Top Ten Most Touching The Golden Girls Moments

It is a truth universally acknowledged that “The Golden Girls” is one of the great shows the history of television has to offer. Okay, I am not an expert, always having been more of a movie than a TV show kind and not being all too familiar with the new found quality apparently found in modern series, but there is no doubt that the stories revolving around Blanche, Dorothy, Sophia and Rose are among the most entertaining things I have seen. Whenever bizarre tales of St. Olaf or Sicily are told while a cheesecake is eaten late at night, you know your time is well spent. Since I bought the complete collection some years ago, I kept on binge watching the series again and again, and let me tell you, it never wears off.

However, the series is not just funny, it is also very well written in its storytelling. The chemistry between the characters and the side stories, such as the complicated relationship between Dorothy and her ex-husband Stan, are handled with great care. At times, the show also touches on serious social issues other series of this era didn’t care for. Euthanasia, homosexuality, HIV, artificial insemination, interracial marriage, migration, age differences in relationships and homelessness are just some of the many topics addressed. Some of them are handled with humor, but the series knows when the tone has to be darker.

It also has many moments that are emotionally intense, and even sad. Sometimes these intertwine with the social issues, sometimes they are used to add depth to a character’s back story. This list is to honor the scenes that touched us the most. A "moment" can range from a one minute sequence to the content of a full episode.

This list contains heavy SPOILERS from individual episodes.
The Top Ten
1 Rose celebrates her birthday all on her own

Episode: A Piece of Cake

In a flashback scene, we see how Rose celebrates her birthday in St. Olaf alone after her husband Charlie's death. It's when she decides to move to Miami where she would meet the other women. During the entire sequence, Rose pretends that Charlie sits next to her and talks to him about her plans. What makes this scene so moving is how it is clearly not set up to be saddening, but in fact has a positive tone of moving on and leaving the past behind, while obviously having a feeling of emptiness.

2 Rose talks to an elderly woman at the train station

Episode: Mother's Day

In a flashback scene, Rose has to wait at a train station for a train to take her to St. Olaf for Mother's Day. Since the train won't arrive for another hour, she starts talking to an elderly woman waiting for the train to take her to her daughter. Although at first annoyed by the St. Olaf stories of Rose, she quickly finds amusement in the bizarre tales, and the two have a lively talk. This is when the woman tells Rose that her daughter is actually dead and that she wants to visit her grave on Mother's Day which has been a special day for the two of them. To make it in time, she ran away from her retirement home. When a police officer discovers her and wants to take her back to the home, Rose pretends the woman is her own mother, helping her to get on the train in time.

3 The Golden Girls sneak into a homeless shelter

Episode: Brother, Can You Spare That Jacket?

In the episode, Sophia accidentally gives a jacket that contains a winning lottery ticket worth 10.000$ to the good will. Of course, the Golden Girls chase after the ticket, and after a series of unfortunate but extremely funny events, they track down the jacket to a homeless shelter, in which they sneak in to steal it back, posing as homeless women themselves. In the shelter, they talk to the people that there. Sophia and Dorothy meet an old woman that was a friend of Sophia's back in the Shady Pines that has no money to pay for a home, Blanche talks to a young man who at first poses as an undercover student working on a thesis but turns out to be an alcohol addict due to nobody wanting to give him a job, and Rose talks to a man about her age who couldn't find a job after having been fired, being too old. In the next morning, after seeing how much worse the other people's circumstances are, they decide to give the lottery ticket to the shelter. This is probably the most political, critical and overall serious episode, as it does not only contain individual sad scenes, but is very depressing in its entire second half without humor to lighten up the situation. It's also the best written episode.

4 Blanche calls her daughter Janet after years

Episode: And Then There Was One

The episode is a thoroughly comical, in which the Golden Girls babysit the children of participants of a marathon (in which Sophia participates as well). However, when all the other kids are already picked up, one baby is left with them, leaving them to assume it was abandoned. The episode is actually a funny one that focuses on the Golden Girls' humorous attempts at caring for the baby, as well as Sophia's exaggerations of her marathon success, the baby makes Blanche reflect on her relationship with her own children, so much that at the end of the episode she decides to call her daughter Janet, with whom she had a troubled relationship, to make up with her. At the beginning, it feels as if it's too late: Janet doesn't seem to be interested in meeting her mother. However, after she states how important it is, she convinces her. This is one of the best acted moments of the show.

5 Sophia's and Alvin's relationship

Episode: Old Friends

In the episode, Sophia befriends an elderly man called Alvin that she meets in the park who is just as big mouthed as her. However, as they meet on a daily basis, she begins to realize he behaves strangely and doesn't quite follow their talks. In the end, it turns out that Alvin suffers from Alzheimer's, and that he'll soon be sent to a home and won't be able to meet Sophia again - which happens at the end of the episode.

6 Blanche doesn't want the house she grew up in to be demolished

Episode: Room Seven

Throughout the entire episode, Blanche desperately tries to prevent the house of her grandmother to be demolished, even going so far as handcuffing herself to it so no one can destroy it. This is so touching because everyone with a sense for childhood memories will remember his own and sympathize with Blanche, who even states to have heard her grandmother's voice in the house. In the end, she can't prevent the inevitable, but at least symbolically keeps wind chimes from the house.

7 Big Daddy dies

Episode: Ebb Tide

Big Daddy is not exactly a memorable character of the show, but it is the entire situation around his death that makes it so hard to handle. Blanche received a call from him, and he asked her to visit him, which she refused as she took part in a pageant the same day. Shortly afterwards, she receives a call that he died. At first she reacts with denial, before feeling horribly guilty for not having been there. Her sisters also criticize her decision, worsening her feelings and leading to her not taking part in the funeral. She later visits his grave, talking to him and apologizing.

8 Martha asks Sophia to assist her with her suicide

Episode: Not Another Monday

Martha, an elderly friend of Sophia, suddenly behaves very happy and seems to enjoy life more than before. Later, Martha tells Sophia why: she plans on ending her life on her own terms, so she doesn't have to suffer the pains that come with aging, and asks Sophia to stay with her during her suicide. In the end, Sophia can convince her to stay alive.

9 Blanche visits her mother on Mother's Day

Episode: Mother's Day

In a flashback scene, Blanche visits her mother in her retirement home on Mother's Day. Obviously, she is very confused, probably suffering from Alzheimer's. Blanche tries to make her relive the memory by telling a story from her youth that is set on Mother's Day, when Blanche was about to marry a man just to upset her mother. Her mother in return acted as if she was okay with the wedding, which made Blanche lose interest in the man and coming back home to her parents. It seems as if she doesn't remember the story, having a puzzled look on her face and confusing her for her sister Virginia. However, in the end it is revealed why she looked so puzzled: she corrects Blanche that this story didn't happen on Mother's Day, but Christmas, revealing she remembers it in every detail.

10 Dorothy leaves the house

Episode: One Flew Out of the Cuckoo's Nest, Part 2

In the final episode of the show, Dorothy leaves the house to marry Blanche's uncle. Enough said, a series finale is always sad for being the end of an era, but it's even sadder when the characters themselves know and acknowledge it's the end of an era, which is the case here.

The Contenders
11 Phil dies

Episode: Ebbtide's Revenge

Throughout much of the series, we hear stories from Sophia's son / Dorothy's brother Phil who is a (heterosexual) crossdresser. Whenever he's mentioned it's for comic purposes, and everyone seems to accept his lifestyle. In Season 6, he dies and is buried in women's clothes. Sophia who seems fairly calm about his death is angry at his widow for reason unknown. In the end it turns out that she hated her because she didn't try to change Phil's crossdressing behavior and liked it. It turns out that Sophia has been feeling extremely guilty for years, not knowing what she had done to make Phil who he was. However, his widow responds: "what he was is a good person.". Sophia ends up in tears.

NOTE: Sophia has been the most progressive of all of the Golden Girls when it comes to LGBTQ problems, having stood up for Blanche's gay brother when he wanted to marry, and having declared she'd love her children just the same if they were gay. It is interesting how she reacts when it comes to the crossdressing. It's a well known conflict that even for the most liberal people it can be difficult if it's their own children involved.

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