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And Then There's Maude: Episode 17

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

*

Season 1, Episode 17
Episode Title: Arthur Moves In

Original airdate: 6 February 1973

Plot: As this episode begins, we find a seething Maude already at Code Orange. Arthur is staying with the Findlays while his house is under repair following a fire and he's long worn out his welcome. Maude is tired of cleaning up after Arthur and Walter's late night cribbage beer blasts and cooking Arthur's breakfast to order. Meanwhile, Arthur has monopolized the master bathroom, singing Gilbert & Sullivan and using up all the hot water. The worst part for Maude - and what I suspect has really got her most worked up - is her lack of a love life now that Walter has his best buddy to hang with into the wee hours.

Maude is in the kitchen griping over Arthur's persnickety food requests - the perfect poached egg is made by stirring a pot of boiling water with a spoon (made of wood, never metal) and plunging the egg directly into the eye of the whirlpool. ("It's enough to make Julia Child lose her ladle," says Maude.) Just one more day, she repeats to herself, just one more day before he leaves.

Ernie the milkman enters. He looks strangely like Tim Allen from Home Improvement, if Tim Allen were a 1970s milkman sporting a knit cap. Ernie is a full-service dairy delivery dude; he doesn't leave the bottles at the door, he walks right in and places them in Maude's fridge. He suspected something was up in the Findlay household when he saw prune yogurt and low-fat buttermilk on their order - the only person on his route who takes these is one Dr. Arthur Harmon.

Walter enters (wearing only a bath towel around his waist), drinking a glass of juice while he waits for Arthur to get out of the shower. He returns a few minutes later for a pot of boiling water to bathe, since Arthur has drained the hot water tank. Florida pops her head in the back door to ask, "Is there a doctor in the house?" When Maude replies yes, Florida pretends to leave with a hand wave and a quick goodbye. Arthur is making Florida's life as miserable as he is Maude's. He's asked her to iron his shirts, darn his socks and make sure his Jockey shorts are Sta-Puffed.

Arthur enters singing his cheery good morning tune "My Little Buttercup" and Maude immediately calls for a shovel. ("I'm going to plant Little Buttercup.") Arthur hands Walter the crumpled, used morning paper, much to Walter's dismay. Arthur saves him the trouble of reading it with his one-sentence summary: "The liberals are still fighting, the Democrats are still broke, and Mary Worth had her purse snatched by a junkie."

Arthur and Walter giggle like schoolgirls, going over the fun and games they had the night before. There's a hilarious joke about elephants and bicycles that still has them in stitches, but when Maude begs to be let in on the gag, they decline. ("It's a man's joke, Maude. You wouldn't appreciate it.")

Arthur rejects Maude's first attempt at poached eggs - no, no, the water should be swirled counter-clockwise - and just as she's ready to serve up the second round, he says no bother, he'll catch breakfast on his way to work. She repeats her mantra, "Just one more day!"

Out in the living room, Arthur takes a call from his contractor. It will be another two weeks before he can move back in. Walter re-extends the "Mi Casa, Su Casa" invitation to Arthur; he won't hear of his best friend staying in a motel. As they prepare to leave, Walter discovers a toy machine gun in the coat closet that Arthur bought for Carol's son Philip. Walter nixes that idea immediately, telling Arthur that Carol and Maude will go ballistic if they learn that Arthur brought a "war toy" into the house. Arthur says he doesn't want "to cause any trouble, even if they're both wrong."

Too late. Maude catches Arthur wielding the machine gun as he performs a bad Jimmy Cagney impersonation. She's appalled and when Arthur covers by saying it's for his own grandson, Maude tells him to just make sure that Philip doesn't see it. Arthur agrees and before he leaves gets in the parting comment that Philip will have to "learn those things sometime" because "in this world, it's dog eat dog. And vice versa."

"One more day," screams Maude. Just 24 hours! Arthur breaks the bad news to Maude that Arthur will be with them for two more weeks. He's not sure why she's so bent out of shape. Sure, it's a bit of an inconvenience, but that's what friends are for.

The final straw comes when Walter mentions he and Arthur will be out late again that night. He's got tickets to the big lumberjack show! Walter earns himself a "God'll get you for that," when Maude explodes, angry that he's going out with Arthur again and why didn't he think to ask her, to which he gives the smart aleck reply, "OK Maude, can I go out with Arthur tonight?"

They argue some more and Maude slams the door on a departing Walter. She breaks down in tears as she realizes she's finally found "the perfect marriage - Walter and Arthur."

Later that night, Maude's in bed losing a battle to stay awake as she reads the book, How to Play Cribbage. Carol comes in to borrow some hand lotion. She scolds her mother for feeling left out and acting like a child. (Carol: "Mother, insecurity is for children." Maude: "It used to be, Carol. Now they make it for adults too.")

Maude shoos Carol out when she hears Walter arriving home and while he whistles up the stairs and down the hall, Maude races willy-nilly around the room, dousing everything in perfume. She's going to apologize, really apologize, to Walter for her temper tantrum earlier.

As Walter gets ready for bed, Maude straightens up the bed and seductively drapes herself across it. ("Walter, darling, I'm going to make it up to you. I'm going to make it up to you like you've never had it made up to you before.") He comments on the nice new bathroom spray ("Night of Love") and emerges from the bathroom in his bathrobe. Maude expects to "kiss and make up" but instead gets a peck on the head before Walter heads downstairs to resume his cribbage match with Arthur.

A frustrated Maude jumps out of bed and angrily accuses Walter of being unhappy in their marriage, jealous of the footloose and fancy-free lifestyle of his bachelor best friend. Walter denies it all but Maude is unwavering. A loud crash from the kitchen is the last straw ("He's broken my good casserole dish!") and she demands that Arthur leave immediately. ("He's not only trying to wreck our marriage, now he's starting in on our house.")

Downstairs Maude delivers an ultimatum: Walter has 30 seconds to tell Arthur he's out. She starts a countdown which prompts Walter to demonstrate that Maude isn't the only adult in the house able to exhibit a little immature behavior. He grabs the toy machine gun from the closet, yelling, "The only way to make sure you get rid of somebody for good is to rub them out." He aims and fires, and Arthur retaliates by grabbing the fruit bowl and jumping behind the couch for cover. Wearing the bowl like a helmet, he lobs apple grenades and fires with his banana pistols.

Maude goes berserk, grabbing the toy gun from Walter and really letting the two of them have it. Yelling at the top of her lungs, she sprays imaginary bullets everywhere. ("This is for the cribbage! And this is for the log rolling. And this is for the poached eggs in the whirlpoooooooool!") Maude breaks down and finally reveals what's bothering her - she's feeling jealous and left out. A surprised Arthur and Walter are happy to include Maude in their reindeer games and on a final note, a teary Maude asks them to tell her, once and for all, why don't elephants ride bicycles.

Hot button social issue: Nothing new here - the age-old green-headed monster makes an appearance: J-E-A-L-O-U-S-Y.

Neckerchief count: Just one. Arthur wears a scarf to accompany his PJs and bathrobe ensemble.

Decorating tip: I'd almost swear there have been some changes in the Findlay kitchen - sections of the wall look like tile (more likely linoleum) and other sections are covered in cork.

Maude makes the remark that Arthur's long showers are steaming the wallpaper off her bathroom ceiling. Yes, they have wallpaper on the ceiling.

There's the most enormous oil painting hanging over Maude and Walter's bed. They would surely be crushed in their sleep if it were to fall off the wall.

The fruit bowl on Maude's coffee table is made out of giant shells.

Welcome back to 1973 pop culture reference: Each time Walter appears in the kitchen with a towel around his waist, bare-chested and holding a glass of orange juice, someone makes the joke that he's Mark Spitz doing an orange juice commercial.

Number of times Maude yells: 10

'70s slang: Maude calls Arthur and Walter a couple of "finks."

Memorable quote: "The next time you want an egg a certain way, I'm going to give you an egg a certain way."

Tasty snack tip: Arthur's favorite sweet treat - prune yogurt spread between two Laura Doone cookies.

References to the Vietnam War: "A war toy, Arthur, in this house!?"

Wow, did they just say that? "And after the lumberjack show, why don't you and Arthur round out the evening at a massage parlor where Miss Lily can put you into orbit with her dancing vibrators!"

Future Golden Girls connection: In an attempt to stay awake until Walter comes home, Maude turns on the TV to hear the guest lineup on that night's Tonight Show: "Johnny's guests tonight are Horst Buchholz, Allen Ludden and Betty White, and Melvin Laird."

At the time, Allen Ludden and his wife Betty White (AKA Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls) were the reigning king and queen of the game show Password. Seven months after this episode aired, White would make her debut as Sue Ann Nivens in the fourth season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

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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.
Season 1, Episode 16: The Medical Profession.



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Posted on February 21, 2008


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