comes back. He says he couldn't find a cab. We eat in silence. Halfway through, I look up. He's got tears in his eyes. He tells me, "This meal is like our marriage." The veal is like him, tough and stubborn. The tomato sauce is like me, hot and spicy. And the mozzarella is like our love, it stretches but it never breaks.
DOROTHY: Ma, that's lovely, but I don't see what luck had to do with it.
SOPHIA: You were conceived that night, Dorothy.
SOPHIA: What's lucky is your father never knew, or he never would have eaten my veal again.
KATHY: Here’s what I got from that story: love stretches but never breaks.
TOBIN: Huh. I mean, arguably a real thing.
KATHY: Perhaps. But does it really follow from that story? No! It does not! Come on!
TOBIN: Right, you, like, you basically took the first few words and were like, "I think this is the lesson."
KATHY: Exactly. And sometimes even when I didn’t actually understand what the hell Sophia was saying, I was STILL able to get some sort of meaning from it. Like:
[CLIP] SOPHIA: Alright, alright, I can think up a cue. Picture it. Sicily, 1912. A beautiful young peasant girl with clear, olive skin meets an exciting but penniless Spanish artist. There's an instant attraction. They laugh, they sing, they slam down a few boilermakers.
KATHY: -- No idea what that is! --
SOPHIA: Shortly afterwards he's arrested for showing her how he can hold his palette without using his hands,
KATHY: -- Completely over my head! [TOBIN LAUGHS] --
SOPHIA: -- but I digress. He paints her portrait and they make passionate love. She spends much of the next day in the shower with a loofah sponge scrubbing his fingerprints off her body. She sees the portrait and is insulted. It looks nothing like her! And she storms out of his life forever. That peasant girl was me. And that painter ... was Pablo Picasso. [LAUGHTER]
TOBIN: What can you possibly get from that story?
KATHY: Uh, people who are creative will never give you the love that you want!
TOBIN: You know what? Not wrong! Not. Wrong.
KATHY: But it wasn't in the story!
TOBIN: No, not at all. But ... I dunno. Not wrong.
KATHY: No! Okay.
KATHY: No. But, you know what? Sometimes she could be on point.
[CLIP] SOPHIA: Please! Just because a man's in a wheelchair doesn't mean he can't satisfy a woman.
DOROTHY: What do you know about this, Ma?
SOPHIA: Picture it. [LAUGHTER] Sicily, 1914. A man in a wheelchair satisfies a woman. It's a short story, but I think it makes my point.
KATHY: You see?
TOBIN: Yeah. Do you remember the moment that you found out Estelle Getty had died?
KATHY: Yes, I do. Because, I remember when she had just passed away, that was when I started looking up her past for the first time. And I found out that Estelle Getty actually had a lot of stage fright when she was on the set of Golden Girls. Like, she would freeze up, she would forget her lines, and she wouldn't be able to deliver them. And I suddenly felt, like, a little bit more of a kinship to her -- because I get stage fright, as you know!
[GENTLE MUSIC IN]
KATHY: And I think that is why Sophia remains my favorite Golden Girl.
[GENTLE MUSIC FADES OUT]
TOBIN: Okay. We have one last Golden Girls super-fan. [HUMMING]
[LILTING PIANO MUSIC OF "CIGARETTES AND CHOCOLATE MILK" IN]
RUFUS: Hi, I’m Rufus Wainwright and I’m in my apartment. [laughs]
[RUFUS WAINWRIGHT’S “CIGARETTES AND CHOCOLATE MILK”]
Cigarettes and chocolate milk
These are just a couple of my cravings
Everything it seems...
TOBIN: So, we have an oddly specific interview today.
RUFUS: Yes, yes! Here we go.
TOBIN: It's about Golden Girls. Do you have a Golden Girl that you most identify with?
RUFUS: The one that I relate to most … unfortunately ... is probably Blanche. You know, who --
KATHY: Why "unfortunately"?
RUFUS: Yeah, well, she -- you know, it’s -- the -- it’s just the vanity. It’s the vanity thing. And I’m cursed by my own over-appreciation of myself.
TOBIN: When and why did you first start watching the show?
RUFUS: I started watching the show as a, you know, typical gay four-year old. With my grandmother.
KATHY: What was your grandmother like?
RUFUS: Well, she was, uh -- we're speaking -- well, I had two grandmother’s obviously. The one I’m speaking about was my Canadian grandmother, who was a real formidable almost Victorian style matriarch. You know, didn’t put up with any nonsense and, you know -- made everybody’s life a little bit hellish but was also incredibly charming and funny and ... She was a powerhouse, you know?
[BOOZY MUSIC PLAYS, THEN SOUND OF LIQUID POURING]
RUFUS: You know, the first thing I ever learned how to do -- and this -- I was 4 years old! -- was to make a gin and tonic. So, I would -- yeah, it was to make my grandmother her gin and tonic. She’s like, "You put the gin in the jigger," you know, "that’s how much you need. And you need, like, only, you know, like, four ice cubes -- and don’t put too much tonic -- you know, you don’t wanna -- put in a little lime!"
[SOUND OF STIRRING A GIN AND TONIC]
RUFUS: She was one of 17 children.
RUFUS: So -- so she -- I think she had to drink a lot for ... for many reasons.
[RECORD SCRATCH AND SHIFT IN MUSIC]
RUFUS: I was definitely prone to a more ... fey existence. I would dress up a lot in my grandmother’s clothes and -- and I would, um ... listen to Judy Garland,
[JUDY GARLAND'S "GET HAPPY"]
Forget your troubles, come on, get happy!
You better chase all your cares away...
RUFUS: You know, I was -- I was -- and I wanted to, like, learn how to tap dance and stuff. I thought I was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz occasionally.
RUFUS: So, it was -- it was -- I was sort of that kind of little kid and The Golden Girls, they were very pro-gay. So it was a safe place, you know, because you weren’t going to, like, be parodied.
[TV CLICKS ON, THEME MUSIC STARTS PLAYING]
RUFUS: I would say Dorothy is ... I think of my grandmother as Dorothy. She had the same kind of wicked sense of humor.
[CLIP] DOROTHY: Big deal, more people get to kiss you than the pope’s ring!
RUFUS: Did not suffer fools.
[CLIP] DOROTHY: I could vomit just looking at you.
RUFUS: I think it was also something -- I think there was something about the physicality of Dorothy in terms of, like -- my grandmother was -- she hadn’t been a beautiful woman. But she really over-compensated with -- with her -- with her personality.
[CLIP] BLANCHE: Since when do you care how you look?
DOROTHY: I think it started when I came down from the bell tower and had my hump fixed.
RUFUS: She as a real charmer and, uh, yeah and I think you know Dorothy has that in the spades.
RUFUS: You know my famous Bea Arthur story, right?
KATHY: [LAUGHS] Well, we’re gonna get into that.
TOBIN: Why don’t we get into it now?
[JAZZY WALTZ MUSIC]
RUFUS: I was invited to come to do a benefit -- an AIDS benefit in Santa Fe, at the Opera House.
And -- which I was, you know, really excited to be invited to do. But what I was really excited about was that Bea Arthur was gonna be the emcee. That really sealed the deal and I was, you know, kind of over the moon. A little too over the moon. Like somewhere in Jupiter.
KATHY: Wait, at this time, was your grandmother alive? Or ... ?
RUFUS: She had -- she had passed away.
[JOURNEYING MUSIC PLAYS]
RUFUS: It was in Santa Fe and there was this inn called the the "Turquoise Bear." And it was owned by these gay guys who were bears. And they had given me the most beautiful suite. And it was, you know, replete with, you know, pastel colored towels and, you know, floral pattern bedspreads and, you know, a huge collection of sadomasochistic porn. [KATHY AND TOBIN LAUGH]
You know, it was -- and they were very, you know, they really pushed it and stuff, like, “Anything -- and if you -- if this porn you don’t like, then we got other stuff.” You know, and other things -- you know, objects, and so forth. And then we’re all kind of sitting around waiting for Bea Arthur to show up, who was the biggest, you know, celebrity of -- of -- in the show.
And she arrived and someone said to me, “Okay, you know, Bea Arthur’s here." We go over, I see her. She doesn’t look terribly nice. [ALL LAUGH] She’s -- there’s immediately this kind of, you know, blank stare. But I just kind of go for it.
RUFUS: "I’m a huge fan of yours. Huge idol for me. When I was a kid in Canada growing up I watched The Golden Girls religiously with my grandmother and it was a tremendously bonding experience for us. And -- and then I -- then she passed away, my grandmother, and I moved to Los Angeles. And I didn’t know anybody, I was living in the Oakwood Apartments in North Hollywood, uh, in this crappy room and -- and for about a year I was the loneliest I had ever been in my life and I was making a record, and so I started watching the Hallmark Channel, as one does. And -- and there were these reruns of The Golden Girls and it just -- and it really got me through a really, really, really dark period. And I just wanted to let you know. And thank you ... because you became my grandmother. You became my grandmother. My television grandmother. And I want to thank you so much for helping me through this dark period." And then she turned me to me and she went,
RUFUS: “I’m not your fucking grandmother.”
RUFUS: [LAUGHS] And walked away. And I was like "Oh, okay. So, that didn’t go so well."
[JAZZY WALTZ MUSIC]
RUFUS: And so then I leave and word gets out that …Bea Arthur’s very upset,because she didn’t have a room in the hotel at the Turquoise Bear. This very wealthy couple had put her in their guest house out in the middle of the desert and she was pissed off because she was out there alone in the desert.
[MUSIC FADES DOWN]
RUFUS: The two gay bear guys were like, "Oh no, but there’s no nice rooms! There’s only one crappy little room left, you know, with the -- not -- with, like, a shower and no bath and whatever." And so I overheard this and I got up and I went to the bear guys and I went, “You know, she can have my room. I’ll take the crappy little room, it’s fine.”
So then, they go off to her, come back two minutes later laughing their asses off and I’m like, “What happened?” And she said, “Yeah, she’s gonna take your room.” And I’m like, “But why are you laughing?” She said -- and they said, “Well, the first thing she said was,
[MUSIC CUTS OUT]
RUFUS: "‘Yeah, I’ll take the room. Besides, that little son of a bitch owes me something.’”
KATHY: What!? Oh my ...
RUFUS: [LAUGHS] So the ...
RUFUS: So the -- the ... I’m like, "Okay." So they switch the -- all the stuff. And then the -- you know, the show happens. She never, you know, comes and thanks me, for instance, for the room or anything. Finally I get home, totally trashed to my little crappy room with only a shower in it or something. And no porn.
TOBIN: Insult to injury.
RUFUS: Yeah. And I go up, and I walk by the old -- my room, my old room. The nice suite. And I look in my pocket and I was like, "I still have the key."
RUFUS: So I walk over to the room, and I look in the window, and I see Bea Arthur, like, sprawled out on her bed. She wasn’t naked, but she was, you know, with a nightgown and this TV’s on and she’s like [FAKES SNORING NOISE] -- sitting there, like, kind of -- snoring. And I was like, "I could go in there now and, like, give her a heart attack and be like"
RUFUS: "Go in there and be like, 'Grandma!'”
RUFUS: “Grandma!” You know or whatever, whatever -- but I didn’t. I went back to my room and went to bed.
KATHY: You’re --
RUFUS: But that was ...
KATHY: -- the bigger person.
RUFUS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I could have gone in there and totally, you know, given her cardiac arrest.
KATHY: Oh my gosh.
RUFUS: Which ... would have spared a lot of people a lot of grief, I’m sure. Considering how she was. But I still love her. [KATHY AND RUFUS LAUGH]
KATHY: Did it -- did that interaction color how you see the show -- ever afterwards?
RUFUS: Oh no. If anything, it enforced the kind of fascination. 'Cause anything that’s great to you is always unattainable. And sometimes when people are a little too normal or -- regular, I should say -- some of the patina is polished off. But when it’s once again taken away and placed somewhere far up, it remains interesting.
[PIANO MUSIC PLAYS OUT]
KATHY: I don't know how we follow that, Tobin.
TOBIN: Episode over. Let's just eat cheesecake.
[GOLDEN GIRLS MUSIC IN]
KATHY: Fun fact -- did I ever tell you that I learned what the word "cheesecake" meant from The Golden Girls?
TOBIN: That's a lie! That's not true, is it?
KATHY: Life is fun when English is your second language! [BOTH LAUGH]
TOBIN: Okay, that's our show.
KATHY: Time for credits!
TOBIN: Our producer...
KATHY: Matt Collette!
TOBIN: Sound designer...
KATHY: Jeremy Bloom!
KATHY: Jenny Lawton!
TOBIN: Executive producer...
KATHY: Paula Szuchman!
TOBIN: You should follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We're called "Nancy Podcast" both places. Follow us and you'll be able to find out about our weekly live videos.
TOBIN: We'll hang out and chat, and if you ask us a question, we'll send you some Nancy pins!
KATHY: I'm Kathy Tu.
TOBIN: And I'm Tobin Low.
KATHY: And Nancy is a production of WNYC Studios.
[GOLDEN GIRLS THEME PLAYS OUT, FOLLOWED BY TOUCHSTONE TELEVISION SOUND]