Monday, April 8, 2013

Waltons 6.12: “The Milestone”

Airdate: 12/8/77

Olivia is going through some erratic personality changes, and her inability to explain them frustrates both he and her family. Finally unable to take it any more, she returns “home” to the place of he childhood, and visits her Aunt Kate. As she describes her lack of control and desire to “fly off the earth,” Kate
The Waltons tackles the "M-word"
diagnoses the problem: menopause (although the word is never mentioned), and Olivia returns home vowing to age gracefully and not let her own problems interfere with her responsibilities as the Waltons matriarch. Subplot: Jim-Bob, his heart set on an airplane-manufacturing job, considers forging his mom’s signature to get it, until what he perceives to be an act of God stymies the scheme.

We haven’t had an Olivia’s Personal Crisis episode in a while, and this one fits the bill quite nicely. Interesting how the topic of menopause was tiptoed around in the 40s, and dealt with obliquely on a show in the 70s (although it surely was a sign of the times that it was dealt with at all – consider the classic All in the Family episode “Edith’s Problem”). Also compelling is the view of 1940s medicine and psychiatry (or lack of it), as Olivia’s problems also closely resemble clinical depression. All in all a somewhat frustrating episode – in its lack of real resolution to central dilemma we see how far we’ve come since the 40s… and 70s.

“The Milestone” likely refers to Olivia’s change, but here’s another one: the first time Olivia takes a drink! (When Aunt Kate spikes her tea with sherry.) There goes the neighborhood!

No reference at all of WWII in this episode.

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