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1985

Grandmothers

Jodie arrives at her apartment after work. "Oh, am I ever glad to be home! I'm soaked and it's not even raining - I've got leaves in my hair. Oh! What a night!"

But she laughs at the memory and decides to tell us all about it. "It all started," she tells us, picking up a little decorative bell on the table next to her and ringing it, "with a bell!"

(Flashback)


Jeff walks into the children's department, quite puzzled at the sound of a persistent ringing. "I hear bells, I hear bells, ringing loud and clear," he sings, "I hear bells, I hear bells, ringing in my ears, ding dong ding dong bells." Jodie comes in and joins the song.

Sam comes in just as they finish to tell them he's not feeling well, and he's going to lie down. He has ringing in his ears.

"Sam," says Jeff, "We all have that ringing in our ears."

"You too? Must be one of those flu bugs, of course."

Jodie explains that no, the ringing is coming from a bell ringing somewhere in the store. It's coming from the direction of Muffy's house, so they decide to ask her about it. They find her hanging onto a bell rope, being swung back and forth. It seems she started to ring the bell, but "now the bell, you see, is ringing me!"

They rescue her and she explains that she rang the bell to attract everyone to her place so she could tell them the wonderful news that her "granny" is coming to visit. "She's my Granny Sweet, my mum's mother, and she's one of a kind, there is no other."

Sam asks how old she is.

"She's 88! Isn't that great!" says Muffy.

"Eighty-eight!" Jeff says, a strange look on his face. "Wow!"

They decide to have a party on the roof to welcome Muffy's grandmother. Sam says he'll make some of his "famous sardine, finger and jelly bean sandwiches (sic)."

Oh, goody.

So off they go to prepare for her arrival, but Jeff stays behind.

"Gee. Must be very special to have a grandparent come and visit. Muffy says Granny Sweet is 88 years old. Wow. I've never met anyone that old before. I know this sounds sort of silly, but, I think I'm a little afraid. I don't really know what older people are like."


(End flashback)


We're back at Jodie's apartment. Since we saw her last, she's had a hot bath and brushed the leaves out of her hair and is feeling much better. She reminisces about her own grandmother, and how excited she was to see her whenever she visited. She looks at a picture of her grandmother and begins to sing,

"Grandmothers know how grandchildren grow
On hugs and a nursery rhyme
On love and laughter and time
Time to listen, time to play
Time to watch the clouds drift away . . . "

As she sings, we see pictures of a little girl enjoying the company of her beloved grandmother.

"I can remember so many lovely days with my grandmother," Jodie tells us. "I guess that's why I was so happy for Muffy, because her grandmother was coming. We all wanted to do something special to welcome Granny Sweet."

(Flashback)


Sam shows Jodie the colorful welcome sign he has made for Muffy's grandmother. She hangs it up right outside Muffy's place, but it says, "Welcome Granny Sweat," instead of "Granny Sweet." Jodie assures Sam that Muffy's granny will appreciate the thought behind the sign, even if he did get the spelling wrong.

Jodie finally notices Jeff seems unusually quiet. So he tells her he's nervous about meeting a really old person for the first time. He wonders if they look very different.

"Well," Jodie says, "Older mice - older people, yeah, I guess they do look different I suppose. I mean, their skin can be wrinkled and their hair can be gray or white, or . . ."

Sam interrupts. "Wrinkled skin and gray hair," he says, taking off his hat, "What's left of it. Am I old? I don't remember getting old. When did I get old, Jodie?"

Jodie looks sympathetic. "Well, Sam, it doesn't happen overnight. We get a little older every day. Besides, it doesn't change the kind of people we are . . . people are people no matter how many wrinkles we have or what color our hair is."

"Yeah, or how much hair we have left!" says Sam.

Jeff's face relaxes, "Hey, I get it! Old people are just young people only older. Does that make sense?"

Jodie assures him that it does.

An anxious Muffy appears on her balcony looking for her grandmother. She's dismayed by the misspelled sign, but Sam thinks her frail granny probably has dim vision. "Does she use a wheelchair, Muffy?" he asks.

"Granny's got wheels all right, that's true, though not the ones you'd expect her to."

Just then she pulls up - on a motorcycle! She offers to take Muffy around the store so she can see the sights.

The rest are stunned by this vital, bike-riding grandma! Sam is particularly tickled that she calls him "Sonny."

(End flashback)


"This," Jodie says, showing us a picture, "is Muffy's Granny Sweet. Not exactly the kind of grandmother we were all expecting. And roaring in on a motorcycle wasn't the only unusual thing about Granny Sweet. Turned out she was full of surprises!"

(Flashback)


The party for Granny is in full swing on the roof. Sam has "fixed" the sign by crossing out the "a" in Sweat and putting an "e" above it with a little arrow. Meantime Jeff has a chance to talk to Granny. He's noticed that she doesn't speak in rhyme like Muffy's other relatives. She admits that there are some things she can't do anymore, now that she's older. She just can't make the words rhyme anymore.

"Does that make you sad?" Jeff asks.

"A little," Granny admits, but then says she's happy that she can still do a lot of things - "I can still cook up a storm!" She offers everyone a chance to try her tasty treats.

Sam wonders why no one has had any of his sardine and jelly bean finger sandwiches. Granny offers to try it if he'll try her tuna surprise.

Jodie loves tuna fish and is eager to try it herself. But Muffy abruptly excuses herself when Jodie offers her some.

"There's something I - uh, have to do," Muffy says, in an obvious panic, "I have to go and stir my stew, yeah!" And off she darts.

"What stew?" Jodie asks.

"Stir your stew?" mutters Sam.

So they all dig in. Instantly they're gasping and reaching for water.

"What's in this?" pants Jodie.

"Hot chili peppers!" cries Granny.

"But I thought this was tuna surprise," Jeff says in a strangled voice. "Where's the tuna?"

"That's the surprise! There's no tuna!"

Now we know why Muffy beat a hasty retreat.

Granny Sweet doesn't notice their distress and gleefully offers seconds.

(End flashback)


In retrospect, Jodie feels she would have been better off with Sam's sardine and jelly bean sandwiches.

But Granny Sweet has one more surprise in store. "And it was a dilly!" Jodie says.

(Flashback)


Sam is napping in the computer room when Granny sneaks in. She's been practicing "Yo He Ho" on the bagpipes in order to surprise "Sonny." She begins with a droning blast which sends the sleeping Sam into a panic.

"Man overboard! Abandon ship!" he cries, "Everybody for himself!"

Granny, not noticing how startled he is, says, "I have a wonderful surprise for you!"

"Oh, Granny," Sam says, clutching his chest, "I don't know if I can take too many more of your surprises."

As Granny plays again, TXL says, "I think I'll shut down for awhile."

"I wish I could do that too, TXL," says Sam.

Granny asks what he said.

"I said: 'Isn't that a wonderful tune, TXL?'"

"Want me to play it again, Sam?" Granny says.

Reluctantly, Sam says, "We -e -e -ll ye-es, I do, sure, but just excuse me for one second here." He pushes a button and opens up his closet. Out comes a mannequin head on which he keeps fake hair, glasses, and some earmuffs. He puts the earmuffs on. "It's a little chilly in here, you know," he excuses himself as Granny blasts out "Yo He Ho."

(End flashback)


Jodie tells us that Granny Sweet is the only mouse she knows that plays the bagpipes.

She then tells us that next to Muffy, she thinks Granny is closest to Jeff. They have spent a lot of time together during Granny's visit, just talking. "There's a very special feeling between them."

(Flashback)


Granny is sitting on the roof and Jeff comes up and brings her a shawl in case she is chilly.

"Thanks, Jeff, that's very sweet of you. No wonder my Muffy loves you so." Jeff smiles bashfully at the compliment.

He asks her what she's thinking about, and she says she's thinking about how much has changed through the years. Horses and buggies have given way to cars, and things aren't as quiet as they once were.

Jeff asks if she misses those things. "The horses and buggies. The quiet."

"I don't miss things Jeff . . . what I miss is family." She tells him about the wonderful Sundays when she was a little mouse when her family would go to her grandmother's house for Sunday dinner. All the relatives would gather there and the kids would get together and act out a story for the grown-ups after dinner. "I loved those Sundays. I loved watching those stories. But those days are gone - long gone."

(End flashback)


Jodie is now sitting up in bed. After this chat between Jeff and Granny, she tells us, they all got to thinking, and "despite the bagpipes and the tuna surprise (which I can still taste), we were all kind of fond of Granny Sweet. So we wanted to do something really special for her."

They decided to act out "Little Red Riding Hood" for her, just like the plays the kids had put on when she was a little mouse. But it wasn't as easy as they thought it would be.

(Flashback)


Granny is tickled by the whole idea and thrilled to be the narrator. She announces that we are about to see the story of "Little Red Riding Hood." But then Muffy comes along and whispers in her ear. "Make that Little Blue Riding Hood," says Granny. Along comes Jodie in a blue cape and hood, skipping across the stage. "The sun was shining," says Granny, and cardboard sun comes down from the top of the stage. "The birds were singing," she says, and Muffy, dressed like a bird, comes along, clucking like a chicken. "And the leaves were falling from the trees." Granny continues.

Jodie puts out her hand expectantly, but nothing happens.

Granny says again: "And the LEAVES were falling from the TREES!"

Muffy taps Sam and says, "Cue the leaves if you please!"

So Sam dumps a whole box of leaves on Jodie's head.

Jodie takes a moment to brush some of the leaves away, but the show must go on, and Granny continues her narration. "Little Blue loved the leaves!" Jodie forces a smile. "And she skipped merrily on her way. Now in the same forest was a friendly tree surgeon who was trimming a broken limb."

Jeff skips onto the stage in a surgeon's green scrubs, wearing a stethoscope. He puts the stethoscope onto a severed twig, then he pulls out a little saw, and pretends to saw the twig. Chain saw sounds begin. Sam's in charge of sound effects and it seems he's having a bit of trouble. He makes a quick change.

"GREETINGS, EARTHLINGS!" cries an "alien" voice, seriously startling Jeff. In the end, Jeff makes his own sawing sound.

Now the tree surgeon and Little Blue Riding Hood meet, and Little Blue Riding Hood shows the contents of her basket to him. She speaks in a little girl's voice.

"Know what? In my basket I have grapes and cheese and a - sardine and jelly bean sandwich." Jodie breaks character to say, "Well, I guess we know who packed this lunch, don't we?" in her own voice.

"And so," says Granny, "Little Blue Riding Hood continued on her way. But as she walked up the path to grandmother's house, she knew something was wrong . . ." while Little Blue skips, Jeff scrambles around on the stage, first shoving a little house onto the stage, then taking it away as Jodie waves him off. Granny continues, "she could tell by the weird music that was playing."

At that, Sam rips the needle off the record.

"And inside," Granny says, "something was very wrong." A new backdrop falls and Jeff, half out of his surgeon's gown, shoves Sam, in a bed, with a wolf mask on his face, onto the stage. Then he forgets to leave, and Jodie has to shoo him off the stage before going on with her lines.

"Grandmother doesn't look at all like herself today," says Little Blue. "Grandmother! What big eyes you have."

"That's all the better to see you with my dear," Sam says, chuckling menacingly.

"But grandmother, what a big mustache you have!" says Little Blue, then adds, "Mustache?"

"Oh! My mustache - yeah, that's all the better to keep my upper lip warm, dear." (Heh heh heh).

"Grandmother - what big fingers you have!" continues Little Blue.

"Yeah, those are all the better - to tickle you with my dear!" says the Wolf.

Jodie gasps melodramatically. "Oh! You're not grandmother at all! You're the wolf!"

The wolf proceeds to tickle Little Blue Riding Hood mercilessly.

"Fortunately, the tree surgeon was playing golf nearby when he heard Little Blue's shrieks of laughter." Jeff is now dressed in knickers and pretending to play golf. "So the tree surgeon dropped his 5 iron (Jeff drops it), ran to grandmother's house (Jeff runs onstage), and burst through the door!" Jeff rushes off stage to try and burst through the door, but the door is only painted onto the backdrop, so he can't get through.

"Here comes the doctor," says the wolf/Sam, "Gootchie gootchie!" he says, tickling Jodie. "Come in!"

Finally, Jeff comes around the backdrop and on the stage. "Hi!" he says, "I'm here to rescue Little Blue Riding Hood!" So he and the wolf engage in a battle with water pistols, getting Little Blue Riding Hood quite wet in the process.

"Hey wait! Wait! Wait! Hold it! Goodness," says the wolf, "What are we doing all this crazy fighting for?"

"I don't know," replies the tree surgeon. He points at Muffy and says, "Maybe it's because she keeps playing that frantic chase music." We see her paws flying as she plays the frenetic accompaniment.

"Yeah!" say Little Blue and the wolf.

"Hey! Maybe it's her we should be after!" the tree surgeon says. Everyone agrees. So they all get off the stage and attack Muffy by squirting her with water pistols and dropping leaves that were caught in Jodie's hood onto her.

"And that's the story of Little Blue Riding Hood - wasn't that fun!" says Granny. "Thank you all so very much. You've all been so kind."

(End flashback)


"And that's how I got soaked and got the leaves in my hair," Jodie tells us. "But it was worth it. Granny Sweet was so happy. It's always nice when you can make people feel good." She yawns. "You know what would make me feel really good right now would be to get some sleep. This has been so exhausting." But just as she curls up in bed, the doorbell rings. She sits up again. "Now who could that be?" she wonders. The familiar drone of a bagpipe begins.

"Oh no! No! Not again!" cries Jodie, throwing the pillow over her face as Granny's bagpipes play the ending theme.

Quizzes:

  • Whose grandmother is this? (Jodie's), whose grandmother is this? (Sam's) Something is wrong with this picture of Sam's grandmother, can you see what it is? (One side of her glasses is round and the other is square).
  • Which motorcycle looks like the one Granny Sweet was riding?

Nursery Rhyme:

  • None

Notes:

  • As alluded to in the summary, there seems to be a minor blooper in this episode. Sam undoubtedly meant to say "sardine and jelly bean finger sandwiches," but instead said, "sardine, finger and jelly bean sandwiches."
  • Jodie is perky as a cheerleader in many parts of this episode, though she was warm and cozy in the scenes at her apartment.
  • Interestingly, the traditional wood chopper of "Little Red Riding Hood" was replaced in this episode by a more politically correct tree surgeon. Interestingly, the tree surgeon was "doctoring" a severed twig, which makes no real sense, but it was a great sight gag to have him listening to the twig with a stethoscope.
  • The "small house" pushed onto the stage first appeared in the episode "Moving".
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