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Fiddler On the Ropes was the eighteenth episode of Season 4 of The Golden Girls, and the 94th overall episode of the series.


Sophia invests the girls' money in a prizefighter, but are surprised when they discover he is also an aspiring violinist.


Dorothy, Blanche, and Rose sit down for dinner, where their conversation turns to money matters. Rose was supposed to take $3000 the girls saved up to the bank to buy a CD (certificate of deposit), but instead passed the errand to Sophia. Dorothy's fears of Sophia irresponsibly spending their money turn out to be true, as Sophia returns home to announce that she had spent their $3000 on a prizefighter named "Kid Pepe" in hopes of gaining returns on his wins. She promises that Pepe is scheduled for a fight in a week, where there is a guaranteed purse of $10000 as long as Pepe shows up to fight and he gets 20% of the earnings while the girls pocket the rest. The girls reluctantly agree to let Pep stay at the house until the fight, as the fight seems to be the only way to get their money back.

The next day, Dorothy is surprised after making a phone call to confirm Pepe's contract and fight are legitimate. Sophia helps Pepe to train, and the girls begin to have second thoughts about the arrangement until Sophia reveals that Pepe would double their earnings if he wins his fight. Later in the evening, Dorothy voices her concerns to Sophia while they room together since Pepe is taking Sophia's room. As Sophia tries to relieve Dorothy of her anxiety, Blanche and Rose enters their room to tell them Pepe has gone missing. Fearing that Pepe has run away, the girls set out to find him.

The girls find their way into an unfamiliar building based on the only address they could find from Pepe's belongings. Just as they decide to leave, they hear a violin solo playing behind one of the doors. Curious, they go inside to find Pepe as the violinist playing expertly while accompanied by a man on the piano. Once discovered, Pepe reveals that he could speak English perfectly, and explains that he did not run away from the fight, and merely comes to his music teacher's place at night to practice for his upcoming audition to enter The Julliard School. He further explains he needs to enter the fight for the money to pay for Julliard in case he is admitted, and needed the girls' initial money to cover the entrance fee for the fight that Sophia failed to mention. When Dorothy asks why he pretended to not understand English, Pepe answers that he needed to look the part of a stereotypical Hispanic fighter, and points out that the girls bought into the image. He then launches into a soliloquy about equality despite the stereotypes, and ends by mentioning he thought about auditioning via acting as well. Pepe's music teacher is then upset to hear about Pepe's upcoming fight, and begs the girls to not let Pepe go through with it for fear of Pepe damaging his hands and ruining his talent. Sophia merely tells him "fat chance" before leaving for home.

Back at home, the girls stay up late worrying about Pepe's situation. Sophia tries her best to convince the girls to let the fight happen, and mention that the contract only needs Pepe to step in the ring to claim the guaranteed purse. The girls then realize they simply need to convince Pepe to "take a dive" to help save his hands while winning their money back. The next evening at the fight, the girls convince a hesitant Pepe at ringside to throw his fight. Pepe is then knocked out in one punch by his opponent.

The girls attend Pepe's Julliard audition when the day arrives, but are shocked to find Pepe unable to play the violin due to the concussion he suffered from the fight. The judges also refuse to accept moving the date of the audition. At this, Dorothy hints to Pepe that the judges are being unfair because he "is Cuban," which Pepe picks up on and recites the same soliloquy he gave her before about equality. When he is finished, the judges are impressed by his acting skills, and welcome him to Julliard via the acting school. Sophia remarks that given Pepe's ethnicity, his career in acting would only result in stereotyped roles. When Dorothy chides her for not seeing the brighter side, Sophia agrees, but says she can also act by putting on a fake smile. She then does so while congratulating Pepe.

Guest Cast[]

  • Pepe - Chick Vennera
  • Charley - Alfred Dennis
  • Woman - Pamela Kosh
  • Gonzales - Victor Contreras


  • The loft where Pepe practices violin with Charley is the same set used in Bedtime Story where the girls meet a group of clowns.
  • Chick Vennera returns in season 5 in the episode All That Jazz as a different character, Enrique Mas.