I watched nearly three seasons of this television show for its leading star Bea Arthur (and then once I had started, for Adrienne Barbeau). I loved seeing Arthur and Rue McClanahan on a show together before The Golden Girls, a show of absolute comedic gold, where they played Dorothy Zbornak and Blanche Devereaux, respectively. However, I couldn't help but think that Maude was a hypocrite, someone I absolutely couldn't sympathise with and Maude's husband, Walter, was even worse.
"Maude" disguised itself as a feminist, liberal sitcom, but it was and is neither of those things. Obviously, watching the show over 40 years after it originally aired on TV makes it seem aged, and sure what was liberal then may not considered liberal anymore. For example, interracial marriages, those are pretty standard nowadays - they're more of an issue concerning rights rather than just a left- wing demand. Maude would talk proudly and assert herself as a leading woman, but cower at the slightest suggestion from Walter. We are suggested to believe that they are a great couple because Walter is the only one who can "control" his woman.
Another thing that bothered me about this show is that the majority of the episodes were written by male writers. And NO, a man can never know how to write female characters or dialogue as well as a woman. Plain fact based on the fact that a man does not grow up experiencing what it is like TO BE a woman. There should be no argument on that front. There were plenty of great female teleplay writers in the day, and they should have been writing for this show if the show was so concerned about passing for a show for women. Furthermore, not ONE episode of the 141 episode show that ran for 6 seasons was directed by a woman. Sure, my problem is not necessarily with representation, but rather with what they were trying to sell. They claimed that "Maude" was a woman's show, but didn't utilise any female directors or as many female writers as they did male.
That little fact lowers the quality of the show for me tremendously. Maude would sometimes say something so blatantly sexist or racist that I couldn't believe my ears! She claimed to be a feminist and advocate of PoC rights, but every episode she would be shown to be a hypocrite in some way. Now that to me does not make a good show. And quite frankly, it's the fault of the studio for hiring all the wrong sorts of people to write and steer the show. It's not enough to have female leads, if females aren't also the ones accurately creating and controlling the development of those characters. Still, the show is not as bad as other shows of the time or of the present day, and for that it is still above a 6 star rating.
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