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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.


A tree, which is a neighborhood landmark, is threatened with demolition, and the girls spring into action to save it. However, the tree is on the property of Frieda Claxton, their extremely mean and hateful neighbor who has no intention of saving it.


The girls are attempt to block a road extension that will destroy a 200-year-old oak tree. However, the tree is on the property of Frieda Claxton, their extremely mean and hateful neighbor who refuses to save the tree. Dorothy commented that the last Halloween, half the kids in the neighborhood wore Frieda Claxton costumes! However, Rose decides to accept the challenge to convince her to sign the petition, believing that all she needs is "a little bit of kindness." On the day of the meeting at City Hall, Rose reveals that Frieda promised with pastries, but when she enters, she tells the girls that she isn't on board, explaining to Rose that she lied to get the danish. She also explains that she has no need for trees nor people, especially ones that think that everyone needs "a little bit of kindness."

During the meeting at City Hall, Frieda gives full permission to "yank out that tree and start pouring cement." Rose asks Mrs. Claxton how she could hate a living thing, and she answers: "I hate you!" and an enraged Rose tells her to drop dead, and she does! Afterward, Rose doesn't sleep for two nights, and Dorothy explains to her that the woman was 83, and she had a heart attack. Blanche and Sophia comment that Rose killed her.

The girls decide to have a funeral for her, since she had no friends or relatives. The funeral home's director, Mr. Pfeiffer (P isn't silent) at first assumes that Sophia is their mother, and they're planning ahead for her. Sophia answers: "Hey, Pfeiffer, how would you like a punch in your p-face?" and they tell him the funeral is for Frieda Claxton, he helps the girls with their plans for a cheap funeral with a $200- pine box and a flower wreath. During the funeral, the girls are the only ones there, despite a notice in the newspaper. Afterward, a woman walks in, claiming she's a friend of the deceased, and she gives a eulogy. She talks about her friend's secret acts of charity, which has the girls shocked, until she reveals that the woman is Celia Rubenstein! Blanche tells her that the funeral is for Frieda Claxton, and Mr. Pfeiffer tells the woman the Rubenstein funeral is down the hall. The woman apologizes and after verifying who Frieda Claxton was, she kicks the casket and walks out. Rose is devastated after seeing that even in death that Frieda Claxton didn't matter to anyone, and leaves. Mr. Pfeiffer then walks in, holding an urn with Frieda Claxton's ashes, telling the girls she was cremated by mistake: "We never should have hired a high school student!" Rose saves the tree by spreading her ashes around the tree, saying a prayer, and telling 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!


Rose: Mrs. Claxton, think about what you're doing! That beautiful old tree 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: Isn't that lovely? The three of you planning ahead for mother.

Sophia: Hey, uh, Pfeiffer, how would you like a punch in your p-face?

Dorothy: Uh, look, Mr. Pfeiffer, about the p-funeral - about the funeral arrangements...

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

Sophia: (gestures toward Rose) She killed her.

Mr. Pfeiffer: Rough neighborhood.

(At the funeral)

Woman at the funeral: Yes. Celia Rubenstein loved all mankind. She was-

Dorothy: WHO?!

Woman at the funeral: Celia Rubenstein.

Blanche: This funeral isn't for Celia Rubenstein, it's for Frieda Claxton.

Mr. Pfeiffer: The Rubenstein funeral is down the hall.

Woman at the funeral: I'm so sorry for the intrusion. Frieda Claxton... wasn't she the one who owned that old house on Richmond Street?

Rose: Yes.

The lady turns around and kicks the casket, then promptly leaves the room.


  • 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.