* {{Anvilicious}}/SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: Like a lot of shows of the era, it's given something of a pass for its occasional heavy-handedness; since it tackled such hot-button issues for the time, it didn't really have the luxury of being subtle.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome[=/=]EarWorm: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFl7r2dUmTA Thank you for bein' a friend!]]
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Each girl has gotten this to varying degrees.
* FreudWasRight: When Blanche (temporarily) gives up sex, she spends a lot of time eating popsicles.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment:
** The RunningGag where Sophia would talk about how bad her retirement home was and how she was mistreated there was always {{played for laughs}}, but in a later episode in which the girls deal with actual elder abuse ''not'' played for laughs, Sophia admits that she wasn't all too serious about Shady Pines.
** Jokes about Sophia's forgetfulness felt very different after Creator/EstelleGetty's Alzheimer's diagnosis.
** Blanche's constant lying about her age were always played for laughs. Then came an episode where we find out that she is suffering from depression out of fear of growing old. Knowing this [[CerebusRetcon makes all those jokes about her age seem more sad]] than funny.
** One episode has Blanche force her young granddaughter into participating in a beauty pageant she had no interest in. Currently there is a RealityTV series by the name of ''Series/ToddlersAndTiaras'', which is this taken UpToEleven.
* HarsherInHindsight: At the end of an episode where Sophia rescues a friend from a nursing home, the girls make a pact to take care of each other, and Rose asks, "What happens when there's only one of us left?" Cut to 2011, where Betty White (Rose) actually is the only one of them left. It goes even further: in the show, after that line, Sophia (the oldest character) mentions "Don't worry, I can take care of myself." In real life, Creator/EstelleGetty (Sophia), who was younger than both Bea Arthur and Betty White, was the first to go.
** This trope's not even limited to the main cast. "It's a Miserable Life" and "'Til Death Do We Volley" are harder to watch now that Nan Martin and Anne Francis have passed away.
** An In-Universe version is in an earlier episode when Blanche's younger sister/sometimes rival Virginia is coming to town, Rose chides her in disbelief and absolutely refuses to believe that she hates her sister. A few seasons later, we meet Rose's own younger sister [[BitchInSheepsClothing Holly]], of whom Rose admits, "I feel terrible saying this, but I don't really like her." Holly's terrible treatment of Rose is ''not'' PlayedForLaughs, and she makes Virginia look like a Girl Scout by comparison.
* HilariousInHindsight: In a special two-part episode, Rose (Betty White) had a heart attack and had to stay in the hospital and was looped out ([[TheDitz moreso than usual]]) on prescription medication. In a scene with her daughter, Rose yells "[[SaturdayNightLive Live from New York, it's Saturday Night]]!" in her delirium. Fast forward to 2010, where, thanks to publicity from a Facebook petition, Betty White ''did'' get to host ''SNL'', becoming the show's oldest host (at age 88 and a half), the first ''SNL'' host to be picked via online petition[[note]]but not the first to be picked by viewers; that honor goes to Miskel Spillman, who won the "Anyone Can Host ''SNL''" contest -- ''and'' was considered the oldest host the show ever had until Creator/BettyWhite usurped the title -- back in 1977[[/note]], and the second cast member from ''The Golden Girls'' to host ''SNL''. (Bea Arthur was the first, hosting a season five episode in 1979, but this was before ''The Golden Girls'' was created.)
** With all the jokes about how masculine Dorothy was, it's funny to hear about Bea Arthur's stint in the [[http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/celebrity/bea-arthur-was-truck-driving-marine Marine Corps]].
** Dorothy's quote in "Fiddler on the Ropes": "Blanche! Everlast is a brand name, [[{{Music/HouseOfPain}} not a nickname]]!".
** Dorothy and Sophia's musical act as Sonny and Cher provided a double-whammy. Sonny Bono would guest-star in a sixth season episode. Also, Blanche asked them which one was Cheech and which one was Chong. Cheech Marin would later costar on ''Series/GoldenPalace''.
** The show's first ChristmasEpisode, aired in the second season, was titled "'Twas WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas."
* HollywoodPudgy: Blanche and Rose are frequently the target of barbs about their weight even though they look exactly the way two middle-aged women who have had several children would look. In another episode, when Blanche's daughter Becky visits, she ''is'' overweight but the others react as though she's morbidly obese. (Of course, her weight issues are later retconned when the actress is replaced.)
** Ironically, Betty White has no children (though she has three stepchildren from her marriage to Allen Ludden), and Rue [=McClanahan=] had only one. The trope still rings very true, however.
* IdiotPlot: There have been several, but one memorable one was the episode "Little Sister" with Rose's [[BitchInSheepsClothing untrustworthy]] [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin little sister]]. Holly comes to town and deliberately excludes Rose from all the plans she makes with Dorothy and Blanche, claiming to be giving Rose the information but keeping it from her so she misses out on everything. Rose notices what's happening and tries to tell the girls; but instead of believing their longtime friend and surrogate sister, they are both quick to dismiss her suspicions, siding with a complete stranger and telling her to leave them out of whatever was going on between her and Holly. Only Sophia believes her.
* InformedFlaw: Dorothy is often described as being unattractive by people on the show.
* {{Mondegreen}}: "You would see the biggest gift would be from me/And the heart attack would say 'Thank you for being a friend'" ("And the card attached would say")
* PeripheryDemographic: This show was - and continues to be - very popular with young people. Betty White, when asked why that might be, gave the simplest (and probably most accurate) explanation: "It's funny!"
** Many younger viewers likely grew up watching the constant reruns of ''The Golden Girls'' on Lifetime Network with their own moms and became fans themselves.
** The series also has a huge [[LGBTFanbase gay following]], but that's probably because the show was very gay-conscious [[FairForItsDay even at a time when it wasn't acceptable]]. Besides Coco in the pilot, there are entire episodes dealing with AIDS, crossdressing, gay marriage, coming out, accepting gay family members, and one that addressed non-family members trying to see their loved ones in the hospital. On a less serious note, the snarky dialogue and Blanche's proud promiscuity didn't hurt either.
*** All of which gives [[UnusualEuphemism "Friend of Dorothy"]] a whole new meaning.
* RetroactiveRecognition: A very young Creator/GeorgeClooney had an appearance in the season two episode "To Catch a Neighbor." At the time, he was a up-and-coming actor.
** Creator/QuentinTarantino played an Elvis impersonator in the episode "Sophia's Wedding."
** Mario Lopez made an appearance on the show before ''SavedByTheBell'' aired.
** A young Paul Rodriguez, at the time just barely hitting the comedy circuit, played a disgruntled bellhop in the S2 episode "Vacation."
** In the episode [[VerySpecialEpisode "Brother, Can You Spare That Jacket?"]] Sophia donates a jacket that Blanche has placed winning lottery tickets in to the Salvation Army. MichaelJackson happens to pop by the Salvation Army and wears it for his show, and they must find where it is located. Michael himself joked about this show with his friends for years later, and recorded instances can be seen on Youtube.
** Jenny Lewis (Music/RiloKiley) played the evil [[ScoutOut Sunshine Cadet]] who wouldn't give back Rose's teddy bear.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: Quite a few, as the show often tackled topics like AIDS and homosexuality. One particular episode showed the girls trying to get back a jacket that had accidentally been donated to a charity auction with a winning lottery ticket in the pocket. They end up spending the night in a homeless shelter, and [[TearJerker their conversations with the homeless]] illustrate how [[AdultFear anybody can wind up in that situation]].
* TastesLikeDiabetes: Several of Rose's St. Olaf recipes qualify as this.
** Either lampshaded or parodied with Rose's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ny-SlUiV2xE Maple Syrup Honey Brown Sugar Molasses Rice Krispies log.]] Literally just four layers of sugar stacked on top of each other.
** Some of Rose's St. Olaf '''stories''' were like this. When she told the very sappy story of how her family spent Christmas Eve, Dorothy Lampshaded it by snapping, "Who was your father, Rose, [[Series/LittleHouseOnThePrairie Michael Landon]]?"
** Rose '''herself''' was like this, especially in earlier episodes, to the point where she could sometimes get downright annoying. Dorothy's son's future mother-in-law outright asked if Rose was for real.
* UnfortunateImplications: In "There Goes the Bride", Blanche is interviewing potential roommates to replace Dorothy. One woman is revealed to be a recent widow, and while her comments are PlayedForLaughs, there's a very strong vibe that she's probably a BlackWidow, or at the very least a GoldDigger who only dates men who are only going to live ''just'' long enough to put her in the will.
-->I always get nervous at weddings. Weddings and funerals. I've been to so many of both, I get mixed up. Same flowers, same guest list. Handful of rice, handful of dirt. The only difference is that, after a funeral, it's okay to date.
** In one episode, a man who Blanche (who pretended to be in a relationship with Dorothy) goes out with tells her that she's probably "that way" because she's never been with a real man before. He's treated as an idiot and Blanche just plays along out of opportunism, but still.
** Blanche's (heavy-set) daughter's fiance making jokes about her weight? PlayedForDrama. Sophia making the ''[[DoubleStandard same exact jokes?]]'' PlayedForLaughs.
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