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And Then There's Maude: Episode 19

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


Season 1, Episode 19
Episode Title: Walter's Secret

Original airdate: 27 February 1973

Plot: Walter is cheating on Maude with a blonde half his age! Carol caught him at the Holiday Inn cocktail lounge where a pretty young thing was "nibbling the pimento out of his olive."

Walter comes home from work in an anxious state, asking Maude where Carol is. Has she been around? Where is she now?

Maude tells him to calm down and have a drink before Arthur comes over for dinner. (Frequent dinner guest Arthur loves beef stroganoff, so Maude is serving franks and beans.) While Maude's in the kitchen, Walter calls Arthur to create his alibi: He and Arthur were out bowling last night. Got it? Bowling . . .

Carol arrives home and immediately fixes the evil eye on her stepfather. Here's where we learn that Carol spotted someone who looks suspiciously like Walter noodling in a dark corner of the Holiday Inn with a much younger woman. Carol has no trouble telling Walter he's a louse but she won't hurt Maude by telling her what she saw. That's for Walter to do.

Maude re-enters, catching Carol and Walter arguing at top volume. They try to cover it up but Maude repeatedly insists they tell her what's up. Carol begs off and heads upstairs. Before she goes, she leaves the parting comment, "Go ahead Walter, tell her. Start with the pimento." Maude jumps to the conclusion that her daughter is pregnant. Walter assures her that's not the case, telling his wife he'll let her know what the problem is when the time is right. Okay, says Maude, and after two seconds she declares the time is right, now.

Walter chickens-out and sprints up the stairs two at a time to take a quick shower before dinner. Florida is none too surprised to hear the Findlays at it again, to which Maude says, "Florida, if it's peace and quiet you want, go work for the Partridge Family."

Maude will not be defeated so easily. As soon as Carol comes downstairs, Maude pretends that Walter has told her everything and she's just fine with "the whole rotten, sordid mess." Maude tricks Carol into revealing what she saw ("These things happen when a man gets to be Walter's age. I'm sure she was just a fling.") to which Maude flips out, pressing her daughter for more details. When she learns it was last night, Maude assures Carol she must be mistaken. Walter was bowling last night. Whew, crisis averted - for about ten minutes.

Arthur arrives for dinner and immediately blows Walter's alibi by doing a bad imitation of the Bugs Bunny imitation he saw the night before on The Dean Martin Show. Oops!

The cat's out of the bag. Walter admits he lied to Maude but insists over and over that nothing happened. Maude gets used to the idea of being cheated on by asking Walter what it was exactly: "A little peccadillo? Or was it a dalliance? I love those words: 'peccadillo,' 'dalliance,' 'tidy little foolings-around,' 'sweet little girl-boy things.'" Wait, what?

Next thing we know, Maude is strolling down Memory Lane, recalling the special little moments she and Walter shared together. Interestingly, they all involve alcohol: Walter would "pour a pony of white creme de menthe in my coffee, " which Maude found so cosmopolitan. A dessert of brown coconut and ceème de cacao Walter lovingly nicknamed Maude's Miracle; we can only guess why. "But the thing that thrilled me more than anything," she says, "over martinis, the way you used to let me nibble the pimento . . . out of . . . your . . . olive . . . PIMENTO!!!"

Walter is in for it now. Maude rushes upstairs and Walter is left to explain his behavior to his best friend Arthur. Hitting the big 5-0 has been hard for Walter; it's really changed the way he looks at girls. "It's how I've been thinking about girls," he says. "I don't even see them as people anymore. I just see them as parts. Legs, necks, breasts, hips, knees." Arthur's response: "Way of the world, Walter. That's how people buy chicken nowadays."

On his way out the door, Arthur's word of advice is for Walter to tell Maude the truth. Walter may not have a chance to, as Maude comes downstairs with Walter's bags packed. She's kicking him out and doesn't want to hear another word about it. She wants everything of his out, dropping his bowling ball at his feet ("Here's your excuse") and shoving the vodka bottle into his luggage ("I don't want anything in this house that is going to remind me of you.")

Finally, with a barking "Maude! Sit!" Walter gets his wife to shut up long enough for him to try to explain. A former employee of Walter's named Gladys Horton - someone he knew long before he met Maude - needed emergency root canal work. (Maude: "What work? What canal?") Gladys asked him for a $500 loan and, curious to see her again, Walter agreed to meet Gladys at the Holiday Inn to give her the check. While it's true that Gladys nibbled on his olive, Walter insists nothing happened with the 26-year-old. ("I hear that number again, Walter, I'll find your root canals with my bare fingers.")

His explanation isn't good enough. ("In the history of husbandly excuses, this cock-and-bull, gum-digging root canal story has to be the lowest.") Maude goads Walter into admitting that yes, while nothing happened, it wasn't because he didn't feel more than a little lust for his dentally-impaired former employee. But Walter insists he loves Maude and nothing happened! When he asks Maude if she knows why nothing happened, she falls into his trap and supplies him with the perfect answer - "Because I've spoiled you for other women." Exactly!

They kiss and make up, Walter thinking he's dodged a bullet and Maude satisfied with the outcome, not fooled at all by his answer.

Hot button social issue: Middle-aged married men and their wayward pimentos.

Fashion statement: Walter sports the shortest tie (it barely passes the half-way mark down his chest) and Carol wears the largest cameo at the neck of her long purple argyle sweater dress.

Neckerchief count: Just one, worn by Arthur.

Cocktail hour: Walter says he's going to mix up a batch of martinis. On close inspection, it seems the Findley recipe for a good strong martini is straight vodka on the rocks.

Welcome back to 1973 pop culture reference: The latest in dental hygiene - Maude mentions she needs a Waterpik to get the pimento out of her teeth. (LINK: http://www.waterpik.com/about-us/oral-care-history.html)

Number of times Maude yells: 6

Memorable quote #1: "Walter, if you were a new puppy and I saw that look on your face, I'd be searching every square inch of carpeting in the house."

Memorable quote #2: Arthur: How's she built? Walter: Like a brick shipyard.

References to Nixon: When Walter says he supposes Maude called her mother for advice on kicking him out of the house, she replies, "Actually I called President Nixon and he and Bebe Rebozo suggested a thirty day cooling off period."

Wow, did they just say that? On the brink of learning that Walter might be cheating on her, Maude laments, "Oh Lord. Oh, why didn't the world stop with yesterday? Yesterday was such a lovely day. My cramps went away and everything."


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.
Season 1, Episode 17: Arthur Moves In.
Season 1, Episode 18: Florida's Problem.


Posted on April 2, 2008

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