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And Then There's Maude: Episode 1

Thirty-five years ago this September, Maude Findlay threw open the front door of her Tuckahoe, New York home, her floor-length vest billowing behind her as she strode into America's living room for the first time. Like the theme song says, she was "uncompromising, enterprising, anything but tranquilizing. Right on Maude!"

Right on indeed. This popular sitcom, a hallmark of topical comedy, ran from 1972 to 1978 and touched on everything from the Vietnam War to abortion. The show was funny then and it's funny now. (Unavailable in syndication, Maude finally became available on DVD in March.)

In honor of it's 35th anniversary, we begin today an episode guide to one of TV's most groundbreaking shows.

So, step on up to the living room wet bar, pour yourself a tumbler of vodka, and enjoy.


*

Season 1, Episode 1
Episode Title: Maude's Problem

Original airdate: 12 Sept 1972

Plot: Carol (Adrienne Barbeau) is late for dinner and has been every Tuesday for the past month. Maude (a pre-Golden Girls Beatrice Arthur) jumps to the conclusion that her daughter is having an affair. Never one to let something go, Maude confronts her daughter and is shocked to learn Carol is seeing a psychologist. Maude becomes defensive, assuming (again) that the therapy is all about her and presses Carol to remember all the good times when Maude was nothing less than Mother of the Year. Carol claims she can't remember anything from ages 3-10. Maude visits the shrink to defend her mothering skills and ends up on the couch herself.

Hot button social issue: Therapy

Fashion statement: Floor-length vests, wide lapels, and neckerchiefs make Maude a distinctive fashion icon of this, or any, decade.

Neckerchief count: 3

Decorating tip: Burnt orange kitchen walls and chocolate brown appliances. Throw in some avocado green and squash yellow and you have the complete 1970s kitchen color palette. The wide-striped wallpaper in the dining room boggles the eyes.

Cocktail hour: Vodka, straight up with a twist. Make that two.

Number of times Maude yells: Four, including an argument with husband Walter (Bill Macy) sparked by Maude biting him in the hand.

Keep an eye out for: Ed Begley Jr., with a bad Southern accent, as a door-to-door magazine salesman posing as a struggling Vietnam vet; William Redfield (who portrayed snooty inmate Harding in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next) stars on the other side of the lab coat as Carol's shrink.

'70s slang: Carol tells her mother to "bug off."

Times the live audience breaks out into spontaneous applause: 2

References to the Vietnam War: See Ed Begley appearance above. After Maude scolds him for impersonating a veteran and doing it so horribly, ("You should have seen the con men who came around after World War II. They were artists!") she slams the door in his face, shaking her head. "Vietnam. God, what a lousy war."

Wow, did they just say that? Maude and Walter discuss a friend's hysterectomy. ("They do hysterectomies like tonsils today," says Walter. "She'll be fine.")

Next: Episode 2, "Doctor, Doctor"



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Posted on August 28, 2007


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