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And Then There's Maude: Episode 10

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

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Season 1, Episode 10
Episode Title: Maude's Dilemma (Part 2)

Original airdate: 21 November 1972

Plot: The episode begins with a voiceover welcoming us back to Part 2 of "Maude's Dilemma." It's the day after and Maude has just woken up from a restless night of baby-filled nightmares. What's more, she has a nasty cold on top of her morning sickness.

Over a couple of cups of black coffee, daughter Carol reiterates that Maude shouldn't feel guilty or afraid to consider not having the baby. (". . . for you to have a baby at your age [47] could be very risky!") Maude tells Carol that after a lot of soul searching, she's decided to have the baby. She's convinced she knows her husband and this is what Walter really wants. Not that they've actually talked about it. No, given this very important decision, Walter and Maude instead have had a series of vague "I want what you want" conversations.

The doorbell rings. It's Phillip's carpool to school. Today, the carpool happens to be driven by Lorraine Cochran, another forty-something mother-to-be. "We had planned at stopping at four," she says. When Carol asks why they didn't, Lorraine responds, "Oh, I couldn't do that . . . I don't think it's right for me to make that kind of a decision. Besides, what's one more kid?"

When Lorraine makes a quick run to the "powder room," she asks Maude to keep an eye on her kids in the car, which Maude does by yelling at them from her doorway. ("Jimmy, stop honking the horn. Look I'm going to count to three and then I'm going to come out there and rip your little heart out!") Ah yes, pregnancy has really brought out Maude's nurturing, maternal side.

Before Walter rushes out the door for his golf date with Arthur, he and Maude have yet another roundabout exchange:

Walter: "I want whatever you want. "

Maude: "And I want what you want, Walter"

Walter: "Then it's settled, because I trust you to know what I want."

Well, that's all settled then.

Walter tells Maude she won't have to worry about this situation ever happening again. His best pal Arthur spoke to a doctor colleague and arranged for Walter "to get a vasectomy after golf." (Maude: "Vasectomy after golf? It sounds like a new play by Noel Coward.")

In between their golf game and the vasectomy, Walter and Arthur share a couple of stiff drinks in a bar. (Apparently doctor's pre-op instructions don't mention anything about alcohol intake.) Walter's convinced he knows Maude and that she wants the baby. He also wonders if she's worried about the decision on moral grounds and he doesn't want to interfere - any more than he already has!

Arthur cheerfully reminds Walter that he doesn't have much time before he "goes under the knife." Discussion about the surgery strangely segues into a conversation about germs, sexually transmitted diseases, and strange bathroom practices. Walter is concerned about the effect the vasectomy will have on his virility, so to prove he has nothing to worry about, Arthur calls over a mutual friend and asks, "Hey Harry, how do you like your vasectomy?"

Harry assures Walter that it was the best thing he ever did. ("Helps my wife too. She's like a kid again!") Arthur says it's time for him to go and Walter says he'll be getting over to the doctor's office as soon as he finishes his second bourbon. Arthur wishes him lots of luck and flashes the V for Victory sign with a parting "V for vasectomy!" Walter promptly calls the doctor's office and cancels the procedure.

That night, Maude takes special care of Walter, thinking he's had a rough day playing 18 holes of golf, getting a vasectomy, and working late. Over a game of gin rummy, Maude tells Walter she's decided to have the baby. After he wins a few quick games, it finally comes out that neither of them wants to have the baby, to their mutual relief. It also comes out that Walter didn't have the vasectomy. On a serious note, Walter and Maude agree that for them, "in the privacy of (their) own lives," they're doing the right thing.

Hot button social issue: His and hers - vasectomy and abortion.

Fashion statement: When Carol goes upstairs to change clothes, she seems to time-travel back to 1910. She comes down wearing a floor-length dress in an argyle pattern, with huge white collar and cuffs, and a giant cameo at the neck. However, the Carol Brady hairstyle locks her into the 1970s.

Neckerchief count: Three - worn by Maude, Arthur, and Harry. Once again, Arthur is matching Maude scarf for scarf. What duffer doesn't look sharp on the green sporting a neckerchief, right?

Cocktail hour: Arthur and Walter throw a few back in the bar in the hour leading up to Walter's "snip snip" vasectomy.

Number of times Maude yells: Just once! She almost makes it through a complete episode without shouting, until five minutes from the end when Walter beats her at gin rummy three times in a row during their final heart-to-heart conversation about the pregnancy.

'70s slang: "Congratulations, I hear you're preggie!"

Memorable quote: Arthur: "Do you wanna know what I do in public restrooms?" (Wait for it. Wait for it.) "Get ready. I flush with my foot."

Keep an eye out for: Veteran character actor Robert Mandan as Harry, the satisfied vasectomy customer. Among his many credits, he's probably best remembered as Chester Tate on Soap.

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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).



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Posted on November 26, 2007


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