Episode 7 "Charlerella" brings the first season to a close
This seventh episode brought the brief first season to a close, and it's probably a miracle that it was renewed for the fall, just after the November election of Democrat Bill Clinton. Everyone is excited about attending the annual Brotherhood Ball, but Senator Powers knows that he's never done enough for blacks to deserve the award (Jordan: "if they only gave awards to people who deserved them, there'd be a lot of empty banquet halls in this town!"). Margaret schemes to prevent Sophie from showing up, due to her renting a gown that a total stranger has worn, also failing to notify Charlotte the maid that she too was invited. Caitlyn finally gives in to Joe Bowman's advances, joining him in his hotel suite while her husband Theodore waits for her to arrive at her mother's to leave for the ball with him (this was Craig Bierko's final appearance). When the impatient Margaret leaves without Sophie,she decides to defy her wicked stepmother to help out Charlotte with her own gown ("miracles take a little time!"), leaving Charlotte alone with Theodore while she takes the subway. Just like in Cinderella, Theodore proves himself to be Charlotte's Prince Charming, falling in love at first sight when he sees the beautiful princess almost falling down the long staircase (Charlotte: "just not used to wearing high heels, not used to wearing shoes without reinforced toes!"). While a snowstorm prevents them from leaving the house, the Senator and his small party also fail to make it to the ball, but they do welcome Caitlyn, reluctantly managing to escape from Bowman's hotel room (Caitlyn: "mummy, daddy, what am I doing here?"). Margaret faints when they see Sophie accepting the award for her delighted father. Theodore doesn't mind spending the entire evening admiring Charlotte in the Powers living room; when she prepares sandwiches, his response is joyous ("I love sandwiches...Caitlyn's afraid of bread!"). He implores her to sit down, but the long suffering maid warily eyes Margaret's portrait on the wall ("SHE'D know!"). Able to overcome her reluctance and finally relax, perhaps for the very first time in her life, she tries to act seductive but doesn't know how; when Theodore reveals an interest in magic, she shyly tries to hide her smile though her response is genuine (Theodore: "I always wanted to be a magician" Charlotte: "really? How'd you end up in Congress?" Theodore: "never learned to disappear!"). Winding up at the piano, the pair duet on Disney's "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes," and just as they are about to kiss for the first time, the clock strikes midnight, and "Charlerella" panics at the late hour, leaving only one shoe behind (not a glass slipper) as a fond remembrance for her Prince (Charlotte: "I can't...I'll never forget this evening sir"). Elizabeth Berridge finally had an opportunity to flesh out her character, and never enjoyed a better showcase, balancing comedy and drama with consummate skill (and the image of her at the top of the stairs has remained with me ever since, this being my favorite episode). Like the previous two entries, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Pierce is absent from this first season closer on April 18 1992. The new season would begin on November 7, its regular Saturday night time slot at 8:00 ET.
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