A 10 on it. I love it. Another Christmas time episode,and the guardian angel,watching over Maddie. The last sence in the bar,when Maddie,watches the other Maddie,makes me cry . It's really heartbreak. When I watch this part,my heart stops. And the flashbacks are great. I don't have more to say. See for yourself.
I give this one a 10 as well because Cybill was just wonderful in this ep. I also love the conversation between David and Richie, then Maddie's life flashing before her eyes, and the kiss at the end. Great great episode.
A popular song about the holiday season goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
Except for some people, it’s not.
This episode is an intriguing look at both sides of our Ms. Hayes, the public and the individual. It’s easy to judge her on one level, the one we see at work: the hard-nosed leader, always cracking down on craziness, tomfoolery, and general not-doing-right. But like anyone else, there’s more to her than at first glance, and when you know what’s really going on behind the scenes, it’s not so easy to make a snap decision. Maddie does not wear her emotions on her sleeve, so people assume she doesn’t have any. Not so at all.
Open on a scene of Maddie having fallen asleep in the middle of trying to finish a ton of work projects. Here briefcase is open and there are papers all over the bed. She gets up and heads downstairs.
Her mother calls. She ought to visit her Aunt Ruth in the hospital, because Maddie is the only family member who lives in the same state. Maddie says she hasn’t had time because of work. Her mother is less than patient with this excuse, and there’s one more thing to add to the general bad omens for the day.
On her way to the office, Maddie is the only person not happy to sing along with the caroling in the elevator. Everyone else warbles through “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” Not Hayes. She clams up and looks like she can’t wait for this to be over.
Soon it is. She gets out and heads down the hall to Blue Moon. There, everyone has expressions of utter gloom on their faces, and are busy helping remove the festive decorations from the room.
They’re even wearing black armbands.
Because they have been ordered to work through Christmas.
“We’re un-decking the halls!” Agnes says angrily, as she throws tinsel and other displays into a box. The phone rings. Dipesto answers and her greeting rhyme, normally cheerful but not so much this time, ends with the suggestion, “Talk to the…Grinch.” Who is the boss lady standing behind her.
Maddie, already feeling down and heading lower, goes to her office. Where she is soon joined by Mr. Addison, who wants to know what’s going on.
People want to go home and spend time with their families. Why can’t they catch up on work after the holidays are over?
Because, Maddie reasons, they’re already so far behind they may lose at least one important account, and it’s not good cheer that keeps the lights turned on and the paychecks coming through.
David insists there must be some way to ease off the gas and let everybody go home. Maddie says if they don’t get a move on, they’re sunk.
David is angry at what he sees as a lack of compassion. “People don’t work because they want to. They work so there are a couple of extra presents under the tree.”
Hayes says they’ve already delayed finishing the work for this client, and if they do so any further, he may bail out. Then they’ll all be able to take time off—in the unemployment line.
“Just remember, Maddie,” Dave warns, “a good job doesn’t love you back!” He leaves.
(The implication: a good person does?)
Maddie, downcast even more now that nobody sees her side of the story, gets a call from her father. Maddie never made it in to see Aunt Ruth.
Hayes apologizes, promising to head over right after work.
That won’t be possible, says her father: Aunt Ruth is dead.
Shaken, Maddie heads outside. She tells the employees she didn’t like the idea of making everybody work extra hours, but it was something she had to do, because they’re running behind on a lot of work and can’t pay their bills without finishing. If it takes time to do that, so be it.
Nobody else sees it that way. That’s putting it mildly.
MacGillicuddy steps forward to stare down the chief. “Miss North Wind comes through here and blows everybody to hell…”
His irate monologue ends with Maddie’s rejoinder, “You’re fired.”
To which Mac answers, “You can’t fire me. I quit.” He storms off, to the applause of the rest of the staff.
Maddie tears into the employees. She says she wishes she'd never kept the place open, and storms out the door.
She heads for a lounge, where she begins drinking her sorrows away. The bartender comes over and tries to cheer her up. Maddie, however, doesn’t want to feel better. She wants to feel worse.
“I don’t want friendly, and I don’t want chat,” Hayes admonishes, and tears through several belts of liquor. Someone from the other end of the bar walks up to say hello.
Maddie did not come here to meet someone, and tells him so. The man, Albert, returns the favor.
Scoffing, Maddie gets up to go. She heads for the elevator, and presses the button for the roof. Once out, Hayes walks for the railing and gazes out over the vista.
The man from the bar comes after her. She flinches. What does he think he’s up to?
“I’ve been doing this for thousands of years,” the man says.
Do what? Maddie’s eyes go wide. She backs away.
Maddie heads back toward the building and the elevator. The man says it’s no use, he can still follow her—and they are no longer in a normal state of being.
It should be noted that Maddie has a plethora of reasons to think this person is off his rocker: she’s an atheist and would never believe anyone could stay around for ‘thousands’ of years; she’s had a few drinks; and she’s down enough from the family and work situations, plus what really do appear to be lame pick-up lines if you don’t believe the rest of his story, that his next claim is the end of the line.
“I’m a guardian angel,” he says. Albert says he’s kept watch over Maddie her whole life, bailing her out in times of trouble, making sure her favorite song came on the radio when she switched it on, and so forth. Maddie’s thinking there may have been something else besides booze in what the bartender handed her. This is getting ridiculous.
Albert promises to show her proof. When she said she wanted out of the business from the very beginning, someone heard her.
The door opens and they walk out onto the floor of what should be the Blue Moon offices. Except the front wall now bears the logo of Hart Investigations instead.
They walk in, to get an eyeful of the new atmosphere. And is it ever different: all the employees scurry about like worker bees, there’s a new person answering the phones, and the new bosses are the infamous former rival agency from la-la land.
Even though Maddie is loathe to admit it, the sight of the replacement environment undoubtedly pains her. What happened to everybody who used to be on staff at Blue Moon?
Albert says they’re about to find out.
First stop is Rhymes for the Times, a greeting card company now run by former secretary Agnes Dipesto. Only the receptionist who was once the picture of sweetness and friendliness, is now a sharp-dressing, hard-hearted battle-axe. She lines up the workers to berate them for the smallest mistake, and she is apparently blackmailing the one-time object of her affections, account clerk Bert Viola, into a relationship free of joy or mutual approval.
Maddie watches their confrontation and shouts, “You two love each other, you just don’t know it yet! Come on, Agnes, tell him you love him!” But this is a ‘dream’ world, and Agnes does not hear.
It’s also not just Bert and Agnes she was talking about: the second-rankers have always been a mirror of another couple in the office, who will take a while yet to admit their true motives as well.
That’s only if Maddie can make it back to the real world in safety. A prospect entirely open to question, at this point.
Stop number three is Maddie’s house. David is there, and he’s having a party.
Bewildered, Maddie lets Albert walk her through the crowd. What’s the party for?
There is a wedding in the offing.
“Do I end up married to David?” Maddie wonders. “That’s awful, that’s terrible.”
Don’t speak so fast…
The man of the hour emerges, with his future bride—Cheryl Tiegs. They dance, to the joy of almost everyone in the crowd , and then David takes a break to talk on the back porch with his brother Richard.
All of a sudden, David looks much less happy than one ought to be before their wedding, and to such a person especially. Richard kids him about it. Why should he be down at this point? Does he have something else on his mind?
Someone. And it’s not the woman he’s about to marry. “Take Maddie Hayes, for instance. She just had something about her…she slapped me once. She was even a great slapper.”
Maddie herself, observing from just a few feet away, is stunned. She skips over the great affection and longing in that statement, to focus on the fact it was phrased in the past tense. “What does he mean, ‘was’?” What happened to her?
David walks away to face the rest of his life. Maddie still doesn’t understand where she wound up.
She implores Albert to let her know.
The ‘angel’ is torn. He says it will be her last chance if he shows her this phase of the truth: once they get into the elevator this time, there will be no way to go back and change things. Hayes doesn’t care. She must see the true results.
They backtrack to the original event that took place after Maddie stormed out of the bar, the first chronologically but the last to be displayed here—the thing that made all the references to Ms. Hayes ‘was, did, used to be.’
Maddie, drunk and despondent, gets in her car and winds through traffic at high speed. This is not like her, and the ‘dream’ woman watching from the back seat immediately knows that something is severely wrong. Once the driver gets into some open space, she really floors it.
Right at a garage wall.
There is the moment of impact. Her life flashes before her eyes.
And Maddie wakes up face down next to her drink.
She babbles about what happened, what time is it, and the bartender lets on that it’s just after six.
So if this is the ‘real’ world after all, everyone might still be filing out after the end of the work day. Maddie heads upstairs.
She runs into Dave, Agnes and MacGillicuddy. They are all apologetic, having caught the news about the passing of her aunt.
Maddie announces that they can’t hand in the case work to their client after all—“Doesn’t he know it’s Christmas?”
She calls off the extra work hours and all is well again.
Especially for David. When everyone else goes home, Ms. Hayes throws Addison over her desk for a kiss that could win a sumo match.
What’s this all about, David wonders—then, “Who cares?”
Now that’s what I call season’s greetings.
It’s easy to look at this episode as a one-dimensional riposte to Maddie’s tough-as-nails business demeanor. However, if you read between the lines, there’s a lot more to it: there was a great deal worth remembering and preserving about her, that she herself didn’t even seem to know. She was loved, she was needed, and things did change drastically—and not for the better—in her absence. Down in dream-land, Agnes got mean and shallow, the business became a joyless hive, and David, even though he had a chance to marry someone with whom most men would have been eminently thrilled, still thought of someone else in his heart. With a little change, and a little more stick-to-itiveness in life, she could have had just as much of an effect on people, without having to end it all.
One of my favorites, probably because at the time I really could identify with the situation Maddie was in. The office (actually a military unit, but I'll keep the comparisons generic) was in an upheaval as well with a number of personnel moves, some good, some not so. There was an increasing number of deadlines that was crushing our ability to maintain quality and sanity in equal measures.
I was at the point where I was going to have to cancel some well deserved leave for a number of folks when this episode aired. It could not have come at a better time. I decided to let the folks take their leave. On Christmas afternoon I went into work, only to find several other Joes like me, some I had even granted leave to, toiling away. They said they would never leave me in a bind, and wanted me to know that since I thought of THEM and did not stifle their leave, they thought of ME and decided to spend some of that precious time with me, in a cold compound, preparing for an inspection.
Oh yea, we aced that inspection. I will never forget that time, nor this episode. I feel almost touched enough to insert an emoticon.......nah!
I hadn't voted for this one yet! Now is the time to do it. This episode is very emotional, and that's great, imo. Yet some stuff are a bit weird. I'm not going into the "was-it-a-dream" discussion, I do consider some of it a dream and therefore some of it doesn't make sense. It's alright, dreams don't make sense usually. How it ends makes up for everything. Maddie realizes that David should be with her and noone else! My vote is 8.
A nice pre-Christmas episode. Here Maddie judges her life in her dream sequence and faces the consequences of her decisions (i.e shutting down the office and firing all employees). She also realizes that her life should depend more on the people - the actual human beings that can love her back - instead of simply her ideas and her job. It matters more the heart than the mind.
Good thing I was watching this episode by myself. I almost lost it watching this. There are very few things I might shed a tear or two over in my life and ML is one of them. Thats why I love it so much. Poor Maddie. As you're watching it you can really sympathize for her. Not so much in the beginning but towards the end. The look on her face when she is frozen in time in the bar. You know whatever she is thinking or feeling its not good. Heart breaker for sure. Absolutely a 10.
What's not to like? I can't think of a thing and I have tried to really be critical. It has all the things that make for a successful show. Characters that we care about, a compelling twist on a well known Christmas classic, and for once and maybe the only time a self contained happy ending that could have ended the series right then and there and it might have worked.