The Artist is another fine installment from Season 3 of The Golden Girls. Christopher Lloyd penned this one. By this time, it was pretty clear which episode was a Lloyd versus which was a Fanaro/Nathan versus which was a Hervey versus which was a Speer/Grossman.
Lloyd's episodes were usually fairly simply toned but involved quirky storylines. This one is no different, with the "artist" plot dominating this episode. The artist and the girls' behaviors when around the artist are the quirky aspects of this episode. The result is good-natured, light fare.
Furthermore, there were moments of comedic brilliance inundating the episode. When Sophia learns of the three girls posing nude for Laszlo's sculpture, she retorts: "In the future, a simple 'None of your business, Sophia' will suffice!" Dorothy's revelation that she has also been posing nude for Laszlo was a brilliant comedic moment (Bea Arthur's face of the confident "gotcha" as she holds out her key in arrogant elegance is unforgettable).
Another great moment occurs when the three of them confront Laszlo about which one he will choose for his sculpture. When Laszlo says he has not decided, Blanche goes to great lengths to encourage him to choose her. Her last remark involving a violin was a perfect touch to the scene.
A Christopher Lloyd episode is centered on punch lines, whether oral or physical. Take, for example, Sophia's entrance in the opening sequence of the episode. When Dorothy asks how Bingo went, Sophia responds with silence and the opening of her jacket. That would be funnier than any worded response she could give.
Or take Sophia's attempts to pull practical jokes on Dorothy. She has the bottle of peanut brittle, the kaleidoscope -- but neither of these obvious tricks fool Dorothy -- it's the whoopy cushion. Sometimes the better punch line is physical than anything spoken.
And Lloyd further capitalizes on this comedic effect. When Dorothy, Rose, and Blanche discuss what to do about Laszlo's sculpture, Dorothy subtlely picks up the can of peanut brittle -- and, of course, the snakes come rushing out. Perfect.
Lloyd was a master of sensual comedy as much as he was of spoken comedy, and this episode is emphasized by this compatibility. As the scultpure is unveiled, for example, the girls walk around it celebrating their independent "victories" of being chosen. As Laszlo reveals that the sculpture is actually of all three of them, Blanche finally gets the nerve to ask Laszlo out. But he turns her down because of his romantic interest. Although his interest has a terrific line: "Looks like we're a hit." The scene is accentuated by the silly look on his face and his quirky walk. Perfect.
The Artist is another great installment from this fine television series. It's the small things that add up to a great half hour.