The show ran for seven seasons and each week, viewers would tune in to laugh along with the four friends of a certain age as they shared a house and their lives. Over the course of the show, the friends navigated life, love, and aging, and endured endless stories about Sophia’s life back in Sicily, Rose’s childhood in St. Olaf, Blanche’s many, many suitors, and Dorothy’s zingers.
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There’s just one problem with having so many great episodes to choose from— it can be hard to know where to start. While you can’t go terribly wrong while choosing an episode—they’re all good–here are ten of the best episodes of the Golden Girls:
“It’s A Miserable Life”
Season 2, episode 4
The women band together to save an old oak tree, but the tree sits on the property of a very spiteful woman. In the heat of the debate, Blanche ends up telling her to drop dead—and she does! The roommates comes to realize that the angry woman was extremely lonely, with no family or friends, they decide to throw a funeral for her. It’s one of the laugh ‘til you cry episodes that the show did so well.
“The Case of the Libertine Belle”
Season 7, episode 2
When the women go to a murder-mystery weekend they end up getting caught in a murder mystery of their own with Blanche as the prime suspect. Not only are there matters of life and death involved, but the episode features the classic line from Blanche, “I'm from the South. Flirting is part of my heritage.”
“Isn't It Romantic?”
Season 2, episode 5
Dorothy’s friend Jean comes to Miami and reveals to Dorothy that she’s a lesbian and develops a crush on Rose, which was a bold development for primetime television in the 1980s. While Sophia shrugged off the reveal (“Unless a lesbian sheds,” of course) the seemingly wordly Blanche found herself stymied by the word “lesbian” causing Dorothy to explain, “Not Lebanese, Blanche, Lesbian.”
“Ladies of the Evening”
Season 2, episode 2
Back in 1986, Burt Reynolds was a big deal, so Dorothy, Blanche, and Rose were very excited to go to his movie premiere. Their glamourous night on the town was derailed, though, when they stopped at a bar and were mistakenly arrested for being prostitutes. As Sophia said, “I can't believe these dumb cops would think people would wanna pay money to sleep with you!” Their time behind bars produced one of the funniest episodes of the show.
“Yes, We Have No Havanas”
Season 4, episode 1
The show’s fourth season started with Blanche and Sophia dating the same man, a Cuban cigar mogul. Their rivalry lead to some of the show’s fiercest insults with both Blanche and Sophia letting loose with a torrent of ill will. Plus, Rose admits that due to an ill-timed bout of mono, she never graduated from high school and Dorothy helps her out acting a sweet counter-note to the war of words.
“Henny Penny, Straight, No Chaser”
Season 6, episode 26
When the entire cast of the school play goes down with measles, Dorothy begs Rose, Blanche and Sophia for help mounting the play. The result is a patently ridiculous rescue mission with the roommates dutifully playing parts in the school production dressed as singing birds. Blanche was cast as Goosey Loosey, “one of the most popular birds in the barnyard,” according to Sophia. “The most popular,” Blanche corrected. It goes downhill from there.
Season 1, episode 21
Dorothy, Rose, and Blanche are all in the running to be Volunteer of the Year and competition leads to tension. To make matters worse, disaster strikes and Dorothy, Rose, and Blanche all get the flu at the same time, which means they have to spend time on the couch being miserable—and making each other miserable—together.
“Not Another Monday”
Season 5, episode 7
While the Golden Girls was certainly a comedy, they did not shy away from serious topics. The writers had the uncanny ability to make funny episodes about dark topics, including this episode that touched on assisted suicide. This poignant episode followed Sophia as she coped with her friend’s choice to end her life on her own terms. It sounds depressing, but in the hands of the talented writers, it ended up being funny, smart, and meaningful.
“A Little Romance”
Season 1, episode 13
Rose has met a new love, a doctor named Jonathan Newman, and they are getting pretty serious about their relationship. When she introduces her new boyfriend to Blanche, Dorothy, and Sophia, though, she fails to mention that he’s a little person, leading to some awkward moments and social faux pas, real or imagined, like when Blanche offered Dr. Newman shrimp and died in embarrassment. This episode is also rumored to be Betty White's favorite episode of The Golden Girls.
“One Flew Out of the Cuckoo's Nest”
Season 7, episode 23
As fitting for such a beloved show, the two-part series finale was equally heartwarming and heartbreaking. The show ended with Dorothy and (weirdly) Blanche’s uncle Lucas (played by Leslie Nielsen of Airplane! and The Naked Gun fame), are set up on a date and decide to seek revenge on Blanche by pretending to get engaged. The joke’s on them, though, as they really fell in love and decide to not waste any time. Dorothy marries Lucas, leaving behind her beloved roommates, promising they will always be sisters. Her mother isn’t so lucky, though, with Dorothy telling Sophia, “You’re a furry little gnome and we feed you too much!”
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