Written by: Joseph Hoffman. Directed by: Charles Barton.
When we look in on the Davis family this week, Buffy is telling Mrs. Beasley the story of Little Red Riding-Hood.
After the story, the twins argue over Mrs. Beasley’s next move. Jody, apparently still under the influence of last week’s adventure, wants to tell the doll a story about cowboys and Indians. Buffy says Mrs. Beasley is tired and needs to go to bed.
(I always thought Mrs.. Beasley was supposed to represent an older lady, but Buffy treats her like a baby in this scene. Maybe the doll is senile.)
The argument turns into a tug-of-war with a startling conclusion.
Jody runs off to the kitchen to fetch French, who is relieved that the crisis is only a doll injury.
(In this scene, Jody sneezes and French says “Bless you.” It looks unscripted, but I’m not sure.)
Buffy asks French if he can fix the doll, and he admits that he doesn’t know how. Looking at the Mrs. Beasley I own, I’m pretty sure a needle and thread would suffice for this repair. Buffy’s doll has a weird wire sticking out of the arm hole, though. They probably placed it there to make a simple repair look impossible.
French suggests that the kids eat their lunch, but they object.
French decides that the situation warrants a call to Uncle Bill, although he’s in an important meeting.
It’s not that serious, Bill reassures them after hanging up: The kids just pulled Mrs. Beasley’s arm off.
Informing them that Mrs. Beasley is a doll, Bill cancels his lunch plans with the gentlemen so he can hurry home to Buffy.
The businessmen still look baffled.
In one of the twins’ “stupid moments,” Buffy takes the doll’s temperature and tells Bill that the thermometer reads, “She’s sick.” I’m pretty sure second graders know that thermometers give numerical readings.
Luckily, Cissy arrives home and injects some sense into the proceedings. She informs the men that doll hospitals exist to repair broken dolls.
Bill tells a reluctant French to accompany the kids to the doll hospital. It seems strange that, after all the assaults on his dignity since the kids arrived, going to a doll hospital puts French over the edge. Bill urges him to man up, and French finally agrees: “I will swallow my pride and walk through the dolls’ hospital emergency entrance as if it were perfectly natural for an adult Englishman.”
The “doctor” at the facility assures them that it will be a simple operation, taking about 20 minutes.
French calls Bill to inform him that the doll has entered surgery.
(Doll hospitals aren’t an American innovation, though. This one in Portugal, for example, dates back to 1830.)
Back at the hospital, the minutes drag on as the family waits for word about Mrs. Beasley. At one point, the “nurse” emerges from the operating room and says there has been a slight complication with the “cotter pin.” French tells Jody that the cotter pin must be something like a bone graft. When Jody asks if French has a cotter pin, French replies with a droll, “I think not.”
This guy turns out to be a real ass, though. When he learns that the Davis family is waiting through a surgical procedure, he launches into a series of jokes: Are you a relative of the patient? Did you fly in a surgeon from Vienna? What’s your medical plan?
He tells the man that the whole family is concerned, and it’s not the time or place for levity, before dismissing him with a hearty, “Good day, sir!”
Finally, Mrs. Beasley emerges after a successful surgery. Back at home, the kids play hospital with her. This being the ’60s, Jody is the doctor and Buffy is the nurse, of course.
In fact, the kids use Mrs. Beasley’s “cuperation” to scam for treats throughout the evening. They get Cissy to bring them strawberry pop and French to provide ice cream. They even try to convince him that Mrs. Beasley needs chocolate chip cookies and brownies for her dinner.
Bill tells them that modern doctors like to see patients back on their feet soon after surgery. The kids still insist that Mrs. Beasley still needs special treatment.
Now, Bill and French could handle this situation by letting Buffy play this game until they tire of it–not even a whole day has passed since the accident, after all! They could also refuse to provide any more treats. But Bill decides the situation calls for a technique his father invented–the “lollipop method.” It seems that when Bill’s father took his younger brother’s ratty security blanket away, he gave him a football to sleep with instead. The idea, Bill says, is that you never take something away from a kid without giving them something in return, even if it’s just a lollipop.
Bill announces to the twins that he would like to take them to an amusement park the next day. He can’t, though, since Mrs. Beasley is so sick.
Taking a beloved doll to amusement park? I think the Davises might become regular doll hospital customers.
I always love a Mrs. Beasley episode, and this one is enjoyable through the doll hospital scene. The rest of it is rather anticlimactic and silly. French’s lines, as usual, mark the episode’s high points. I always wonder if someone on the production staff specialized in creating those because they’re consistently delicious, no matter who’s writing the episode.
Buffy seems less horrified than one would expect immediately after the accident. I suppose we could fall back on the explanation that she shuts down emotionally at times of crisis.
Foster: Ivan Bonar. East Indian: Naji Gabbay. Mr. Green: Tim Graham. Mrs. Green: Natalie Masters. East Indian: Aly Wassil.
Gabbay and Wassil are Family Affair veterans. Bonar had a long stint on General Hospital in the 1960s and ’70s, playing a character called Chase Murdock. Masters popped up on Dragnet and Adam-12 occasionally, while Green made the rounds of TV westerns.