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40-06-17 Mr. Sludge to Sleep Overnight at Gooks

Vic: I hope he don't weep during the night and disturb our rest...

Mr. Sludge, as we all know, is a crier.  According to Sade in previous episodes, he's homesick, he misses his mother and sisters and on top of it all, he's a momma's boy.

His landlady, Mis' Harris, is away and Mr. Sludge is somehow alone over the house across the way.  He is frightened of this and Sade has made it known that Mr. Sludge is welcome to stay over at the Gook house and sleep on the davenport.

Sludge calls and is crying and frightened and is hopeful Rush will come and get him and escort him over to the house - for he too is afraid of the dark alleyway.
Mr. Sludge, alone and terrified in Mis’ Harris’ house, elects to spend the night with the Gooks.

The affection that most people in the Vic and Sade universe seem to have for Mr. Sludge is pretty touching. After all, male tears tend to make people uncomfortable, even in the twenty-first century — not to speak of the 1940s. Our perceptions about the way males “should” behave are deeply entrenched in our unspoken cultural rules and are laden with emotional intensity. But Mr. Sludge is lovingly accepted — well, by Sade, anyway; grudgingly by Vic. Sade is maternally protective of him and defends him against all scorn. Rush has always been tolerant of difference (look at some of the weird affectations his friends have), and he sees Sludge as just another colorful thread in the tapestry of life. He shows an ability to empathize with Sludge, to think like Sludge (“S’pose he went to a hotel?”) He even volunteers to go and walk Sludge across the alley (though he draws the line at giving him his bed). Vic’s a tougher case — he scoffs at Sludge’s unmanly tendencies, but even he accepts Sludge, albeit with quite a bit of bafflement and derision. He dislikes Mr. Sludge’s apparent weaknesses because he doesn’t understand them — but he’s still perfectly happy to have Sludge come and sleep at his house, because that’s what Sludge needs to do in order not to have a massive meltdown. Sludge must have some kind of severe social anxiety disorder that the Gooks don’t have the experience to recognize, or the language to describe (beyond words like “feeble-minded,” “mama’s boy,” “timid,” “bashful,” and so on), but they accept him as he is, warts and all — or, rather, uncontrollable tears and all.  And I think that’s a beautiful picture of society.
 SEE THE SCRIPT (transcribed by Lydia Crowe)

Sade shows a lot of sympathy for Mr. Sludge again in this episode while both Vic and Rush don't understand how Mr. Sludge can be such a "sissy."


+ Intertwined in this episode is Rush reading from an exciting Third Lieutenant Stanley book.

+ Rush says that Sludge is a very good bowler. (He bowls at the YMCA.)

+ Do you ever think about the things that get said almost every episode that are ever rarely mentioned in Vic and Sade articles?:
  • All: Telephone's ringin'!
  • Rush: I'm just a normal, American citizen!
  • Rush: (The phone rings.) It's probably ___ ____.  He said he had something of a very trivial nature to discuss.
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