Veteran actress Rue McClanahan passed away today, and while we mourn her death, we can look back fondly to her years of great performances. After a lifelong career in film and television, she is best known for her role as Blanche Devereaux, the sultry, southern, sex-obsessed Golden Girl. Blanche is iconic, a heroine to middle-aged women and gay men everywhere. To celebrate McClanahan’s work, here’s a list of the ten best Blanche-centric episodes of The Golden Girls.
"Transplant" (Season 1)
In the first of many episodes in which Blanche’s family members come to visit, her estranged sister Virginia shows up. She needs a kidney transplant, and Blanche has to decide whether she’s willing to let bygones by bygones and go under the knife.
"The Triangle" (Season 1)
Dorothy’s lecherous doctor boyfriend puts the moves on Blanche, but no one believes her. Blanche may be sexually liberated, but she’d never steal a friend’s beau—and it’s gratifying to see Dorothy finally realize the error of her ways.
"Blanche and the Younger Man" (Season 1)
Blanche lands a date with her much younger aerobics instructor. Sounds like a match made in heaven, until she realizes that she’s quite a bit older than he is. The episodes in which Blanche confronts her aging are always her most poignant ones.
"Adult Education" (Season 1)
Once again, we’re reminded that Blanche is a lady. Her teacher makes a pass at her, suggesting that she’ll get an A in his class if she sleeps with him. Instead, she reports him for sexual harassment. Well played, B!
"End of the Curse" (Season 2)
It’s a little unbelievable that Blanche would think she was pregnant, but then, she’s never all that realistic about her age. In another episode about getting older, she discovers that she’s not with child—she’s going through menopause.
"Blanche’s Little Girl" (Season 3)
Blanche talks up her ex-model daughter Rebecca, only to find that Rebecca has put on a substantial amount of weight. But this provides great moments for Blanche, who stands up for her daughter against an awful would-be husband.
"Scared Straight" (Season 4)
And here’s another family member to make Blanche deal with her prejudice. Blanche’s brother Clayton is afraid to tell his sister that he’s gay—and with good reason. It takes some time (including another episode) for Blanche to fully accept it.
"The Accurate Conception" (Season 5)
Rebecca returns with the news that she’s going to have a baby. By artificial insemination, that is. For all her forward-thinking ways, Blanche is in many ways a traditional Southern belle, and she again has to make peace with her daughter’s choices.
"Stand By Your Man" (Season 6)
Blanche picks up a man in a library without realizing that he’s in a wheelchair. Accidentally dating men with disabilities is a recurring theme for her—it happened before with a blind guy. But hey, more character growth for our favorite lusty lady.
"Beauty and the Beast" (Season 7)
Blanche’s granddaughter Melissa comes to visit, and all Blanche can think about is helping her win the Little Miss Beauty contest. Hmm, projecting much? By the end of the series, family member visits were constant, but this was one of the last great ones.
Which Blanche-centric episode of The Golden Girls is your favorite?