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Special Report :: Amanda By Night Uncovers The Rape of Monroe!

June 8th, 2011 by kinderpal amanda by night · 19 Comments

UNK SEZ: When situation comedies transform into situation trauma-dies it’s time to call for backup! Let us now join intrepid roving reporter/T.V. aficionado AMANDA BY NIGHT of MADE FOR TV MAYHEM as she investigates the elusive but not elusive enough for my comfort TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT episode “For Every Man, There’s Two Women”

The Night Monroe was Rah-Rah-Rah-Raped!!!

Like many urban legends, the infamous TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT featuring Monroe’s rape is a bit like the alligator in the sewer or having a kidney stolen. It’s one of those whispered things where you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who saw it. The fifth season episode of TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT titled “For Every Man, There’s Two Women” should really be called “For Every Man, There’s One Woman and a Huge Guy in Drag”, but we’ll get to that. From what little I was able to garner about this episode, Ted Knight refused to do it during the fourth season, because he probably felt there was no place for it in such a lightweight sitcom (he was right), but he must have been coerced into it because it was finally shot and aired in November of 1985, during the fifth year of the show.

When TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT finished its original run and went into syndication, this controversial episode was dropped from its package and the world continued on as though Monroe (Jim J. Bullock) had never experienced any true acts of violence. As the years passed, and the internet became a great tool for connecting the hazy dots of childhood, the “Monroe rape” episode began to catch some attention. I came to know about it through the excellent site THE RETROIST, and I became almost as obsessed with seeing it as the person running that site did. My timing was a bit better though because I had much less of a wait. The greatest T.V. station in the world, Antenna TV had been airing TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT and I began to monitor the episodes more closely. Lo and behold, they actually re-ran it last week!

If I had not been prepared for what I was about to see, I’m not sure how I would have reacted. The canned laughter at the male rape jokes was disturbingly reminiscent of that crazy Rodney Dangerfield segment of NATURAL BORN KILLERS and I felt like I was watching a sick parody of the show (it should be noted the R word is never used). Monroe reveals to everyone that he was abducted by two women and blindfolded in the back of a van while the “big one” sat on him. They took him back to their place and had their way with him all night. The joke about breaking his beeper elicits a round of applause from the laugh track machine. The female leads act completely out of character, tossing about insulting remarks about rape and in general, stereotyping men and sex while giving Monroe not one iota of sympathy.

Jackie (Debra Van Valkenburgh) finally admits that she just simply doesn’t know how to react, which may be the most honest moment of the show (and probably was the exact feeling the actress had when she read the script). The women on the show seem frustrated and disgustingly nonchalant about the whole ordeal. They mostly disappear after the first half and after a much needed commercial break, this becomes Monroe and Henry’s show as they head off to confront Monroe’s attackers. Henry (Ted Knight) comes off a lot better, but he bounces around from being thoughtful and concerned to acting bothered because Monroe interrupted Henry and Muriel (Nancy Dussault) during a tryst. Apparently dealing with a rape victim all day must make you all hot and stuff.

Once they get to the women’s apartment, the audience is treated to an overweight woman aggressively forcing herself on Henry and a giant man in drag. The first woman is credited simply as Charlene and the drag queen has no credit at all, making the whole affair even more disturbed. Does this gargantuan man still walk the streets and could I possibly be hanging out in a bar one night and overhear, “Yeah, I played one of Monroe’s rapists.” It’s enough to make me never leave the house again!

This infamous episode aired just months after the made for TV movie THE RAPE OF RICHARD BACK which is a Golden Globe nominated film starring Richard Crenna as a gruff cop who is assaulted by an even gruffer assailant. If I wasn’t going to laugh at Mr. Beck’s horrifying encounter, why did the crew behind this TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT think anyone would be chuckling at Monroe’s unfortunate evening of violence? Seriously, guys. 1985 was all kinds of awesome, but this is really reaching into neon-dripping madness! When I think about male rape in pop culture (I know, why should I be thinking about that?!?), I recall stuff like OZ and DELIVERANCE… you know… stuff that isn’t funny. Now that this demented episode has recently re-aired – for the first time in years – some beautiful soul took the time to upload it onto YouTube! Those of you who caught Monroe’s rape during the original run can now relive the nightmare while us newbies can create new, lurid memories of our own. Sweet dreams!

Tags: Amanda By Night · Great Moments In Kindertrauma History · I Have No Idea What This Is · Kinder-Topix · Kindertrauma Investigates! · Telenasties

19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 9:06 am

    A world of wrongness. Here is the full episode in two parts….

  • 2 Dylan Donnie-DukeNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 9:33 am

    There are many, many mini-terrors of my youth that I have tucked far into the corners of my brain. Most of them are scenes of rape from movies and TV shows that I saw when I was way too young to fully understand what was happening. “Is this what that sex thing we all talk about in the playground really is? Well, I’ll have no part of that.” (My youthful inner voice was that of Peter O’Toole.) My confusion mixed with the horror of what I was seeing made for some wonderfully kindertraumatic moments. From “Lipstick” to, as you mentioned, “Deliverance,” I had many a sleepless night.
    And now, thanks to this post, I have had to relive watching the original airing of this episode so many years ago. A memory that the 13 year old me had gleefully and successfully blocked out is now peeking out of the manhole of my mind like a hungry CHUD. I may never sleep again. Thank you dear Amanda for the Web-based shock therapy. I am now going to watch clips from the Jim J and Tammy Faye Show to cleanse my mental palette.

  • 3 mamamiasweetpeachesNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 10:03 am

    well, if anyone was every cryin out to get raped it was Monroe. I kid….I kid!

    Its funny you nwould mention this show…I was thinking about it last night and I couldnt remember the last name of the family on the show: I was thinking “Henry, Muriel,Jackie and Sarah.,,,what the Hell was their last name?” I dont know why but it was driving me nuts.

    I must have seen this ep aqnd just blocked it out…because this was before we had cable and even though I wasnt crazy about the show I watched it al the time (my father HATED it, especially Munroe).

  • 4 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Insane. Can you imagine the same jokes and tone being used if one of the daughters was raped? This needs to be part of the curriculum in a college gender studies course. It so hurts my head.

    I now want to get the script for this episode so that it can be performed on stage. I would have all the male parts played by women and all the female parts played by men.

    If I could get JIM J. to play the mystery man in drag that would be perfect.

    I might have to write Cosmic Cow into the script though, he’s woefully absent from this episode.

    Now, does somebody have a crowbar so that I can dislodge the TCFC theme song out of my head? It won’t budge.

  • 5 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 10:08 am

    @ MamaSP, Whenever I see Geoffrey Rush in a movie I can clearly hear Monroe exclaiming “Mr Rush!”

  • 6 wings1295No Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I don’t remember ever seeing this originally, and I don’t get Antenna TV (dammit), but even though it is posted here via YouTube, I’m not sure I want to watch it. It just seems too… bizarre.

  • 7 bjkatcherNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 11:05 am

    The only TV show I’ve seen that seriously dealt with male rape by a woman was ‘Picket Fences.’ A male school teacher was tied up by his attractive female date, and though he told her no, she proceeded (he was nonetheless aroused). When he reports the rape, it becomes a media circus, and he’s fired. I thought it was well done.

  • 8 turnidoffNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 11:13 am

    The fact that the “women” are basically credited anonymously leaves more questions than answers. “MONICA” appearance is just as terrifying as the final scene in De Palma’s Raising Cain. *shudder*

  • 9 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    BJK, I miss Picket Fences that was a good show! I wish that was on Netflix Streaming. It looks like it is available from Xfinity online. That episode you mentioned is called “Unlawful Entries”…

  • 10 Walter PaisleyNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I saw this episode back in its original airing as well, and thanks so much Amanda for your excellent write-up. It did a number on my pre-teen psyche, that’s for sure, and I’ve written, and am in development on, a horror movie that’s directly inspired by this very, VERY special episode. So it’s a treat to be able to see it again! Very strange that Mr. Rush is, for once, the only one who (for the most part) seems to have his head screwed on straight with regard to the gender politics of the whole thing.

  • 11 Meep ParkerNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I’m a huge fan of Too Close For Comfort and remember this episode well. I had to watch it again now that it’s on Youtube… I really wished they released more seasons on DVD outside of the first two. The episode is such a bizarre descent in comedy madness. Churning laughs out of poor Monroe’s misfortune. Especially the stuff about being in a bathtub of jello! I remember being 10 years old, watching this thing and thinking that was so utterly strange… That adults did the weirdest things, and that I will probably have to try it one day. It was truly a confusing time for both Monroe and myself…

    Being a fan of San Francisco (So much so that I chose to get married there) I loved all the jokes about the street names. And the fact that the attackers lived in the (still) seedy Tenderloin. That man in drag will haunt me forever now. The fact that he doesn’t say anything and isn’t credited at all is the stuff of real horror.

  • 12 turnidoffNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    This episode terrified me to the point that I had to make a MONICA facebook page…

  • 13 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Okay, I definitely do NOT condone Monica the silent terror’s behavior but I feel I must “like” her on FB. Well done Turnidoff! 🙂

  • 14 Jami JoAnne RussellNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Okay, first off, when I saw this in my feed I thought maybe you were going to talk about MARILYN Monroe being raped and wondered what movie that happened in.

    And now I remember this episode. Thank you so much. Probably one of the moments in tv that made me grow up into a sex crime hating adult. Even though I couldn’t remember it.

    In fact, the only episode of any show involving rape I could remember up until now was the All In The Family episode where Edith was almost raped.

  • 15 Amanda By NightNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    At this very moment, I am verklempt!

    Thanks everyone for reading and commenting. I am glad to know that I am not alone in my disturbance of this episode. I can’t even imagine what it was like to stumble across this episode as a kid. A life changing experience for sure!

    And Turnidoff, I am a faithful follower of Monica The Silent Terror! Hilarious!

  • 16 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // Jun 8, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    I hadn’t heard of this before today… but WOW! That episode is just all sorts of wrong… not disturbing to me so much as mind-boggling… what were they thinking? What was their motive? It seems like there was a nugget of good intention… caught and mangled in the gears of the wrong show, wrong format, wrong everything…

  • 17 RawhideAlmondMacheNo Gravatar // Jun 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Oh wow, I remember this episode. I was in high school at the time and didn’t really think about it then. Going back and watching it now all I can say is…WTF were they thinking? And how did this ever get to air? Wow, was this ever in extremely poor taste in so many ways!

  • 18 remindslrNo Gravatar // Jun 10, 2011 at 6:11 am

    I remember this Tv series, my parents used to watch it back in the days.

  • 19 micksterNo Gravatar // Jun 10, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Wow! I do not think I saw this one originally, which is strange because I watched it consistently. The Rush ladies really come across as insensitive in this episode! Canned laughter added to poor Monroe describing his horrible attack? Yikes! This is definitely a case of what on Earth were they thinking with this. Henry is the hero of the episode even though he becomes irritated with Monroe (but he was ALWAYS irritated with Monroe).

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