And Then There's Maude: Episode 22
Our tribute to the 35th anniversary of the amazing debut season of Maude comes to an end.
Season 1, Episode 22
Original airdate: 20 March 1973
Plot: Maude enters the bedroom to wake her napping husband Walter. She's wearing a pink and orange floral dressing gown and carries a martini in each hand. They have just 30 minutes to dress before they need to be at Joanna and Cliff Naylor's party.
Walter is a crab-ass from the minute he gets up. The light's too bright. He hates rushing to a party. Maude's pantyhose have left a puddle in the middle of the bathroom floor. The tube of toothpaste is empty! Where's his shaving cream! And why isn't it in the same place it always is!! AND WHY IS THERE ALWAYS A PUDDLE OF WATER IN THE BOTTOM OF THE SOAP DISH?!! (I'm thinking, Walter, please, drink your martini already. And while you're at it, have Maude's too.)
Maude tries to snap Walter out of his mood. "Honey, we're going to a party tonight, now let's be in a party mood." She heads off to the closet to choose her dress while singing that classic pre-party, start-me-up tune "Tip-Toe Through The Tulips."
Maude asks, "Honey, did I wear my green dress to the Bartons' two weeks ago?"
"What's the difference?" snipes Walter. "They were all stoned when we got there anyway."
Obviously something is bothering Walter, but he brushes off Maude's repeated attempts to find out what it is. She tries unsuccessfully to get Walter's fashion advice. ("Do you think it's too early in the season to wear yellow?") Walter continues bitching about anything and everything, all the while hacking away at his face with a razor. "You know," says Maude, "you're the only man I know who looks great in toilet paper."
As she sits down to apply her makeup, Maude sings, "The night is young and I'm so beautiful . . . " Walter snaps and the reason for his foul mood is revealed - he can't stand Cliff Naylor. Specifically, he can't stand the way Cliff Naylor looks at Maude. Maude feigns shock, giving every indication that she's fully aware of the way she attracts Cliff's attention, but she makes excuses. Cliff is just an outgoing, funny guy who happens to tell a mean "fat lady with the pet hamster" joke - a joke that still has Maude splitting her sides with laughter two weeks later.
Walter's incessant griping continues until Maude breaks. ("You've made your point. That's it, we're not going!") Walter hops up and down with glee and Maude threatens to tell Joanna exactly why they're not coming. ("I'm going to tell her the whole rotten, sordid mess, Walter. All about your carnal fantasies. How you can't stand her husband's alleged furtive glances at my fabulous fanny.") Walter calls her bluff, racing to get Maude the phone and encouraging her to tell Joanna anything she likes. Maude pulls a fast one while on the phone, saying, "Listen (Joanna), Walter has something he wants to tell you." Gotcha! Fade to commercial.
After the break, Maude reignites the argument, sarcastically complimenting Walter on his quick thinking excuse of a splitting headache to get out of the party. How original. In the course of their arguing back and forth, Maude turns the tables and suddenly Walter and Maude are back to dressing for the party.
Maude insists Walter is being insecure and jealous, which, she informs him, he has every reason to be since it's true, Cliff does have a thing for her. This handsome man wants her, ("intellectually, spiritually and physically," she gloats), despite Maude never having given him the slightest bit of encouragement, of course. She defends Cliff, proclaiming him the model of a faithful husband, an idealistic man who "believes in the sanctity of marriage."
Walter bursts Maude's bubble with the news that her noble "Mr. American Pie" is in fact involved in a "very hot and very heavy affair with a very married woman," an affair that happens to be the talk of their club. Maude has to laugh. She finds it hard to believe that Cliff would cheat on his wife and especially not with Harriet Powers. ("Nobody would make love to Harriet Powers unless they were required to by law.")
Maude really can't believe it until Walter tells her this juicy bit of gossip came straight from Cliff. "He gives progress reports every Sunday in the steam room," says a smug Walter. Maude explodes, her middle-age fantasy of attracting the attention of another man shattered. ("It'll never happen again, Walter. Oh honey, this face is on its way out.") Walter sympathizes with her. ("It's the middle-aged need to be flattered . . . we've all gone through it.") They kiss and make up and agree there's no reason not to go to the party now. Maude breathes a sigh of relief - she'll never have to laugh at Cliff's terrible dirty jokes again.
Just as they're about to leave, the phone rings. It's Cliff urging them to change their minds and come to the party. Maude's initially icy tone of voice melts until she's throwing her head back in laughter at something hilarious that Cliff has said.
"Come on over, we'll play Strip Checkers."
And with that ends Season One of Maude.
Hot button social issue: The last hurrah of middle age flattery.
Neckerchief count: Zero
Lace and beaded choker count: One
Decorating tip: The entire episode takes place in the Findlays' master bathroom, which we've never seen before. The 1970s color scheme of harvest gold and avocado continues in this room with a mixture of painted walls, clashing wallpaper patterns, white tile, wood laminate, strings of yellow beads hanging over the window, large blocks of green linoleum on the floor, and sliding mirrors concealing the largest medicine cabinet I have ever seen. By far, the most unusual and prominent feature in the bathroom is the toilet, which stands out for the mere fact that it's even visible.
Cocktail hour: Nothing wakes you up from your pre-cocktail-party nap better than a very dry pre-cocktail-party/post-nap martini.
Welcome back to 1973 pop culture reference #1: "You hate parties, Walter? Then tell me, who was that funny little man with the moustache named Walter at the Wilsons' two weeks ago trying to organize a conga line to go one-two-three-kick all the way into town to see Sexual Freedom in Denmark?"
Welcome back to 1973 pop culture reference #2: Slapping aftershave on his face, Walter says, "What we men have to go through just to smell like Hugh O'Brian."
Number of times Maude yells: 9
Number of times Walter yells: 14
'70s slang: "Maude, he turns you on."
Memorable quote: "He has a thing for you Maude. He never takes his eyes off your rear end."
Wow, did they just say that? "Since when do we have cocktails in the can?"
Posted on April 24, 2008
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