Saturday, 5 June 2010


My obit of the actress Rue McClanahan, Blanche from Golden Girls, is in today's Guardian, you can link to it here. There is an interesting essay to be written on the structure of American television, and how programmes attempt to reconstitute nuclear family groups in various ways, and perhaps another on the influence of Tennessee Williams on Golden Girls, which becomes more interesting if you consider GG to be the precursor of Sex And The City. Rue McClanahan had a number of roles in which she played a 'fag hag' with gay male characters, most notably in Some Of My Best Friends Are, and if you interpret the GG or SITC characters as gay males they often make better sense. See the photo right, from the Broadway show Jimmy Shine, written by Murray Schisgal with songs by John Sebastian, which followed her success as Lady MacBird in MacBird, which I still remember fondly (the play, which I read, not her performance, which sadly I never saw).

I also pointed out that the characters of Dorothy and her mother Sophia in GG were Jewish New York, although nominally Italian. The Jewish bit is important because the core of American comic TV writing, at its best, comes from Jewish roots, and just saying New York misses that...

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