|Index||3 reviews in total|
A leisurely paced episode that manages to be nicely serene while still
bringing up some rather brutal life issues namely that of marriage and
middle age. O'Connor plays a man who feels that his wife is too
controlling and there relationship has lost the romance that it once
had during their courtship. He goes off to find himself and ends up at
a all male retreat where the conversations that he has with the other
men about their marriages are right on target and nicely introspective.
This episode ends up making a lot of good comments about the
difficulties of communicating in a marriage as well as the need for
independence versus companionship and how two people can still love one
another and still need time away from each other.
However the best scene comes at the very end where the usually well mannered Tod commits a major act of rebellion that is quite memorable. It is also interesting to see Anne Helm playing Tod's love interest and the daughter of the O'Connor character. She appeared in an earlier series episode entitle 'The Clover Thorn' playing a wild sexpot named 'Sweet Thing', but here effectively plays a character that is completely the opposite.
The only negative with this episode is the scene where the O'Connor character shows a group of investors a new computer invention that he has made. The sound effects that are used for the computer are overly cartoonish and very distracting. It puts what is otherwise a fine drama piece into the level of a sitcom and almost ruins the message in the process.
This rather limp finale to the legendary second season of ROUTE 66
brings back the underlying themes of the second ever episode, "A Lance
of Straw" and the second season episodes "Once to Every Man" and "You
Never Had it So Good": that of having aggressive, bossy women ruin the
lives of men by under-mining their manhood. "You Never Had it so Good"
had a hopeful take on this as the tycoon recognized the value of the
woman executive but it also had him propose marriage: he wants her as a
wife more than as a business partner.
Here June Vincent plays a prominent dentist who is also a psychologist and has employed psychological counseling to help children deal with the fear of pain. The approach has been a big success and as a result so has she. Todd is hired to work with the children using her methods. We see the lady at home, imperiously ordering around her maid. Anne Helm plays her daughter, who has adopted many of her attitudes toward servants and men, (even though she seems a nice enough young lady otherwise). When out on a date with Todd, she tells the waiter what they will both have: it's what mother would have done. She also out-performs Tod when they play with some of the electronic toys her father creates. There's even a discussion of Philip Wylie and "Momism"
Arthur O'Connell plays Vincent's husband, an eccentric inventor who longs for the early days of their marriage when his wife was just a dental assistant and they lived simply. He disappears one day and it becomes Tod's job to find him. He finally does at what is apparently a retreat for emasculated husbands. Tod listens to O'Connell talk about how his wife keeps putting a painting he likes in the bathroom rather than his bedroom. Biff Elliot is a boxer whose wife liked to see him knock guys more than he did. Milton Selzer is a Hollywood producer whose wife became a "cash register" when he started having success. O'Connell tells Tod to be at his laboratory the next day where he'll demonstrate his latest creation.
The result is a silly scene where O'Connell had invented a massive computer that can determine what women want. He tests it on a young couple and creates a rift between them because the woman likes what the computer tells her more than her boyfriend. O'Connell then makes a speech, looking directly at his wife and daughter, talking about how women today prefer machines to men. Then O'Connell goes off to make furniture for a roadside stand he's set up. Meanwhile Todd goes back to the dentist's office and hears the young children being told that their procedures won't hurt that much. He explodes and tells them they need to know what the real world is like and that sometimes it's going to hurt. I'm not sure what the point of that- or any of it- was.
The problems of the men in this episode can certainly be real but I'm disturbed by the suggestion that aggressive, confident career women are a threat to men. I think we found out after the next decade that women could have rights and careers and lives and that men would be just fine. Real men, anyway.
This episode blatantly blames women who show any independence for men's
troubles. Apparently no woman can assert herself, have a career, or
even order her own salad dressing without trampling a man underfoot.
First, Tod's ego takes a beating when his date (Anne Helm) brazenly
beats him at a quick-draw game and (horrors!) orders Roquefort dressing
for both of them without bothering to find out that he hates Roquefort.
When he complains about the latter emasculating outrage (but only after
the fact), she sensibly asks, "Why didn't you say anything? I would
have"--and he ignores her. Meanwhile, Tod's working for his new love
interest's mother (June Vincent), a dentist whose office staff works to
overcome kids' fear of dentistry and put them at ease--until Tod goes
crazy and screams at the kids to man up and take a little pain,
already, rather than letting a bunch of "females" insulate them from
the real world.
The dentist's husband, an inventor (Arthur O'Connell), has "rebelled" against his over-assertive wife and daughter by running away to a retreat where manly men whine about how aggressive women won't let them be manly, and they're powerless to stand up to these harpies. He makes a brief comeback to introduce a cartoonish machine that supposedly lets women be "self-sufficient" by choosing machine romance over Real Men. He then huffs off to a remote location, where he makes furniture that he can't sell. Not to worry, though--Tod's tirade in the dental office has shown the light to the evil Lady Dentist, who lets Tod drive her and her equally repentant daughter to crawl on their knees to apologize to the man they've wronged. Did everyone on the writing staff find women so intimidating?
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