It's a Miserable Life was the fourth episode of Season 2 of The Golden Girls TV series, also the 29th overall series episode. Directed by Terry Hughes and written by Barry Fanaro, it originally aired on NBC-TV on November 1, 1986.


The girls band together to preserve a 200-year-old oak tree in the neighborhood to their local City Hall, but the tree is on the property of Frieda Claxton, their extremely mean and hateful neighbor who wants the tree cut down despite the neighborhood wanting to save it. Dorothy said that the last Halloween, half the kids in the neighborhood wore Frieda Claxton costumes!

During the dispute at City Hall, Rose asks Mrs. Claxton how she could hate a living thing, to which the latter replies: "I hate you!" and an enraged Rose tells her to drop dead, and she does! The girls decide to have a funeral for Mrs. Claxton, since she had no friends or relatives, but she accidentally got cremated instead! The tree is saved after Rose spreads her ashes around the tree, says a prayer, and tells City Hall that it wouldn't be a good idea to disturb a person's final resting place. At the end of the episode, a Great Dane comes along to "pay its respects" by peeing on her ashes!

Guest CastEdit

  • Nan Martin as Frieda Claxton
  • Thom Sharp as Mr. Pfeiffer
  • Amzie Strickland as Lady at Funeral
  • Johnny Haymer as Commissioner


Rose: Mrs. Claxton, think about what you're doing. That beautiful old tree is 200 years old. How can you hate a living thing?

Mrs. Claxton: I hate you.

Rose: That's it! I have had all I'm gonna take from you! Now if you don't have the common decency to treat people like human beings, well then I'm sure as hell not gonna waste my time kissing your fanny! Now if you don't like it Mrs. Claxton, you just sit there and shut up while we have our say! And if you don't like it, just drop dead! Go on, Dorothy.

As Rose goes to return to her seat, Mrs Claxton keels over and falls to the floor.

Dorothy: What happened?

Sophia: You know when you told her to drop dead?

Rose: Yes.

Sophia: I think she did!

Mr. Pfeiffer: How did she (Mrs. Claxton) pass on?

Sophia: (gestures toward Rose) She killed her.

Mr. Pfeiffer: Rough neighborhood.

(At the funeral)

Random Woman: Yes. Celia Rubenstein loved all mankind. She was...

Dorothy: WHO?


  • The outside of the Mortuary sign is the same one used in the show Will and Grace, where Grace visits a dear friend who she thought was dead.
  • The background shot during the closing credits features the four ladies in the funeral home looking on at Mr. Pfeiffer, who's off-screen.
  • Nan Martin would later appear again in Season Four's, 100th episode, Foreign Exchange as Philomena Bosco.

Gallery Edit