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37-11-28 Congress and the Supreme Court

This is an episode of -not Vic and Sade- but of a program called The Magic Key.

Vic, Sade and Rush discuss the government, Congress and the Supreme Court and it's importance in society.

Sade reads the paper and brings up the "Super 'em Court" (or so it sounds) and explains this is the same thing the "know-it-all" Mis' Appelrot talks about at the Thimble Club.

Sade doesn't seem to take knowledge of the government very seriously and acts nervously when the Gook men discuss the subject.
Sade expresses her confusion about the federal government. Vic & Rush attempt to enlighten her.
NOTE: This is not, in fact, an episode of Vic & Sade, but of a show called The Magic Key of RCA. (So does this mean it’s not canon? AU? Hmm…)
Like “Sade’s Trip to Dwight,” this is another one where the joke is Sade’s ignorance — in this case, willful ignorance — of something Vic and Rush consider to be basic knowledge. Now, my immediate, knee-jerk reaction to this and episodes like it, as a feminist, is slightly negative — especially with lines like this:
SADE: Mis’ Appelrot’s a grown-up woman with a family and a house to keep clean. What on earth does she care about the Congress?
Sade refuses to listen to all of Vic’s and Rush’s good-natured attempts to straighten her out about this. It looks a little bit like the message being sent here is “You can’t educate women about civics, even if you try!” But that reaction is unfair (Mis’ Appelrot and Mis’ Brighton have educated themselves, after all). That’s not the message being sent here. This show is character-driven, and the message is about Sade as an individual. Episodes like this one tell us a lot about her background and her inner life.
Sade never graduated from high school, and in at least one later episode, she expresses some self-consciousness about it. In this episode, she almost seems to take pride in her ignorance, but this is a defense mechanism:
SADE: Yeah, all that monstrous, big important talky-talk, and actually you’d think they were the king of Peoria. What was it Mis’ Appelrot said the other day?
VIC: Couldn’t tell ya.
SADE: Uhh, a Republican form of government, lah dee dah, Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, Constitution, lah dee dah, receivable taxes, canal zones, Congress, dumpty dumpty dum. Silly.
RUSH: See, when the nation adopts a Republican form of —
SADE [giggles]: Looks like we got a Mis’ Appelrot right here in the family.
VIC: What?
SADE: Oh, Rush explains a thing the same way she does. Instead of comin’ right out and sayin’ what she wants to say, she hems and haws and beats around the bush ‘til a person wants to scream. Son, why don’t you just say they got Congress fellas in Washington, D.C. that fixes the law?
 In Sade’s eyes, Mis’ Appelrot and others like her are flaunting their superior education, talking in circles to confuse her on purpose. Without intending to, they are making her feel put down. So her defense is to deny that any of this information is important to her. Sade has spent her whole life learning to be an excellent homemaker and mother (ironically, she is hammering on Rush throughout this episode to study algebra and improve his grades, while resisting any attempt to be educated herself). She has worked hard to become what she is, and she is very good at it. She has a well-defined sense of her place in the world and her strengths as a person. But sometimes, people around her unintentionally make her feel inferior by implying that she needs to be something more than what she is. When that happens, this worldview is threatened, and the defenses go up. She curls up into a ball, puts her bristles out, and refuses to listen. And, if she can reinforce her self-image as homemaker extraordinaire by chastising Rush or Vic (“Your feet!”), so much the better.
So while the humor in these “Sade is ignorant” episodes does appear to be at her expense, they also give us a lot of insight into her as a person. It’s also important to remember that Vic & Sade's primary audience was housewives like Sade — not know-it-all husbands like Vic. While it sometimes seems like Rush and Vic are ganging up on Sade for her ignorance, I'll bet the audience was right on her side. Some of them probably experienced the same feelings at one time or another and were able to laugh a little at themselves while laughing at Sade. Vic & Sade wasn’t written to enforce a status quo — it was written to entertain ordinary Americans by describing life as it was (with frequent injections of the bizarre and the absurd to keep things interesting). To criticize it through a 21st-century feminist lens would be to miss the point. Sade is ignorant because Sade is Sade. That’s all. 
Was this too much to write about a 5-minute piece of light family comedy? Grad school warps you, I tells ya. Warn the young people you know.
SEE THE SCRIPT (transcribed by Lydia Crowe)

There's not a lot of comedy here. Sade's poo-pooing of learning about the government here is the only joke going and it's not that funny.


+ This is the first time the Thimble Club is mentioned in the surviving shows.

+ One episode after being friendly with Mis' Appelrot, Sade is already beginning to turn on her, as I promised in the previous post.

+ T.W. Vogel is mentioned: He lives at 718 Tender Street. According to the paper, he was mysteriously ill for 3 weeks.

+ Mr. Steelpump is mentioned: Sade reads in the paper that he is going to marry Marie Hunkerman.

Sade poo-poos Mis' Appelrot's government talk:  (((HEAR)))

I think it's a shame that Sade doesn't have better citizenship skills and knowledge. Or the desire to take initiative to learn more about how government works. Her problem doesn't seem to be a lack of patriotic pride, just a lack in her education. Government was one of my lesser enjoyed classes in school. It can be very complicated. The same can be said for Sade's other weaknesses in math and science.

Sade's personality is geared towards her loyalty to her family, and local society of friends, and acquaintances. Something like big government is foreign to her, and isn't a daily impact on her life, so she doesn't concern herself to learn it. And anything where Sade can't be on the top of her game, and dominate in, has to be silly and trivial. If you can't beat 'em, don't join 'em. Make fun of 'em. - Keith @ Retro Radio Podcast


  1. A recording of this excerpt with perfect sound exists because it was featured on a broadcast of the NBC program "Recollections At 30" of October 24, 1956. Maybe the best sound of any Vic & Sade recording I've heard. They must have used an original recording of the Magic Key show as it existed in 1956 before it deteriorated to the version most widely circulated.

  2. Sade is a real home-and-family person, little interested in the workings of government well beyond her ability as a Middle America housewife to influence. It wasn't unusual back then for people to focus on what they could control and let what they couldn't be the area for those wealthy and powerful to maintain. If you think about it, we all still do this in many ways. Sade may not have the civic duty within her, but for her the neighborhood and family are her concerns.