On September 14, 1985, “The Golden Girls,” one of television’s most beloved shows premiered on NBC. And more than three decades later, television audiences still can’t get enough of the groundbreaking series about a group of older women sharing a home — and more than a few cheesecakes– in Miami. We’ve put together the definitive list of the 25 greatest episodes of the Emmy-winning sitcom, ranked worst to best. Scroll through the images below to see if your favorite made the list.
The series focused on four women sharing a home in Florida: Naive, Minnesota-born Rose (Betty White); Man-hungry Southern belle Blanche (Rue McClanahan); divorced substitute teacher Dorothy (Bea Arthur) and her acerbic, wise-cracking Italian mother Sophia (Estelle Getty). Sadly, all four actresses have passed away, with White dying on December 31, 2021 just three weeks shy of her 100th birthday.
The series was a Saturday night staple for NBC and was a Top 10 ratings hit for six of its seven seasons, an astonishing feat considering that Saturdays are no longer considered a prime television destination. Even more than 25 years after airing its finale, the show continues to air in syndication around the world, and the entire series is currently streaming on Hulu.
At a time when television was littered with family comedies, “The Golden Girls” was one of the few shows to focus on older women. But these ladies were not just put out to pasture to live out their golden years. They had careers, social lives, romantic escapades, and thriving sex lives. While often uproariously funny, the show also dealt with a number of serious topics including age discrimination, sexual harassment, AIDS, and LGBT issues.
The series proved extremely popular with Emmy voters, winning a total of 11 Emmys out of 58 nominations over the course of its run, including back-to-back wins for Best Comedy Series in 1986 and 1987. White was the first of the girls to win Best Comedy Actress 1986, with McClanahan winning in 1987, and Arthur winning in 1988. That same year, Getty claimed her Emmy for Best Comedy Supporting Actress, making “The Golden Girls” one of only three shows in Emmy history– along with “All in the Family” and “Will and Grace”– to earn acting Emmys for each of its main cast members.
Tour our photo gallery above, which features such episode titles as “The Actor,” “In a Bed of Rose’s,” “Isn’t It Romantic?,” “It’s a Miserable Life,” “A Little Romance,” “Old Friends” and many more. But which one is in our #1 slot?