My latest obsession is the 70’s TV sitcom, Maude.
I began watching a few episodes of Maude on Antenna TV a few weeks ago, and now I am hooked. So much so, that I am currently binge watching all six seasons on YouTube.
Maude is a 47 year-old housewife-turned real estate broker-turned politician and member of Congress, and is played brilliantly by Bea Arthur. Mrs. Findlay is a no nonsense proud liberal democrat, feminist, and advocate of blacks and anyone whom she feels has been held back by “the man”. She’s also a four time married woman who still knows she has sex appeal, and isn’t afraid to show it. Even though she is a wife and mother and grandmother, she talks openly about sex and her relationship with hubby, Walter, whom she adores without apology. In a world wanting women to go quietly away in the night, Maude is no shrinking violet.
The theme song of the sitcom opens with a Donny Hathaway sung catchy tune that starts with “Lady Godiva was a freedom rider, she didn’t care if the whole world looked. Joan of Arc with the Lord to guide her, she was a sister who really cooked.”
Maude was a Norman Lear backdoor spin-off of All in the Family, as she played Edith Bunker’s strong female cousin against Archie Bunker’s archaic thoughts and values. Maude also gave us Good Times, as Florida Evans was Maude’s housekeeper in Tuckahoe, Westchester County, NY outside of the Bronx.
Maude, the character, isn’t perfect, but that is what makes the show so appealing. She’s strong and opinionated and hard-headed, and often over-talks her family and friends. She thinks she is always right and hates to admit defeat, and loves to say “God’ll get you for that, Walter” anytime he says or does something that upsets her. But Maude is also a vivacious broad with intelligence to boot and can make most any man swoon after one conversation.
The series made sure to tackle some pretty groundbreaking social issues including abortion (she gets pregnant in the first season and decides she is too old to have the baby and decides to terminate the pregnancy), racism, classism, feminism, alcoholism, and depression, just to name a few.
For a series which started in the 70’s before Roe vs. Wade was decided, Maude was way ahead of its time. Even now, watching it 40+ years later, a lot of the themes and situations are timely for what’s going on currently.
Isadora was the first bra-burner, ain’t ya glad she showed up? (Oh yeah!) And when the country was fallin’ apart, Betsy Ross got it all sewed up. And then there’s Maude.
I find Maude entertaining, thought-provoking, and fun to watch. Maude is played effortlessly by Bea who we now know as Dorothy on The Golden Girls. Walter Findlay is a great comic foil and is played by Bill Macy. Neighbors Dr. Arthur and Vivian Harmon played by Conrad Bain and Rue McClanahan add comedic fodder, and daughter Carol (played by Adrienne Barbeau) round out the cast that keeps me coming back for more.
Maude was a working mom before it was chic, and I identify with her a lot—she’s my “spirit animal”.
Catch Maude weekdays on Antenna TV (for now) or on YouTube. You can even buy the series on Amazon as well.
What do you think of Maude?