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40-07-01 Ruthie Has Secrets

Sade: Ice cream at bedtime gives nightmares.

Fred and Ruthie Stembottom have just left after a game of "500."  Both Vic and Sade noticed there was something different about the way Ruthie acted.

Sade says Ruthie has secrets.  Vic is most intrigued.  The biggest secret?  Ruthie wears glasses.
Sade senses that Ruthie is keeping something from her.
Basically, Ruthie, at thirty-seven, is having a midlife crisis. She’s ashamed of getting older, which, as Vic says, is nothing to be ashamed of. But Sade has often described Ruthie as childish, and it’s hard for someone in a state of arrested development to age gracefully. Poor kid, indeed.

The funniest thing about this episode is Sade’s tone of voice. She sounds like Ruthie’s secret is that she’s covered up either a brutal double-murder or a terminal disease. Maybe it’s this somber tone that cued Vic not to joke around with Sade too much on this. As Sade says, it’s the kind of thing Vic usually finds foolish, but he listens carefully and sympathetically. Vic must have learned that you don’t mess with Sade when she’s using what I think of as the “Bess’ letter from 1937" voice.
SEE THE SCRIPT (transcribed by Lydia Crowe)
Although this episode probably seems frivolous to most men, there is quite a bit of humor involved in this if you look at it from a woman's point of view. The fact that Sade notices these small things and goes over them like a detective is funny in itself.

Another thing that is humorous is both how sensitive women are to little things like wearing glasses or changing shoe sizes - where a man wouldn't think twice about it and wouldn't care. You think men sit around and talk about the "embarrassment" of having to wear glasses or getting new shoes in a larger size?

There's another joke in the episode that I'll bet you overlooked. When Rush goes to see if there is ice cream left over, Sade cautions him that ice cream late at night gives nightmares. Well, Rush finds no ice cream (Fred has eaten it all.) Finally bored with the conversation about the glasses (who wouldn't be?) he falls asleep on the couch. Vic awakens him with a tirade of horrible thoughts: "Fire! Murder! Cyclone! Earthquake!"

Who needs late-night ice cream to have nightmares with that going on!


+ Some clues that gave away Ruthie's secret to Sade:
  • Got her spades mixed up with clubs and her hearts with diamonds - about nine times.
  • Said, "I guess I need glasses" and then laughed funny and shrill.
  • Had a white ridge across her nose, where she had been wearing powder to disguise the red ridge across her nose.
+ In this episode, Vic says Ruthie is 37 years old.

+ Sade also discerned that Ruthie (who has tiny feet) takes a larger shoe size.

+ In an interview she did in 1965, actress Bernadine Flynn (Sade) recalls this episode (or one very much like it) in which Rhymer took the cast's idiosyncrasies and made a script out of it: {{{HEAR}}}

Download the complete commercial-free, sound-improved episode!

1 comment:

  1. A woman wearing glasses seems trivial today, but in that time it really wasn't considered acctractive for females to wear glasses. There was also a sterotype that existed for many many years about people who wore glasses were "bookworms"