‘Golden Sisters,’ a few golden moments
Three elderly sisters banter back and forth on this OWN reality series
December 12, 2012
Among the odd genres of clips on sites like YouTube is the reaction video, in which someone is taped while watching a different video, most often one that has gone viral. Since we're usually familiar with what the person is about to experience for the first time, we get a knowing feeling of shared humanity as we see their presumably spontaneous and unfiltered response. Of course, the presence of a camera is going to affect that response.
Three elderly Italian-American sisters who had been posting their conversations on the Web suddenly went viral when they posted a video of themselves watching and commenting on the sex tape that Kim Kardashian made in 2003 with the rapper Ray J. Their raunchy play-by-play, alternately knowing and nonplussed, is hilarious.
Now the sisters have followed Kardashian's path from viral video to reality TV. They're the stars of OWN's "Golden Sisters," the pilot of which is airing this Sunday, Dec. 16, at 10 p.m. Like most reality shows, "Golden Sisters" is in a way a reaction video: The sisters encounter things that are there only to draw a response from them, and they are probably exaggerating their real personalities for the camera.
But their frequently foul-mouthed interactions with one another have enough real sisterly affection and irritation to keep us pleasantly entertained and perhaps to remind us of a grandmother or aunt in our own families. "Golden Sisters" isn’t comedy gold, but it'll do.
The three sisters — Mary, who is 81, and the younger twins, Teresa and Josie — were raised in a large family in the Bronx, N.Y., and have all since moved to Southern California. Josie runs a hair salon; Mary says, "Teresa is a big shot in Hollywood because she discovered Shia LaBeouf."
They say they meet every Wednesday to eat and "answer twits from fans." When the subject of dating comes up, Teresa, who is twice divorced, and Josie, who has been married for more than 50 years, decide they're going to find a man for Mary, who was widowed 10 months before and says she has no interest in someone new.
Most of the rest of the episode is taken up with activity that wouldn't have happened if it weren't destined for public consumption. The women meet a young dating expert named Steve Santagati, who tries to teach Mary how to walk sexily and how to flirt with men in the grocery store.
"What if his wife is around the other aisle?" asks Mary.
"She's gonna say you can have him," says one of the twins.
After the twins sign Mary up on a dating site, she meets a series of prospective dates in a restaurant, with the twins spying from a nearby table. On the way, Teresa suggests they stop to buy condoms.
The dating scenes are quick-cut, perhaps to disguise the fact that nothing very funny happens.
The best moments are when the sisters are needling each other. When the dating conversation turns naughty, Teresa suggests that men might like the fact that Mary has false teeth. "That's stupid talk," says Mary, "because I do have some of my teeth." She and Teresa fight until Mary says that Teresa has "a fat ass" and they both decide that makes them even.
Much of their shtick feels well worn, even if it is new to us. Mary says of her husband, to whom she was married for 61 years, "Jack and I only had one argument — it started the night we got married and it went on until the day he died."
At their age, the sisters are entitled to repeat themselves, and most viewers will forgive them if their banter isn't always sparkling. Whether or not "Golden Sisters" is picked up as a regular series, this short family visit is just right for the holidays.
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