"Larceny and Old Lace" is a gem of an episode. With stinging one-liners, an hysterical and yet moving storyline, and great acting work, this episode is certainly one of the best of the season and is up there on my favorites from the whole series.
The episode focuses on Sophia's new boyfriend Rocco (played by the indelible Mickey Rooney), a man who likes to make trouble but seems fairly harmless. His stories include "running Detroit", knowing Capone, and running some other questionable rackets. It is obvious that Rocco and Sophia are quite the couple, however, as their chemistry is obvious (Good acting interaction between Rooney and Getty helps).
Dorothy is not so wild about the relationship, however. I suppose the games of strip poker and "wild fun" in Sophia's bedroom do not help the cause. When Rocco stores some of his belongings in Sophia's room, it takes a scene involving all four women to reveal just what he's storing. Money, and lots of it. When Sophia calls to ask him where it came from, he says he robbed a bank.
While the reasoning for the robbery is certainly romantic, Dorothy and Sophia are both repulsed by the crime. When Sophia confronts Rocco about it, Rocco reveals his true personality. "I wasn't a big shot nothing," he says. It turns out he was not a crime lord, a mobster, a gangster, anything. He made up the stories to entertain Sophia. He took out his life savings to treat Sophia like a queen. But Sophia does not need the money. "You always treat me like a queen," she says. Great scene.
The subplot of the episode brings much of the hilarity. Blanche discovers a diary Rose has been keeping, which appears to say terrible things about Dorothy and Blanche. The word "pigs" shows up more than once, however, leading to one of the quirkiest misunderstandings in sitcom history. Turns out it was Rose's 4-H diary she kept one summer while caring for two pigs. Heh, heh. Only Rose.
But Rose is infuriated and does not want to speak to Blanche and Dorothy anymore. Thus, the Sophia bedroom scene (when the money is discovered). A terrific comedic sequence here. Rose knocks the door, and Sophia goes into an "answering machine" rant. Rose, of course, thinks she's actually listening to an answering machine.
Sophia: Leave a message after the beep. [beat] Beep.
Rose: Hi, this is Rose...
Sophia: Rose, shut up and get in here!
Ah, the comedy of the Golden Girls. Little has matched it since then. Another great installment from a one-of-a-kind sitcom.