Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur died of cancer while I was on blog break. While most people are lamenting the loss of our “Golden Girl,” including my partner whose obsession with that show is frightening, I want to remind everyone of the feminist tv show that made Bea Arthur a star: Maude.

(due to the ridiculous policing of the song on youtube by WMG, I can’t give you the opening credits scene, but here is the iconic theme song sung by Michael Mishaw; lyrics at bottom of post)

Maude tackled such important topics as reproductive choice, equal pay, racial reconciliation, and so many others.

In this hilarious clip, Maude tackles the difference between middle class “drug use” and working class “drug addiction.” I love this clip not only for its subtleties about drugs but also because Maude and Florida’s interactions provided endless hilarity.

Here’s a discussion about mainstream feminism’s proximity to patriarchy (and pregnancy for the reproductively adverse) that cracks me up:

In short, the character Maude (and the show) was a strong, outspoken, unapologetic woman, every single episode. In many ways, I think Arthur has always been playing Maude on television. Though the actress was said to be more quiet than the character, her strong feminism was akin to both Maude and Dorothy and it showed.

Interestingly, as the clip above shows, Bea Arthur and, Golden Girl co-star, Rue McClanahan met on Maude when McClanahan replaced a previously cast actress on Maude.

Perhaps I love this character best, b/c when I railed against oppression, my mother used to say “And then there’s Maude.”

Maude Theme Song: And Then There’s Maude

by David Gruesen and Andrew Berman

Lady Godiva was a freedom rider
She didn’t care if the whole world looked.
Joan of Arc with the Lord to guide her
She was a sister who really cooked.

Isadora was the first bra burner
And you’re glad she showed up. (Oh yeah)
And when the country was falling apart
Betsy Ross got it all sewed up.

And then there’s Maude.
And then there’s Maude.
And then there’s Maude.
And then there’s Maude.
And then there’s Maude.
And then there’s Maude.
And then there’s

That old compromisin’, enterprisin’, anything but tranquilizing,
Right on Maude.

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