In this installment of the further adventures of Constable Benton Fraser, RCMP, a very important thing is learned: the only way to be female and not be immediately bewitched by the one and only Mountie is to be one of two things: a six year-old girl who adores her father, or a cynical 30-ish newspaper reporter who learned once too many times the hard way that some heroes are really nasties that crawled out from under rocks and should have stayed there.
This ep opens up with OFM getting ready for work and lecturing Diefenbaker on the required behavior of a wolf in Chicago, mentioning things like licenses and animal control officers ? ! ? ! Believing Dief heard and will obey every word, OFM leaves for work, but does check on Dief through the keyhole of his apartment door, OFM having had one of his 'Inuit' intuition moments (PG's face perfectly describing that 'feeling' for which there are no, or too many, words. He may suspect but doesn't fully realize Dief has maintained such an independent schedule by leaving out the window and down the fire escape that little old ladies out walking have cookies for him in their pocketbooks!) Then we next see a scene so thought out, one of the hallmarks of dS. A father saying good-bye to his daughter in the hall, with a verbal ritual that conveys so much mutual adoration between them the actual violence in it almost slips by unnoticed. The father leaves for work and the next moment OFM comes down the stairwell and greets 6 year-old Lucy, momentarily surprising her by calling her by name. She notices his brown uniform and asks him if he is a policeman, and being the Yukon-raised Mountie he is, he completely bungles his description to her about what he does for a living, when all his uniform really means to her is that he might be able to help her father who is 'always hurting himself'. What adds to the feel of the life circumstances of these three characters is the whole time they are engaged in the dismal halls and stairwell, the sounds of tenement life are heard, mostly in the form of occupants arguing mean-spiritedly. (No wonder Dief likes to get out.) But the interaction between Lucy and her father and BF and Lucy hints they are survivors and they know that caring for each other the best they can is the most important thing in their lives. Zoom ahead to a hospital/clinic desk where OFM has carried Lucy's father Charlie (slung over his shoulder) for treatment of not looking both ways when crossing the street - twice. While waiting to see the outcome of the doctor's exam - although OFM already had a complete diagnosis which he recited to the doctor courtesy of the Inuvik Public Library - BF calls Ray from a payphone and asks for assistance in getting a license for Dief when he notices a nurse walk quickly by and drop some X-rays on the floor. He tries to get her attention, but she doesn't stop, so he trails her to the parking lot where she is trying to change her clothes - in her open-roofed jeep?
Now OFM is confronted with a woman in a minor state of undress, not realizing (or does he? Hmmmm!) her choice of verb (men who 'skulk') and tone have more to do with getting caught than modesty. He does his best to respect her privacy, but she's so fast at costume change and interrogation that before he knows it he's told her he has TWO suits and is trying avoid meeting her for dinner by using Dief as an excuse - while she's backing out and driving away! The last thing she says is "Lakeshore Room, 8:00. Wear the suit. Leave the dog." issued more like orders than an invitation. Having no chance to decline, BF knows he must go or she will be waiting alone. Zoom ahead again to OFM returning home from his workday with groceries - apologizing to Dief for not being able to spend time with him that evening, as he has a date with a woman whose name he doesn't know. Their relationship (BF's and Dief's) being as it is, Dief gives him a 'glare' and yet another moment of dS history is created! The milk goes into cupboard instead of the refrigerator (?!?) and OFM is defending himself to Dief about previous 'dates': "I am perfectly capable of handling myself in ANY situation. I am. ... I am a MOUNTIE !" What happens next is one of the funniest things I've ever seen on television, and I'll never be able to listen to The Guess Who again without getting hysterical laughing. The song? AMERICAN WOMAN. The scene? OFM and the jaded journalist, each with their own agenda - GETTING READY FOR THEIR DATE!
I know I am going to spoil this for anyone who hasn't seen it but I don't know if words can truly describe what PG brings to the character of OFM - getting ready for a date in the big city Yukon-style. As the tune AMERICAN WOMAN begins we see our "AW" laying out black stockings on her fairly frilly bed - then OFM opening a drawer in his bureau and getting out - RED LONG JOHNS!? She gets out a camisole, he's still on - LONG JOHNS!? She gets in her shower with glass doors, he holds up - STARCHED BOXER SHORTS!? She drops a towel at her bare, pedicured feet - he is in the communal bathroom in the clawfoot tub either scrubbing off the 'city' to get back his 'Yukon', or scrubbing off the Yukon to meet the challenge of the city? She approaches her closet, he picks up a bucket of water, still sitting in the tub. She pulls out a flashy red garment, he rinses his hair by dumping the bucket on his head. He leaves the bathroom wearing only his Stetson, a towel wrapped around his waist - and his watch dangling from his teeth, to discover a long line of neighbors waiting to use the facilities. She also grabs some little black dresses, he holds up his two suits to the mirror to make his decision: RED SERGE #1 or Red SERGE #2 ?! She cringes at her red, he's buffing his boots. She slides on her stockings, he inspects his hair at his mirror. She straps listening devices to her waist over her lingerie, he tries to 'style' his hair. She slides on a slinky black dress, he's still on his hair. She can't hide the bulging devices under her dress, he's still grooming his hair with two hands and brushes like he's grooming - a horse? (It is, after all, R.C. MOUNTED P.!) She tries a different slinky black dress, he just sort of exasperatedly smashes his hair into place with a flat palm, but does spike the front for the only style he can muster. She is putting on her black sling-back pumps, he's still undecided on RED SERGE #1 or RED SERGE #2... She walks away from her mirror, he's checking corsages in his refrigerator. (At least something made it into that appliance.) She puts cosmetics, devices and mace into her little black purse, he can't decide WHICH corsage. He decides to take both - then leaves. The next time we see him is in the foyer of the Lakeshore Room where he is mistaken for a doorman and gets a tip...
She arrives, he learns his 'AMERICAN WOMAN' is Mackenzie King and the dinner just doesn't go well. Without going into detail all I WILL say is that I feel reasonably certain that it didn't have anything to do with a frustrated Mountie removing his knife from his boot to saw open his lobster...
When he returns home to his building, OFM overhears a conversation between Lucy's father and an unknown man. This leads to his asking Ray for help and giving Ray his turn at Gross (!) Anatomy 101 with details like fractured mandibles and pronounced zygomatic arches. Those clues, the name of a boxing club printed on unknown man's shirt, and the known fact that a man who is lying can't spit, take them through to the end of this ep, with more of OFM's unique tracking techniques, Dief's ability to assist those in trouble while avoiding (well, almost) capture by the dog catcher, and OFM disarming Ms. King into not printing the story. While there is one silly stunt moment that I found a little too ridiculous (I believe the adage about people performing major feats of strength in moments of crisis but this stunt was meant more for Batman or The Green Hornet or something) it was wonderfully easy to get into the fast-paced fun of it all and laugh all over again at the last scene with a dejected Ms. King lying in her bed, wearing flannel and two wrist corsages, and THE GUESS WHO strumming us to the credits that show us everyone responsible for this show that is TOO MUCH FUN!