This really isn't a fair list. Are there any episodes of The Golden Girls that aren't brilliant, profound, and above all, hilarious? How do you choose the funniest episodes out of the bunch when they're all so good? The show is as funny and relevant today as it was 30 years ago. The writing was always daring and progressive, taking on issues like divorce, depression, LGTBQ rights, and life as a senior citizen.
Was it because it was about a bunch of sweet elderly ladies talking like that, or was there something special about TV in the 1980s that we all forgot about? The characters and casting were close to perfect. It's tough for anyone to pick out their favorite Golden Girl. Every episode had Blanche and her shameless flirting, Dorothy's biting wit, Rose's cryptic wisdom, or Sophia's blunt retorts. As agonizing as it was, here are the ten funniest episodes of The Golden Girls.
10 “A Little Romance” - Season 1, Episode 13
The title is pretty clever, referencing both the main plot of Rose's mystery man and Dorothy's opinion of Blanche's numerous flings. Sophia makes a surprise entrance that contains a precious "time-release" joke that takes us all by surprise. The episode also includes performances from both Brent Collins and Billy Barty. "A Little Romance" concludes with one of the most memorable and funny scenes in Golden Girls history. Blanche tells a story that seems serious at first, about overcoming racial prejudice when she was a teenager in love. Then we find out her prom date was actually a Yankee from New Jersey.
9 “Ladies Of The Evening” - Season 2, Episode 2
The house is being fumigated and our three heroes decide to spend their time hanging out with superstar Burt Reynolds at a swanky after-party to bide their time. Sophia wants to go, but there are only three tickets, and the girls tease Sophia about it at their peril. While on their way, they are swept up in a prostitution sting and end up in prison.
A typical wacky plotline, this story provides some laughs along with some serious undertones, since really going to prison wouldn't really be funny. A fan favorite, footage from this episode was used in a later season finale. The Burt Reynolds craze was very much a product of the time and is lampooned in a way that makes it timeless including a stellar cameo, in which Sophia gets her revenge.
8 "Old Friends" - Season 3, Episode 1
The main plot is both funny and heartbreakingly sad. It's a Sophia episode and she always buried her younger counterparts when she let loose. "Old Friends" has an equally hilarious sub-plot that revolves around Rose, a vindictive Sunshine Cadet played by Jenny Lewis, and a teddy bear held hostage. Sophia makes a friend, and it eventually becomes apparent that he has Alzheimer's disease and needs to move into a care home.
Even if Sophia could visit him he probably wouldn't remember her. Dorothy and Sophia have a few touching and funny mother-daughter moments, and Estelle Getty's performance earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy. The scene in which Rose gets her bear back should also get an award, as it's one of the most satisfying payoffs you'll ever see.
7 "Isn't It Romantic?” - Season 2, Episode 5
Dorothy's old friend Jean comes to visit, and when she reveals she has romantic feelings for Rose, Dorothy has to explain to her naive housemate that Jean is a lesbian. Sophia thinks this is all hysterical, not that Jean is a lesbian but that anyone could be in love with "Little Miss Muffett," her nickname for Rose.
If you think that's daring for 1980s sitcoms, in the background of this episode we've got Sophia using the new VCR to rent pornography. Yes, that was the actual storyline. How did they get away with that? And why is the thought of Sophia renting explicit videos so funny?
6 "Rites Of Spring" - Season 4, Episode 4
These days, the best way to get a bikini body is to put a bikini on. Dieting was all the rage in the 1980s and 1990s, and in this particular episode Dorothy and Blanche, usually at odds, succumb to the pressure and try to cram in some quick weight loss before a big beach party. Sophia, always the rebel of the group, goes in completely the opposite direction and sets out to gain weight, as she feels like she's lost some and that's not healthy! While Blanche and Dorothy struggle with various plans that hilariously fail, Sophia and Rose keep calm and make cheesecake. An extra funny episode for those that like physical humor and appreciate it when Rose or Sophia come out on top.
5 "'Valentine's Day" - Season 4, Episode 16
The Golden Girls is one of the few shows that has flashback episodes that are actually engaging. They often contain interesting bits of backstory or give us information about the girls in their younger years instead of clips from previous shows. It's Valentine's Day, of course, and everyone's date has been canceled with the exception of Sophia, who claims to have an engagement with singer Julio Iglesias.
The girls recall hijinks from previous Valentine's Days, with Sophia just barely missing the St. Valentine's Day massacre, a clueless Rose booking a vacation at a nude hotel, and Blache giving some wise counsel to a nervous man who wants to propose to his boyfriend. This episode contains the infamous scene where the girls are buying some protection at a drugstore and Dorothy very loudly specifies to Rose the product she thinks they should buy.
4 “Not Another Monday” - Season 5, Episode 7
All of the Sophia episodes are winners, and this is one of the best ones. This time we're using comedy to confront the right to die, and what other character but Sophia would be able to handle that with grace, wisdom, and most importantly, humor? A lifetime friend of Sophia's, Martha, has been living with a painful, chronic illness and has chosen to end her life. The plot thickens when she asks Sophia for help when the time comes, and one of our favorite characters guides us through a serious moral dilemma laced with Sophia's savage wit and blunt humor. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, Dorothy, Blanche and Rose are looking after a baby. Their rendition of an acapella version of Mr. Sandman as a lullaby is hysterical.
3 "Sister Of The Bride" - Season 6, Episode 14
In an era when gay marriage was out of the question as a legal entity and television didn't talk about it, this was another daring episode. Blanche knew her brother was gay, but his lifestyle and the "commitment ceremony" he's planning with his partner make her uncomfortable. She navigates her way through this personal crisis with her friends quipping from the sidelines the whole time.
Sophia owns some of the best and funniest lines in the episode, with Rose as a close second as the sub-plot is about her quest for the Volunteer Vanguard Award. Her reaction to the sudden death of her rival elicits a response that reveals Rose isn't all smiles and sunshine.
2 “The Case Of The Libertine Belle” - Season 7, Episode 2
Almost everyone has participated in an interactive murder mystery, medieval joust or a historic reenactment, and this one comes to life and takes our heroes with it. This was a 1920s murder mystery, complete with the setting, costumes, and gossip. Dorothy is nothing less than fully savage in her comments to Blanche.
This is the episode that contains the famous quote from Blanche, "I'm from the South! Flirting is part of my heritage." This already funny, but when Rose asks for clarification, Dorothy provides a hysterical description. It's too salty a comment to put here but it's one of the funniest lines in the history of television.
1 "One Flew Out Of The Cuckoo's Nest" - Season 7, Episode 26
One of the most bittersweet and best-loved season finales in television history was the last episode of The Golden Girls. This was actually the second part of a special two-part episode that concluded the show. Dorothy meets Lucas, played by Leslie Neilson, who also happens to be Blanche's uncle. It turns out that Blanche has been sending letters to Lucas that describe Dorothy in a negative light. They decide to get back at Blanche by pretending to be in love. Except that they do fall in love. The famous final scene will make you LOL and ugly-cry all at once. Lucas' brief exchange with Sophia contains some classic lines that only Neilson could deliver, "Pussycat, huh? Nobody's called me that since the Navy!" and Rose gets a touching lesson on How to Be a Sophia.