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Shady Pines Retirement Home: Senior Living At Its Finest

Shady Pines was a retirement home in Miami, Florida.

After Sophia Petrillo's stroke that very badly damaged the part of her brain that censored her thoughts, her daughter, Dorothy Zbornak, placed her in Shady Pines. Sophia detested it, claiming that they were cruel there. It is later revealed that many of Sophia's stories were true, including, but not limited to: coin operated walkers, ice cream cups only given to the top ten seniors who picked the most oranges from the trees and even the phrase "in the middle of exercise period" as being code for picking up litter on the interstate as confirmed by Dorothy. The home even lacked a phone.

In September 1985, Shady Pines burned down after a heater fire, causing Sophia to move in with Dorothy, Blanche Devereaux, and Rose Nylund. After a short time, Shady Pines was reconstructed, with Sophia not returning. However, she did keep in contact with her friends and entered the talent show in one episode. Dorothy used the catchphrase "Shady Pines, Ma" to keep Sophia in order.

It was later claimed by another former resident (the late Maria Heartgrove; who was apparently always jealous of Sophia Petrillo), on her deathbed that Sophia had started the fire, and she was arrested for arson. Sophia was later released when Rose found evidence that faulty wiring had caused the fire, and the owners of the facility had bribed the fire inspector to falsify his report.

Stories about Shady Pines (the Home; according to Sophia)[]

  • Sophia refers to Shady Pines as a "prison". She says the staff used to lock the elderly in their rooms & force them to look like they were having fun. Then they would take pictures for their brochure.
  • Sophia says the home burned down, because they set off the fire alarm in a retirement home, so who could rush? Half the residents have walkers, the other half of them can't get out of their chairs, but they have bells going off like crazy & that does a disturbing thing to hearts that only beat a few times a week. It's not pretty, according to Sophia.
  • Sophia mentions that the staff used to feed them "seafood medley," a type of cat food, every Sunday at Shady Pines or you had the option to go hungry.
  • Sophia's friend Ida Perkins was the best bar none at faking an angina attack at dinner so the residents could swap out non-fat yogurt for real sour cream. Sophia also mentions that the patients blessed Ida every time they sat down to eat a baked potato.
  • An elderly lady mentions that her daughter is gonna check her into Shady Pines, so Sophia decides to take her out onto the lanai to give her the low down on the retirement home. "Who does what for cigarettes?"
  • Sophia asks a man holding a gun if he was ever the activities director at Shady Pines.
  • After Sophia sprains both legs, Dorothy hires one of the former staff members from the Home. Sophia refers to her as "The Angel of Death," saying the staff used to pre-sell the residents' bodies to medical schools & Sophia refers to herself as one of the nurse’s "victims."
  • It is confirmed that Sophia escaped from Shady Pines in 1984, according to her social calendar from that year.
  • It is confirmed that September 4th, 1985 is the exact day that Shady Pines burned down.
  • Sophia was acquainted with the late resident Maria Hartgrove, whom had a deathbed confession that the both of them started the fire. She claimed that on the night of the fire, Sophia & Maria were cooking s'mores in her room. She also stated that Sophia was in possession of an illegal hot plate & while they were cooking, the curtains "supposedly" caught on fire & they fled the room, while the fire remained unchecked. The hot plate was presumably lost in the fire, but Sophia states that Maria was always jealous of the fact that Sophia still had her own hair.
  • Sophia has a friend Lillian from Shady Pines who says that Shady Pines "resembles" Sing Sing, except for the fact that Sing Sing has a movie night.
  • After the four girls watch the film "Psycho" at the Home, she pulled once at Old Man Peterson, stating that he would never walk again, but he did.
  • Sophia says that she hasn't seen so many goofy smiles since the great denture swap at the Home.
  • Sophia mentions that if you wear black at Shady Pines, they'll stop the show for a head count.
  • When Rose mentions that Blanche’s car makes a weird sound sometimes, Sophia says that those are the sounds that Tony Triano made the night that the staff wheeled him out of Shady Pines on a gurney.
  • Sophia states that "Death" visited Shady Pines more often than children.
  • Sophia had a library card that had expired five years ago, when she was still "locked up" at Shady Pines.
  • Sophia explains that a recurring dream that "you're a lonely old woman & your family doesn't want you, so they put you in a home & never come to see you or take you out on holidays" was her life.
  • Sophia has a nightmare about Blanche selling their house & Sophia winding up back in Shady Pines.
  • When Dorothy says that she & Sophia are gonna spend some quality mother-daughter time together, Sophia suspects that it's a trick, because she says that Dorothy pulled that one on her once before & she really took Sophia to the Home, where two goons in white coats dragged her inside & for the next year & a half, she was "forced" to make lanyards against her will & she "supposedly" was forced to make moccasins.
  • When Dorothy & Sophia visit a new retirement home, Sophia suspects that Dorothy is scheming to put her there, just like Shady Pines ("Honest Ma, this is the way to the new Dairy Queen").
  • When Dorothy suggests that Sophia go to the hospital for a health problem (hernia), Sophia suspects that this "scam" has Shady Pines written all over it. She also says that Dorothy took her there after she had a stroke, because Dorothy questions why she would take her there for a hernia.
  • Dorothy makes an appointment for Sophia to get her hearing checked & says either she go to the appt or Dorothy would make her life miserable. Sophia says that those are the exact same words that Dorothy said when she put Sophia in Shady...& before she can says "Pines", she cooperates.
  • When Sophia plans to move out & move into the convent with the nuns, Dorothy wants to sit in & asks her mother if she minds, but when Sophia says that she does mind, Dorothy says that there aren't any "Shady Pines" to sit under outside.
  • When Sophia attempts to do a ritual, Dorothy says that she still has Shady Pines on the speed dial.
  • Dorothy blackmails Sophia into telling Rose the truth by threatening her with Shady Pines, but that backfires when Sophia says "it wasn't so bad.” Dorothy tells her that they sold it to Germans, to which Sophia cooperates.
  • Sophia attempts to switch the Shady Pines threat onto Dorothy, but she sees around it & says "That's where I take you."
  • When Sophia says that nothing has made Dorothy more happy, Rose questions if Sophia was going back to Shady Pines.
  • Dorothy says that she hasn't frolicked since the day she dropped her mother off at Shady Pines & that was coincidentally the last time that she did a cartwheel.
  • When asked in court, "What kind of a person is your daughter?" Sophia responds, "She put me in a home."
  • Sophia finds out that Dorothy has a sock drawer—that Sophia can’t reach—full of retirement home brochures & that she was "waiting" for the first sign of dribble on her mother's chin to lock her away forever. Dorothy claims that she only has those because when Sophia drives her crazy, she goes to her room to have some "pretend time."
  • Sophia said that she would never forgive Dorothy the day she dropped her off at Shady Pines, but she eventually did.
  • Before Sophia can say something stupid, Dorothy shoves a little bit of cheesecake into her mouth & tells her to chew it carefully, like the staff taught her at Shady Pines.


Shady Pines never physically appears in The Golden Girls; however, its lobby appears in The Golden Palace episode "Seems Like Old Times (Part 2)." The design is glamorous, very different to Sophia's description, but since there are new owners, this could be a rebuild.


  • Sophia’s claims include: that the home forced its residents to pretend to be having fun for photos, that the people in charge would give them the wrong medication amount, and that they were given cat food as food (Sophia was able to identify the make without seeing the label).
  • The only staff member that ever appeared was Nurse DeFarge, in “Beauty and the Beast.” She cared for Sophia when she was in a wheelchair and driving Dorothy crazy. Sophia, upon seeing her, flees to the kitchen calling her "the Angel of Death." DeFarge enters and reminds Sophia that people hated the place only because they felt abandoned by their children. This could mean Sophia is only telling tales to stop the girls from trying to send her back.
    • However in the Golden Palace, after finding out that Sophia has checked into it, Dorothy reacts in fear when Blanche and Rose tells the stories she did suggesting that Dorothy knew that the place was a horrible place when they call her up she remarks on what the code meant. However since Dorothy has been overreacting throughout the scene it could be that she believes Sophia's lies in her fears.
  • Shady Pines is one of three Nursing Homes in the series. The other two are Cypress Grove in "Older and Wiser" where Sophia is babysat after recovering from the flu, and Sunny Pastures in "Sophia's Choice," which is, as Sophia said, the bottom of the barrel.
  • While the residents of Shady Pines are hard to sort out from Sophia's friends the two we can confirm as important that do appear are Ida Perkins in "Brother, Can You Spare That Jacket" and Lillian in "Sophia's Choice.” Both end up leaving Shady Pines for negative reasons.
  • When The Golden Palace was cancelled, Estelle Getty appeared in one episode of Empty Nest as Sophia living in Shady Pines which suggests that she is now living there for good.