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"...and then there's Maude!"—Opening Theme
A spin-off of the hit sitcom All in The Family created by Norman Lear, the title character, Maude Findlay, was originally written as Archie Bunker's foil: female, liberal, new age, free-thinking, and yet every bit as domineering and pushy. Though the show was overtly political, it didn't suffer from the problems with strawmen that plagues so many other "hot button" shows. While Maude's political views were usually cast in a positive light -- helping the needy, racial sensitivity, women's liberation -- the greatest handicap to the character was her personality: she was too forceful, stubborn, ego-driven, and often out of touch with the very issues she claimed expertise of. Thus the show wasn't necessarily a Take That at left-wing beliefs the way All in The Family was for Archie's stubborn traditionalism, but more a character-driven sitcom that simply had politics at its surface.
The show is usually remembered for featuring one of the first (positive) portrayals of abortion in TV history, when Maude realizes she's pregnant by her husband but makes the decision that she's just too old to have a baby. Her family supports her and she comes out of the situation (for the most part) better for it. Keep in mind this episode premiered just two months before the Roe v. Wade decision made abortion legal nationwide.
Lasted for six years in no small part to good writing and Bea Arthur. Just Bea Arthur.
Not to be confused with Harold and Maude.
- All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game" - The only thing most people know about this series is that Maude has an abortion. So when she discovers in a Very Special Episode that she is pregnant, it's a pretty safe bet she won't be welcoming a new baby into the world.
- Catch Phrase- "God'll get you for that, Walter", and "Mauuuude...SIT!!".
- Closer to Earth- Pretty much averted. Both Maude and Walter and pretty frequently shown to be childish, petty, and self-involved. The only difference is that Maude is at an advantage as far as delivering crippling put-downs.
- Deadpan Snarker- Ignoring the obvious mention Bea Arthur as the undisputed Queen of Deadpan Delivery, it's hard to think of a character on this show who wasn't a deadpan snarker at least some of the time.
- Distaff Counterpart - Maude was a mirror reflection of Archie Bunker: female instead of male, middle-class instead of working-class, and a liberal instead of a conservative. However, though their ideologies were very different, their personalities were very similar.
- Drop in Character- Next-door neighbor Arthur Harmon, particularly before he married Maude's friend, Vivian. It was understood that as a bachelor, he couldn't cook for himself and depended on Maude to feed him. Arthur and Viv continue to drop in after they marry, though, if only so Arthur can continue to stir up arguments with Maude.
- Game Show Appearance: Maude is tricked into appearing on a fictional Game Show called Beat the Devil. Game Show Announcer Johnny Olsen appeared as himself.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Perhaps the earliest well-known aversion of this trope.
- Grand Finale: "Maude's Big Move" albeit unintentionally, see Retool.
- Lady Drunk- The second maid, Mrs. Naugutuck, was the butt of lots of drunk jokes, even though most of the characters drank a lot all of the time.
- Ms. Fanservice: Adrienne Barbeau as Carol, though it took the producers a while to realize it.
- Make Up or Break Up- Over the six-year course of the series, Maude and Walter almost split up numerous times. Is it any wonder they have four previous marriages between them?
- Mars and Venus Gender Contrast- Done a lot, although frequently tempered with doses of Not So Different
- Not Important to This Episode Camp- Carol's son Philip also lived at Maude's house, but only appeared on an as-needed basis. When they pulled The Other Darrin with him late in the series, it didn't disrupt the show in the least.
- Retool: The last season of the show ended with a three parter that saw Maude becoming a congresswoman, her and Walter moving to Washington DC and the rest of the cast put on buses. This was an attempt by Norman Lear to give the show's ratings a boost after it had gone from being a top 10 show (peaking at #4) its first four seasons to falling out of the top 30 in its fifth and sixth seasons. This never really panned out because after the last episode of the season Bea Arthur decided she no longer wanted to play Maude as such the three parter ended up becoming an unintentional Grand Finale.
- Sassy Black Woman- Florida was normally a little too deadpan to fit this trope, but the sass would really come out if Maude made too many pointed attempts to show she was enlightened about black people and/or maids.
- Spin-Off- of All in The Family. The show itself spun off Good Times.
- Stop Helping Me!: Maude's attempts at proving she was not prejudiced tended to irk Florida quite a bit, since Florida just wanted to do her job. In Florida's first episode, Maude believed that having Florida come into the house through the back door was somehow offensive (even though that's where they parked), so Maude made Florida walk all the way around the house to the front door to bring in the groceries.
- Unintentional Period Piece: Like all of Norman Lear's contemporary productions, this is a very 1970s show in every respect.
- Very Special Episode- A few, and none of them were Anvilicious. The most controversial, of course, was the abortion episode.
- Your Favorite: For Arthur - Beef Stroganoff.
Maude: Yes, I invited Arthur to come over to eat with us...you know his favorite meal is Beef Stroganoff....we're having beans and franks.