Editor’s Note: This month, we're looking back, and reflecting on how influential films, TV shows, and celebrities changed us — and the impact they've had on our lives and pop culture...
Nothing on television today can compare to the sustaining magic of The Golden Girls. This original "fab four" is the definition and hallmark of what it means to be a friend, family member, and confidant to someone you love.
So, let's take a trip to Miami and sit around our favorite kitchen table! Here are the five episodes of The Golden Girls that had us in tears, up in arms, and loving every minute of this journey called "life."
1. "The Flu"
Season 1, Episode 21
With the Friends of Good Health banquet right around the corner, Sophia (Estelle Getty) helps Dorothy (Bea Arthur) alter a dress to fit her tall, statuesque frame. Rose (Betty White) enters the kitchen with what appears to be a cold. Though Rose swears it's just "allergies," Dorothy and Blanche (Rue McClanahan) try to avoid her like the plague.
Turns out what Rose has is worse. Much worse: Rose has the flu!
The only person who doesn't get sick, of course, is Sophia. As Sophia cares for the girls, she informs them that the host of the banquet sounded "bummed" to hear that they wouldn't be in attendance. Sophia also reveals that it sounded like one of them won the coveted "Best Friend Of Year" award.
That's when things start to get real. No matter how sick they are come Saturday, nobody plans to miss the banquet. Each of our girls feels the award rightfully belongs to them. Emotions run high and true feelings are revealed. Between fights over vaporub and ruthless amounts of orange juice consumption, the claws are definitely out!
In the end, it's little Sophia who wins the award, while the rest of the girls look on from their table, coughing and sneezing. In her acceptance speech, Sophia manages to bring the group back together saying, "I count my blessings every day, because I have the kind of friends who stand by you through the bad and the good. And when you're lucky enough to find that kind of friendship, I guess you want to pass it on."
2. "Have Yourself A Very Little Christmas"
Season 5, Episode 12
Exhausted from Christmas shopping and her use of Black Friday combat tactics, Dorothy suggests her and the girls all put their names in a hat and draw for Christmas gifts. The only problem is nobody wants whatever Rose will give.
Rose objects to this idea, feeling it dilutes the spirit of Christmas she finds in shopping sprees. Ultimately, Rose gives in to the idea, only because she's going to volunteer at church to serve Christmas dinner. When Rose gets Blanche's name, she gleefully lets it be known that, come Christmas, "Someone in this room's going to know how to yodel!" To Blanche's surprise, Christmas comes and Rose gets her a gold blouse because Dorothy told her to get Blanche something "crotchless."
With all the girls fully satisfied with their gifts, they decide to join Rose in serving Christmas dinner. Here, Dorothy finds her ex-husband, Stan (Herb Edelman) dressed as Santa Claus amongst the needy! Dorothy pulls Stan aside and questions him, learning that Stan's current marriage is on the rocks and his last business venture soured.
With Stan still on her mind, Dorothy gives him money to get him through the next few days. Stan takes the money and returns with his Santa sack full of gifts for the kids spending Christmas in the cafeteria. He also uses the money Dorothy gave him to buy his current wife flowers. Stan's generosity towards the kids reminds the girls, and all of us, of what the Christmas spirit is really is about.
3. "Not Another Monday"
Season 5, Episode 7
When Sophia gets a call from her friend Martha (Geraldine Fitzgerald) asking her to be present while she commits suicide, the girls refuse to let Sophia go through with Martha's request! Sophia insists on showing up for Martha, telling the girls they haven't lived long enough to know what they're talking about. Although Sophia doesn't truly know what to do about the situation, she plans to show up for her friend no matter what.
Upon her arrival, Martha shows Sophia a 10-karat diamond ring she just bought on credit. She lets Sophia know that the ring will be hers once she passes, as a gift for her kindness. Sophia starts to get antsy and stalls Martha, who is more than ready to swallow a bottle of pills!
When Martha reveals she doesn't see a point to her life because, unlike Sophia, she doesn't have friends and family to go home to and see everyday, Sophia blurts out, "You wanted me to be here for your death. How about letting me be here for your life." Realizing Sophia was only a phone call away, Martha hugs Sophia and both women agree to show up for each other in times of need.
4. "Brother, Can You Spare That Jacket?"
Season 4, Episode 8
When Dorothy wins $10,000 on a scratcher, the girls are excited to know that their lives just got a bit sweeter. That is, until Sophia unknowingly places Blanche's jacket — which contains the winning scratcher — into the box of donations! This leads the girls on a wild goose chase, landing them in a homeless shelter beneath a church.
The girls decide to spend the night in the homeless shelter. They believe doing so will buy them enough time to spot the jacket, get the winning ticket, and be gone by morning. What they find during their stay, however, is more than they bargained for.
As each of our ladies sleep on their own cots, they being to get to know the lives of their cot-mates and what it means to be homeless. The man laying next to Rose is "aged-out" of where he works and nobody wants to take the time to teach him. The young man laying next to Blanche — who has a Ph.D. — couldn't keep up with the expectations placed upon him.
But it is Sophia's cot-mate who drives the point home. She finds her friend Ida Perkins in the shelter, who's been kicked out of her retirement home for not being unable to keep up with the costs of living. The following morning, after locating the winning ticket, the girls do what's right: They give the ticket over to the priest running the shelter, so that the church can continue helping people like the ones they've come to know that night.
5. "Clinton Avenue Memoirs"
Season 5, Episode 16
Dorothy celebrates her parents' marriage by going on an annual dinner with her mother, Sophia. When Sophia forgets about this special occasion, Dorthy is concerned. She probes deeper, realizing her mother is forgetting things. In fact, Sophia insists that Sal (her late husband) carved "Sal loves Sophia" inside of a heart on the kitchen wall of their Brooklyn home. Dorothy sadly reminds her mother that the kitchen wall was marked by the heights of the children and not by a heart.
Sophia refuses to give into Dorothy's certainty and is determined to prove her wrong. So, Sophia books a trip to Brooklyn — using Dorothy's money, of course — and the two them head off to the apartment where their lives began. Once at the apartment, Sophia can't believe she was wrong about the markings. Her kids' heights were marked in the kitchen, and the "Sal Loves Sophia" etching is nowhere to be seen.
Sophia head up to her old bedroom, where Sal's spirit appears to her and she confesses aging isn't easy. When the current occupant of the apartment comes into the bedroom and opens the closet door, Sophia sees the heart etching on the inside panel. Overjoyed, Sophia realizes that she may be fading, but she's still managed to hold onto the big things.
Do you love the Golden Girls? What are some of your favorite episodes? Are you a Rose, Blanche, Dorothy, or Sophia? Sound off in the comments below!
You can catch episodes of The Golden Girls on Hulu wherever, whenever!