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Dr. Quinn Medicine Mondays: The ballad of Grandma and Brian

Season 1 | Episode 3 | “The Visitor” | Aired Jan 9, 1993

Brian has recovered from his influenza (THANK GOD) and Emily has been diagnosed with anemia, which Dr. Quinn is treating with rusty water. That’s right, my little pioneers—it’s time for another installment of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. As we continue the tireless journey into the Wild West, we’re going to explore the world of Dr. Michaela Quinn, Sully, and the gang. Fortunately, this week, we’re joined by Dr. Mike’s mom, which is hilarious, because she comes to visit after hearing Michaela was dying from influenza—it would have been too late if she had died, MOM.

Anyway, Elizabeth Quinn is the best character, by so much, because as she offloads her wagon in her blush-and-black dress, she immediately throws shade at everyone and asks where the hotel is. SLAY, GIRL. She catches Michaela up on what’s going on, and despite her persistent sass, Brian LOVES Grandma Elizabeth. He even invites Grandma to go swimming, but she declines. He offers to watch for snakes for her, and she declines again. Then he asks Colleen No. 1 to go swimming, and SHE declines. Watching Brian is like watching a reflection of myself on Tinder. Keep your chin up, soldier—you’ll win Grandma over, I’m sure.

Mr. Bray, who is totes smitten by Elizabeth, asks if she’s come to take Michaela back to Boston so that she can marry a man and “do as a woman should,” but Dr. Quinn clearly learned from Elizabeth because she shuts him down so hard. There’s so much sexual tension for, you know, a Saturday-night television show in 1993.

Elsewhere, Sully and Robert E. make friends, and then Grace brings Robert E. some cornbread, and if we’re being honest … I came for Mike and Sully, but I stayed for Robert E. and Grace—literally the most adorable couple ever. So adorable that when Robert E. sits down his cornbread and stares off into the mountains to think about Grace, he catches himself on fire and legit has to stop, drop, and roll. A shopkeeper won’t allow Dr. Quinn to move Robert E. into his shop for treatment, and she seethes with social-justice anger. Poor Robert E. begs Michaela to tell him that he’s not going to Heaven yet, and to be honest, I scream the same thing at the screen. THIS SHOW HAS TOO MUCH DRAMA.

As the night fades into morning, Dr. Quinn stays by Robert E.’s side, while Grandma goes outside to bathe herself, which essentially means that she dabs her chest bone with water before that savage Sully catches her. Risqué. Grace, being my favorite independent woman, drove her own damn horse over to see Robert E. She’s 100 percent 1867 fearless—however, Robert E. tells her to go away. WHY? I have no idea. I’ll take Grace’s word when she says, “He’s a stubborn man!” Hang in there, Grace.

Elsewhere, Colleen No. 1 is crying while milking a cow. Elizabeth walks in and announces that in Boston they deliver the milk to the front door in glass bottles. Unamused, Colleen No. 1 continues to cry until she announces that she’s going to die because she’s, well, bleeding. Luckily, Elizabeth is there to let her know that she’s just becoming a woman—and in the meantime, this show was becoming a feminist hallmark! Dr. Quinn follows up with Colleen No. 1 to make sure she’s okay, but she’s like, totally over it at this point.

Eventually, we get that Elizabeth/Michaela showdown we’ve been waiting for, and Elizabeth throws all of her opinions out—she thinks this Colorado Springs life is crazy, and not in the fun, supportive way we think that it’s crazy. And Michaela gets it, but she also loves her life and her patients. After a run-in at the bank, it appears that literally no one will give Michaela the money she needs for her own clinic, which makes sense, because literally no one except Sully supports this poor woman (unless you’re in need of stitches and Jake is drunk, AMIRITE?). Elizabeth tells her she doesn’t want to see her wasting her life, and Michaela says, “Sometimes I think you must really hate me, mother.” ZING, GIRL.

Resilient, Grace comes back to visit Robert E. She doesn’t care what he said—she’s back because love is real. She gives a quick speech about how he’s not a slave anymore, and it makes you root for them even more. Outside, Elizabeth is hitching a ride into town with Mr. Bray because everyone is getting smitten this episode! Once Robert E. has fallen asleep and Mrs. Quinn has left to presumably get her freak on with Mr. Bray, Grace and Michaela have a great conversation about forgiveness.

I was completely wrong about Mrs. Quinn, by the way. She was actually in the house and takes over for Michaela when she gets tired. Brian, being a creep, comes back and asks Mrs. Quinn for a story—she explains, in story form, a story about Dr. Mike. To her surprise, Brian takes over and tells the rest of the story, about how Michaela came along and became his mom and saved his life, and just like that, BRIAN WON GRANDMA OVER.

The next morning, Matthew buys Grandma (yeah, I said it) a bath, and of course she loves it. Who wouldn’t love a nice bath from Chad Allen? Sometimes, that’s all you need. Post-bath, Grandma gives Colleen No. 1 a mirror and brush (because she’s a woman), gives Sully an affirming handshake, gives Brian the right to call her Grandma (!!!) and ultimately, gives Michaela the money to buy her own clinic, because “a doctor needs a clinic.”

Colorado Springs Gossip Mill

  • Horace paying full prostitute price to see Myra is adorable.
  • Myra fulfilling full prostitute duties because Horace paid is, well, unfortunate.
  • Colleen said, “I want to do more than get married and have babies,” and Dr. Mike said, “Don’t hide behind the fact that you’re a girl. You’re a woman.” I screamed, #YESALLWOMEN
  • Elizabeth Quinn is played by Jane Wyman, who casually won an Oscar and married (and divorced) Ronald Reagan before passing in 2007. Miss you, girl.

Another Monday, another medical miracle: This time, it just happened to be in the form of maternal love. Yeah, Elizabeth started out as a (flawless) touch cuss, but in the end, all she wanted was the love of her daughter. It’s hard being a mom and having a kid move away, or I imagine that’s why my mom calls me five times in a day. So in our own way, we’re kind of like Dr. Mike when you least expect it. Thanks for another journey into Colorado Springs—see you next Monday, and in the meantime, don’t set yourself on fire.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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