Dorothy Zbornak and Blanche Devereaux are in the kitchen having coffee when Rose Nylund enters the room.
Rose: Don’t you just love waking up with rain tapping on your bedroom window?
Blanche: Oh, absolutely. I always throw open the window, uncork a bottle of Cold Duck, and slip into my Frederick’s of Hollywood ostrich-feather nightie.
Dorothy: Just because of rain tapping at your window?
Blanche: Oh, I thought she said, “Wayne”. My mistake. Sorry.
Sophia Petrillo in her raincoat enters the kitchen.
Dorothy: Ma, where are you going?
Sophia: To the market.
Rose: Why are you going in the rain?
Sophia: The market’s in Miami. If it was in Phoenix, I’d be going in the sun.
Blanche: Now, Sophia, Rose asked a perfectly sensible question.
Sophia: Am I the only one she caught by surprise?
Sophia: Rose, I’m gonna buy a nectarine. I go to the market every day to buy a nectarine. At 82, that’s life – a round trip on the number 6 bus to buy a nectarine.
Rose: That’s so sad.
Sophia: Not sad. Life. Sad is when you have to mash the nectarine with a fork.
Rose: It’s a shame Sophia has nothing constructive to do anymore. She needs something to make her feel more fulfilled.
Blanche: Well, I’ll tell you what would make her feel more fulfilled.
Rose and Dorothy: Blanche!
Blanche: A hobby.
Rose: Oh, I thought you meant, you know, a man.
Blanche: You got a better hobby?
Dorothy: I don’t think a hobby is the answer for Ma.
Rose: what do you think is.
Dorothy: Ugh, I wish I knew. I mean let’s face it, life is as interesting as you make it, and at Ma’s age it’s harder to make the effort. I don’t know. I guess I should be grateful she’s at least able to get out, even just to buy a nectarine.
Rose: Well, girls, since it’s raining, we could tackle those jobs around the house we always talk about.
Dorothy: I’ll change that bulb in the hallway.
Blanche: I’ll hold the ladder.
Rose: I meant something like rearranging the furniture in the living room, or cleaning out the garage, or relining the kitchen shelves.
Rose: Oh, bingo’s fun on a rainy day.
Dorothy: She was talking about relining the shelves.
Rose: Well, that could be fun too, if we divide into teams and grease our hands.
Rose Nylund goes over to the cupboard.
Blanche: I got arrested for that once at a party in Chattanooga.
Rose: Oh, my goodness. Look what I found. Double-fudge cookies. I thought we agreed not to keep cookies in the house.
Blanche grabs the box of cookies from Rose.
Blanche: Right, after this last box.
Rose: You’re not gonna eat them, are you?
Blanche: Oh no, Rose. We’re gonna got o some dumb country and try to use them as money.
Rose: I thought we were gonna divide up work.
Blanche: That’s right. Rose, make a pot of coffee, Dorothy get the plates, and I’ll just tear into these suckers.
Sophia Petrillo is at the grocery store.
Sophia: Hey! Hey, you got any decent nectarines?
Sales Clerk: There’s nothing wrong with those nectarines.
Sophia: Please! I got a bowl of waxed bananas that’ll be ripe before these are.
Sales Clerk: You’re crazy. This nectarine is beautiful. I never saw a more perfect piece of fruit.
Sophia: No? Then try kissing my behind. It’s a real peach!
An old lady calls on Sophia Petrillo.
Old Lady: Sophia.
Sophia: Nah, Cesar Chavez. I got hungry.
Old Lady: They giving you a hard time, too?
Sophia: Nah, I just can’t pick out a decent nectarine. This way they do it for me.
Why don’t you just ask for help?
Sophia: Help? You know who helps old broads like us? Boy scouts in cartoons. We gotta look after ourselves. They giving you any trouble?
Old Lady: I…I can’t get a refund on this lamb chop.
The old lady takes out the lamb chop from her basket.
Old Lady: It looked fine in the case, but when I got it home the bottom was all fat.
Sophia: Come with me.
Old Lady: Sophia, please, I don’t wanna make trouble.
Sophia: When’s the last time you saw me make trouble?
Old Lady: Aisle three.
Sophia: Oh, relax.
Old Lady: Sir, uh…
Sales Clerk: Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I already told you I can’t take it back. It’s against store policy.
Sophia: Are you willing to sign an affidavit to that effect?
Sales Clerk: A what?
Sophia: An affidavit. It’s standard in any NOPRL investigation.
Sales Clerk: NOPRL?
Sophia: The N-O-P-R-L: Network of Older People Retired but Living. Sophia Petrillo, past president and legal counsel. This store’s in big trouble, Mister. I got a better case than Valerie Harper.
Manager: Excuse me, ladies. Pardon me. Is there a problem here?
The manager approaches Sophia Petrillo.
Sophia: Only if you can consider a class-action suit, and a boycott by OREP a problem.
Sales Clerk: I thought it was NOPRL.
Sophia: This is too big for NOPRL. This is all the way up to OREP.
Sophia: Organization of Retired and Elderly People. Sophia Petrillo, Executive Director.
Sophia shakes the manager’s hand.
Sophia: And leader of the ’87 march on Neiman Marcus.
Manager: Uh, Mrs. Petrillo, isn’t there some way that we can resolve this matter?
Sophia: I’m afraid not. The wheels of justice are already in motion. Of course, a full refund could put those wheels in reverse.
Manager: How much?
Sophia: A buck, 17.
Manager: You got it.
The manager pulls out cash from his pocket.
Manager: Here. Keep the change.
Sophia: Thank you. We’ll be in touch. Uh, oh listen. Uh, how much for the nectarine?
Manager: Take it. It’s on the house.
Sophia: Oh, we can’t do that. It’s against the bylaws.
Manager: All right, you can pay me. That’s 45 cents.
Sophia: 45 cents for one lousy nectarine?! What’s inside, a pit or a pearl?
Sophia Petrillo weighs the nectarine.
Sophia: This is a 25-cent nectarine.
Manager: Fine. Sold.
Sophia turns to her old lady friend.
Sophia: Well, don’t stand there like a bump on a pickle. Give the man a quarter.
Back at the house, Rose, Dorothy and Blanche are still in the kitchen, but have finished the whole box of cookies.
Blanche: When the waiter brought my order he set down a big bowl of gazpacho right in front of me. I said, “I ordered the consommé.” He said, “A hot number like you needs something spicy.” And I said, “I’ll give you somethin’ spicy”, and I poured the gazpacho right down his pants.
Dorothy: So you never went out with him.
Blanche: No. I just slept with him. He wasn’t my type.
Rose: Oh, my goodness. Blanche, how could you?
Dorothy: Oh come on, Rose. She’s just teasing you.
Blanche: That’s right, honey, I’m just teasing. You always tease the one you love. Actually, tease and tickle. Actually, tease, tickle and spank.
Blanche: I’m sorry. What was I talking about?
Rose: About teasing me ‘cause you love me.
Blanche: Oh, that’s right. Well, it’s true. I learned that during my sorority years when I was dating Mr. Preston Bougainvillea. Lord, the teasing that boy put up with.
Rose: Because of his name.
Blanche: No, because of his ears. He had these long, floppy ears. Kind of like a basset hound. When he came to pick me up for our blind date I couldn’t believe it. He jumped out of the car and he ran up the walk, and bounded up onto the front porch, and I remember thinking, “He’s gonna trip on those ears.” But he didn’t. So there he stood before me introducing himself and, I don’t know, I was still so stunned, I just kind of half-muttered a “Howdy-do”, and he said, “I beg your pardon? I didn’t hear you.” Well, I don’t know what came over me, but I just blurted out, “Didn’t hear me? I think you could pick up Radio Free Europe with those ears!” And you know what he did? He laughed. Well, right then and there I started growing very fond of Mr. Preston Bougainvillea, and over the next several months we saw quite a lot of each other.
Rose: Oh, that’s really very sweet, Blanche.
Blanche: I know. By the way, did you girls know that the size of a man’s ears is directly proportionate to the size of his other…bodily organs?
Rose: What do you mean?
Dorothy: He had a big, floppy pancreas, Rose. Look, could we get back to lining the shelves?
Blanche: I don’t feel like it anymore.
Rose: Well, what do you wanna do instead?
Blanche: I know. Let’s rent an adult video, drink mimosas and French-kiss the pillows.
Dorothy: I don’t think so, Blanche.
Blanche: Fine. I’m out of ideas. You think of something.
Rose: How about if we rearrange the furniture in the living room?
Blanche: Don’t you think we ought to wait till Sophia gets back home? Maybe she’d like to help. Give her something to do.
Dorothy: Honey, you know she’s always exhausted when she gets back from the market. I mean the first thing she does is go to take a nap before dinner.
Rose: Well then, we’ll just do it right now. Come on.
Sophia is at the park conducting an old ladies’ band.
Sophia: All right, all right. Take five. Even the seagulls stopped listening.
Esther: The rain kept our fans away.
Sophia: Baloney! Every week we’ve been collecting what, 20, 30 dollars for the clinic? The last couple of weeks we’re lucky if we break ten, and you know why? We’re losing our edge. The excitement is gone. We’re not driven like we used to be. Haven’t we learned anything from the tragic examples of Mike Douglas and Ferdinand Marcos?
Esther: Come on, Sophia. You know, a little lunch might cheer you up.
Old Lady Trombone: You brought yours?
Sophia: Nah, this is the nectarine for later. I’m having the usual as soon as the sausage guy comes. So, let’s see, who’s buying?
Old Lady Trombone: Pulse or pressure?
Esther: 140 over 80.
Old Lady Trombone: 130 over 80.
Sophia: 120 over 70. Your treat, Esther. And I’d stay away from the sausage if I were you.
Esther: Sophia, would you like to come to my art class today?
Sophia: Did you talk Murray Schimowitz into posing naked yet?
Esther: We got him down to his truss.
Sophia: I’ve seen his truss. It’s impressive. The first time he showed it off I thought he had a turkey platter in his pants. Besides, today’s my day at the hospital.
Esther: You’re not feeling good?
Sophia: Please! I haven’t felt good since Hugh Downs left the Today show, but that’s got nothin’ to do with it.
Old Lady Trombone: Hey, look.
Old Lady Trombone points at the gathering crowd.
Sophia: Okay, break’s over. Let’s pretend we know what we’re doing and try to turn a buck. Come on, girls, give it all you got. Remember the clinic and work hard. Remember your art and be proud. Remember an F sharp and blow. One, two, one…
The old ladies’ band plays a jazzy version of “When The Saints Go Marching In”, and the donations start pouring in.
Back at the house, Blanche, Dorothy, and Rose have just finished eating pizza.
Dorothy: Well, I guess we should get back to work.
Blanche: Oh, I suppose so, but you know, a big meal always makes me so sleepy.
Rose: Is that why you usually go right to bed after a date buys you dinner?
Blanche: Who said that?
Rose: You did. At the beauty parlor. Don’t you remember? And Agnes said you were a lot of hot air, and you said she was just jealous ‘cause she wasn’t getting any. And I said, “Getting any what?” And you said, “Rice pudding, Rose.” And I said—
Blanche: Can we just get back to moving the furniture?
Dorothy: The weather’s cleared up. I, I really think we should save a big project like this for a rainy day.
Rose: Now, we agreed we weren’t gonna waste time. That’d be a mistake, something we’d regret for the rest of our lives.
Dorothy: Rose, we’re eating pizza, not getting tattoos.
Rose: I just hate the idea of wasting time, I always have – ever since what happened to my neighbor in St. Olaf.
Blanche: Rose…are you about to educate us on the evils of wasting time by telling a long, tedious St. Olaf story?
Rose: Do you know a better way?
Dorothy: She has a point, Blanche.
Rose: It was back in 1955, and we had just moved into our first house, right next door to Pigpen Johannsen. That wasn’t his real name. That was a nickname.
Rose: No, Johannsen. Anyway, Pigpen had just turned 80, and the town bylaws made him leave his job teaching drivers training at the high school.
Dorothy: Well, at 80 it was about time.
Rose: It had nothing to do with his age. There was an old law on the books about driving with your shirt off.
Blanche: I once got arrested for that in Chattanooga, too.
Dorothy: Blanche, let me ask you a question. Are you allowed to go back to Chattanooga?
Blanche: Are you kidding? The sheriff still writes. Go on, Rose.
Rose: Anyway, without a job Pigpen started feeling useless, so the town fathers thought they’d give him a new job – putting up the “Welcome to St. Olaf” sign out of Miller’s Lane.
Blanche: Rose, is there a point to this story?
Rose: Yes! That same year on Founder’s Day the governor was coming, and Pigpen forgot to put up the sign, and the governor drove straight through town without ever realizing he was in St. Olaf.
Dorothy: I would have thought the glazed look on everyone’s face would have tipped him off.
Blanche: So, the point is Pigpen ruined Founder’s Day all because he was wasting time.
Rose: That’s right, and the town fathers took down his picture. It had always hung in the St. Olaf auto shop, right next to Andy Granatelli. My mother used to date him. You know what he has under the trench coat?
Dorothy: A wrench?
Rose: That’s what Mother called it. Anyway, Mother was having trouble with her transmission and Andy was…
Sophia Petrillo rushes to the hospital desk.
Man: It’s after one o’clock. You’re late.
Sophia: So, dock me.
Man: You do this for free.
Sophia: Then be grateful. Anything happening?
Man: Yeah, we got three in surgery, two in X-ray and you have to deliver these on your break.
The man points at a cart filled with flowers.
Sophia: In your dreams! I’m a Sunshine Lady, not a teamster. Now get the hell outta here, let me do my work.
The man gets up the chair, and Sophia takes his place at the desk.
Man: Oh, uh, one more thing. Your boyfriend was looking for you.
Sophia: Sam? He wheeled himself out here just to see me?
Man: Yeah, I don’t get it. He must see a side of you that’s hidden from the rest of the world like the dark side of the moon.
Sophia: You’re just jealous, because you know you can never have me.
The people at the waiting room glare at Sophia.
Sophia: What’s the matter, you don’t watch General Hospital? This place is a passion pit.
A woman with a walker approaches the Hospital Volunteer Desk.
Ms. Leonard: Any flowers for me today?
Ms. Leonard: Are you sure? The name’s Leonard.
Sophia: I know yourname. You ask me every day if I have flowers for you, and the answer is always no.
The woman saddened at the news turns and starts to walk away.
Sophia: Oh, wait a minute. Wait a minute. I—I made a mistake. There are flowers for you today.
Ms. Leonard: All of them, and the balloons too.
Sophia: There’s no one here to deliver them right now so you leave your walker here, and just wheel these to your room.
Sophia Petrilla pushes the cart filled with flowers. Ms. Leonard exchanges her walker for her pushcart.
Sophia: No! Thank you!
A young boy wheels himself inside the waiting room.
Sam: Hi, Sophia.
Sophia: Sam! How are you doin’?
Sam: I’m feeling real good today.
Sophia: I know. Your strength’s coming back – you wheeled yourself all the way down the hall.
A woman gets up, and approaches Sophia Petrillo.
Mrs. Carp: Excuse me, I’d like to check on my husband. Mr. Carp, prostate surgery.
Sophia: Nothing yet, but he’ll be fine. I went through it myself 20 years ago.
Sophia turns her attention back on Sam. The woman calls her attention.
Mrs. Carp: You had prostate surgery?
Sophia: What do I look like, a cross-dresser? My husband had the surgery. I was the one who went through it.
Sophia turns to Sam, as the woman returns to her seat.
Sophia: So, tell me, Sam, what’s new?
Back at the house, the girls are still in the kitchen listening to Rose’s boring story.
Rose: So, anyway, Lars froze solid right in the middle of the lake, and the town fathers mistook him for Max Brinker, the inventer of Herring Krispies. Which, by the way, go great with borscht. But what doesn’t?
The oven’s timer dings.
Blanche: Cake’s done. Forty-five minutes.
Blanche exhaustedly walks over to the oven.
Dorothy: Gee, I wonder why Ma isn’t back from the market yet.
Rose: Oh, she probably stopped to rest on a bench. Poor thing.
Dorothy: Honey, her problem is not physical. She could do a lot more if she wanted to.
Blanche: You mean she has energy, just not the desire.
Dorothy: Exactly. You know, her mother lived to be 94, and was active right up until the very end. I remember when Grandma was in a wheelchair she was on the go from morning till night, but she always had time to talk to her grandchildren. If I close my eyes, I can hear her saying, “Come on, you snotnosed little rugrats. Pick up those jacks. They’re puncturing holes in my tires.” But the most amazing thing about Grandma was that in 1952 she decided to go into politics.
Dorothy: Uh-huh. She felt it was her personal responsibility to elect Adlai Stevenson president. Well, she didn’t care for Eisenhower, because he claimed to have liberated Italy, and she said Italy was liberated enough. Already too many people eating meat on Friday, and wearing condoms on Saturday.
Rose: Whatever happened to her?
Dorothy: She colonized life on Venus. Rose, she was 94 when I was six. She died, you idiot.
Rose: How did she die?
Dorothy: You know, we’re not sure. One night she left in her wheelchair and she never came back. The next day the neighborhood kids had a go-kart with two really big back wheels.
Blanche: Dorothy, why don’t you just remind Sophia how active her mama was?
Dorothy: But, honey, Ma never saw that. I mean to Grandma it was no big deal. She was just doing what she’d done all her life, so she never even discussed it, and to Ma, well, all she saw was the woman she loved growing old and wrinkled in a wheelchair.
Blanche: Just goes to show how different one generation can be from another.
Rose: I’ll say.
Blanche: Well, what do y’all wanna do now?
Rose: Well, we aren’t gonna waste this day. We have to do something constructive.
Dorothy: Jeopardy is on in 15 minutes.
Blanche: Sounds good to me.
Rose: Let’s go.
Blanche: I’ll just slice up this cake and bring it in.
Sophia is still at the hospital playing with the young patient.
Sam: Sophia, don’t you have to go back to work?
Sophia: Please! I don’t perform brain surgery. I give people directions to the cafeteria. If I like ‘em, I give ‘em the wrong directions. Have any visitors today.
Sam: Mom and Dad were by this morning. They brought comic books.
Sophia: I never let my boy Phil read comic books. Of course, when he was 16 we shared an underwear drawer.
Sam: Did you bring me anything today?
Sophia: Don’t I always?
Sam: I thought maybe you forgot.
Sophia: I never forget.
Sophia Petrillo pulls out the nectarine she bought from the grocery.
Sam: But I hate nectarines.
Sophia: You have to eat.
Sam: Sophia, it doesn’t matter. You know that.
Sophia: Crazy talk. Comes from not eating enough fresh fruit. Here.
Sophia Petrillo hands Sam the nectarine.
Sam: Sophia, once they goofed up my blood with that transfusion, there wasn’t anything anyone could do. No one’s ever beat it, Sophia.
Sophia: But someday they will, and it could be tomorrow, and it could be you. I believe that and you’re gonna believe that, because right now, today, that’s all we got – hope.
Sam: And a nectarine.
Sophia: And a nectarine.
It’s already evening, and the three girls are still on their nightgowns sitting in front of the television set. Rose turns off the television.
Rose: You know. It’s a shame we didn’t accomplish anything today.
Dorothy: Of course we did. We found out in a pinch fruit cocktail is not bad on a bagel.
Sophia Petrillo arrives.
Dorothy: Oh, hi, Ma.
Sophia: Hello there. You guys ready for bed already?
Blanche laughs. Dorothy, and Rose embarrassingly looks at their nightgowns that they wore all day.
Blanche: Yeah, I guess we are!
Rose: We’re very tired.
Dorothy: We took care of a lot of odds and ends around the house today. What did you do, Ma?
Sophia: What did I do today? What I do every day – I bought a nectarine.
This is not the actual script. This is my own transcription of ”The Days and Nights of Sophia Petrillo”. This Golden Girls episode was written by Kathy Speer and Terry Grossman. Golden Girls is owned by Witt Thomas Harris Productions, Touchstone Pictures and Television, and NBC.
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