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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.


As a local landmark (a tree) is threatened with demolition, the girls spring into action to save it, however, the owner Mrs. Claxton has no intention of saving it. Dorothy said that the last Halloween, half the kids in the neighborhood wore Frieda Claxton costumes! Rose after suffering a personal attack from Claxton tells the vile woman to drop dead only for it physically happen. While the others move on Rose cannot and so the girls help her to deal with her unneeded guilt.


The girls are attempting to block a road extension that will destroy a 200 year old tree. However the Tree is on the property of Frieda Claxton, their extremely mean and hateful neighbor who refuses to sign it. The fact that she leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth means she is left alone. (So hated was she that one Halloween, half of the neighborhood children had worn Frieda Claxton costumes) However Rose decides to accept the challenge to convince Claxton to sign the petition, believing that the old lady is in need of a little kindness. The day of the discussion at City Hall Rose reveals that she got Mrs. Claxton's promise by pastries, but when the lady enters, she tells the girls that she isn't on board, telling Rose that she only promised to get the Danish. Fireda explains that she has no need for the tree nor people and especially ones that try to find positives where there aren't (referring to Rose's acts of kindness). During the dispute at City Hall Mrs. Claxton is giving full permission to tear the tree down, 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 off for her attitude and disrespect and to drop dead... and she does!

The girls decide to have a funeral for Mrs. Claxton, since she had no friends or relatives and also to help Rose's guilt for causing her death. The Funeral Home's director Mr. Pfeiffer (P isn't silent) helps the girls with their plans for a cheap funeral and the service date done to suit their TV viewing. The funeral has only the four there, as nobody saw a reason to visit her but as they are about leaving earlier, a woman claiming she's the deceased's friend arrives. With this lady present they ask her to give a eulogy, the woman talks about her friend's secret acts of charity, which has the girls upset, until the lady reveals the woman she is present for isn't Frieda Claxton, it's Celia Rubenstein, so she apologies and upon verifying who Mrs. Claxton was she kicks the coffin. Rose, upon seeing that even in death Frieda Claxton is never going to affect the world in a positive way, leaves upset, as the others go to go they take Mrs. Claxton with them as she got cremated by mistake! 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.


Rose: Mrs. Claxton, think about what you're doing. That beautiful old 200 Cast 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 pface?

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

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?!

Random Woman: Celia Rubenstein.

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

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

Random Woman: 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 Frieda's coffin, 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.