Tomorrow night, you must watch HBO’s Grey Gardens, if for no other reason than to see the divine Drew Barrymore (pictured with the equally divine Jessica Lange) do Little Edie Beale’s famous “best costume for the day” monologue. For posterity, here’s the speech – where the eccentric Little Edie earnestly reveals her scattered thoughts on clothing and costuming – reproduced in all its glory:
“This is the best thing to wear for the day. You understand. Because I don’t like women in skirts, and the best thing is to wear pantyhose or some pants under a short skirt, I think. Then you have the pants under the skirt, and then you pull the stockings up over the pants underneath the skirt. And you can always take the skirt off and use it as a cape, so I think this is the best costume for the day. [Laughs.] I have to think these things up, you know? Mother wanted me to come out in a kimono, so we had quite a fight.”
Love. Especially when she says you can “always take the skirt off and use it as a cape.” You honestly can’t script that kind of moment!
To prep for your Saturday night viewing of Grey Gardens, however, it’d be good you knew a little bit more about the history of the entire phenomenon. So, if you’ve got the time, use this as a primer:
1. Watch the original 1975 documentary, Grey Gardens. Just rent it. You’ll be astonished when you tune in tomorrow night and see that none of this wackiness about Edith Beale and her daughter, Little Edie – who were real-life relatives of Jackie O. – is exaggerated. Oh, and if you really have some extra time on your hands, catch the follow-up, The Beales of Grey Gardens, which is essentially outtakes from the documentary.
2. Know that the first adaptation of Grey Gardens was by no means this HBO film. It was adapted for Broadway in the fall of 2006 – and it won three Tony Awards in 2007. Read EW’s stage review of the show, and then watch Christine Ebersole singing as Little Edie at the Tony Awards here:
3. If you’re more the reader type, try paging through this exhaustive 1972 New York Magazine article about the Beales. The detail in the reporting is astounding and there won’t be a thing about the ladies you don’t know.
4. Enjoy this behind-the-scenes featurette of the making of the film from HBO. It’s just fun to hear Lange and Barrymore wildly wax on about this mother-daughter love story.
More on ‘Grey Gardens’ from EW:
Jessica Lange & Drew Barrymore Q&A
HBO greenlights ‘Grey Gardens’ movie
‘Grey Gardens’ trailer: The best thing for you to click on today, you understand
‘Grey Gardens’ documentary movie review
‘The Beales of Grey Gardens’ documentary movie review
‘Grey Gardens’ stage review