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The Golden Girls: The Engagement

Blanche's latest boyfriend, Harry, proposes marriage to her, prompting Rose to worry about where she and Dorothy will live, as Blanche is the house's owner. Meanwhile, Dorothy's mother, Sophia, moves in with the girls after her retirement home, Shady Pines, burns down.


Episode Info


Episode number: 1x1
Production Number: 001
Airdate: Saturday September 14th, 1985

Director: Jay Sandrich
Writer: Susan Harris


  • Currently 9/10
9/10 (1 Vote cast)
Guest Stars
F. William ParkerF. William Parker
As The Minister
Meshach TaylorMeshach Taylor
As The Cop
Main Cast
Beatrice ArthurBeatrice Arthur
As Dorothy Zbornak
Betty WhiteBetty White
As Rose Nylund
Rue McClanahanRue McClanahan
As Blanche Devereaux
Estelle GettyEstelle Getty
As Sophia Petrillo
Episode Notes
The screencap above is the background shot for the closing credits.

This episode is sometimes simply known as "Pilot" or "The Golden Girls".

Originally, Coco (the gay cook) was to be a regular character, but after Sophia proved to be more popular with test audiences, he was written out of the show. Charles Levin is credited as a "Special Guest Star" in this episode.

Several scenes with Coco were reshot without him for this episode. A sharp viewer can tell the difference between the reshoots, as in some scenes Blanche has more hair than others; Rue McClanahan had gotten a haircut by the time the reshoots came along.

Betty White originally read for the part of Blanche, but was cast instead as Rose after Rue McClanahan auditioned. According to McClanahan, this was one of the reasons Bea Arthur (Dorothy) agreed to join.

Meshach Taylor (the policeman) would later work with Estelle Getty in the 1987 film Mannequin. He is best-known as Anthony Bouvier on the CBS sitcom Designing Women.

Estelle Getty (Sophia)'s line "The man is a scuzball!" was originally written as "The man is a douchebag!" for this episode, according to Bea Arthur's 2001 one-woman show, An Evening with Bea Arthur.

This episode was taped on April 22, 1985.

Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan had previously starred on the television sitcom Maude from 1972-1978. McClanahan and Betty White had starred on the sitcom Mama's Family from 1983-1984.

Sophia says she is 80 years old in this episode.

Dorothy says Rose's husband Charlie has been dead for 15 years.

The hallway to Blanche's bedroom, by the front door, would be the entry to the lanai in later episodes.

An exclamation point has been visibly carved into the front door (Bea Arthur reportedly did it for good luck). It will remain there for the rest of the series.



Episode Quotes
Dorothy: It's wonderful dating in Miami; all the men under 80 are cocaine smugglers.

Sophia: I sleep like a log. I never get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I go in the morning. Every morning like clockwork. At 7:00 AM, I pee. Unfortunately, I don't wake up till 8:00.

Rose: Oh, what a day. One sad person after another.
Dorothy: Rose, you work at grief counseling. What do you expect, comedians?

Rose: I know he's dead. I just like talking about him in the present tense sometimes. Makes him seem closer.
Coco: That's fine Rose, you do that.
Dorothy: Sure Rose, set a place at the table.

Dorothy: A man in a 3-piece suit came in to defend Tiffany, a bald girl with a nose ring.

Dorothy: Ma, the taxi driver said you promised him a $67 tip!
Sophia: Don't be ridiculous, I said a $6, $7 tip! Why don't these people learn English if they're gonna live here? This is Miami--I have less trouble getting around Ecuador!

Blanche: And this is Sophia.
Harry: Well, you must be Blanche's sister.
Sophia: And you must be blind.
Blanche: Sophia's home just burnt down.
Harry: That's terrible.
Sophia: Not to me. It was a retirement home, and you know what they did? They set off fire alarms in a retirement home. Who can rush? Half the people have walkers, the other half can't get out of their chairs, but they have bells going off like crazy. You know what that does to hearts that only beat a few times a week?! It's not pretty!

Blanche: Oh, Sophia, honey! How nice to see you!
Sophia: Who are you?
Blanche: It's me, Blanche.
Sophia: You look like a prostitute!
Rose: Sophia! The things you say! She didn't mean that, Blanche.
Sophia: Of course I mean it. Look at her--my cab driver would fall in love! Can I get something to eat or is the fancy man in the kitchen?

Rose: Come sit down here, Sophia. You must be exhausted.
Sophia: Why? I rode in the cab, I didn't push it!



Episode Goofs
Dorothy says she's from Queens in this episode. In later episodes, however, she says she's from Brooklyn.

The beginning of this episode takes place on September 4, 1985, according to the season 5 episode "Never Yell Fire in a Crowded Retirement Home". At the very beginning, however, Dorothy notes that it is June.

Blanche tells Harry that Sophia's home has burnt down, but Blanche was in her bedroom when Sophia had initially said that, and none of the characters are implied to have known of it happening beforehand, so there's no way Blanche would've heard her.



Episode References
Dorothy: I can't get through to New Jersey with MCI.

MCI was one of the leading telephone companies in the 1980s.

Dorothy: She has more colors than Benjamin Moore Paints.

Dorothy compares Blanche's makeup collection to the popular paint chain Benjamin Moore.



Warning: The Golden Girls season 1 episode 1 guide may contain spoilers
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