Written by: Austin and Irma Kalish. Directed by: Charles Barton.
To set the scene for this episode, we open with ample ski resort footage.
Winter has finally arrived somewhere in the vicinity of New York, I guess.
Inside the ski lodge, Bill is sipping cocoa with his latest squeeze.
Michelle is quite a snow bunny. She honed her skills, she says, while spending time in Norway.
Before committing to a man, she adds, she has to “see how he slaloms.” That sounds like a euphemism to me.
Bill’s a less experienced skier, but he’s game.
They head back out onto the slopes like this.
Unfortunately, they return like this.
Michelle blames herself for Bill’s accident. “It was the worst moment of my life when I saw you heading for that tree,” she says.
“It wasn’t so good for me either,” Bill replies.
It’s nice to see he can handle a broken leg without losing his trademark laconic wit.
Back at home, the Davis family gathers around Bill.
He invites the kids to sign his cast, a practice he explains is an old American custom.
Is it really just an American thing? And how does Bill know that? And why does he feel the need to explain it to Buffy and Jody, as if they are visitors to these shores? Anyway, I think it’s cute that French signs, too.
The kids are a bit surprised to see that someone else got to sign first.
I wonder if that is really Brian Keith’s foot. Considering Keith’s abbreviated shooting schedule, it is probably a stand-in foot.
The kids are eager to nurse Bill back to health and pledge that they will drop all their other activities to do so.
Jody makes a valiant attempt to include school in the activities they sacrifice, but Bill doesn’t go for that. The kids promise, though, that they will spend every free minute at home.
French is delighted by this turn of events.
Later, Michelle stops by to check on Bill.
Her flower arrangement is garish, but I love her whole ensemble: the coat, the gloves, the purse, and the dress underneath.
Wait…why is she carrying that suitcase?
We learn why when she announces that she’s moving in to care for Bill.
Well, that’s a bit pushy, isn’t it?
The kids don’t react well to her idea.
Neither does Bill, for that matter.
It takes quite a bit of convincing on his part to dissuade Michelle from her plan. She’s unfazed as he enumerates the logistical problems, but she reluctantly accepts the idea that her taking over Bill’s care might hurt the kids’ feelings.
In the following days, the kids devote themselves to Bill.
Jody reads him a “Dick and Jane”-level story about a boy and his duck.
This is a bit of a struggle for Jody, even though he’s in third grade.
It’s also a struggle for Bill to listen to without dozing off.
When French stops by to check on him, Bill insists he stay and listen to the story, too.
French couldn’t be happier. He supplies the answer to “What did the duck say?” with a delightfully deadpan, “Quack, quack.”
Meanwhile, Buffy wakes Bill every 15 minutes to give him his “pills”–actually candy.
When Bill says he’s getting a stomachache from all the candy, Buffy cheerfully announces that she will give him candy stomachache pills.
We don’t find out where Buffy got this adorable nurse outfit. Halloween costume? I would have loved to have one like it.
Cissy gets her own chance for some role-play, as she assumes secretarial duties.
To her, Bill dictates an important letter to a prospective client.
If you are wondering why Bill didn’t just dictate the letter to Miss Lee over the phone…well, Bill will soon be wondering that himself.
Meanwhile, Buffy gives Bill a manicure, which involves stabbing him in the knuckles with her scissors.
Frighteningly, she promises to help him shave later.
Bill also gets to hear Jody read another literary masterpiece, “There’s a Mouse in My House.”
Later, French brings him a telegram from his prospective client.
The client has accepted Bill’s bid of $350,000.
In response to this seemingly good news, he bellows for Cissy.
He makes her get her notes and double-check his bid. It was actually $530,000, which she transposed in typing the letter.
At least Bill admits that he should have checked over the letter before he signed it. Ya think?
For fans of Brian Keith’s head rubs, this episode is epic.
The next day, the kids return from school to see that French has taken matters into his own hands.
He’s posted visiting hours of 6-8 p.m.
Pulling the kids aside for a private chat, he convinces them that leaving Bill alone is what’s best for him.
When Bill hears about French’s plan, however, he seems disappointed that the kids gave up caring for him without a fight.
A surprisingly needy Bill decides to move Michelle in for full-time care after all.
Meeting his need for round-the-clock attention soon wears on Michelle, however.
She doesn’t want to read him engineering journals, and she can’t fulfill his request for more pillows because she’s just done her nails.
She can, however, dial the phone to make dinner plans with a certain Carl.
Later, Michelle returns from shopping to find that the doctor has moved Bill into the living room.
There, they have a talk about how relationships sometimes falter when people spend more time together.
“It’s easy to live with the things you like about somebody, but I guess it’s getting to live with those things you don’t like that makes for those happy marriages,” Bill observes.
Both Bill and Michelle are happy to have dodged a bullet. She says she wouldn’t have wanted to spend her whole life catering to him, and he says he would expect more from a wife than doing her nails and shopping all the time.
Michelle also says that being around the kids convinced her that she isn’t ready for parenthood. I wish we could have seen their encounters!
Soon, Bill is on the mend and wearing a “walking cast.”
He tells French to let the kids start caring for him again.
“A man can always use a little tender loving care,” he says.
An episode that involves the whole Davis family is always welcome. This one has a lot of amusing non-verbal reactions from Bill and French. I also like that Michelle isn’t portrayed as a villain. She and Bill simply have different temperaments, and they are both okay with that.
Michelle Reid: Nancy Kovack.
Kovack’s mini-bio on IMDb.com is interesting: “A native of Flint, Michigan, Nancy Kovack was a student at the University of Michigan at 15, a radio deejay at 16, a college graduate at 19 and the holder of eight beauty titles by 20.” She made five appearances on Bewitched, including three as Darrin’s first fiancee, Sheila Sommers. A 1969 guest appearance on Mannix earned her an Emmy nomination. That same year, she married conductor Zubin Mehta, and they are still together today. I guess they have one of those happy marriages Bill was talking about.