Golden Girls Wiki
Golden Girls Wiki
Betty White as Rose Nylund
"It's like we say in St. Olaf, Christmas without fruitcake is like St. Sigmund's Day without the headless boy."

This article is incomplete. You can help the Golden Girls Wiki by expanding it.

Shady Pines is a retirement home in Miami, Florida. Before the events of The Golden Girls, Sophia Petrillo lived in Shady Pines after she had a stroke.


After Sophia Petrillo's stroke, her daughter Dorothy placed her in Shady Pines,[1] presumably after being persuaded or tricked into doing so by her then-husband Stanley.[2] Sophia despised the nursing home, often telling stories about it that seemed extremely dramatic or far-fetched -- such as the home forcing residents to pretend to be having fun for brochure photos, the staff giving residents the wrong medication amount, and the residents being given cat food instead of real food.

At one point during Sophia's time at the home, a number of residents swapped dentures with one another and wore different peoples' dentures, causing them all to have "goofy" smiles. This event was later referred to as The Great Denture Swap.

On September 4th, 1985, Shady Pines burned down after a heater fire, causing Sophia to move in with Dorothy and her two roommates, Blanche Devereaux and Rose Nylund.[1] 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 Hartgrove, on her deathbed that Sophia had started the fire, and Sophia was arrested for arson. Hartgrove claimed that on the night of the fire, she and Sophia were cooking s'mores in her room with an "illegal" hot plate. The curtains caught fire while they were cooking and they fled the room while the fire spread, allegedly losing the hot plate in the fire. Sophia was arrested for arson and held by the police, but Maria's accusations were later proven to be false. Sophia was released when her roommate Rose Nylund found evidence that faulty wiring had caused the fire, and the owners of Shady Pines had bribed the fire inspector to falsify his report.[3]

When The Golden Palace was cancelled, Sophia appeared in an episode of Empty Nest living in Shady Pines, which suggests that she is now living there for good.


Sophia refers to Shady Pines as a "prison", claiming that the staff used to lock the elderly in their rooms and force them to look like they were having fun before taking pictures for their brochure.[4] It is later revealed that many of Sophia's stories were true, including but not limited to coin-operated walkers, ice cream cups that were only given to the ten seniors who picked the most oranges from the trees, and the phrase "in the middle of exercise period" being code for picking up litter on the interstate (this was confirmed by Dorothy). The home even lacked a phone.

Sophia stated that death visited Shady Pines more often than the residents' children.

The home's nature even extended to their cuisine -- 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.[5]


According to Sophia's stories, the staff members are rude and cold towards the residents. When Mickey Moran held the ladies and Miles Webber at gunpoint, Sophia if he was ever the activities director at Shady Pines.

The only staff member from Shady Pines featured on the show is Nurse DeFarge, one of Shady Pines's former staff members, to care for her while Dorothy is at an education conference. Sophia refers to her as "The Angel of Death," saying the staff used to pre-sell the residents' bodies to medical schools and Sophia refers to herself as one of the nurse’s "victims."[6]

Shady Pines Stories[]

  • 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?"
  • After the four girls watch the film Psycho at Shady Pines, 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.
  • 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 and your family doesn't want you, so they put you in a home and never come to see you or take you out on holidays" was her life.
  • Sophia has a nightmare about Blanche selling their house and Sophia winding up back in Shady Pines.
  • When Dorothy says that she and 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 and she really took Sophia to the Home, where two goons in white coats dragged her inside and for the next year and a half, she was "forced" to make lanyards against her will and she "supposedly" was forced to make moccasins.
  • 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 and 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."
  • Before Sophia can say something insulting towards Blanche, Dorothy shoves a little bit of cheesecake into her mouth and 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.


  • It is confirmed that Sophia "escaped" from Shady Pines in 1985, according to her social calendar from that year, and that September 4th, 1985 is the exact day that Shady Pines burned down. But in "The Engagement", where Sophia arrives at Blanche's home just after the fire, Dorothy mentions that it's June.[1]
  • When Sophia tries to flee from Nurse DeFarge, DeFarge reminds Sophia that people hated the place only because they felt abandoned by their children. This could mean Sophia had been telling lies about the home to stop the ladies from trying to send her back.[6]
    • 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,[7] and Sunny Pastures in "Sophia's Choice," which is, as Sophia said, the bottom of the barrel.[8]
  • While the residents of Shady Pines are hard to sort out from Sophia's friends, three confirmed residents are Ida Perkins in "Brother, Can You Spare That Jacket", and Gladys and Lillian in "Sophia's Choice.” Ida and Lillian end up leaving Shady Pines for negative reasons, but it's unknown whether Gladys is still there or not.
  • The lobby of Shady Pines was a reused set from The Golden Girls used as the hotel lobby in "Grab That Dough".

Site Navigation[]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Golden Girls, Season 1, Episode 1, "The Engagement". Harris, Susan (writer) & Sandrich, Jay (director) (September 14th, 1985)
  2. The Golden Girls, Season 1, Episode 11, "The Return of Dorothy's Ex". Grossman, Terry and Speer, Kathy (writers) & Drake, Jim (director) (November 30th, 1985)
  3. The Golden Girls, Season 6, Episodes 24 and 25, “Never Yell Fire in a Crowded Retirement Home”. Parent, Gail and Vallely, Jim (writers)  & Diamond, Matthew (director) (April 27th, 1991)
  4. The Golden Girls, Season 1, Episode 25, "The Way We Met". Speer, Kathy and Grossman, Terry (writers) & Hughes, Terry (director) (May 10th, 1986)
  5. The Golden Girls, Season 4, Episode 8, “Brother, Can You Spare That Jacket”. Speer, Kathy and Grossman, Terry (writers) & Hughes, Terry (director) (December 3rd, 1988)
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Golden Girls, Season 7, Episode 3, “Beauty and the Beast”. Cherry, Marc and Wooten, Jamie (writers) & Passaris, Lex (director) (October 5th, 1991)
  7. The Golden Girls, Season 6, Episode 18, “Older and Wiser”. Gamble, Tracy and Vaczy, Richard (writers) & Diamond, Matthew (director) (February 16th, 1991)
  8. The Golden Girls, Season 4, Episode 22, “Sophia’s Choice”. Gamble, Tracy and Vaczy, Richard (writers) & Hughes, Terry (director) (April 15th, 1989)