Monday, May 1, 2017

Further Viewing: The Golden Girls "Larceny and Old Lace," or the Golden Girls Meet the Mickster

If you've listened to our Golden Girls episode (see in player above), you know we love Burt, but we also love Mickey Rooney (The Mickster going forward). In "Larceny and Old Lace" (season 3, episode 21), The Mickster pays a visit as Sophia's new boyfriend Rocco. Sophia met him at the police station while trying to identify a purse snatcher, and they hit it off. Rocco was caught spray-painting something obscene on a billboard of Spuds MacKenzie.

The man, the myth, The Mickster

Dorothy doesn't much care for Rocco, and this creates a role-reversal gag throughout the episode with Dorothy playing mom to Sophia's rebellions teenager. She tells Rose that Sophia came home "with NyQuil on her breath and his surgical stockings in her pocket." She doesn't know what that means, but she doesn't like it.

Rocco certainly talks a big game. At one point, he tells Dorothy if she had a suit and a higher voice she could pass for notorious gangster Frank Nitti, and he claims to have known him, Dutch Schultz, and Al Capone. He also says he "ran Detroit." Later, Rocco shows up with a grocery cart full of his stuff (most notably a deer head and a satchel) because he doesn't have room on his apartment...or does he?

In the slightly predictable and quickly dispensed with B story, Blanche has been giving Rose an extra hard time. She found and broke into Rose's diary only to read about two awful, snoring, belching pigs. Dorothy chastises Blanche for reading the diary, but of course, she succumbs to temptation and tries to break into it as soon as Blanche leaves the room. Later, Rose catches them and rightly gets angry at their violation of her privacy, refusing to talk to them. Guilt-ridden, Dorothy and Blanche end up in Sophia's bedroom, seeking advice, and then Rose comes along and reveals the diary was her 4-H pig diary...about literal pigs. They make up.

Rocco's satchel falls on the floor, opening and dumping out thousands of dollars in cash. Sophia says they stopped by a bank earlier, and he ran out, and they know he must have held up the bank. She calls him, and he admits the truth, saying he did it for her and that he's coming over.

While they wait for Rocco, the other girls reminisce about the most romantic moments of their lives. Blanche tells a touching (but of course sexy) story about her courtship with her late husband punctuated with a stupid question by Rose and two amazing takes by McClanahan and Arthur.

Dorothy's tells a more rough-around-the-edges story about her ex-husband Stan proposing to her. It includes a ring in a champagne glass, Dorothy accidentally swallowing it, and the phrase "three days later."

Finally, Rocco arrives, struggling to climb over the patio wall, then trying to get Sophia to run away with him. She refuses. He comes clean. He's no tough guy. He told those stories to impress her. He was an "assistant" cook at a chowder house in Bayonne, New Jersey. He robbed the bank so he could treat her like a queen. Sophia explains he doesn't need to do fancy things for her. He always treats her like a queen. They reconcile.


Except a mention in the last scene, Rocco never appears on the show again. Did he go to jail? Did he die? Did they just break up?

Forget it, Jake. It's Sitcom Town.

Other thoughts:

  • Sophia says Rocco is 85, but The Mickster was a youthful 68 in 1988.
  • The Mickster kills it, playing puffed up, weird (the scene with the grocery cart), hurt, and sweet. He also gets some good jokes and reactions.
  • All the Golden Girls have moments, too, both comedic and serious: 
    • Rose seems genuinely hurt by her friends' betrayal of her, but she also has a number of classic naive/dumb lines.
    • The role reversal with Dorothy works well, and she gets annoyed by just about everyone, plus she shows remorse for hurting Rose.
    • Blanche tells that wonderful story (it really is nice if a little "intimate"), but she gets plenty of funny business and a number of good takes not just reacting to Rose but reacting to Dorothy trying to open the diary.
    • Sophia shoots off her normal zingers and insults but has that nice moment with Rocco.
  • At the end, Dorothy has a one-sided phone call with Sophia (who says she's staying at Rocco's) and says, "I should do what to myself?" Don't say this show didn't have an edge.
  • Pop culture references:
    • The aforementioned Spuds MacKenzie
    • Sophia calls Dorothy Donald Trump (page hits, here we come) after she breaks up Sophia and Rocco's game of strip poker
    • Dorothy has a line about Spiro Agnew
    • Rose questions whether George Bush (H.W. model) is married to his mother.
  • No one eats cheesecake in this episode either. Big-name guest stars must have affected the cheesecake budget.
  • Can anyone identify this board game? It involves trivia but looks like a Sorry type game. Probably isn't real, but I thought I'd ask.


  1. The book I am reading (more on this in tomorrow's post) says the questions are Trivial Pursuit-ish, the cards are Monopoly, and the board is Sorry, so it says it's a hybrid.
    The book also says that the Mickster was a force they had to work around, seeing the script as a "jumping-off point," and that it was his idea to try to go over the wall in the lanai...but that they did not use the gesture he improvised of grabbing his crotch.
    Now I am going to watch this episode...

  2. I saw a vintage-style Sorry at Target after I wrote this and recognized the board right away, but I thought of those other games, too. Glad they kept the wall climb. The Mickster puts his all into that bit, and it sets up another joke later.

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