When they weren't doing plebeian things like grabbing flying dollar bills out of the air, ogling Burt Reynolds, or living with a literal pig in their house, The Golden Girls had a lot of moments where they flexed their gray cells and hit the books. Whether it's teaching, learning, writing, or quoting, the girls were scholastic and studious much more often than you might think.
There are dozens of moments one could view through a pedagogical or educational lens throughout the show (yes, even for Rose), but here are the top ten standouts of scholarly moments of The Golden Girls.
10. When Dorothy is Tutoring Mario Lopez
Dorothy’s Prized Pupil (Season 2, Episode 21)
Dorothy flexes her teacher muscles here and helps inspire young Mario with his writing talent. Unfortunately she also gets him deported, but surely Mario will always remember his teacher Dorothy for the rest of his life.
Blanche: So, what are you all doing?
Mario: Why do I have to learn that?
Dorothy: Because I had to learn to teach it.
9. When Blanche is “Getting Her Degree” with Skeezy Professor Cooper
Adult Education (Season 1, Episode 20)
Blanche is aiming for a promotion at work so is "getting her degree", but nearly stopped in her tracks by a sexually-harassing jerkoff professor. Luckily, she doesn't give in to his gross proposition (in fact, she tells him off), and Dorothy helps her follow through with actually applying herself.
Dorothy: Honey, calm down. You're gonna pass the course. You're gonna have to buckle down and study a little harder.
Rose: At least you're doing well in your other two courses.
Blanche: But those are art courses. They come easier to me. I've always had a great appreciation for the arts and artists.
Sophia: And carpenters and mechanics and delivery boys.
8. When Blanche and Rose are Taking a Spanish Class
The Audit (Season 3, Episode 10)
What's the reason Blanche does pretty much anything? To land a man, of course. Spanish class is no exception, but it doesn't mean she didn't pick up at least a little bit of the language, like "mucho mucho bosomas."
Blanche: Men go to night school -- smart men. And nothing turns me on more than a smart man. Unless it's a stupid man with good hands.
7. When Dorothy Quotes Puck at the Moonlight Madness Party
A Midwinter Night’s Dream (Season 7, Episode 20-21)
There's always that person at the party or on a date (you do this on dates, don't you, Dorothy?), and it's just so delightfully satisfying that Sophia truly nails the moment after Dorothy's lengthy quote. I mean, we were all thinking it.
Dorothy: You know, it really has been like Shakespeare with magic and moonlight and the wrong people falling in love. What does Puck say in the last speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream? If we shadows have offended think but this and all is mended that you have but slumbered here while these visions did appear and this weak and idle thing no more yielding but a dream.
Sophia: Well, pardon me while I play the grand piano.
6. When Dorothy is Studying for Jeopardy!
Questions & Answers (Season 7, Episode 17)
Rose: Dorothy, I'm sorry I won't be able to quiz you; Jake and I are due at the Hubbards, but I have a book here that should help you prepare for your Jeopardy try-out.
Dorothy: The St. Olaf High School yearbook? No. Thanks anyway, Rose, I don't think I'll be needing it.
Rose: Well, okay, Miss Know-it-all. But if Alex Trebek asks you what years Oaf Horwal was on the student council back to back, don't come crying to me.
Dorothy: 1946 and '47.
Dorothy: I intend to win this.
5. When Rose is Finishing Her High School Diploma, and Studying Under Dorothy
Yes, We Have No Havanas (Season 4, Episode 1)
Once Rose sheepishly appears in Dorothy's class (and admits she never earned a sheepskin), you already know it's going to be a great moment. And sure, Dorothy has her work cut out for her to undo the problematic St. Olaf school system, as well as a German WW2 misinformation campaign.
Dorothy: I'm teaching history for an adult education program. It's for people who never got their high school diplomas.
Rose: What else do they teach?
Dorothy: Oh, the usual high school subjects.
Rose: You mean, like the three Rs? Reading, Writing, and Rooster inseminating?
Dorothy: No, we just teach the first two Rs, Rose.
Rose: Fine! But you're gonna be sending people out into the world who don't know, you can get a nasty rooster bite if you don't warm your hands up first!
4. When Miles Hosts a Poetry Reading
Miles to Go (Season 6, Episode 15)
As insufferable as a poet can sound sometimes, poetry is like speaking metaphorically: it's such a beautiful language. Oh boy, sign me up!
Miles: I mean, it is amazing, isn't it, how with a few carefully chosen words, a poet can convey the immediacy of a specific life experience?
Rose: You don't have to tell me. Remember, I grew up in a small farm town. "Here a quack, there a quack, everywhere a quack, quack."
3. When Charmaine Writes Vixen, Story of a Woman
Sisters & Other Strangers (Season 5, Episode 21)
Beyond this sordid romance novel by Blanche's sister Charmaine, there's mention of the literary prowess of Thomas Paine and Vanna White in this episode, as well as the age-old argument of communism vs. capitalism. Can't beat that.
Dorothy: Blanche is handling this a lot better than I would. I would kill Gloria if she ever wrote about my sexual escapades.
Sophia: You'd kill your sister over a pamphlet?
2. When Barbara Thorndyke and Dorothy Go Out to Lunch and Drown in Literary Puns
Dorothy’s New Friend (Season 3, Episode 15)
Yes, Barbara Thorndyke is an anti-Semite, but before Dorothy learns this, they hit the hangout for Miami's literary intelligentsia. And then they get hit over the head with allusions to such. We get it, you read books.
Dorothy: I’ve never seen a menu with a table of contents before.
Barbara: Skip ahead to chapter five, it’s the lunch menu.
Dorothy: Gee, everything sounds so good. ‘The Crepes of Wrath.’ ‘The Old Man and the Seafood Salad.’ I think I will have the ‘For Whom the Stuffed Bell Pepper Tolls.'
Barbara: And I’ll have a turkey sandwich on ‘Catcher in the Rye’ bread with a side of ‘George Bernard Slaw.'
[The food arrives]
Barbara: I didn’t order the french fries.
Waiter: Oh, right, you get the ‘Edgar Allen Poe-tatoes,’ and the ‘Ice Water Cometh.'
1. When Blanche Attempts to Write the Great Southern Novel™
Sick & Tired (Season 5, Episode 1-2)