Season 1, Episode 9
Date of airing: November 13, 1989 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 18.5 million viewers, 12.9/20 in Households
I knew it would happen eventually, and it surprisingly happened in this episode: I fell in love wth Marisa Ryan. I have no idea if she found this episode to be super funny while it was shot or if she thought that her character should always laugh about the weird stuff happening around her, because Elizabeth was definitely laughing a whole lot throughout this episode. She was highly amused when she realized that Mac had to deal with Robin’s surfboard/turtle problem, and she was even more amused when Mac was talking about it to Merilee (“Do they still do that? Snap. Snap.”). And it didn’t stop here, because as soon as Mac was focused on helping Elizabeth to study for her midterms, she was laughing again. So, the question of the day is, was Marisa Ryan just extremely hyper about this episode and found everything to be funny (especially since the premise of the episode was about a man dealing with woman issues, kind of turning MAJOR DAD into a feminist show for 30 minutes), or did she turn into a great actress here and decided that her character was the one finding everything silly? Whatever the answer is, the fact that Elizabeth is this easily amused showcases that her character will never become a problem story-wise. Okay, things can change when MAJOR DAD is past the first season, but it helps to accept the show and the premise, when characters like Elizabeth continuously show that they have accepted Mac in their lives.
This episode was most likely the funniest of the show yet. The premise is simple — the man of the house turns into the mother of the house — but what the writers brought out of it was freaking hilarious. Not only was Elizabeth’s constant amusement amusing to me (hence me falling in love with her), but the surfboard/turtle story showed me what girls have to go through in school and how their problems can still be mean and dark and terrifying for them, even if they don’t even come close to the experience Stephen King’s Carrie went through in the shower. But let’s not think about the notion that Robin’s entire class was waiting for her to get into a bra, always looking if she had one or not (let alone feeling it and finding out if she is a surfboard ora turtle), because it’s hella creepy, and just focus on the fact that Mac really tried to be the best stepfather he could be, and realizing that he is too much man with facial hair to deal with the problem. It’s almost like Mac has learned a lesson in this episode: He can deal with the problems the girls give him, but sometimes he just has to bow out, because things are way too heavy even for him.And voila, here is another premise that turned the hardened Major in the army into something of a wuss, and all it needed was a bunch of women in the house.
Casey’s problems were cute. Her search for her stuffed animal might have just been a plot device to get her and Mac towards nighttime, but when Casey was petting Mac’s scalp, even I thought it was cute. Casey has always seen Mac as something of a father, and this only proved it further that the little girl could see something more in her mother’s new husband than just a man in the house. Here is to hoping that Casey will be used for more than just making Mac’s life a little more awkward, because showcasing his dad skills through the little one is actually a great idea. Elizabeth and Robin are kind of out of the age of needing a father figure in the house, but Casey is still impressionable.
And finally, let’s mention that Polly went to jail over first amendment stuff, which means the writers have not forgotten what her job was. It’s the second episode in a row during which Polly was involved in a story for reporters at newspapers, although the fact that she got jailed for refusing to disclose who her source for a specific article was means she must be a high-profile reporter with some big stories in her past. Only reporters who think of themselves as part of the first amendment decide to follow it to the tee and not let the law in the courthouse push down on them.