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The Golden Girls: The Custody Battle

Dorothy's sister Gloria visits from California, with news: she wants Sophia, their mother, to move in with her. Sophia, having already had a heated argument with Dorothy, agrees. Meanwhile, Rose and Blanche try out for a local production of Macbeth.


Episode Info


Episode number: 1x12
Production Number: 014
Airdate: Saturday December 07th, 1985

Director: Terry Hughes
Writer: Winifred Hervey


  • Currently 7/10
7/10 (1 Vote cast)
Guest Stars
Doris BelackDoris Belack
As Gloria
Main Cast
Beatrice Arthur
As Dorothy Zbornak
Betty White
As Rose Nylund
Rue McClanahan
As Blanche Devereaux
Estelle Getty
As Sophia Petrillo
Episode Notes
The background shot during the closing credits features Rose seated at the kitchen table with Dorothy and Blanche standing, with Blanche holding a knife near Dorothy, after Rose has just told Blanche she's gotten the lead in Macbeth.

This is the first episode for director Terry Hughes, who would later be referred to as "the fifth Golden Girl." He would remain with the show until the end of season five.

The kitchen's design is given an update in this episode. The polka-dotted wallpaper has been replaced with that a floral print pattern, and the wall near the swinging kitchen door has been shortened.

This is the first appearance of Dorothy's sister Gloria. She is played here by Doris Belack, later known for the recurring role of Judge Margaret Berry on Law & Order and its spin-offs from 1990-2001.



Episode Quotes
Sophia: Can I make a suggestion when you go for your makeover?
Dorothy: Sure, what is it?
Sophia; Don't expect a miracle.

Gloria: When we were kids and Mom and Pop were working, do you know why Mom left you in charge?
Dorothy: Yeah. Because Phil played with matches.

Blanche: Oh Dorothy, could I please borrow your diamond ring and your pearl necklace and your jade bracelet?
Dorothy: Are you planning to come back?

Blanche: Oh, I know for a fact my parents liked my sisters better than they did me.
Rose: Oh, Blanche, that's silly. How could you know a thing like that?
Blanche: They told me.

Gloria: (getting into bed with Dorothy) This reminds me of when we were little, and you used to tell me bedtime stories.
Dorothy: Oh yeah, yeah. "The Boogeyman and the Little Girl"... "The Zombie in the Hamper"... "Cannibal Parents"... I think between the ages of five and seven you might've gotten, mmm... two hours sleep.



Cultural References
Gloria: (about living in California) I have a huge house with servants and an ocean view. And Bert Convy shops at my grocery store.
Dorothy: Bert Convy? Let's leave now!

Bert Convy (1933-1991) was a famous actor and television personality best-known for hosting the game shows Tattletales, Super Password and Win, Lose or Draw.



Warning: The Golden Girls season 1 episode 12 guide may contain spoilers
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