The “Valentine’s Day” episode of season 4 is, I think, one of the best episodes. It features some of the most infamous moments of the entire series, and it also falls into the flashback genre of the series. The Golden Girls is unique because many of its flashback episodes actually feature unique stories that give us glimpses into the Girls’ pasts rather than clips from previous episodes. The writers managed to pack in a lot of detail in this episode, and there are some fabulous fashion moments as well.
First we see Dorothy and Sophia at the kitchen table eating chocolates. Dorothy tries one that Sophia had already sampled and put back in the box. I could swear I remember some catalog like Lillian Vernon selling a little gadget for taking samples out of chocolates when I was a kid, but I can’t seem to find it on the Internet now. Anyway, it turns out that all of the Girls end up without dates for Valentine’s Day, except Sophia, who claims to have a date with none other than Julio Iglesias. I think all of the Girls look lovely in this scene, especially Dorothy. Her hair is styled so beautifully, and we rarely see her in red! The drop crystal earrings are another rarity. Sophia is wearing what appears to be a velvet dress in a dark floral pattern. Rose’s teal dress is very pretty, and I really like the long gold necklaces that she’s paired with it. Of course, not to be outdone, Blanche is wearing a cobalt blue number with a gathered skirt and beaded belt. It’s hard to see in my photo, but the dress also features beading at the neckline and edges of the sleeves. It’s a very late 80’s look. I love that none of the outfits are competing in this scene. Each one stands out on its own.
Next, the episode moves into each Girl sharing a memory of a past Valentine’s Day. Sophia goes first.
“I didn’t say I was at THE St. Valentine’s Day Massacre!”
She tells a story about traveling cross country with Sal and her father to go to a wedding. Right away, you’ll probably notice that Papa Petrillo looks a little familiar. That’s because it’s the same actor, Bill Dana, who plays Uncle Angelo in several episodes! He even played Uncle Angelo in the season 3 episode, “My Brother, My Father” first. But who’s counting, right? Dana is great in both parts.
As usual, the set and fashion in this scene is spot on. Sophia mentions the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre that took place in Chicago, where she says they were on their trip, in 1929. So that gives us a date for this scene, which makes sense according to Sophia’s age and the timeline of events in her life. I also just love seeing Estelle Getty’s natural beauty in this scene. She wears a sort of modified cloche style hat with a burgundy ribbon and brim that matches her coat, a long brighter red knit scarf, and cream colored gloves. I love her makeup, too. It’s subtle but very flattering, especially at her eyes. At the end of her memory, Sal reveals that he hid a box of chocolates under the seat when they left Brooklyn so he would have something for her on Valentine’s Day.
“His klingenspritzer’s showing!”
The next scene is one of my all time favorites of the whole series, and I always tend to forget that it’s part of this episode. The same goes for the scene at the end, too. They’re just that good! You guessed it: this is the one about the time Rose accidentally booked a stay at the nudist hotel!
Dorothy and Blanche sport some pretty amazing earrings in this scene. Dorothy wears a drapey bright blue top over a lighter blue blouse with a cowl neck and loose brown trousers. I like it! It’s very typically Dorothy, but it works. Blanche’s outfit is my favorite. The large floral pattern is pretty on trend for today, too, with all of the kimono style toppers that have been popular. The pink pantsuit is fun, too. It’s a very Valentine’s Day look without being over the top. Rose’s skirt suit is gorgeous! I feel like she’s probably a little over dressed for the occasion, but I love the 1940’s influence of the tailored shoulders and peplum detail.
The best part of this scene is wen the Girls finally decide to join in on the fun and go naked to dinner. They hide behind giant heart cut outs that they dramatically toss on the floor when they get to the dining room. Of course, it turns out that dinner is not a clothing optional affair, and the withering waiter informs them, “Excuse me, ladies, but we always dress for dinner here. And in your case we’d appreciate it if you do that for all three meals.” It’s truly one of my favorite lines and moments of the whole series. It always makes me laugh!
“Love is love. Period.”
After Sophia reveals that she has a date with Julio Iglesias, Blanche recalls re-visiting the bar where George proposed to her. Now, I’m pretty sure that this is a plot inconsistency about her and George’s relationship, but oh well. It makes for a sweet story. At the bar, Blanche ends up giving advice to a man who’s going to propose to his boyfriend. There’s not too much going on fashion wise in this scene. Blanche is wearing her signature color red, in a satiny, belted dress. It’s also the type of satin with a slightly shiny pattern woven in that’s always really beautiful. I feel like that fabric is such a hallmark of television at this time, probably because it catches the light so well.
This scene is also interesting because it would’ve taken place “in real life” before the “Scared Straight” episode, yet it happens after that episode in the season. Of course, she tells him that, “love is love,” before she realizes he’s gay, but I like that the writer’s made a point of including this line. It’s one of the show’s progressive moments that doesn’t get as much notice as others. While the phrase’s origins stretch back to the 19th century and it later became a supportive slogan for the LGBTQ community, I think it’s safe to say that Blanche probably said it on a sitcom before anyone else!
“Condoms, Rose! Condoms, condoms, condoms!”
Ah, the infamous condoms scene! I think this scene is definitely in the top 5 most memorable of the series, and it may be number one for a lot of people. I think most fans, myself included, tend to forget that it’s part of this episode, though. There are so many great lines in this scene!
The Girls are at the drugstore picking up some last minute things for their Valentine’s Day cruise with “Jeff and Rich and Randy.” I love the way Blanche rattles off their names. She also suggests that they pick up some protection, which of course leads to Dorothy’s classic line when Rose can’t figure out what she’s pointing to on the rack. The cashier in this scene never gets enough credit, either. His comedic timing is superb. “Calm down, lady! You just get outta prison?” Then he rattles off each type of condom over the loudspeaker, much to the Girls’ embarrassment. Except Blanche takes the mic and gives a great little speech about their “morally and socially responsible” choice to buy condoms. Again, this scene pre-dates the “72 Hours” episode of the next season, and I think that’s pretty significant.
Ok, ok, the fashion! Blanche’s outfit is fairly nondescript. She’s wearing a kind of drab, dark green jacket over a periwinkle pantsuit. Rose’s sweater is super interesting, though! I think this is the only time we see her wear this one. The pattern is…interesting, and I’m not really sure how to describe it exactly. It almost looks like snowflakes, yet the colorway is a little Southwestern. It’s actually an almost modern look for Rose! And then there’s Dorothy’s jacket. Phew! The whole thing is like a technicolor version of that horrid brown one from the “Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas” episode. It appears to be made of windbreaker type fabric with a knit sweater collar. I suppose I don’t exactly hate it, but I don’t love it either. I’ll say that I appreciate the bright color combinations and leave it at that.
In the end it turns out that Sophia was behind a little set up with the Girls’ dates, and they show up after all to take them out for dinner and dancing. And she really does have a date with Julio Iglesias! He shows up at the back door, and he and Sophia sing a little of “Begin the Beguine” as the episode ends, which is pretty much the cutest thing ever. Whatever your feelings about Valentine’s Day, I hope you at least treat yourself to a little ice cream or cheesecake!