43-06-04 Helping Russell Adjust

STARRING: ART VAN HARVEY, BERNARDINE FLYNN AND DAVID WHITEHOUSE 
Sade and Vic discuss Russell, his 'far-away looks' and how he's adjusting to his new life after his parents have died.

SEE THE SCRIPT (part 1) (part 2)
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David Whitehouse
A serious script, especially the first half, before Russell joins the conversation with Sade and Vic. The couple, notably, the more-vocal Sade, reveal their empathy and genuine care (worry/fear?) for the grieving boy's well-being.

Although the script lacks the punch of memorable lines and witty rapport, it strikes me as one of the stronger scripts I have read. While Sade is more expressive about her thoughts on how Russell is coping with his grief, Vic quietly does the same, even suggesting they all go see Gloria Golden (whom Vic doesn't like), obviously thinking that a film might help the youngster escape for an hour or so.

Coping with death is something we have not encountered on the show (unless you count Mr. Gumpox's horses), so these character insights are interesting to explore.

This tender side of Paul Rhymer's writing makes one thoughtful... however, one thing that strikes me immediately after reading the script is the couple think it might be for the best if Russell let go of his feelings, yet, later, how Vic and Sade both cut off Russell at different times when he tries to bring up specific memories of his parents. The 'talking out' of those memories is all a part of the grieving process. In a show known for it's interruption of speech (usually in a humorous way), it doesn't waver here either, as it appears the couple is either trying to protect Russell from his own words or to protect themselves from having to deal with an unfamiliar, uncomfortable situation.

Vic and Sade are loving, caring, nurturing parents, but the fact that Russell is not their own flesh and blood seems to present a wall. Sade badly describes the grief as 'home sickness'

'Home sickness' is a term Rhymer used several times in scripts, early on with Rush and later with the visiting Leland Richards and in-between, with other, minor characters.  Someone should explore the subject more deeply.  I think there's something important Rhymer is trying to tell us that we haven't figured out yet.  It may have something to do with males who cry, a characteristic found in various men around town (Brickmush Man, Gumpox and Mr. Sludge, just to name three).  I'm afraid if we were to probe, we might find Rhymer (or perhaps his father, or both) was completely dominated by some ditzy, irritating female, probably his mother...

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