Wednesday, March 28, 2007

No Interesting Title Today--I'm Too Tired To Think Of A Clever Pun, So Get Over It.

I had the bitch of a day yesterday...work sucked, I was tired and cranky, people seemed to get a rise out of needling me (they will earn disfigurement for that), and to top it off, my mom called last night to say that the latest medicine they have her on (aromicin?) is not working. So now they've put her on something else that requires injections twice a month. They're not optimistic that this will work, either, but it might, so they're using it. Apparently, it is working for my cousin Mary Ann, but hers is a different (and more aggressive) form of cancer. If this doesn't work, they will put her on some form of chemotherapy. Which probably will work, at least in some way, but will also make her pretty sick, and after she went through that 12 years ago, I'd hate to see her have to go through it again.

But she's not upset by this, because as the doctor told her, there's always something else to try. Mom's determined to try everything she can to fight it, and she's pretty tough. (I like to think I'm like her that way, but I'm far more impatient.)

Afterwards, she and I talked about other stuff, vented to each other about work (it's amazing how much I cuss in front of my mom--and vice versa!), and when she asked what else is new, I told her "same old same old." My life is pretty mundane and uninteresting, really. I try to absorb some of the fabulousness of my friends' lives, but that "osmosis" thing doesn't really work all that well. And I'm too mistrustful of people in general to go out and be more social. Everybody seems to want something from you, you know what I mean? I think I'm developing some sort of social anxiety disorder. I find myself getting annoyed at the stupidest things these days. I might just be overwhelmed--this has happened before.

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Towards the end of mom's and my conversation, I told her about the "Maude" DVD. I'll take to to her house next time I visit (probably mid-May). I've been watching it the last couple of nights. I've been waiting for 15 years to see this show again, and watching it again has been a real eye-opener for me. The first couple of episodes are pretty lame. The interplay between Bea, Bill Macy and Adrienne Barbeau seems very contrived and forced. It does correspond to "All in The Family" since you have the stubborn, crusty protagonist (Maude/Archie), the flummoxed spouse (Edith/Walter), and the hip adult offspring unit who lives at home(Gloria/Meathead/Carol). However, Archie was such a racist buffoon it was easy to laugh at him. Maude is harder to laugh at because she's an arch liberal whose sort of out of touch with reality--she's in love with the idea of equality and racial harmony, without understanding what that really entails. I think that hits a little close to home for some of us who have found our liberalism well-intentioned but misguided over the years. (And of course the alternative, straight-up conservatism, is unthinkable for me. And there seems to be no middle ground for most people I know. They're die-hard PC, except when it comes to the overweight, and relentlessly happy with the influx of diversity, even to the dilution of themselves.) So it kind of reminds me of the "rock and hard place" position I'm in.

However, when African American maid Florida Evans arrives in episode three (back then, they just said "black maid"), things start to crackle nicely. Florida is just the good-natured, no-nonsense foil that Maude needs. She sets Maude straight on lots of her misconceptions about making her one of the family ("I already got a family"), considering Maude's home to be her own ("I already got a home") and the idea of using the front door, because the back is too servile ("The back door is easier to bring the groceries in"). In the end, they've established some common ground, but you sense that the relationship will evolve over time, and of course it did.

I also love the fact that, unlike other early 70s sitcoms, "Maude" didn't have the depressingly dark decor of other sets. Her house isn't filled with dark brown panelling and ugly orange fixtures (except for one orange counter in the kitchen). Her woodwork is beautifully kept and her walls are covered with a beautiful silvery-blue velvet flocked paper. Hardly any burnt sienna or drab avocado green to be found anywhere like "All In The Family." I guess that's the difference between Queens and Westchester County.

I haven't gotten to the first episode with Rue McClanahan yet (the two-parter in which Maude discovers she's pregnant), but I'm looking forward to it. I was four when it was on the first time, and they didn't rerun that one often (the seasons I remember were the end of season two, just before Florida left, and the Mrs. Naugatuck era).

I know they're only planning on releasing one or two seasons, but I hope I at least get to see some of season three in some form. I loved me some Mrs. Naugatuck!

5 Comments:

Anonymous Ed said...

Oh dear, In the 70's I had just finished High School. I was full of hope for the future of mankind and peace and harmony and all that crap. Maude was an eye-opener, being the first show to consider the new liberated woman's point of view. I thought if Women's lib is here can GAy lib be far behind? I soon came to understand that most of the church members were women so the church was afraid to attack them. Instead they turned on those repulsive men who had anal sex with each other. Tell me why is it repulsive and humiliating to fuck another man but not a woman? We have a long way before the Sit-Com "Claude" is aired were a Gay man is shown as strong and proud.
I can tell your Mom is strong like you. I hear during Chemo that MaryJane is good for preventing the nuasea that is prevelant. The best medicne is a positve outlook. I think your Mom will be around a long time.

11:33 AM  
Blogger David said...

Maude. I think the only reason I would sit and watch that show is to see Bea Arthurs comic timing. I really couldn't stand the rest of the cast. They were always shouting. Man, that sucks about your mom but it's nice to know she has a son who can be there for her.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Thanks, guys!

Yes, Bea was the only real reason to watch "Maude." But she alone was worth it! As I said, very hokey and contrived in the first two episodes (they tried too hard to make her "Auntie Mame" with no strong cast members to play off of--Adrienne Barbeau was cute, but it was all about her tits), but her delivery was great. And when SHE shouted and got hysterical, it was terrific with that husky voice!

12:45 PM  
Anonymous ed said...

Maude did kinda look like a drag queen. I enjoyed watching her on All In The Family. The barbs exchanged between Archie Bunker and her were priceless.

6:20 PM  
Blogger dirk.mancuso said...

Sending lots of good thoughts to you and your mom. (And I find my mother and I cuss a lot in front of each other, too.)

I had totally forgotten about Mrs. Naugatuck.

9:55 AM  

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