Curious, hell, I was absolutely crazed...
It was Tuesday night, March 31, and I was a woman on a mission. Why of all days, had my boss chosen this day to drop a "must do today" project on my desk, fifteen minutes before I was due to go home…….quite a commentary on the life of the career woman of the eighties. After finishing the not quite best work of my life, I bolted, realizing that the time was drawing near. So there, I was, hurtling down Interstate 95, heading for home, trying to cut a twenty five minute drive down to a mere fifteen. I envisioned a chase - police cars trailing me through the city, with me steadfastly refusing to stop. Sorry officer, not tonight! This was the night that Maddie and David were reportedly going to (GASP!) do it!
I was home! I dashed up the stairs just in time to hear the click of the VCR, and the Moonlighting theme following closely behind it. I had missed the appetizer - but not the main course! I spent the next fifty five minutes mesmerized, hoping against hope that Maddie and David were going to figure out how stupid and pig headed they were being.
The climax came quickly, almost too quickly, and as the credits rolled, all I could say was WOW! I was ecstatic - Glenn Caron was a genius, and Cybill and Bruce were the two best actors ever. I must have rewound the tape and watched the last act at least ten more times - pronouncing it perfect each and every time.
I drove to work the next day tingling with anticipation - this would be the water cooler conversation of the decade. And it was……..but not at all for the reasons I expected. Many of my coworkers were appalled at what they perceived to be violent, and were disappointed by the lack of romance. The rest of us were energized by the sheer sexual appeal, and the belief that no other coupling of these two would have been as believable as the one aired. Lines were drawn, and the lively debate went on for weeks - spurred on in part by the huge media reaction.
My opinion has changed little since I first viewed "I Am Curious, Maddie" ( and is that not a perfect, so "reminiscent of what went on in the eighties" name for this ep?) I loved the episode then, I love it now, and in analyzing it, I am even more convinced that Maddie and David's lovemaking and especially the verbal and physical foreplay was written and performed just exactly the way it needed to be.
I have read the original script, as well as countless articles on the topic, and assuredly, I have been influenced by some of these. But I'd like to outline some of my reasons.
Physicality was always a big part of Maddie and David's relationship.
David, from the first moment he meets Maddie, is a "toucher" - his arm around her waist or shoulders, grabbing her hand, moving very deliberately into her personal space. It goes without saying that this would have been considered fairly inappropriate behavior in a business setting in the mid eighties, when women's rights, equality, and sexual harassment were all hot topics. Yet, we never see Maddie complain about David's "hands-on" approach. In fact, particularly in seasons one and two, Maddie constantly reaches out for David physically - embraces after frightening circumstances, hugs of celebration. And although David's approach doesn't change, Maddie seems to pull back from this physicality in the beginning of the third season, possibly becoming more self conscious when she realizes there may be more to this relationship.
Maddie has a history of physically striking out at David.
There are many examples of Maddie's anger/frustration manifesting itself in attacks on David's person. He has been slapped, shoved, stomped on, punched, and strangled - just to name a few. The writers have built this device in as an outlet for Maddie's frustration - and in my opinion, most notably, her sexual frustration. And transversely, again not appropriate actions for a BOSS to be taking upon her associate…but again, no major protests from David.
Maddie has a history of needing to be forced to make personal decisions.
Maddie makes business decisions quickly, in fact sometimes too quickly. It appears that there are many things in her life that are black and white, and that she has clear ideas about what is right and wrong for her. Often her method of dealing with a difficult or uncomfortable situation is avoidance. But in many situations, she has been forced to open her eyes and change her beliefs and opinions. David is usually the catalyst in these situations, and his method is to push her to see things in a different way, and then let her make her own decision. To Maddie making her own decision is critical, but as we have seen, she often needs David to get to that point.
For what it's worth (two cents, four cents), this is my take on the final scene of I Am Curious Maddie.
Let's really analyze the scene...first, David takes off some of his clothes, and deposits himself in Maddie's bed, awaiting her arrival home. Presumptive - you might think so. But given David's personality and his optimism, perfectly understandable. To David it is always so clear - to David the roadblock was Sam, and as he says to Maddie "We're here...and Sam's gone." To him it's that simple - he's admitted to himself that he is in love with Maddie, and gotten confirmation of those feelings (Maddie's Turn to Cry - "I hate you, David Addison." "I hate you too, Maddie Hayes. I've always hated you.") So he lies in bed, waiting for Maddie, waiting for the "happy ending."
But he underestimates the complexities of Maddie - or overestimates the effect that his supposed admission will have on her - except that there is actually no admission from him at all in Maddie's eyes. The only admission comes from Maddie, but to the man she thinks is in the bed - Sam.
When Maddie gets into bed, and realizes that David is in there with her, she is completely floored - she's been tricked into making an admission, one that she had no intentions of David hearing. Additionally, the realization that Sam is gone shocks her - she never imagined that it would not be fully her decision…….taken out of her control. So what does she do? Again, as so many times before, she retreats. She's not going to deal with this at all. She summons up her "Ice Goddess" persona, and for all intents and purposes, dismisses David, and his expectations.
But David will not be dismissed; this has gone on long enough for him. He makes it clear that he is not playing games. He is not going to gift wrap his heart and drop it at Maddie's feet - from his viewpoint, she should know that she's had it for a long, long time. So he starts to do what he knows he has to do to get a reaction from Maddie - he starts to push. He invades her personal space, backing her into a corner, both literally and figuratively.
Actually, the next part of the dialogue is the only part of this whole episode that bothers me, and that is the statement that David makes about not forcing himself on her. It doesn't ring true to me...if David were the kind of man who would have forced himself on her, why would he have waited this long...he has always given Maddie time and space. I still think at this point, he is pushing for her to make her own decision, so this line grates on me.
But it's a device...I realize he needs to get angry enough to walk away...blood boiling angry enough, embarrassed and clinging to his pride angry enough to toss out the next line - "Truth is you're not worth it...not worth it, not worth it, no woman is worth this". The line that sets up one of the most perfect exchanges between man and woman...and at least the best exchange between Maddie and David. The final argument is a picture perfect synopsis of their entire history, each one reaches back and takes their best shots - hurtful and revealing the absolute core of what each really thinks about each other. David yanks on clothes as he tosses off insults, and Maddie gives back as good as she gets. They hit on all the issues - her coldness, his crudeness, her snobbery, his laziness, her lack of humor, his lack of responsibility - all are fair game. The fire, the smoldering anger builds and builds until they are nose-to-nose - ready to take each other on.
For one brief moment, the viewer feels that all is lost, and then the history making interchange -- "Bitch" - "Bastard" --- "Get out!...and the slap that has us gasping!
And again, she slaps him...and almost again. David stops her, and the inevitable happens. All the intensity of their fight, and the frustration of their three years of foreplay is poured into the wonderful kiss...which goes on and on. They continue to break down the barriers...and the furniture, and the fireplace equipment...And I finally released the breath I'd been holding for the last ten minutes.
But in the midst of the fire and the passion, there is sweetness...they break apart, to reveal David's expression - utterly astonished, perhaps a little apprehensive that this is finally happening so quickly. And the scene switches to the bedroom, and although the intensity is still there, it has been supplemented by tenderness. Maddie smiles, the music plays, and everything is as it should be.
Speaking of the music…is there anyone who has ever seen this episode who doesn't conjure up the freeze frame of the two of them each time you hear "Be My Baby"?
So I say the same thing today that I said to my water cooler pals 15 years ago…..could it have been different? Sure. But would it have been better? Absolutely not - because it wouldn't have been Moonlighting. I recall the thrill of watching it for the first time…a thrill that is recreated each time I pop in my videotape. And I am thankful for Glenn, Bruce, and Cybill, whose talents created this most lovely memory for me.
~~Site Co-Editor Diane H. of Philadelphia, PA
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