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And Then There's Maude: Episode 16

Our tribute to the 35th anniversary of the debut of Maude continues.

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Season 1, Episode 16
Episode Title: The Medical Profession

Original airdate: 30 January 1973

Plot: Having had four first honeymoons, Maude is preparing for her first second honeymoon. Carol pops the Champagne to wish Walter and Maude bon voyage on their trip to Italy. Walter descends the stairs, carting a heck of a lot more luggage for this trip than the last time he was in Italy - during World War II!

Maude enters and makes a beeline for the mini-bar, which she immediately begins rubbing against like a bear scratching its backside on a tree. She's broken out in a rash, an allergic reaction to a recent tetanus shot, but nothing is going to stand in the way of her getting on that plane to Italy.

Per usual, Arthur enters the Findlay house unannounced and without knocking. He volunteers to look at Maude's rash but she declines to have her husband's best friend "ogle" her naked body, even if he is a doctor. Arthur gives her the name of a colleague, a successful dermatologist named Tasko and Maude rushes to the doctor's office.

There seems to be some sort of dermatological epidemic going around Tuckahoe because Tasko's office is off the hook. The receptionist can't answer the phone fast enough and Maude has been kept waiting a half hour to see the doctor. Killing time scratching herself silly, Maude discovers the rash is spreading. The doctor finally arrives, harried and distracted, taking Maude's history while on the phone with a consult.

The doc is called away on another emergency. Before he leaves, he hands Maude a glass beaker, which I gather was the pre-plastic cup method of getting a urine sample from a patient. Maude plays her own version of a medical practical joke by filling the beaker with tap water. ("City water will drive 'em crazy.")

Dr. Tasko returns to confirm that, yep, Maude has a rash alright but before he can prescribe any relief he's interrupted once again by the phone ringing. Desperate to get on her way to the airport, Maude body blocks the doctor from taking the call and begs for a prescription, which he fills for her on the spot. Handing Maude a little white envelope of pills, he tells her to "take these and everything is going to be just fine" as he rushes to pick up another phone call. Maude proceeds to do just that, popping all the pills at once.

Maude appears drunk as a skunk when a cab driver drops her off at home. One minute she's standing, the next she's tipping over, with family members grabbing her by the arms to pull her upright again. Insisting that she's fine - she's just a tad dizzy - she springs off the couch ready to head to the airport - and promptly falls over. Arthur calls Tasko to find out what pills were prescribed while Maude tries to remember where she left the car.

Arthur learns Maude has taken an overdose of antihistamine and he scolds Tasko for failing to caution his patient about the potential side effects. Arthur tells Maude that flying is out of the question, which means she and Walter will miss the special charter flight for Maytag dealers and they'll be out $800!

There's only one course of action to take - Maude is going to sue Tasko for malpractice. Not only is the doctor guilty of negligence, she's out a trip to Europe - and her rash is back! To make the case, she'll need Arthur's testimony as her witness but he's not keen to testify against another doctor. He tries to talk Maude and Walter out of it, implying that they don't have a case against the doctor. Now, if she'd only died in a car accident during the drive home from the doctor's office . . .

Waving an Italian language LP at Arthur, Maude refuses to back down; she spent six weeks learning how to say "My uncle has a green pencil case" in Italian and wants her due. When Arthur refuses to commit to the Findlay malpractice case, Maude throws him out of the house, and Walter goes with him when he sticks up for his best friend.

Later, at the club bar, Arthur and Walter are as tipsy as Maude. Over another round, Arthur lets slip that he thinks Tasko was negligent, but doctors protect their own. Besides, for him to testify against a fellow MD would be professional suicide. Walter's angry and when Arthur offers to placate his friend by writing him a check for the lost vacation cost, Walter tells him his friendship can't be bought. Not for 800 bucks, agrees Arthur, more like five cents. He just never knows when to shut up.

Arthur and Walter trade insults and bluster about starting a fight. Arthur warns that he was the school bully. Fred the bartender, wearing a mustard yellow half jacket similar to Isaac on Love Boat, attempts to intercede. Walter gives Arthur a wimpy shove and the tension is broken. Finally, in the spirit of friendship, Arthur agrees to testify. He also fesses up that he wasn't the school bully, he was the eraser monitor.

Back at the house, sobering up over mugs of coffee, Walter pulls an apology from Maude now that Arthur has agreed to testify. It takes two tries before Maude can control herself enough to swallow her pride but before she can finish, Arthur spoils the moment by reminding Maude that a person can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Walter pipes in with his own adage, adding, "A still tongue never strangled its owner." A delicious grin appears on Maude's face as she asks them to hold those thoughts while she grabs her sewing basket. She'd love to embroider their sentiments on a whoopee cushion.

Maude erupts, yelling that the apology is off and while Walter and Maude go at it, the doorbell rings. It's Dr. Tasko, sporting a velvet tuxedo with a ruffled shirt. He's "between parties" and just stopped by to see how Mrs. Findlay is doing. He thanks her for being so understanding, helping him to learn an important lesson about client-patient relations.

Maude's anger is squelched by the "sweet" doctor taking time out from his busy schedule to make a house call. She's also dazzled by his tuxedo and graciously accepts the doctor's apology. Walter is still stinging from the 800 buck loss and as they head to the kitchen, Maude chides him for treating such a learned, busy man so rudely.

Arthur walks Tasko to the door, where the two medicine men pat each other on the back for dodging the big M. It seems Arthur called Tasko to suggest he pay the Findlays a house call. They're good people, he assures Tasko, they're just "civilians who don't understand the business of malpractice."

When Tasko chides Arthur that he "could've been in a lot of trouble" for testifying, Arthur counters that Tasko also "could've been in a lot of trouble" and they have a good laugh over how "that's what fellow doctors are for."

Hot button social issue: Medical malpractice.

Neckerchief count: Zero. A first! For the entire episode, Maude sports a pantsuit with a wide collar and large leather toggle closures.

Welcome back to 1973 pop culture reference: When Maude asks Arthur if Dr. Tasko is any good, he replies, "He must be, he drives a Lincoln Continental."

Number of times Maude yells: 6

Memorable quote: When Arthur refuses to testify against one of his own, Maude says, "Now I know why the snake is on the medical symbol."

Times the live audience breaks out into spontaneous applause: 6

'70s medical cure du jour: Remember copper bracelets to stave off arthritis? When I was a kid, it seemed every senior citizen I knew was sporting one. When Walter punches Arthur in the arm, he dents Arthur's bracelet and Arthur says, "You broke the spell. I could get arthritis this very minute."

References to Jackie O: Arthur jokes that his bon voyage gift is Jackie Kennedy Onassis' travel book called How To Live In Rome On $10,000 a Day.

Keep an eye out for: Just one year away from happier days, Tom Bosley plays the overworked dermatologist Dr. Tasko.

Noted: A mere sixteen episodes into Maude, producers are already recycling character actors. Elisabeth Fraser (who appeared in two previous episodes as Maude's neighbor Lorraine) shows up in this episode disguised in a very fake-looking wig and thick black glasses, playing Dr. Tasko's nurse.

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Previously:
Season 1, Episode 1: Maude's Problem.
Season 1, Episode 2: Doctor, Doctor.
Season 1, Episode 3: Maude Meets Florida.
Season 1, Episode 4: Like Mother, Like Daughter.
Season 1, Episode 5: Maude and the Radical.
Season 1, Episode 6: The Ticket.
Season 1, Episode 7: Love and Marriage.
Season 1, Episode 8: Flashback.
Season 1, Episode 9: Maude's Dilemma (Part One).
Season 1, Episode 10: Maude's Dilemma (Part Two).
Season 1, Episode 11: Maude's Reunion.
Season 1, Episode 12: The Grass Story.
Season 1, Episode 13: The Slum Lord.
Season 1, Episode 14: The Convention.
Season 1, Episode 15: Walter's 50th Birthday.



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Posted on February 12, 2008


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