- Whenever Rose insults someone. Because she is so nice and sweet, you never see it coming.
- In the episode "The Operation", after Rose and Blanche have been practicing for weeks for a tap dance recital, Blanche gets stage fright before the show and tells Rose a story about when she was a little girl wetting herself at a dance recital, which is why she can't do the show. Rose won't have any of it.
Rose: (harshly) Hey, we've all got our sad stories.
Look Blanche, we've practiced for six weeks, we've paid for our costumes, we told everybody we'd be there, now you're not gonna wimp out on me! You're gonna go to that recital, and if you end up in a puddle tonight well you just better break into Singin' in the Rain!
- Their visit to a therapist due to problems at home, leading to Rose's (arguably) most memorable line:
When she's not saying something stupid, she's doing something stupid, or wearing something stupid, or cooking
something stupid! Doctor:
Rose, what do you think about Blanche saying those things? Rose:
I think she's a garkonganokin. Doctor:
Well, literally, it means the exact moment when dog doo turns white... (cut to Blanche's horrified expression) Rose:
...but generally it means someone you wouldn't want to share your hudencakles with. Dorothy:
Rose, if you say one more of those stupid words- Rose: Oh, blow it out your tubenburbles!
- "Come on Dorothy, if the Egyptians built the pyramids, then we can move this toilet!" "Fine, get me 20,000 hebrews and I'll have it out of here in no time."
- In the episode where the girls are robbed, Blanche borrows Rose's "Hair spray" and goes down to the police station. There, she sees a police officer she finds cute, so she decided to "touch up" her hair.
Blanche: So I took out your hairspray to give my hair a final spritz? Only surprise, it wasn't hairspray... it was mace. You had mace, your hairspray was mace, I maced myself right there in the police station! Almost died! I fell to the floor, blinded, writing in pain, couldn't move for 20 minutes.
: (Flings a pillow over her head
) WORKS! They thought I was on angel dust! They wanted to arrest me. I'm lying there dying and they're harassing me. Murderers are free, rapists are free, but a poor widow on the floor they try to lock up! Who'd I hurt? Me!
- Sophia has been pretending to be malingering, sitting in a wheelchair and letting everyone fuss over her. Dorothy walks in on her trying to leave (on her own two feet) and singing merrily. This happens:
Dorothy: Get back here, you deceitful little Sicilian gecko!
Sophia: (Thinks quickly, then says in a sickly sweet voice) I wuv you!
Dorothy: (deadpan) Too wittle, too wate.
- When Sophia's nurse was driving the other girls insane...
: You think that's annoying. She came into my room last night when I was reenacting the gang-plank scene from Peter Pan
- When Dorothy and Sophia try to explain to Blanche that a visiting friend of Dorothy's is a lesbian, Blanche gets the word confused with Lebanese.
- And then she gets outraged when she learns that Dorothy's friend wants Rose and not her.
- Blanche, delirious after apparently writing all night, comes across egg yolks that Rose put in a plastic bag. Her reaction to the egg yolks in the bag is along the lines of "yellow eyeballs" and "little balls of sunshine in a bag."
- And then Blanche decides to let Rose read her manuscript, because she's honest and from Minnesota. And in her words, people from Minnesota don't lie.
Blanche: What could you possibly find to lie about on a farm? Must be some state. Lots of lakes and nice pale people. ...I'd drown myself.
- Dorothy trying to talk Rose out of feeling sorry for herself about her physical condition: "Sure, you're 5 years older. So am I. So is Blanche. OK, you've grown a few more wrinkles. So have I. So has Blanche. So you're a bit thicker in the middle. So is Blanche."
- Made even more funny the camera cut to Blanche's reaction with each line, ranging from annoyance to horror.
- The girls' recount of their attempt to look more beautiful by getting a new hairdo at a salon. The practitioner commented on a different attribute of each girl (sans Sophia), followed by giving them the same lousy hairdo.
- Not just the same lousy hairdo, but Sophia's hairdo!
- "You just have to see what Joe has to say about this, huh? And this Joe, would he happen to be Joe MAMA?!"
- Hard to put this line in context, so....
Dorothy: CONDOMS, ROSE! CONDOMS! CONDOMS! CONDOMS!!!
- "I'm Dorothy's roommate, Blanche, and I'll be filling in for her tonight because she's dead."
- Dorothy's idea for a video game, about an old woman who won't stop talking and the many ways you can kill her.
Dorothy: No, see, I've thought it all out. And by level four, you can just nuke her. I mean, nuke the HELL out of her.
- Rose's extended dream sequence of her, Dorothy, and Blanche as severed heads, and Sophia with her head attached to the body of a twenty-year-old, as well as Dorothy's disgusted reaction.
Blanche: That moron made us promise we would freeze our heads and meet a hundred years later!
Dorothy: And we did it?!
- The hilarious ways in which Blanche and Dorothy died.
- The first season episode In A Bed Of Rose's had her boyfriend dying in bed after sleeping with her. This being the second time a man died after sleeping with her (the first being her husband Charlie), Rose decides to stop sleeping with men, convinced that she's an angel of death. By the episode's end, she returns from a vacation with a new boyfriend, and reveals to Blanche and Dorothy that she slept with him. And he died. And that to prove to the local sheriff that it was her fault, she slept with him too. And then he died. And then Rose reveals to a horrified Blanche and Dorothy that it was all a joke. The two storm out of the room, angrily commenting that they believed her.
Dorothy: I was set to go to her hanging!
- When Dorothy fails a star football player, one of the people who tries to talk her out of it is a local priest. Dorothy finally gets fed up and kicks him out, prompting Sophia to do the sign of the cross and say;
Sophia: You threw a priest out of the house. You disgust me.
- It's followed up by this great exchange:
Sophia: I can't believe I have a daughter who threw a priest out the door!
Dorothy: Ma, you have relatives who threw priests out of windows!
Sophia: That was business!
- Rose is trying to give Sophia a pep-talk about why she should support Dorothy and Stan's re-marriage, which goes about as well as you'd expect. (Rose tells her this: "If you hold the bird gently, it'll stay; but if you squeeze the bird... his eyes'll bug out.") Blanche decides to intervene:
Blanche: Rose. What's eight times six?
Rose: (stops, begins counting on her hands)
Blanche: Now that we have a few minutes...
- And after the discussion between she and Sophia, Rose is still trying to deduce the solution.
Blanche: Rose, pencils down.
Rose: I could've used a pencil?!
- "The Case of the Libertine Belle" is a gold mine of these moments.
- The running gag about Rose being Captain Obvious and just about everyone guessing she's from St. Olaf.
Rose: Maybe that bloody dagger will lead us to the murder weapon.
Det. Spade Marlowe: St. Olaf?
Rose: Then there must be a gun!
Det. Spade Marlowe: South Side?
Hotel Security Vacsy: He's dead, all right. Steak knife right through the heart.
Rose: That must be what killed him.
Rose: It's like I'm wearing a sign.
- When Dorothy is solving the mock murder. Sophia has been giving her grief about being such a mystery fangirl for the whole episode.
Dorothy: (grabs a knife off the table) A throat... (grabs Sophia in a headlock) A throat is almost always cut from behind! (points the knife at Sophia's throat)
Sophia (scared): Not part of the show, people, not part of the show!
- Near the end when Blanche is about to be arrested for murder and she tries to charm the police detective.
Blanche: My my, officer, your sweet words could charm the morning dew right off the honeysuckle.
Dorothy: Blanche, not now!
Blanche (scared): If not now, when?!
- Sophia interrupting Dorothy's summation:
: I think I see now how it happened. Last evening at dinner, when Ms. Mc Glynn
saw Blanche give Kendall Nesbitt her room key she was furious. She slipped a steak knife into her purse-
Sophia: Big deal, I took a whole place setting.
Dorothy: NOT NOW, MA!
- Rose randomly stands up with the accusations are flying for the first mystery...
Waiter: (deadpan) I'm a maître d'.
Rose: (pleasantly) Thank you. (points again) The maître d' did it!
- At the same time:
Man: (pointing at a suspect) Phil did it!
Woman: (pointing at a different suspect) Gloria did it!
- And later, while Dorothy gives her summation of the staged murder...
Rose: I've got it! A maître d' is some kind of waiter!
- When Sophia is figuring out her will and figures Dorothy is just anxious to get at her valuables, Dorothy tells her to calm down and have some tea. All the while, Dorothy has a sinister look on her face and mentions "it'll... relax you". Sophia tells Rose to try it.
Dorothy: Rose, DON'T! (more calmly) That tea was for my mommy.
- This turns into a Brick Joke at the end of the episode when Dorothy adopts the same sinister look and says "let me make you a cup of tea..."
- "I'm Blanche Devereaux. That's French for... Blanche Deveraux.
- The girls singing "Over There" to Blanche as she's being wheeled to surgery. What completes the scene is an old doughboy walking by and saluting them.
- The joke between the two crows.
- Is Blanche the biggest slut? Nope, it's Rose!
Dorothy: She is the easiest person in this room!
Blanche: Dorothy Zbornak, you take that back!
Dorothy: The slut is dead! Long live the slut!
- Blanche once explained that she has never been a man's mistress. Except that one time.
Blanche: But that was not my fault, she was declared dead! Those paramedics never give up.
- In a flashback with her late husband:
Sophia: Where are you going?
Sal: To get some air.
Sophia: We got air in here.
Sal: I like beer with my air.
- Sal's running commentary from the kitchen as he tries a TV dinner for the first time, constantly interrupting Sophia and Dorothy's conversation out in the living room.
- In a flashback during an episode about birthdays, we see one of Dorothy's worst; Rose decided to take her to "Mr. Ha-Ha's Hot Dog Hacienda." Dorothy is obviously miserable, including having to lead a Birthday Parade. After she has to make a wish and blow out her candle, Mr. Ha-Ha says, "I hope everybody gets what they wished for." Dorothy gets a gleam in her eye, picks up her hot fudge cake in throwing position and says, "Do you really, Mr. Ha-ha?" Mr. Ha-Ha warns her that A) his musician's brother is a lawyer, and B) that's not a very mature thing to do. Dorothy agrees, and puts her cake down. However, a little boy named Bobby walks up behind Ha-Ha, gets his attention, and when Ha-Ha turns around, he pies him in the face. Then, with a big toothy grin he says, "Happy Birthday, Dorothy." It's hilarious, a little heartwarming, and even the normally deadpan Dorothy lets out a big belly laugh.
- "Back in St. Olaf..." Anything said after this is bound to end up on this page.
- This exchange in a flashback to Sophia's fiftieth birthday. For context, she thought it was her forty-eighth until her husband showed her the paperwork immigration had screwed up when they came to America.
Sophia: Oh Salvatore. Salvatore say that again.
Sal: You're acting like an ass!
- Never has popping a balloon generated such a laugh.
- The show adored "Ask a Stupid Question..." humor. Some examples;
- When a friend of Sophia's backed out on a commitment;
Blanche: Sophia says she has no appetite after she was stabbed in the back.
Dorothy: The chef at Benihana, Rose!
- When Rose gave it back;
Dorothy: (sees Rose walking out of her room with a bucket in each hand) Oh, Rose, is your roof leaking too?
- When Rose is having heart surgery;
Blanche: Oh that's right, you had heart surgery too, didn't you, Sophia?
Sophia: No, I take nitroglycerine because I want to explode!
- The episode about Blanche's gay brother.
I don't really mind Clayton being homosexual, I just don't like him dating men. Dorothy:
You really haven't grasped the concept of this gay thing yet, have you. Blanche:
There must be homosexuals who date women! Sophia:
Yeah, they're called lesbians
- When Sophia says that an old friend died.
- When they walk in on Sophia standing in front of the open refrigerator with her robe open.
Ma, what are you doing? Sophia:
Giving the leftover meatloaf a show. What does it look like I'm doing? Dorothy:
Ma, close that before the food spoils! Sophia:
Okay! (closes her robe)
- When Blanche asks for volunteers to sign up for a dirty dancing class with her.
Have you ever heard of dirty dancing? Dorothy:
Of course, Blanche. They did it in that movie
What movie? Dorothy: Lawrence of Arabia
- When they discover that their candidate in a local election is a female-to-male transsexual.
Rose: What's it made of?
Dorothy: Silly putty, Rose!
- The other time Rose gives it back.
Rose: She's [her sister] a flautist.
Dorothy: She plays the flute.
Rose: No, Dorothy. She plays the flaut. It's a Scandinavian instrument that looks like a tuba except it's got hair on the bottom. Of course she plays the flute!
- While talking about Dorothy's boyfriend Eddie:
Dorothy: But the only thing we have in common is under the sheets.
Rose: What's under the sheets?
Dorothy: His cappuccino maker... Sex, Rose. I am talking sex.
Rose: (shocked) Oh, Dorothy, all that and cappuccino, too?
- When Rose is nervous about going away with her boyfriend.
- When Dorothy talks about an old flame coming to town:
Dorothy: Richard was the man I thought was gonna be the first.
Rose: ...First where?
Dorothy: On Mars, Rose!
- When Blanche's sister sought Blanche out for a kidney transplant.
Rose: Your kidney? Why would she need your kidney?
Dorothy: TO FEED THE CAT, ROSE!
- One might notice that Rose is responsible for a lot of these.
- In the B-Plot of "Mrs. George Devereaux," Dorothy must contend with two men fighting for her affections - Lyle Waggoner and Sonny Bono.
Blanche: Sonny Bono, get off my lanai.
- Earlier from what was a serious moment:
Blanche (gets up and sees who her admirer is): Oh God, no!
Rose: All right, so he's not a ten.
George: Blanche, honey, please-
Blanche: Oh my God, what in hell?! Why do you look like that?! I don't believe it!
Dorothy: Blanche, who is this?
Blanche: If I didn't know any better, I would swear my dead husband George!
(Blanche runs off while everyone in the restaurant suddenly turns their attention to George and the girls)
Dorothy (sincerely): Well, George, we've heard so much about you.
- In one episode, Sophia considers becoming a nun. A nun from a local convent comes over to interview her. During the same episode, Rose and Blanche are in the middle of an argument. She storms into the living room to whine to Dorothy.
) Can you believe Rose is trying to blame the whole thing on me? That woman has one hell of a lot of nerve! (Notices Dorothy and Sophia motioning with their eyes and turns to sees the nun sitting in her living room and says very sweetly
) Hello. (beat
) I'm a Baptist (turns on her heel and promptly exits
- Some of Dorothy's reaction shots.
- The cupcakes conversation.
- Rose: "All creatures must learn to co-exist. Back where I come from, they do. That's why the brown bear and field mouse can share their lives and live in harmony. Of course they can't mate or the mice would explode." Cue WTF looks from the entire picket line.
- Sophia pretending to be Blanche's grandmother, complete with a fake southern accent.
"We was po'!"
- How did Blanche get Sophia to go along with it?
Blanche: (to Dorothy) I need a chaperone, now do I need to call in the favors you owe me?
Dorothy: I don't owe you any favors.
Blanche: (turns to Sophia without missing a beat) I need a chaperone, now do I need to call in the favors you owe me?
Sophia: I don't owe you any favors.
Blanche: Really? "But officer, the little old lady was with me. She couldn't possibly have put that banana in your tailpipe."
- When Rose displays some knowledge of psychology, referencing such concepts as Cognitive Dissonance, Dorothy, Sophia, and Blanche are shocked. She reveals she used to read an academic journal about psychology that was published in St. Olaf, though Blanche refuses to believe that she is capable of doing such a thing.
- After the first few episodes, whenever Rose or Sophia are about to tell a story ("Picture it..."/"Back in St. Olaf..."), the audience immediately starts laughing, as they know something funny is about to be said.
- One of the clip shows has Rose do something smart, which surprises the other women. When she says that's not the only time she's done something smart, they all try to remember another time, but they can't.
- Blanche and Sophia arguing in "Yes, We Have No Havanas":
Blanche: "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a long, hot, steamy bath, with just enough water to barely cover my perky bosoms."
"You're only gonna sit in an inch of water?"note
Blanche: "[to Fidel] Midnight for dessert."
Sophia: There's always room for Jell-o.
Blanche: I just hate you. I regret the day you ever moved in here.
Sophia: And I regret the day I gave birth to you!
Dorothy: Ma, Ma! I'm your daughter.
Sophia: Oh, yeah...I need a Bromo-Seltzer!
Sophia: I realized today I haven't showered with a man in twenty-two years!
Dorothy: Ma, pop's been dead twenty-seven years.
Sophia: What's your point?
Dorothy: Ma, what are you saying?
Rose: Isn't it obvious, Dorothy? She showered with a dead man for five years.
- Dorothy giving Preemptive Shut Ups to Sophia when she's about to say something rude. In one episode, instead of telling her to shut up, she covers her mouth before she gets a chance to say something.
- In another memorable instance, Dorothy pops a cookie into Sophia's just-opening mouth without missing a beat.
- Blanche: I'm jumpier than a virgin at a prison rodeo.
Dorothy: That's... pretty jumpy.
- From "Mary Has a Little Lamb":
You think that since Mary went out and got herself pregnant, she's a slut. Well, let me tell you what a slut is. A slut is a girl who gets knocked up in the back of a Studebaker
. It was
a Studebaker, right, Dorothy?
Dorothy: It was a Nash, Ma.
Sophia: Now that's a slut.
- The subplot involving a criminal who was pen pals with Blanche while in prison. He's never seen her. So when he's out, and looking for Blanche...
Blanche: You wouldn't like Blanche, anyway.
Rose: She's not your type.
Blanche: That's right, she isn't.
Rose: She's very cold.
Blanche: Frigid. Hardly likes men at all.
Rose: And she's ugly, isn't she? (Blanche starts looking annoyed)
Blanche: Ugly is a pretty strong word, Rose.
Rose: And wrinkled, isn't she?
Blanche: She is not wrinkled. (Blanche gets even more annoyed)
Rose: And fat.
Blanche: Stop that! You just stop that right now! She is none of those things, Rose Nylund. She is gorgeous! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!
Moose: Tell Blanche I'll be back.(Moose leaves)
Blanche: ... And stupid! Stupid, stupid, stupid!
Hi, Mary. When's the baby due? Dorothy:
Ma, you're talking to a sixteen year-old girl. Sophia:
A knocked up sixteen year-old. Mary: (nods awkwardly) Dorothy:
Ma, how did you know? Sophia:
Because you had the same look of panic on your face when you got pregnant. Kind of like a deer caught in the headlights. I thought only pregnant teenagers had that expression until I saw Dan Quayle on TV
- Rose says something stupid and Dorothy tells her to pass her the newspaper, which Rose refuses to do since she thinks Dorothy's going to hit her on the head with it. When Dorothy promises not to, Rose hands the newspaper over, and Dorothy immediately passes it over to Blanche so she can do it instead.
- Rose telling Dorothy and Blanche that if they don't help her, she'll lose her job and have nothing to do but stay home and tell St. Olaf stories.
- After Sophia gives Blanche's grandson a well-deserved slap;
Blanche: Is that all you Italians know how to do; scream and hit?
Sophia: No. We also know how to make love, and sing opera.
- After a near-death experience, Sophia went on a "live life to the fullest" kick. After a road trip, this happens:
Dorothy: I still can't believe what you were doing on the interstate.
Sophia: I was living for the day!
Dorothy: YOU WERE MOONING A CHAIN GANG!
- Sophia discovers Rose separating egg yokes from whites, putting all the yokes in a Ziploc bag. Rose explains that she's removing the yokes to make low-cholesterol omelets...but she didn't have the heart to throw them out, so she'll donate the yokes to the homeless. Sophia snarks that that just leads to a nice Final Solution for the homeless problem—having them die of cholesterol. Rose looks at her in shock. Cue Sophia's punch line:
"Your heart's in the right place, Rose—I don't know where the hell your brain is...."
- Dorothy won't let Blanche out of a bathroom stall (It Makes Sense in Context), while the two of them offer insight to a young woman. Dorothy ends up pounding the stall door in frustration, leading to the following:
Blanche: Dorothy, if you do that one more time, I'm going to write all over these walls "For a good time, call Dorothy Zbornak"!
Dorothy: (Chuckles) Blanche, this is a ladies' room!
- There was a lot of good Bathroom Humor (pardon the pun) in that scene.
Blanche: You can't do this, it's a violation of my civil rights.
Dorothy: Well, you have the time, you have the paper, why don't you sit down and write a long letter to your Senator.
Blanche: Dorothy, let me out of here right now.
Dorothy: There's only one way out, Blanche, and I don't think you can hold your breath long enough.
- In one episode, Stanley's little brother is visiting and begins to go out with Dorothy. Stan starts noticing his little brother is doing many of the same things he did the first time he proposed (namely planning a vacation to Acapulco,) and believe he's about to propose to Dorothy. In the end, he was merely trying to sweet-talk Dorothy into baby-sitting the two kids of the girl he was really trying to propose to. Dorothy appears to take the high road and simply leave, but before she does, she delivers one final parting shot over the hostess's microphone.
Dorothy: Ladies and Gentlemen, can I have you attention, please? The gentleman at Table Five, in the blue suit, is impotent. Bon Apetit.
- Dorothy's reaction to Sophia walking into the kitchen with a pair of sunglasses.
Dorothy: Ladies and Gentlemen, Roy Orbison.
- Rue McClanahan once said one of her all time favorite moments on the series was Blanche's disastrous attempt at sexily singing "I Wanna Be Loved by You" in "Journey to the Center of Attention."
- In one episode, when Blanche and Rose are rehearsing as the Nuns in The Sound of Music:
Rose: The Nazis are coming! The Nazis are coming!
Sofia: (Bursts into the room) Lock the doors! Get the gun! Hide in the basement!
- The whole opening scene of the "Isn't That Romantic?" episode. Sophia rents a porno...Hilarity Ensues.
- In A Midwinter Night's Dream, Sophia is reminded of an old curse placed on Dorothy surrounding the first full moon of a leap year, and tries doing what she can to get it removed. One of the goals she has to complete is "Reveal the betrayal of a loved one." But she ends up convincing Barbara and Carol Weston that the other was responsible for "The thing that made you feel betrayed," and gets them so angry they decide to get revenge on each other.
Carol: [Barbara] was the one who-?!
: She laughed about it.
Barbara: [Carol] was the one who-?!
Sophia: She laughed about it. I had to laugh too because I had to play along.
- The first time it happens, Sophia feels guilty. The second time it happens, she specifically sets Barbara on Carol to get out of any blame. Then she realizes "Maybe the paper boy was right, I'm just a mean old lady." The paper boy comment then turns out to be a Brick Joke.