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The Golden Girls (season 1)

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The Golden Girls (season 1)

The Golden Girls (season 1)
Season 1 DVD Cover
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 25
Original channel NBC
Original release September 14, 1985 (1985-09-14) – May 10, 1986 (1986-05-10)

The first season of The Golden Girls premiered on NBC on September 14, 1985, and concluded on May 10, 1986. The season consisted of 25 episodes.

Broadcast history

The season originally aired Saturdays at 9:00-9:30 pm (EST) on NBC from September 14, 1985 to May 10, 1986.[1][2]

Awards and Nominations

38th Primetime Emmy Awards

  • Award for Outstanding Comedy Series
  • Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Beatrice Arthur)
  • Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Rue McClanahan)
  • Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Betty White)
  • Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Estelle Getty)
  • Nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (Jim Drake) (Episode: "The Heart Attack")
  • Nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (Terry Hughes) (Episode: "A Little Romance")
  • Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (Barry Fanaro, Mort Nathan) (Episode: "A Little Romance")
  • Nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (Susan Harris) (Episode: "Pilot")

43rd Golden Globe Awards

  • Award for Best Comedy Series
  • Nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy Series (Beatrice Arthur)
  • Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series (Estelle Getty)
  • Nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy Series (Rue McClanahan)
  • Nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy Series (Betty White)

2nd TCA Awards

  • Nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy

Directors Guild of America Award

  • Award for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (Jay Sandrich) (Episode: "Pilot")

DVD release

The Region 1 DVD was released on November 23, 2004. The Region 2 and 4 DVD were respectively released on July 14 and August 17, 2005.


No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 1 "The Engagement" Jay Sandrich Susan Harris September 14, 1985 (1985-09-14)
Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan), an attractive and carefree woman, has been dating a gentleman named Harry. Her roommates, Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur) and Rose Nylund (Betty White), help Blanche make an important decision after Harry proposes; Blanche accepts, and they plan to marry next week, because they think long engagements don't make sense at their age. Both Dorothy and Rose have different views on the engagement – Rose worries about Blanche's future, and Dorothy feels happy. Rose has a bad feeling about Harry, but Dorothy does not let Rose ruin Blanche's happiness. When Harry is thirty minutes late to the wedding, the ladies find out he is a bigamist with six wives. Dorothy reads Blanche a letter that Harry wrote to her, claiming that he really cared about her, and it was different this time. The wedding does not happen, and Blanche has a broken heart and feels like an old fool. Meanwhile, Dorothy's mother, Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) moves into the house after her retirement home, Shady Pines, burns down.
Guest stars: Charles Levin as Coco; Frank Aletter as Harry; F. William Parker as the minister; Meshach Taylor as the cop.
Note: This is the only appearance of Coco, the cook/housekeeper.
This episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Technical Direction/Camera/Video for a Series.
The episode ranked as the highest rated program of the week, bringing in a 25.0/43 rating/share.
2 2 "Guess Who's Coming to the Wedding?" Paul Bogart Winifred Hervey September 21, 1985 (1985-09-21)
Dorothy's daughter, Kate, comes to Miami with an announcement: she's engaged to a doctor named Dennis. Dorothy's happiness dims when her daughter, Kate, asks that her father, Dorothy's ex-husband Stan, be present. Their marriage of thirty-eight years ended when Stan left Dorothy for a stewardess half her age named Chrissy. Dorothy promises not to make a scene at the reception for her daughter's sake, which places Rose and Blanche in the role of peacemakers. Dorothy, after the wedding, tells Stan what she felt after 38 years and when he left her for another woman.
Guest stars: Herbert Edelman as Stan Zbornak; Lisa Jane Persky as Kate; Dennis Drake as Dennis; Kurt Smilden as the priest.
Note: Kate and Dennis would reappear in the second season played by Deena Freeman and Jonathan Perpich respectively.
This is Herbert Edelman's first appearance as Stanley Zbornak.
3 3 "Rose the Prude" Jim Drake Barry Fanaro & Mort Nathan September 28, 1985 (1985-09-28)
Rose agrees to double-date with Blanche and two brothers: Jeffrey and Arnie Peterson. Blanche's date with Jeffrey ends badly, while Rose forms a romantic relationship with her date, Arnie, making him Rose's first boyfriend since Charlie's death. Arnie invites her to accompany him on a cruise, which would involve sharing a stateroom, something Rose is not sure she's ready for. The trip with Arnie is further complicated by a revelation from Rose about Charlie's death, which took place while they were making love. Meanwhile, Dorothy and Sophia have a gin rummy marathon, with Dorothy hoping to end a thirty-year losing streak.
Guest star: Harold Gould as Arnie Peterson.
Note: Harold Gould would reappear in later seasons in the recurring role of Rose's boyfriend Miles Weber.
4 4 "Transplant" Paul Bogart Susan Harris October 5, 1985 (1985-10-05)
Blanche's sister Virginia comes to visit Blanche for the first time in the show. Blanche has suspicions about her sister wanting something. She is surprised by what her sister wants, a kidney. Her sister is dying from renal failure, and a transplant is her best hope for surviving. Blanche is tortured by the decision of whether or not to do it. After deciding to do it, she leaves for Atlanta. She returns the next day, and shares good news with the girls; Virginia found another donor, which was lucky, because Blanche's blood vessels were too small for the operation to have worked.
Guest star: Sheree North as Virginia Hollingsworth.
Note: Sheree North reprised her role as Virginia in Season 5.
5 5 "The Triangle" Jim Drake Winifred Hervey October 19, 1985 (1985-10-19)
An attractive doctor named Elliot Clayton begins dating Dorothy, after they meet during Sophia's house-call appointment, but makes a pass at Blanche later. When Dorothy dismisses Blanche's warning as jealousy, and a hurt Blanche decides to throw Dorothy out of the house, Rose decides it is up to her to save their friendship, by "seducing" Elliot while Dorothy listened from her bedroom.
Guest star: Peter Hansen as Dr. Elliot Clayton.
6 6 "On Golden Girls" Jim Drake Liz Sage October 26, 1985 (1985-10-26)
Dorothy is studying for a French final exam, when Blanche tells everyone that her grandson David is coming to visit, while his parents go on a second honeymoon in Hawaii. David causes trouble by having a party at 2:00am and in general acting like a brat, and after mouthing off to Dorothy, Sophia slaps him, and he runs off to the lanai. Blanche gets angry at Sophia, and goes to comfort David, who reveals that his parents do not pay attention to him. Blanche offers to take in David, but her daughter, Janet, forbids it and says she's paying for him to join them in Hawaii. The girls teach David responsibility by giving him chores, and Dorothy gets an A on her French exam. Before he leaves, Dorothy tells David that he could live with them if it does not work out with his parents.
Guest stars: Billy Jacoby as David; John Hostetter as the policeman; Karl Wiedergott as Boy #1.
Note: In real life, Billy Jacoby is the brother of Scott Jacoby, who played the recurring role of Dorothy's son Michael Zbornak.
7 7 "The Competition" Jim Drake Barry Fanaro & Mort Nathan November 2, 1985 (1985-11-02)
Sophia's ex-fiancee from Sicily, Augustine Bagatelli, arrives in town, and they spend a lot of time with each other throughout the week. Meanwhile, a bowling tournament final is coming up, and Rose dumps Blanche as her partner, and later Dorothy, due to her competitiveness. After her new partner, Sonja Nielsen, makes up with her sister, Olga, who is Blanche's new partner, Rose teams up with Sophia, and Blanche teams up with Dorothy. Augustine asks Sophia to return to Sicily for the San Genero festival, and Dorothy refuses to allow it or pay for Sophia to go. They make a bet, that if Sophia wins, she will pay for her to go, but if she loses, Dorothy gets antique silver earrings of Sophia's. Rose and Sophia antagonize Blanche at the tournament, by wearing "her" bowling outfit, and end up winning, after Dorothy sees her mother and Augustine embracing, and purposely gets a gutter ball. Sophia knows what Dorothy did, and in return, she gives her earrings to Dorothy, saying "she won it fair and square".
Guest star: Ralph Manza as Augustine Bagatelli.
8 8 "Break-In" Paul Bogart Susan Harris November 9, 1985 (1985-11-09)
While the ladies attend a Madonna concert, their house is burglarized. Blanche is relieved when her Chinese vase is found safe, and Dorothy quotes Dirty Harry. Rose is terrified after the burglary, and Dorothy and Blanche are enraged, due to the fact that Dorothy's mink stole and Blanche's jewelry were stolen. Dorothy throws a crooked salesman out of the house, after he encourages them to pay $10,000 for a security system. Rose gets a guard dog, which later runs off when Sophia scares it. Then, Rose buys a revolver, and sits up all night with it, hoping to catch the burglars if they returned. Blanche and her date, Lester, accidentally set off the alarm, and Rose shoots the vase by accident. Dorothy tells Rose that she needs help, but Rose discovers soon after she can defend herself, after a man chased her in a parking garage, and she kneed him in his "safe deposit box". Meanwhile, Blanche helps the police by giving them sketches of her jewelry. The police catch the burglars, and Dorothy gets her stole back, but they do not find Blanche's jewelry. Miraculously, Blanche finds her jewelry while putting champagne in the freezer.
Guest star: Christian Clemenson as salesman.
9 9 "Blanche and The Younger Man" Jim Drake James Berg & Stan Zimmerman November 16, 1985 (1985-11-16)
Sophia is hiding all of the sweets in the house, due to the fact that Rose's mother, Alma, who is coming for a visit, is on a special diet. Blanche is given a ride home by her Jazzercise instructor, Dirk, and he then asks her out. After briefly being scared he was too young for her, she decides to go out with him. Rose's mother arrives, and Rose is overprotective of her. After Sophia and Alma return from a trip to the horse track, Rose warns her mother that she could break her hip again if she is too active. Alma says she's sorry she came, and plans on leaving early for Houston, where one of Rose's brothers lives. Blanche and Dirk go to a French restaurant, and Blanche is desperate to find something they have in common. After he tells her that she reminds him of his mother, who he has not seen in three years, she orders a double-shot of Jack Daniel's on the rocks. Rose apologizes to her mother, and explains that she was being overprotective because she was afraid of her mother's death.
Guest stars: Jeanette Nolan as Alma Lindstrom; Charles Hill as Dirk.
10 10 "The Heart Attack" Jim Drake Susan Harris November 23, 1985 (1985-11-23)
After a successful dinner party featuring Sophia's Sicilian cuisine, Sophia gets a stomachache, which then advances to severe chest pain. She thinks she is having a heart attack. Sophia is convinced that she is dying, and Dorothy must face her fear of becoming an "orphan". Blanche calls Sophia's doctor, Dr. Harris, as well as the paramedics, to come and aid Sophia. Sophia tells Dorothy that she loves her very much, and thanks Blanche and Rose for being good friends and letting her live there with them. Soon after the paramedics call back, saying that they will be late due to downed trees from a windstorm, Dr. Harris arrives. He examines Sophia, and determines that she is having a gallbladder attack from overeating throughout the day.
Guest star: Ronald Hunter as Dr. Harris.
11 11 "The Return of Dorothy's Ex"
"Stan's Return"
Jim Drake Kathy Speer & Terry Grossman November 30, 1985 (1985-11-30)
When Dorothy's ex-husband, Stan, visits to have her sign some legal documents regarding their retirement property in Miami, they end up in bed after Stan tells her that Chrissy, his wife, had left him for a younger man. Dorothy sees this as a fling, while Stan sees it as their reconciliation, possibly even the start of a new marriage. Dorothy goes to Stan's hotel room to tell him she is not getting back together with him, when Chrissy arrives. She begs Stan to come back to her, but he refuses, saying he loves Dorothy too much. After Chrissy throws a drink on them and leaves, Dorothy tells him the bad news. He runs out of the hotel room to grab Chrissy before somebody else does.
Guest stars: Herb Edelman as Stan Zbornak; Simone Griffeth as Chrissy.
12 12 "The Custody Battle" Terry Hughes Winifred Hervey December 7, 1985 (1985-12-07)
Blanche is auditioning for the role of Lady Macbeth in an upcoming spring production of Macbeth. Dorothy's sister, Gloria, has arrived for a visit. Dorothy is hopeful to have a relationship with her sister, and suggests that they share Dorothy's room for the night. While reminiscing about their childhoods, Gloria tells Dorothy that she asked Sophia to live with her in California, and she agreed. Rose comes home, and tells Blanche that she received a minor role, while Rose, who also auditioned, was cast as the lead. Dorothy then tells the girls that Sophia is leaving. Dorothy then tells Gloria that she is already rich, and doesn't need to have Sophia. Gloria reveals that even though she is rich, Dorothy's life seems more important. She also tells Dorothy that she thinks Sophia wants to stay in Miami. Dorothy speaks with Sophia, and gets her to stay.
Guest star: Doris Belack as Gloria. Note: Gloria would be played by Dena Dietrich in Season 7.
13 13 "A Little Romance" Terry Hughes Barry Fanaro & Mort Nathan December 14, 1985 (1985-12-14)
Though Rose has been dating Dr. Jonathan Newman for 3 weeks, she is reluctant to introduce the girls to him. When Blanche invites him over for dinner without consulting Rose first, and they see why: he is a midget. Blanche thinks that Rose hired him to teach her a lesson, and makes a fool of herself, due to her self-consciousness about his height. He tells Rose that he has important news for her; she assumes he intends to propose and frets over how to respond. Later that night, she has a dream about marrying Jonathan, in which her father, in midget form, and famous psychic, Jeane Dixon, appear to her and give her advice. She wakes up, and decide that she will marry him. Jonathan and Rose go to L'Auberge Restaurant, and he tells her that they have to break up because she is not Jewish. Rose makes a scene, and they then agree that the relationship was difficult for both of them.
Guest stars: Brent Collins as Dr. Jonathan Newman; Billy Barty as Edgar Lindstrom; Jeane Dixon as herself.
Note: Barry Fanaro & Mort Nathan won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for this episode.
14 14 "That Was No Lady" Jim Drake Liz Sage December 21, 1985 (1985-12-21)
Blanche tells everyone about a new blue car she wants to get, but she can only get it if she can sell her old one. Rose is looking for a car, and regretfully accepts to take Blanche's car for a few days before buying it, after Sophia and Blanche convince her to. Blanche leaves for the car dealership to buy the car. Dorothy comes home from work, and tells the girls about an attractive gym teacher named Glen O'Brien. She goes out with him, and they hit it off. Later, after making love at what would become the The Golden Palace Hotel seven years later, he admits to her that he is married. She storms out, but later regrets it and continues to miss him. Sophia and Rose agree that he is a liar and cheater, and that Dorothy should not call him, but Blanche says that you have to get happiness whenever you can in life, and tells her to call him. Rose comes home with bad news about Blanche's car, but Blanche tells Rose that she intended to cheat her, so she could get full blue-book value for the car. Rose says that she can't sell it to anyone, because it was stolen. Blanche gets furious, but Sophia tells her that if an insured car is stolen, you are paid full blue-book. Dorothy calls Glen, and they get back together, but only for a short while. After talking with Sophia, Dorothy admits that she is hating herself, and needs to break off the relationship. She breaks it off, and they all go cruising in Blanche's new car.
Guest star: Alex Rocco as Glen O'Brien.
Note: Glen O'Brien returned in Season 5, played by Jerry Orbach.
15 15 "In a Bed of Rose's" Terry Hughes Susan Harris January 11, 1986 (1986-01-11)
Rose brings a date home and in the morning Sophia discovers that he is dead. She confides in her roommates that her husband also died while they were making love. Believing that she kills men by sleeping with them, Rose becomes depressed and says she will never sleep with another man.
Guest stars: Priscilla Morrill as Lucille Beatty; Richard Roat as Al Beatty.
Note: Betty White won the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series at the 1986 Emmy Awards for this episode.
Richard Roat would reappear in the seventh season as Kendall in the episode The Case of the Libertine Belle.
16 16 "The Truth Will Out"
"The Will"
Terry Hughes Susan Beavers January 18, 1986 (1986-01-18)
Rose has often bragged to her children and grandchildren about Charlie's success, but the settlement of his estate discloses that he left his widow nearly nothing.
Guest stars: Christine Belford as Kirsten; Bridgette Andersen as Charley.
Note: Kirsten was played by Lee Garlington in Season 7.
17 17 "Nice and Easy" Terry Hughes Stuart Silverman February 1, 1986 (1986-02-01)
Blanche upbraids her favorite niece, Lucy, for flitting from bed to bed, while Lucy charges Blanche with her own reputation for being "fast."
Guest star: Hallie Todd as Lucy.
18 18 "The Operation" Terry Hughes Winifred Hervey February 8, 1986 (1986-02-08)
Dorothy injures herself attempting to perform a "six-count Cincinnati riff with a double pull-back" and requires foot surgery. She is terrified until she meets her hospital roommate: a woman with breast cancer. When Dorothy asks the woman if she's afraid, the women responds by saying that of course she is but," Life goes on, when it comes right down to it what other choice do we have." The woman's words of wisdom leave Dorothy feeling silly over making such a big fuss over her own minor surgery. Dorothy goes through with the surgery and wakes up to find that she has been kicked out of the ladies tap dancing trio. Blanche and Rose have now formed a new name for the two of them: "The Two Merry Widows"
Guest stars: Robert Picardo as Dr. Revell; Anne Haney as Bonnie; Bill Quinn as the priest.
19 19 "Second Motherhood" Gary Shimokawa Christopher Lloyd February 15, 1986 (1986-02-15)
Blanche dates a wealthy man with marriage on his mind. He also has two young children. Having reared her own family, Blanche does not want to raise children again. Meanwhile, Rose and Dorothy install a toilet. In the end, Blanche realizes that she is not concerned about being a mother again, but about being third in her lover's life.
Guest stars: Kevin McCarthy as Richard; Alan Blumenfeld as Lou.
20 20 "Adult Education" Jack Shea James Berg & Stan Zimmerman February 22, 1986 (1986-02-22)
The girls try desperately to get Frank Sinatra tickets, while Blanche attends night school in hopes of getting a promotion at the museum. When she struggles with one of her courses, her professor offers her an "easy" way to a good grade: sleep with him. In the end she tells off Professor Cooper.
Guest star: Jerry Hardin.
21 21 "Flu Attack"
"The Flu"
Terry Hughes James Berg & Stan Zimmerman March 1, 1986 (1986-03-01)
Blanche, Dorothy, and Rose all come down with the flu and are at one another's throats. When all are revealed as contenders for the "Best Friend of the Friends of Good Health" award, they all are determined to attend, though all are still ill. During one scene, Blanche wants to watch Another World, a show on which Rue McClanahan (who plays Blanche) appeared in the early 1970s.
Guest stars: Marcelo Tubert as Raoul; Dom Irrera as waiter; Silvana Gallardo as the Emcee.
22 22 "Job Hunting" Paul Bogart Kathy Speer & Terry Grossman March 8, 1986 (1986-03-08)
Due to a lack of funding, the grief-counseling center is closed, forcing Rose to seek employment elsewhere, but she faces age discrimination. Due to her frustration of failing to find work, Rose decides to continue counseling people from home, much to the annoyance of Dorothy and Blanche. At their wit's end, the ladies inspire Rose to persevere and "stretch the truth" on her job interviews. Meanwhile, Blanche flirts with one of Rose's former clients who has an infatuation with fat women and Dorothy reconnects with an old flame who she later finds out is gay.
Note: This episode was the second one to be produced, but was held over for later in the season.
23 23 "Blind Ambitions" Terry Hughes Bob Colleary March 29, 1986 (1986-03-29)
Rose's sister Lily comes to visit for the first time since losing her sight; the rest of the girls do spring cleaning and hold a garage sale to raise funds for a new television. It is revealed that Lily only came to ask Rose to come home with her and take care of her. Rose tells her she has to go to blind school and in the end Lily goes to the school and receives Becky, a Service Canine.
Guest stars: Polly Holliday as Lily; Stuart Fratkin as Man # 2.
24 24 "Big Daddy" Terry Hughes Barry Fanaro & Mort Nathan May 3, 1986 (1986-05-03)
Blanche's father visits with a big surprise: he has sold the family mansion to finance his dream to become a country singer. Dorothy feuds with the girls' next-door neighbor over storm damage.
Guest stars: Murray Hamilton as Big Daddy Hollingsworth; Gordon Jump as Leonard Barton; Peggy Pope as Gladys Barton; Gary Grubbs as waiter; Tony Frank as Cowboy # 1; Blake Emmons as Cowboy # 2.
Note: Big Daddy was played by David Wayne in the second season.
25 25 "The Way We Met" Terry Hughes Kathy Speer & Terry Grossman
Winifred Hervey
Mort Nathan & Barry Fanaro
May 10, 1986 (1986-05-10)
After watching the movie Psycho, the girls reminisce about how they came to live together.
Guest stars: Shirley Prestia as Madame Zelda; Edan Gross as little boy; Dom Irrera as produce clerk.


  1. ^ TV Listings for September 14, 1985
  2. ^ TV Listings for May 10, 1986

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