Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 28, 2014

Fictional Franchise: Golden Girls Edition

In HOH’s latest edition of Fictional Franchise — fictional characters and the real people who represent them in Congress — we take on “The Golden Girls.”

Because Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sophia share a house, they are all represented by Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Florida’s 27th District. But we felt it was our obligation to the public record to dig deeper and examine their roots as well.

As for the series, the rules go like this: We decide where a fictional character lives and then look up who represents them in the House. (Learn more here.)

See you in St. Olaf …

Blanche’s House
Miami, Fla.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

To say Ros-Lehtinen is excited that our geographic analysis concluded she represents the Golden Girls is an understatement. But it was not an obvious determination: Miami is home to several members, including Democratic Reps. Joe Garcia and Patrick Murphy.

When we reached out to her office seeking comment on the matter, her spokesman relayed Ros-Lehtinen’s favorite quotes from the series:

  • “Rose says, ‘Can I ask a dumb question?’ and Dorothy says, ‘Like no one else’ …”
  • “Blanche says, ‘The teacher says the only way I’ll get an A in his class is if I sleep with him! What shall I do?’ Dorothy says, ‘Get it in writing.’”

Rose Nyland (Betty White)
Original Home: St. Olaf, Minn.
Republican Rep. John Kline

There is no such place as St. Olaf, but there is a St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. Many Golden Girls Internet scholars conclude that Northfield is a stand-in for Rose’s hometown.

Rose’s frequent mentions of her younger days back in St. Olaf are so pervasive that it is often the first thing people ask of students who attend the school.

Still can’t get enough of St. Olaf? There’s a Tumblr for that.

Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan)
Childhood Home: suburban Atlanta, Ga.
Republican Rep. Paul Broun

The best of the Internet obsessive websites say that Blanche grew up on a plantation outside Atlanta called “Twin Oaks.”

Again, there’s no such place. So we looked for veiled locations.

The thing is, thanks to Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, there actually aren’t that many plantations left in the metropolitan area. And of the ones that survived the burning of Atlanta, many are now subdivisions.

We reached out to several sources familiar with the region, including friends who’ve worked at the CNN mothership and somebody we met at the Hay Adams Bar last weekend. All sources pointed us to areas east of Atlanta. One suggested stand-in for Twin Oaks is the Archibald Smith Plantation Home.

“It’s a very Blanche place,” a CNN pal said of the spread. The other source pointed to the Reynolds Plantation.

Sophia Grisanti-Spirelli-Petrillo-Weinstock (Estelle Getty) and Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur)
Original Home: Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Republican Rep. Michael G. Grimm

Sophia is a native of Italy. After she immigrated to the United States, she raised Dorothy in Brooklyn.

“Dorothy could have lived in Bay Ridge, where many Italian immigrants landed when they arrived in the States,” CQ Roll Call in-house New York City geographic expert Emma Dumain said. Incidentally, Bay Ridge is also where Peggy Olson of “Mad Men” grew up around the same time.

“Dorothy’s husband, of Polish heritage, could have lived in Staten Island, home to many Polish immigrants,” she added. “Before the opening of the Verrazano Bridge in the 1960s that connected the two boroughs, Bay Ridge operated a port from which ferries traveled to and from Staten Island.”

And for all of our loyal readers, we just want you to know …

Previous Installments: 

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