2.3 All is Vanity


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Original Air Date: April 22, 1991 Production number: 77404
Written by:
Andrew Schneider and Diane Frolov Directed by: Nick Marck

Holling: My neck was a little stiff last week. Once in a while I get a tick right here under my eye. I'm thinking about getting circumsized. And every now and again, my knee pops out.”
Log line (1): Maggie tries to win her father's approval by pretending that Joel, a successful doctor, is her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Holling contemplates circumcision to please Shelly. An unknown man dies in Joel's waiting room before he can examine him and the townsfolk hold a funeral service.
Synopsis (1):

When Maggie discovers that her father is coming for a visit, she panics. In an attempt to gain his approval, Maggie has been sending letters home describing Joel, a successful doctor, as her boyfriend. Although she convinces Joel to play along, she hates the fact that he has glimpsed this part of her personal life, especially when Joel seems to enjoy the charade. Finally, it becomes too much to deal with and Maggie tells her father the truth: that her boyfriend is Rick, an uneducated bush pilot.

Meanwhile, Holling struggles with the decision to have a circumcision when Shelly comments that she has never known a man who hasn't had it done.

(Production Bible):

Frank O'Connell, smokes, drinks Scotch.
Frank saw Maurice in a parade in Detroit in '65.
Maggie's mother is a lace-curtain Bostonian.
At five, Maggie was runner-up in the Little Miss Great Lakes contest. She sang "Love is Blue".
Wayne had a heart with an "S" tattooed on his arm; Bobbie Travis mooned Shelly at a homecoming and Wayne punched him in the mouth.
When Holling was mauled by Jesse, an Indian woman sewed him up, had him bite a table.
Malcolm Minnifield owed Maurice $8,000 when he died. "Bruce" wrote Mountain of My Misgiving.
Now all Maggie's dead boyfriends are named, save one: Bruce, Roy, Harry and ? (That makes Rick #5)

Facts to Wax
(Production Bible):
Holling's now 63 years-old.
Milt Wyman is the taxidermist/undertaker of Cicely.

Dr. Kolatch from Juneau, medical examiner.
Joel says, "...town of eight hundred and fifty people..."
Maggie reads Shakespeare Sonnet 116 at funeral.
Guest stars (9): Frank O'Connell - John McCann
Man #1 - Peter Bradshaw (Also appeared in 3.21)
Man #2 - Charles Russo
Wife - Sharon Collar (Also appeared in 3.6, 3.23, 5.23)
Husband - O.C. "Mac" McCallum
Martin - Rex Linn
Patient #10 - Cathy Bryan
(Note music listed is from the original TV airings. The DVD may differ.)

Honky Tonk Angels - Kitty Wells
[An argument breaks out in the Brick about hunting dogs.]

Bon Soir Dame - Bud and Travis
[Holling tells Shelly that he talked to Joel about getting circumsized.]

Saturday Night is the Loneliest Night of the Week - Rosemary Clooney
[Holling tells Joel that he wants the operation.]

Angie from "Wild Is the Wind"
[Holling has circumcision dream.]

Adaggio from Symphony No. 7 (Beethoven)
[Chris on the air.]

Tradition (from Fiddler on the Roof)
[Maggie tells Joel that her father thinks she and Joel are dating.]

If I Were a Rich Man (from Fiddler on the Roof)
[Chris dedicates song to Holling.]

Diet of Strange Places - kd lang
[Holling is edgy about upcoming operation.]

Shelly’s Earrings:

Lobsters [Holling tells Shelly about his visit to Joel and the circumcision discussion.]
Grape bunches [Shelly and Holling talk in the Brick.]
Fish (yellow tangs?) [Shelly and Holling go into to Joel's for the procedure.]

Red ? [The funeral at the ending.]

Things I Own from the Show:
  • Joel's lab coat
  • the Cliquot calendar from Joel's office wall
Literature: Shakespeare Sonnet 116 [Maggie reads at unknown person's funeral]:
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove. O no, it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wand'ring bark, Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. Love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle's compass come. Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out ev'n to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved."

Additional Notes:

Chris: The fact that we don't know this man, isn't important really. Cause his experience is our experience, and his fate is our fate. Vani tass, vani tatum, et omni i vani tass, says the preacher. All is vanity I think that's a pretty good epitaph for all of us. When we're stripped of all our worldly possessions and all our fame, family, friends, we all face death alone. But it's that solitude in death that's our common bond in life. I know it's ironic, but that's just the way things are. Vani tass, vani tatum, et omni i vani tass. Only when we understand all is vanity, only then, it isn't. (at unknown man's funeral.)

The unruly bar patron ("Martin") in the Brick at the beginning argues that the Labrador Retriever is a better hunting dog than the German Shorthair.

Snow was trucked in and otherwise faked (potato flakes and more). In some shots, there's no snow in the distance, only in the immediate shot.

The unknown dead man has a packet of Juicy Fruit gum (with three sticks), a nail clipper, and a note to "Pick up shirt Monday." Joel prefers Carefree or Extra gum; Marilyn likes Dentyne.

Maggie's dad calls her "Peanut."

Joel tells Frank that he's into luge in the winter and bungee cord jumping in the summer (while pretending to be her boyfriend.)

Holling's dream sequence - his interests are Swimming, photography, and fresh seafood. (There's a seafood theme here -- Ed's eggs taste like shrimp at the beginning, Shelly wears lobster earrings ...)

See YouTube clips from Holling's dreams of the procedure.

Footnotes and additional research

© Copyright, 2013 • Northern Exposure is Copyright Universal City Studios. All Rights Reserved. • Created 5/18/02 • Updated 2/2/13