The Engagement was the premiere episode of the new NBC series The Golden Girls. This episode was directed by Jay Sandrich, and written by series co-executive producer Susan Harris, it originally aired on NBC in the United States on September 14, 1985. 1985 was the year that Austin City Limits premieres its 10th anniversary season on PBS.
In the series pilot, Blanche announces that her latest boyfriend, Harry, has proposed marriage. Hearing this, Rose worries over where she will live and later, worries that there is something off about Harry. Meanwhile, Dorothy is more than exuberant over Blanche's plans, but must also contend with her mother, Sophia, who arrives after her retirement home, Shady Pines, burns down.
Guest Cast Edit
- Police Officer - Meshach Taylor
- Minister - F. William Parker
- Harry - Frank Aletter
- Coco - Charles Levin
- Production code - 001
- Nielsen Ratings - 25.0 household rating/43 percent audience share (1st place for the week).
- Rue McClanahan doesn't have a Southern accent in this episode, because, prior to filming, director Jay Sandrich told her he didn't want to hear it. After the show was picked up from the pilot episode, McClanahan went to producers and offered to play Blanche as a modified Mae West-style character. The producers asked her why she wasn't doing it with a Southern accent. At that point, the character of Blanche Devereaux was fully realized, complete with Southern accent.
- According to Betty White, she was nervous about switching the roles because she understood Blanche, but did not get who Rose was. She said Susan Harris gave her character in a nutshell, and from then on, she is eternally grateful to Jay Sandrich whose idea it was to switch roles.
- The beginning of this episode takes place on September 4, 1985 - according to Season 6's "Never Yell Fire in a Crowded Retirement Home: Part I." On the front door of Blanche's home, there is an exclamation point type looking engravement, which remains there for the rest of the series.
- Meshach Taylor, who plays the policeman in this pilot episode, is better known for his long-term role as Anthony Bouvier on Designing Women which ran on CBS from 1985-1986.
- First mention of Stanley Zbornak.
- For an unknown reason, this episode is titled "The Pilot" instead of "The Engagement" on the complete first season DVD Set.
- The house's layout is different in this episode. The entrance to Blanche's bedroom is usually where the entrance to the lanai is, and the lanai is shown to be on the right side of the house later in the episode.
Dorothy: "I taught a class today. The finest school in Dade County. Two girls had shaved heads, and three boys had green hair".
Coco: "They're expressing themselves".
Dorothy: "Well I expressed myself. I told them they had to leave, they were too ugly to look at. Now the parents are mad. A father came in in a three-piece suit and defended Tiffany, a bald girl with a nose-ring".
Rose: "What a day. One sad person after another".
Dorothy: "Rose, you work at grief counseling. What would you expect? Comedians?"
Rose: "It would be a change of pace".
Dorothy: "You know, I had the shock of my life today. I was in the teachers lounge talking to a group of girls in their 20's. They were so pretty. At that age, you don't even have to be pretty and you're pretty. Anyway, we were laughing and giggling and having a great time and I completely forgot that I was older. I just felt like one of the girls and we had a wonderful time. And then I got into my car and caught a glimpse of myself and I almost had a heart attack. This old woman was in the mirror. I didn't even recognize her".
Rose: "Who was it?"
(Dorothy pauses for a long time, then glares at Rose)
Dorothy: "It was me!"
(Dorothy opens the front door)
Sophia: "Hi there?"
Dorothy: "Ma! Ma, what's the matter?"
Sophia: "Everything's fine. No one died. The home burned down".
Rose: "Sit down, Sophia. You must be exhausted".
Sophia: "Why? I rode in the cab, I didn't push it".
Blanche: "Sophia, honey, it's good to see you".
Sophia: "Who are you?"
Blanche: "It's me, Blanche".
Sophia: "You look like a prostitute!"
Rose: "Sophia, the things you say! She didn't mean that Blanche".
Sophia: "Of course I mean it. Look at her, my cab driver would fall in love".
Sophia: [Late at night, Sophia walks into the living room] "Oh it's you!"
Rose: "Sophia, did we wake you?"
Sophia: "I heard voices, I thought there were robbers, so I hid my jewels. Now I can't remember where."
Dorothy: "Ma, you don't have any jewels!"
Sophia: "Thank God, because I can't find them."
Rose: "Let's all drive to Coconut Grove for lunch, my treat, we have to celebrate."
Sophia: "What, that she came out of her room?!"
Rose: "That we're together!"
Dorothy: "And that no matter what happens, even if we all get married, we'll stick together."
Rose: "Then we'll need a big much bigger house."
Dorothy: "Sure, Rose. After lunch, you can pick up the lumber. Ma, you wanna join us?"
Sophia: "Nope. I've gotta rest; I've got a date tonight!"
Dorothy: "Ah! With whom?"
Sophia: "The fancy man (Coco) and I are going to the dog track."
Blanche: "Your mother bets?"
Dorothy: "No, she rides, she's a dog jockey! Let's go already."
- Blanche tells her date, Harry, that Sophia's home just burned down. Blanche was not in the room when Sophia shared this piece of information, and thus would have no way of knowing it.
- The police officer asks if there is a "Blanche Hollingsworth" there. Hollingsworth is Blanche's maiden name. This is the only episode in which she is referred to by that last name.
- This is one of several episodes in which Charlie is said to have been dead for 15 years. It is stated, more than once, that Rose and Charlie were married for 32 years. If that was true, then Charlie and Rose would have been 9 and 8 years old, respectively, when married.