Wally is downstairs setting the table for supper when June tells him to bring Beaver down to eat. Wally finds Beaver in the bathroom but the door is locked. Beaver is inside trying to sandpaper the freckles off of his face. Everyone is at the table but Beaver and when he walks in his cheeks and nose are covered with caked on makeup. Ward and June figure out that for some reason Beaver is embarrassed about his freckles, but they won't say anything right away.
Everyone is trying to have a normal conversation when Beaver asks if anyone can see anything different about him. When Wally says for one thing, he can't see Beaver's freckles with all that glop on his face, Beaver runs upstairs. Ward tries to explain it's what a person is like on the inside that counts, that their appearance doesn't matter.
Next day Beaver goes over to see Clyde Appelby. Clyde is a big kid who beat Beaver up last year. Beavers asks him how he stands it having so many freckles. Clyde says he likes it. Even if no one knows his name they say freckles and he knows they mean him. Clyde believes it's great having something, in this case freckles, that makes him a stand out where ever he goes. Suddenly Beaver sees freckles as an asset, now Beaver wishes he had more freckles.
Beaver gets self-conscious over his freckles after he gets heckled from of all people Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford. But back in the 50's it didn't take much to destroy a kid's self-confidence. I'm not sure that has changed. I notice that today more and more commercials are featuring more and more kids (and younger adults) who normally are marginalized in our culture. The emphasis—subtle and sometimes hit-you-over-the head subtle—is that it's OK to be yourself, or be fat. Sorry, but you really can't miss the spots.
I thought it was the saddest to watch Beaver attempt to sandpaper his freckles off. Seeing him come down to dinner with makeup plastered over his face, had to make you chuckle. How could he look in a mirror and possibly believe what he did was an improvement? All of us find something about our bodies we don't like. I am sure a lot of people can remember agonizing over the acne that hit so many of us in adolescence. And no doubt we all heard our parents telling us it wasn't important what we or anyone else looked like; it was just important to see what the person was like on the inside. Yeah, sure.
Nonetheless, the problem gets resolved and Beaver not only makes peace with his freckles; he adds a new friend, Clyde Appleby, who had been an old enemy.
Who knows, maybe those commercials will work, but the cynic in me doesn't think so. But wouldn't it be nice?