Golden Girls/Palace (Pass or Play)

Photo credit: Jewelz by Angie

Note: Descriptions of episodes of The Golden Girls are from IMDb.

There were two Christmas episodes of The Golden Girls and one of the spin-off The Golden Palace. But, not all of these episodes are created equal. Is there a new holiday favorite hiding among the seasons, or can you skip all of these without a care?

1. 'Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas (Season 2, Episode 11)

The girls all plan to visit their respective families for Christmas, but their plans are ruined when they are held hostage by a man dressed as Santa Claus at the Grief Counseling Center. 

This is a hilarious episode! Every single actor is on fire from start to finish, and numerous punchlines are incredibly quotable. The Christmas ambiance is plentiful. There is heart and a good moral about the family you choose. 

Verdict: Definitely play! I watch it at least twice a year.

2.  Have Yourself a Very Little Christmas (Season 5, Episode 12)

The girls volunteer at a homeless shelter on Christmas day and learn that Stan (Dorothy's ex-husband) has been thrown out on the streets by his current wife.

Though not without a few laughs, this episode falls flat. It's not as funny as a normal episode, and I never cared for any of Stan's appearances on the show. He spends a good chunk of the episode wallowing in his own pity, and his ending redemption arc is so uninspired that it barely seems worth portraying.

I also dislike the heavy-handedness when portraying homelessness. Yes, homelessness is an issue we should definitely be talking about, and I applaud them for occasionally using the show to platform real problems, but every single one of the girls brings up how ineffectual they feel without even trying anything else. None of them talk about volunteering there full-time, running a supply drive, writing their local politicians, or other activities to help beyond the one day. They don't give the audience actionable steps... just pound the point of "homelessness is terrible". 

Verdict: Skip it and use your time to research the best way for you to help a worthy cause in your community.

3. It's Beginning to Look a Lot (Less) Like Christmas (Golden Palace: Season 1, Episode 12)

Patients suffering from Christmas trauma book the entire hotel for the holiday, forcing everyone to stop celebrating. Chuy, the hotel's chef, hates Christmas; he's fine with no holiday cheer... until he gets visited by three (dream) ghosts. Roland, the hotel's manager, is convinced by Rose to play Santa Claus at an event.

Yes, it's another Christmas Carol retelling, but it includes all of the heart and humor of The Golden Girls. The ghosts are played by Rose, Blanche, and Sophia. Great dialogue and witty comebacks are on full display. 

Blanche: I made a late date tonight with a Dickens caroler, and I have great expectations.
Sophia: So we can expect to hear, "Please sir, I want some more."

It's all good from beginning to end!

Verdict: Play! Your future self will thank you.

If you want to watch The Golden Girls, you can get the show on DVD or watch it on Hulu or your cable package. The Golden Palace episode can be found on YouTube

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