It occurred to me the other day, while thoroughly enjoying the premiere of the CW’s new show “Privileged“* and Anne Archer’s performance as matriarch Laurel Limoges (that name!) that my love for TV’s society dames has not diminished over the years but in fact grown to such a point that I’m considering abandoning my current ambitions to hit finishing school. Alarming to say the least. I’m sure this has something to do with watching too many Myrna Loy movies but it’s too late for me to stop now so no use harping on it.
Instead, I’ve decided to celebrate it. This week I’ll be featuring my five favorite Grand Dames of the small screen. Points have been awarded to each for poise, poison, glamour and charm- after all, what’s the point of being filthy rich if you can’t walk around in killer Chanel, dripping equal parts acid and class? You might disagree or feel inclined to chime in and by all means do, especially if I’ve overlooked your favorite society madame from the last four decades.
Starting off with a bang…
Arrested Development (2003-2006)
It’s hard to find fault with Lucille Bluth. I mean, beyond the boozing, the philandering, pitting her children against each other, forcing them into creepy Mother-Son pageants, the army, rehab etc. When George reveals in the series finale that Lucille is the mastermind behind it all, it comes as little surprise. Jessica Walter is nothing short of ideal in the role. And after seeing her steal every one of her scenes as the squeaky Wilson twins’ boozy, TV-star grandmother on the new 90210, one begins to wonder if she was actually born with that perpetually bemused expression, dry martini glass in hand, servants fleeing at the sight of her.
Watch the reign of terror unfold on Hulu.com, which has every episode of Arrested Development online for your viewing pleasure.
*A worthy successor for those of us still nursing that hole where “Gilmore Girls” used to be. Television Without Pity dismissed it for being “boring” compared to teen shows like Gossip Girl but it’s kind of like comparing your funny, slightly awkward and quirkily off-kilter best friend to Carmen Electra in a school-girl uniform.