Title: Lovers and Madmen
Written by: Jeff Melvoin
Directed by: James Hayman
Aired: May 23, 1994
Log line: Joel discovers a perfectly-preserved woolly mammoth; Maurice breaks a concert violinist out of an asylum for a private performance; Chris gets a rude awakening when his high school crush visits.
Listen to our podcast discussion of the episode here.
One element of “Lovers and Madmen” that we didn’t ponder much in our podcast discussion is how archaeology is presented. The most obvious way this is shown is through the discovery of the woolly mammoth. Joel stumbles upon it and begins to give it a post-mortem examination with Holling there to document it with a camera. This would be similar to taking notes and being sure to capture the positioning of the item(s) found in situ. Joel also muses on the Museum of Natural History, which includes countless artifacts, archaeological exhibits, and even reproductions of archaeological sites.
Later, we will see Joel gnawing his thoughts related to the woolly mammoth and the archaeological significance of his discovery.
Interestingly, Professor Pickering doesn’t even consider the Pleistocene Epoch to be of much interest. For him, it is too similar to the world we live in now, with a woolly mammoth closely resembling an elephant.
In the storyline involving Meredith, we will see a sort of personal archaeology. She was recently going through a box of old items (a sort of small-scale archaeological dig) and came across an artifact related to Chris.
It’s also worth noting that she’s nearby working on a geological survey. The first question Joel asks Professor Pickering is where his cameras and surveying tools are.
Even the language Chris and Shelly use while talking on their way to Meredith’s camper feels archaeological.
We also have the storyline of Cal, who cherishes a valuable artifact (the violin) and is unearthed (twice) in subterranean locations while he’s on the lam.
The archaeological vein running through the episode nicely connects the historical and the personal, in the same way that we see these contrasted in the storylines. For Joel, the woolly mammoth is an invaluable clue to the mystery of the past; to Walt, it’s good eatin’. For Cal, the Guarneri del Gesu violin is “so alive” that it’s “almost human”, while Maurice sees it as an investment that he could sell tomorrow “for a 20% profit.”
Songs from the episode’s original airing:
- “Someone Loves You” – Simon Bonney [replaced in DVD version]
Chris and Meredith have lunch at The Brick.
Themes / Recurrences: Perception; the past.
The Good: The episode’s way of conveying Chris’ perceptions of Meredith by using three different actors is smart and especially creative. It gave the audience a taste of the disorientation that Chris must have felt. As well, this episode is full of wildly funny moments.
The Bad: We weren’t impressed by the look of Professor Pickering, although the character is interesting enough. We don’t buy the tie dye or the dreadlocked hair at all.
The Notable: This is the episode where Joel gives in and calls himself a Cicelian! We hope that lasts!
On’s rating: 9.0 out of 10
Shane’s rating: 8.5 out of 10