Original Air Date: February 20, 1986.
Written By: David Angell
Plot: Sam tries to prove his youth and vitality in a racquetball match against Woody, and lands himself in the hospital with a hernia. Ashamed of his "old man's" condition, he tries to hide it from the gang, but Diane talks him into accepting his injury by building his confidence. He takes this as an attempt to rekindle, and is disappointed when she refrains, but appreciates her effort, even if it wasn't completely successful.
Thoughts: This is an interesting episode, as it deals with aging-- something you wouldn't expect to see in a sitcom, and not in connection with the virile Sam Malone. Perhaps young Woody's presence made Sam's more mature status the elephant in the room, so the writers decided to address it head on. Setting Woody up as competition for one of Sam's dates puts the tension front and center, and it's refreshing to see some reality injected into Sam's sexcapades.
When Sam is laid up with a hernia, it is Diane who discovers the truth, and Diane who is the first to support him in his time of identity crisis. She herself has a moment of distress when she realizes Sam's doctor is someone she tutored as a child. Her defeated "I'm old and alone in Boston" is the epitome of perfect delivery.
While Sam bemoans his lost stud status and the slow slide into geriatrics, Diane offers him inspiration from various sources, but ultimately reaches him with a personal reassurance that he is more attractive now than he's ever been. It seems the passage of years has only added to her feelings for him. This is exactly what he needs to hear, and despite his debilitating injury, he's immediately off to the races and putting the moves on Diane again. Did he really expect anything to happen in his condition? Apparently so, but Diane chastens his libido before she leaves.
He thanks her for her support despite her refusal, and I love how she immediately wants to launch into a long-winded analysis of the human condition, which he in turn graciously refuses. They're both looking for connections as they grow older, and hopefully they'll eventually find them together. In the meantime, poor Sam is left alone in a hospital room, watching the rain fall, reflecting on his life. It's a surprisingly powerful moment. It's time for Sam Malone to grow up.
Random: How awesome was Norm with that barbershop quartet? And what a great payoff that he walks away from it fully sated after one chorus. Sam's date, Bonnie, is so of the early eighties.
"Thanks for the memories." "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce a turnip that needs no introduction: Miss June Lockhart." "Is it me or is this getting a little weird?" "I was breastfed a lot longer than most young kids. I mean babies." "Pretty girl, Sam. Be careful she doesn't lose a baby tooth giving you a hickey." "She's a very sophisticated woman and she's traveled extensively. She's been to Hawaii." "You know my motto: Hire the rad." "You wanna take me on, you little... guy, you?" "Methinks the man doth protest too much." "Excuse me Miss Chambers, but shouldn't it be 'I thinks'?" "Not in your case, Woody." "I've checked all the assumed names he usually uses. There's no Lance Manion, nor is there a Honeyboy Wilson." "I'm old and alone in Boston." "Sam... Do you want to go back to the hospital?" "Very badly." "Hi Carla. You see there are other parts to a hospital besides the maternity ward." "You're a much more attractive man than when I first met you."