40-xx-xx Mis' Appelrot Rearranges the Furniture

Bossy Mis' Appelrot visits Sade and moves the living room furniture around (against Sade's wishes) to "conform with 1940's standards." Sade was so upset at herself for allowing Mis' Appelrot to push her around that when Rush came home, she was upstairs, crying.

While venting to Rush, Sade insinuates she won't let Mis' Appelrot shove her around again. Then the phone rings and it's Mis' Appelrot - and she suggests Sade turn the easy chair to face the window. Sade agrees with her.
One of my favorite episodes and a real showcase of Bernardine Flynn’s acting skills. She’s saying typical “Sade” lines, but she conveys so many things with just her tone of voice. You can here that she’s just on the edge of tears for the whole episode, that she’s putting on a show of strength for her son, and that the effort is exhausting her. And Rush’s concern for her and his desire to sit and listen to her is really touching.
I also like this episode for what it says about small-town, especially Midwestern culture. It’s a well-known phenomenon among Americans. Some people call it “Iowa Nice” (or “Minnesota Nice” or “Illinois Nice”); some people call it just being polite; some people call it passive aggression. People traveling through the Midwest from outside marvel at how friendly everyone acts towards total strangers; people who live here sometimes get frustrated that people don’t just say what they mean. But it all arose for a reason. In small towns, like Vic and Sade’s, everybody sees each other all the time. Everybody knows each other, and everybody talks about each other. It simply didn’t do to be confrontational with others, because you’ll surely run into them at church or at the grocery store or at your town’s only social club. It is your job to preserve the peace, in spite of whatever your feelings might be. Hence Midwestern Niceness:
RUSH: Did ya…have a fight?
SADE: ‘Course we never had a fight! Think we’re wild tigers or something?
RUSH: Did ya…part friends?
SADE: Well, naturally. Think I’d let on for the squillionth part of a second she got my goat?
Sade wishes she could stand up for herself in front of Mis’ Appelrot, but confrontation goes against everything in her nature, and that’s as much a product of her Midwestern upbringing as it is of her personality. It also explains why Mis’ Appelrot was at Sade’s house in the first place. After all, they’re “friends” (with the emphasis on those quotation marks). Even though “none of the ladies” like Mis’ Appelrot, there’s no way she could possibly know that. They’re all in the same Thimble Club and they have to make nice with her. So Mis’ Appelrot gets to walk all over everybody at will. If you live in a small town, I bet you know a Mis’ Appelrot!
 SEE THE SCRIPT (transcribed by Lydia Crowe)
What was left out of this episode is paramount: why would Sade invite Mis' Appelrot over to her house to begin with? Why would the two be chumming around? It's been obvious since early in the surviving episodes that Sade doesn't like Mis' Appelrot, so why give her an opportunity to even come over?


+ Rush says that Mis' Appelrot once spoke at his school. (There is no mention about what subject she spoke about.)

+ Rush relays this story: When Rooster Davis was 13, he ran clean across town to do an errand for Mis' Appelrot. For his trouble, she gave him a nickel, told him to wash his ears and called him, "little boy."

+ Oakland Avenue was mentioned for the first time. Rush states that's on "the other side of town."

+ The sound on this episode is excellent.

Rush tells Sade what she should have told Mis' Appelrot: {{{HEAR}}}
Although there may be occasional tensions between the people who pass by the little house halfway up in the next block, by and large, they are well-meaning souls. With one exception. Mis' Applerot is the closest thing to a villain in the world of Vic and Sade.

She is a woman of poise, intellect, and distinction. Through these qualities, she holds the respect of the homebodies of the Thimble Club who are not so privileged. However, she uses her influence to belittle the weaker members (her deliberate forgetfulness of Ruthie Stembottom's name), to manipulate club members to promote her own pet projects (like the destruction of the Bright Kentucky Hotel as an eyesore); and continually reminds the ladies of her superior connections. Sade may be president of the Thimble Club, but Mis' Appelrot runs it.

Yet she likes Sade. Her admiration and compliance feed Mis' Appelrot's ego. Likewise, because Sade has little social status, and less than a high school education, it feeds her self-esteem to have such a prestigious woman deign to favor her with her attention. But Sade still gets, as she might say, "the dirty end of the stick." Circulation of the Thimble Club's petition to demolish the Bright Kentucky Hotel falls on Sade. On another occasion, Sade feels compelled to rearrange her furniture at Mis' Appelrot's enforced suggestion. She is then reduced to tears at her own weakness of character, yet is still too intimidated to confront this pretentious bully. When Mis' Applerot finally does get her public comeuppance – from Ruthie Stembottom, in the underwear department at Yamilton's, of all places – we get almost as much satisfaction out of it as Ruthie did.

Mis' Appelrot is most aptly named: she is indeed a rotten apple, who, if permitted, can spoil the whole barrel.
- Sarah Cole
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