epguides.com presents

The Golden Girls

an Episode Guide
by Russell Wodell

Last updated:
Fri, 21 Apr 2006 06:00

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aired from: Sep 1985 to: May 1992 180 eps NBC 30 min stereo closed captioned


  • Beatrice Arthur as Dorothy Zbornak
  • Rue McClanahan as Blanche Devereaux
  • Betty White as Rose Nylund
  • Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo, Dorothy's mother

    recurring characters:

  • Herbert Edelman as Stan Zbornak, Dorothy's ex-husband
  • Harold Gould as Miles Webber, Rose's boyfriend
  • Bill Dana as Uncle Angelo, Sophia's brother
  • Debra Engle as Rebecca, Blanche's daughter
  • Sid Melton as Salvador, Sophia's husband and Dorothy's father, seen in flashbacks
  • Lyn Greene as Young Dorothy, seen in flashbacks
  • Richard Mulligan as Dr. Harry Weston (as his character from Empty Nest) [ season 4+ ]

    A series about 4 older women living together. The theme song for the series was "Thank You for Being a Friend," lyrics by Andrew Gold, music by George Aliceson Tipton and was sung by Cynthia Fee.

    An anthology of ten scripts from the series was published as The Golden Girls Created by: Susan Harris, With an introduction and commentary by John Marriott (London, Boxtree, 1991, 237 pp.). Included are the scripts: "Job Hunting," "Transplant," "Blanche and the Younger Man," "Love Under the Big Top," "Not Another Monday," Comedy of Errors," "Have Yourself a Very Little Christmas," "Like the Beep Beep Beep of the Tom Tom," "72 Hours," and "Cheaters". To my knowledge this volume has not been published in North America (I found my copy in a bookstore in Utrecht during a holiday in the Netherlands). The episodes selected emphasize the issue-oriented side of the show and are not necessarily the funniest.

    Following Bea Arthur's departure, the series was revamped into the unsuccessful The Golden Palace. The Golden Girls was so popular in Britain (including a Royal command performance for the Queen Mother) that a British version was prepared as The Brighton Belles a ten episode series that ran in 1993.

    Occasionally characters from the spin-off series Empty Nest appear from time to time as the next door neighbors the Westons. Following the cancellation of the series and its sequel, Estelle Getty became a regular cast member of Empty Nest as her character Sophia.

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      1st Season 1985

      Production credits:
      A Witt Thomas Harris Production
      Executive producers: Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas
      Produced by: Kathy Speer, Terry Grossman
      Co-produced by: Marsha Posner Williams
      Created by: Susan Harris
      Supervising producer: Paul Bogart
      Executive story consultant: Winifred Hervey
      Executive script consultants: Mort Nathan, Barry Fanaro
      Creative consultant: Liz Sage
      Associate directors: Jon Sharp, Gary Shimokawa, Doug Smart
      Editorial assistant: Lex Passaris

    1. "Pilot"
      gs: Charles Levin [ Coco ], Frank Aletter [ Harry ], F. William Parker [ Minister ], Meshach Taylor [ Cop ]

      Blanche has been dating a wonderful man named Harry, whom the others suspect is about to propose to her. Their suspicions are confirmed when Blanche comes home from a date with Harry, all aflutter with marriage plans. Rose and Dorothy realize that Blanche's forthcoming union will mean a change of address for them. The day of the wedding dawns and Rose has a sinking feeling about Harry, but Dorothy prevents her from telling Blanche. While they wait for Harry to arrive for the nuptials, a policeman arrives to tell Blanche she has become involved with a bigamist. Blanche reels into a deep depression, but her friends' attempts to cheer her up make her realize she will be hard-pressed to find the love and support from someone else that she has found with her friends.

      b: 14 Sep 85 pc: 001 w: Susan Harris d: Jay Sandrich

      NOTE: This episode establishes the "post-feminist" premise of the series: despite their sexual and romantic yearnings for men, the four women really find support only in the solidarity of the family they construct for themselves. The swift elimination of the character of the gay houseboy Coco following the pilot caused some criticism at the time, but in retrospect it seems a wise decision to have made the household exclusively female.
    2. "Guess Who's Coming to the Wedding?"
      gs: Lisa Jane Persky [ Kate ], Dennis Drake [ Dennis ], Kurt Smildsin [ Priest ]

      rc: Stan

      Another planned marriage gives Dorothy a rare opportunity for revenge. When daughter Kate decides to marry a podiatrist, Dorothy is forced to invite her despised ex-husband Stan. Their reunion threatens to cast a pall over wedding festivities, as Rose, Blanche and Sophia struggle to keep Dorothy's emotions in check. In a moment of 'heart to heart,' Dorothy warms Kate's cold feet with some sound advice about love and marriage, and the hitch goes off without a hitch. As the newlyweds take their leave, Dorothy ushers Stan to the lanai to vent her spleen to 'the man she used to love.'

      b: 21 Sep 85 pc: 004 w: Winifred Hervey d: Paul Bogart

      NOTE: This episode introduces the recurring character of Stan, who, as the only surviving ex-spouse of the household (the other three women are widows) must serve as a one-man punching bag for the series, combining every possible male character flaw into one extremely disagreeable personality. It is a credit to the acting skills of Edelman and Arthur that they managed to make it credible that Dorothy could ever have stayed in the same room with such a louse; the later seasons of the series grudgingly allowed Stan a modicum of dignity and decency.
    3. "Rose the Prude"
      gs: Harold Gould [ Arnie ]

      Rose has qualms about sharing her stateroom on an upcoming cruise to the Bahamas with a man she likes. Arnie's warm personality ultimately calms her fears, and Rose enjoys her "maiden" voyage back into the world of love. Back on shore, a game of gin serves as a catalyst for Dorothy and Sophia to come to a new mutual understanding.

      b: 28 Sep 85 pc: 006 w: Barry Fanaro & Mort Nathan d: Jim Drake

      NOTE: The chemistry between Betty White and guest star Gould was so successful that he soon returns to the series in the recurring role of Rose's somewhat mysterious boyfriend Miles Webber.
    4. "Transplant"
      gs: Sheree North [ Virginia ]

      Blanche is dreading a visit from her hated sister Virginia, who always took everything that meant anything to Blanche. Virginia refuses to rise to the bait of Blanche's anger and insults, but admits that she now wants something else: a kidney. She will die if she does not receive a transplant, and their older sister's kidneys are fused. Meanwhile, Blanche is upset that Dorothy has agreed to baby-sit for a friend whose husband is in the hospital; and only adjusts to the presence of the baby just as he returns to his parents.

      b: 5 Oct 85 pc: 005 w: Susan Harris d: Paul Bogart

      NOTE: Script published in anthology The Golden Girls.
    5. "The Triangle"
      gs: Peter Hansen [ Dr. Elliot Clayton ]

      The doctor who comes to treat Sophia's high blood pressure captivates both Dorothy and Blanche, and for once Dorothy beats out Blanche and dates "the most attractive man to hit Florida since Mr. John Forsythe played Hamlet at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre." Blanche is jealous until Dr. Clayton makes an unmistakable pass at her while still dating Dorothy. Blanche confides in Rose, who urges her to tell Dorothy the truth, but when Dorothy accuses Blanche of lying, Blanche tells Dorothy to move out. Rose saves the day by forcing the doctor to come clean about his behavior.

      b: 19 Oct 85 pc: 009 w: Winifred Hervey d: Jim Drake
    6. "On Golden Girls"
      gs: Billy Jacoby [ David ], John Hostetter [ Policeman ], Karl Wiedergott [ Boy #1 ]

      A visit from Blanche's undisciplined 14-year-old grandson David, whose parents are on a second honeymoon in an attempt to patch up their shaky marriage, gives new meaning to the term "generation gap." A bit of hard love in the form of household chores helps David discover a new sense of self-worth, but the plan backfires when the boy announces he wants to live in Florida with his grandmother.

      b: 26 Oct 85 pc: 007 w: Liz Sage d: Jim Drake
    7. "The Competition"
      gs: Ralph Manza [ Augustine Bagatelli ]

      It's Sophia and Rose vs. Dorothy and Blanche in a bowling tournament. The bet: if Sophia's team wins, Dorothy will lend her airfare for a trip to Sicily with her old beau Augustine. Dorothy deliberately blows an easy spare to allow Sophia to win, and is rewarded with Sophia's pair of silver earrings she has always coveted.

      b: 2 Nov 85 pc: 010 w: Mort Nathan & Barry Fanaro d: Jim Drake
    8. "Break-in"
      gs: Christian Clemenson [ Salesman ], Robert Rothwell [ Lester ]

      Terrified by a burglary, the girls explore means to protect themselves, including a dog, an alarm system, Mace and a gun. But Rose becomes convinced she will never be safe again, and a trip to a psychiatrist doesn't seem to help -- until Rose defends herself successfully against a parking attendant.

      b: 9 Nov 85 pc: 003 w: Susan Harris d: Paul Bogart
    9. "Blanche and the Younger Man"
      gs: Jeanette Nolan [ Alma Linstrum ], Charles Hill [ Dirk ]

      Blanche dates her very much younger aerobics instructor and gets a new lease on youth -- until the man confesses that he is attracted to her because she reminds him of her mother. Meanwhile, Rose overprotects her visiting mother Alma, whose fitness actually puts the other women to shame.

      b: 16 Nov 85 pc: 011 w: Stan Zimmerman & James Berg d: Jim Drake

      NOTE: Script published in anthology The Golden Girls.
    10. "Heart Attack"
      gs: Ronald Hunter [ Dr. Harris ]

      After a party Sophia suffers an apparent heart attack, complaining of "Pavarotti sitting on my chest," and the girls nervously await paramedics who are delayed by a storm. Convinced she is dying, Sophia imparts her last words of wisdom to a devastated Dorothy; but it turns out to be merely a gall bladder attack brought on by overeating.

      b: 23 Nov 85 pc: 013 w: Susan Harris d: Paul Bogart
    11. "The Return of Dorothy's Ex"
      gs: Simone Griffith [ Chrissy ]

      rc: Stan

      Sophia is upset to hear that Dorothy, Blanche and Rose are planning a vacation together without her. Meanwhile, Dorothy's ex Stan appears unexpectedly to ask her to sign papers regarding the land they bought together on their honeymoon -- and winds spends the night with Dorothy. Then he confesses that his wife Chrissy has left him for a younger man and he wants a reconciliation with Dorothy. When Chrissy appears to say that her new boyfriend has dumped her, Stan rejects her until Dorothy tells him she is happier without him; Stan immediately chases after Chrissy because "terrific sex is better than nothing."

      b: 30 Nov 85 pc: 012 w: Kathy Speer & Terry Grossman d: Jim Drake

      NOTE: This episode is referred to in syndication simply as "Stan's Return." The change may indicate that the producers had not decided on Stan as a recurring character this early in the series.
    12. "The Custody Battle"
      gs: Doris Belack [ Gloria ]

      Dorothy's wealthy kid sister Gloria arrives with a proposal that's hard to refuse: she wants Sophia to live with her in California. The resulting battle rages only until both women realize that Sophia has privately told each of them that she is her favorite child, and the two reconcile when Gloria admits that Sophia is happiest where she is. Meanwhile, both Blanche and Rose audition for an amateur production of Macbeth, and Blanche is humiliated by being offered the role of "Witch Number Three".

      b: 7 Dec 85 pc: 014 w: Winifred Hervey d: Terry Hughes
    13. "A Little Romance"
      gs: Brent Collins [ Dr. Jonathan Newman ], Billy Barty [ Edgar ], Tony Carreiro [ Waiter ], Jeanne Dixon [ Herself ]

      Rose's large interest in a very small man is completely reciprocated, so her only hang-up is more a difference in altitude than attitude. When she becomes convinced that he is about to propose, the other girls are aghast; but Rose is let down easy when her beau tells her that he could never consider marrying her for religious reasons.

      b: 14 Dec 85 pc: 015 w: Barry Fanaro & Mort Nathan d: Terry Hughes

      NOTE: *Emmy Award, 1985-86, Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series.
    14. "That Was No Lady"
      gs: Alex Rocco [ Glen ]

      Dorothy falls for Glen, a handsome gym teacher at her school, then discovers he is married; and horrifies the others and herself by pursuing the relationship regardless. Meanwhile, Blanche persuades Rose to buy her old clunker of a car on a two-week trial basis; then the car is stolen, and Blanche is horrified until Sophia points that she will get full blue book value from the insurance company. Dorothy finally realizes she is not "chick on the side" material and dumps Glen, so Blanche offers to cheer her up with a spin in her new car.

      b: 21 Dec 85 pc: 008 w: Liz Sage d: Jim Drake
    15. "In a Bed of Rose's"
      gs: Priscilla Morrill [ Lucille ], Richard Roat [ Al ]

      Rose's bed is no bed of roses for Al, the man she spends the night with: he's dead of an apparent heart attack when she wakes up in the morning. Since her late husband also died after sex, this convinces her that she has the "kiss of death" and must remain celibate forever. Things only get worse when she call Al's sister to inform her of his death and learns that the woman was actually his wife.

      b: 11 Jan 86 pc: 016 w: Susan Harris d: Terry Hughes
    16. "The Truth Will Out (a.k.a. The Will)"
      gs: Bridgette Andersen [ Charley ], Christina Belford [ Kirsten ]

      Rose is strangely apprehensive about a visit from her daughter Kirsten and granddaughter Charley to discuss her will -- which turns out to be strangely modest, given that Kirsten believes her father left her a wealthy widow. Accused of frittering away the estate, Rose is forced to confess that she always greatly exaggerated the amount of money that her insurance agent husband Charlie made -- but there is enough for Rose and Kirsten to treat grandmother Charley to a nice lunch.

      b: 18 Jan 86 pc: 017 w: Susan Beavers d: Terry Hughes
    17. "Nice and Easy"
      gs: Hallie Todd [ Lucy ], Ken Stovizt [ Ed ]

      When it comes to dating, Blanche runs a poor second to her visiting niece Lucy, who's out with a new man all night every night: a doctor she met on the plane, a college interviewer who flies her to the Bahamas, and a trendy vice squad cop. When Blanche calls Lucy on her behavior, the young woman counters that Blanche is not exactly a saint herself.

      b: 1 Feb 86 pc: 018 w: Stuart Silverman d: Terry Hughes
    18. "The Operation"
      gs: Anne Haney [ Bonnie ], Robert Picardo [ Dr. Revell ], Bill Quinn [ Priest ], Belita Moreno [ Sister ]

      Dorothy is having trouble facing minor surgery to her foot after a tap-dancing injury trying to do a "six-count Cincinnati riff with a double pull-back.". She finally cracks and sneaks home, but is persuaded to return to the operating room -- and is treated to some recovery entertainment from her tapping housemates.

      b: 8 Feb 86 pc: 019 w: Winifred Hervey d: Terry Hughes

      NOTE: Guest Picardo would later become famous playing another doctor on Star Trek: Voyager Some sources do not credit guest Moreno, whose part may have been cut in syndication.
    19. "Second Motherhood"
      gs: Kevin McCarthy [ Richard ], Alan Blumenfeld [ Lou ], Terry Wills [ Plumber ]

      Blanche is romanced by millionaire suitor Richard, but is uncertain about becoming a second mother to his young children. Meanwhile, Rose and Dorothy do battle with the bathroom plumbing -- and with chauvinistic plumbers.

      b: 15 Feb 86 pc: 020 w: Christopher Lloyd d: Gary Shimokawa
    20. "Adult Education"
      gs: Jerry Hardin [ Prof. Cooper ], James Staley [ Dean Tucker ]

      Blanche fails her psychology midterm and asks her professor for help, and is shocked when he offers her an unorthodox way of passing his course; Dorothy tries everything to get tickets to a sold-out Sinatra concert.

      b: 22 Feb 86 pc: 021 w: James Berg & Stan Zimmerman d: Jack Shea
    21. "Flu Attack (a.k.a. The Flu)"
      gs: Sharon Spelman [ Dr. Richmond ], Bill Cort [ Dave ], Ray Reinhardt [ Harold ], Marc Tubert [ Raoul ], Tony Carreiro [ Tommy Cochran ], Dom Irrera [ Waiter ], Silvana Gallardo [ Emcee ]

      Dorothy, Blanche and Rose vie to receive an award at the annual charity banquet for "best Friends of the Friends of Good Health," but all except Sophia come down with influenza just before the big night -- at which there is a big surprise: the winner is Sophia. "Who knew an old lady with a tin cup could bring in so much money!"

      b: 1 Mar 86 pc: 023 w: James Berg & Stan Zimmerman d: Terry Hughes
    22. "Job Hunting"
      gs: Richard Venture [ Milton ]

      Rose loses her job when the grief counseling center closes -- but not her clients, who drive the others crazy by calling at all hours while Rose searches for new employment, Blanche diets, and Dorothy prepares to meet her old high school crush Barry Glick.

      b: 8 Mar 86 pc: 002 w: Kathy Speer & Terry Grossman d: Paul Bogart

      NOTE: Script published in anthology The Golden Girls.
    23. "Blind Ambitions"
      gs: Polly Holliday [ Lilly ], Donna LaBrie [ Stewardess ], Annie Abbott [ Woman #1 ], Bill Graton [ Man #2 ], Stuart Fratkin [ Man #3 ]

      Rose's visiting sister Lilly, having been independent all her life, can't accept the fact that now she's blind and needs help -- until a kitchen fire shows her that there are limits to anyone's independence. Meanwhile, Lilly inspires the roommates to hold a garage sale in order to earn enough money for a new television, but they only learn how attached they are to their respective possessions.

      b: 29 Mar 86 pc: 024 w: R.J. Colleary d: Terry Hughes
    24. "Big Daddy"
      gs: Murray Hamilton [ Big Daddy ], Gordon Jump [ Leonard Barton ], Peggy Pope [ Gladys Barton ], Gary Grubbs [ Waiter ], Tony Frank [ Cowboy #1 ], Blake Emmons [ Cowboy #2 ]

      Blanche is thunderstruck to learn that her father has sold everything he owns to launch a career as a country singer at a local cantina -- particularly when the housemates discover that his act is so terrible the club cancelled his booking.

      b: 3 May 86 pc: 022 w: Barry Fanaro & Mort Nathan d: Terry Hughes
    25. "The Way We Met"
      gs: Shirley Prestia [ Mme. Zelda ], Edan Cross [ Boy ], Dom Irrera [ Produce Clerk ]

      Blanche recalls how Rose and Dorothy came to be her housemates after she posted a notice in the local supermarket, and how they came to be friends despite their disparate personalities and initial difficulties, mainly through a mutual love of cheesecake.

      b: 10 May 86 pc: 025 w: Kathy Speer, Terry Grossman, Winifred Hervey, Mort Nathan, Barry Fanaro d: Terry Hughes

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