Maddie being punished for Cybill's "offenses"

northernlight

Well-known member
FOM, all I can say is that in the mid-'80s, having a major character on a hit TV show suddenly announce she was an atheist was a HUGE deal. A very, very different time from today. Jerry Falwell and the "Moral Majority" were in full flower. A presidential candidate's religious views were a big part of how he (always "he" back then) would be viewed by voters. The public practice of religion was an enormous lever and force in American society. There would be zero public benefit in such a thing. And, as we've noted, GGC and the writers seemed to do this to CS at numerous points during the show run – introduce behaviors and traits to Maddie that they knew would be unpopular and make people like her less.
This was before the Jimmy Swaggart fiasco, am I right? I think stuff like that turns the people off religious types.

I always believed that having Maddie doubt there was a God was just a plot device so they could have one of their great debates while toying with the audience's possible expectation of David being the atheist/agnostic. It did fit with Maddie's character, though. While David was the more streetwise of the two, Maddie was always the more cynical one.
 

FanofMoonlighting

Well-known member
I don't know. I have often wondered what she meant by that, because it doesn't really add up.
I think she thought she would look bad in the eyes of the viewer (or Maddie would). Cybill had a bad reputation over the years, before Moonlighting, and I think she thought this show would bring her new fans and the public and press would love her. I think even Glenn told her she would be able to do comedy and be a fun character, not just some woman that uses and abuses men and acts like a bitch. So maybe she started to notice her character becoming colder and more difficult, and not believing in God was something she thought the public would hate.
There are so many layers to what happened on the show and behind the scenes between Glenn, Cybill and Bruce. My head is spinning sometimes thinking about all that happened and how it must have affected everyone involved. Only the individual people really know why things were done and how they felt about them, but I have a bad habit of over analyzing things to figure out the truth, and also try to make sense of it all.
 

northernlight

Well-known member
I think she thought she would look bad in the eyes of the viewer (or Maddie would). Cybill had a bad reputation over the years, before Moonlighting, and I think she thought this show would bring her new fans and the public and press would love her. I think even Glenn told her she would be able to do comedy and be a fun character, not just some woman that uses and abuses men and acts like a bitch. So maybe she started to notice her character becoming colder and more difficult, and not believing in God was something she thought the public would hate.
There are so many layers to what happened on the show and behind the scenes between Glenn, Cybill and Bruce. My head is spinning sometimes thinking about all that happened and how it must have affected everyone involved. Only the individual people really know why things were done and how they felt about them, but I have a bad habit of over analyzing things to figure out the truth, and also try to make sense of it all.
Good fun, though, and food for sites like these.
 

MoonlightingMagic

Well-known member
I wonder if she thought it was bad to be a "feminist atheist" or if she thought the viewers would think that was a bad thing?
I am so tired of everything and everyone having labels! Maddie was a strong woman! I do not consider her a feminist. The word makes me cringe. Feminist makes me think of man hating, pussy hat wearing women who do not shave their legs and are NOT my gender.
 

MoonlightingMagic

Well-known member
FOM, all I can say is that in the mid-'80s, having a major character on a hit TV show suddenly announce she was an atheist was a HUGE deal. A very, very different time from today. Jerry Falwell and the "Moral Majority" were in full flower. A presidential candidate's religious views were a big part of how he (always "he" back then) would be viewed by voters. The public practice of religion was an enormous lever and force in American society. There would be zero public benefit in such a thing. And, as we've noted, GGC and the writers seemed to do this to CS at numerous points during the show run – introduce behaviors and traits to Maddie that they knew would be unpopular and make people like her less.
Sorry but I disagree. The 80s was not the decade of offended people and safe spaces. Even though the moral majority was pushing its agenda - most people didn't follow their strict religious views. People in that time did not scream in protest if someone had a different view then they did. The show itself would never survive in today's world of outraged unhinged people.
 

northernlight

Well-known member
Sorry but I disagree. The 80s was not the decade of offended people and safe spaces. Even though the moral majority was pushing its agenda - most people didn't follow their strict religious views. People in that time did not scream in protest if someone had a different view then they did. The show itself would never survive in today's world of outraged unhinged people.
That is very true. It's frightening how much everything has changed since then. I didn't particularly like the 80s overall at the time, but they now seem like a really cosy era from this distance. It was still, along with the 70s, the golden age of TV.
 

FanofMoonlighting

Well-known member
I am so tired of everything and everyone having labels! Maddie was a strong woman! I do not consider her a feminist. The word makes me cringe. Feminist makes me think of man hating, pussy hat wearing women who do not shave their legs and are NOT my gender.
That's what Cybill called Maddie in her book. I guess she said she was a feminist because she was usually on the side of the woman in the show whenever there was a debate about who was right or wrong. But that was what the show was about, a woman's point of view vs. a man's point of view. I think there are more moderate feminists (who just want equal rights for women) than what you are describing. That's more of a radical feminist.
I agree though that not everything and everyone needs a label. And I don't know if anyone besides Cybill called Maddie a feminist atheist. I haven't seen articles with that written about her, but of course that doesn't mean there aren't any. My point anyway was that Cybill seemed to think the public was liking Maddie less and less as she was given these characteristics that I guess Cybill thought were considered negative in the public's view. I don't really see it that way, but for some reason she did. And in the beginning I think Cybill wanted to play a character that most people liked and that wasn't happening so much as the show went on. Watching the show now I like Maddie more than I did when I was younger.
 

MoonlightingMagic

Well-known member
That's what Cybill called Maddie in her book. I guess she said she was a feminist because she was usually on the side of the woman in the show whenever there was a debate about who was right or wrong. But that was what the show was about, a woman's point of view vs. a man's point of view. I think there are more moderate feminists (who just want equal rights for women) than what you are describing. That's more of a radical feminist.
I agree though that not everything and everyone needs a label. And I don't know if anyone besides Cybill called Maddie a feminist atheist. I haven't seen articles with that written about her, but of course that doesn't mean there aren't any. My point anyway was that Cybill seemed to think the public was liking Maddie less and less as she was given these characteristics that I guess Cybill thought were considered negative in the public's view. I don't really see it that way, but for some reason she did. And in the beginning I think Cybill wanted to play a character that most people liked and that wasn't happening so much as the show went on. Watching the show now I like Maddie more than I did when I was younger.
The only time I didn't like Maddie is when she ran away and then came back married to Walter. She was so mean.
 
Sorry but I disagree. The 80s was not the decade of offended people and safe spaces. Even though the moral majority was pushing its agenda - most people didn't follow their strict religious views. People in that time did not scream in protest if someone had a different view then they did. The show itself would never survive in today's world of outraged unhinged people.
I would, humbly, point to how minorities, and gay people in particular, were treated in the '80s – when the President of the United States didn't even utter the word "AIDS" until the sixth year of his eight-year presidency – as pushback against your notion that people "did not scream in protest if someone had a different view than they did" during the decade. Gay people and black people (and not a few women) screamed, a lot, about the direction of the country, how AIDS was dismissed in many places as something that happened to people who "deserved it," and how poor people were catching hell. And Ronald Reagan nonetheless won 93 out of a possible 100 states in two general elections. It was not a hunky-dory decade for marginalized communities, or for people for whom faith was not a central tenet of their lives. I don't think Cybill would have protested so strongly against the writing of her character coming out as atheist (or, if you like, agnostic) if it wasn't a big deal at the time. She knew it would have an impact, that a lot of people who watched would be quite unsympathetic to Maddie Hayes' atheism/agnosticism.

I loved the '80s. I became an adult during the decade, and made almost all of my lifelong friendships during the decade. (And, of course: ML!) But I also know how incredibly lucky and privileged I was to have a support system that uplifted me and gave me a chance to thrive. Many kids who grew up where I did didn't get that chance.
 
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northernlight

Well-known member
I would, humbly, point to how minorities, and gay people in particular, were treated in the '80s – when the President of the United States didn't even utter the word "AIDS" until the sixth year of his eight-year presidency – as pushback against your notion that people "did not scream in protest if someone had a different view than they did" during the decade. Gay people and black people (and not a few women) screamed, a lot, about the direction of the country, how AIDS was dismissed in many places as something that happened to people who "deserved it," and how poor people were catching hell. And Ronald Reagan nonetheless won 93 out of a possible 100 states in two general elections. It was not a hunky-dory decade for marginalized communities, or for people for whom faith was not a central tenet of their lives. I don't think Cybill would have protested so strongly against the writing of her character coming out as atheist (or, if you like, agnostic) if it wasn't a big deal at the time. She knew it would have an impact, that a lot of people who watched would be quite unsympathetic to Maddie Hayes' atheism/agnosticism.

I loved the '80s. I became an adult during the decade, and made almost all of my lifelong friendships during the decade. (And, of course: ML!) But I also know how incredibly lucky and privileged I was to have a support system that uplifted me and gave me a chance to thrive. Many kids who grew up where I did didn't get that chance.
I think people in America would probably have been more offended by the atheist/agnostic issue. From what I hear and read, Americans are more religious than we are in England, where nobody batted an eyelid. About ten years before, we had a sitcom called The Liver Birds, about two young women sharing a flat in Liverpool, one of whom, Carol, was a staunch catholic and always said her prayers at bedtime ("God bless me mam, God bless me dad, wherever he is..."), and Sandra, the posh girl, was portrayed as an agnostic - nobody cared in the 70s, never mind the 80s. I think it's probably a bigger issue in the States. Or was.
 

northernlight

Well-known member
The only time I didn't like Maddie is when she ran away and then came back married to Walter. She was so mean.
More than anything, it didn't make any sense. The whole thing was like a bad dream and so far out of character for Maddie. And I don't want to come over as being shallow or anything, but Maddie and Walter Bishop?! When the actor auditioned for David Addison, he was deemed to be well out of Maddie's league, so why wasn't he now? It really does seem like a let's-get-Cybill campaign at that point.
 

MoonlightingMagic

Well-known member
More than anything, it didn't make any sense. The whole thing was like a bad dream and so far out of character for Maddie. And I don't want to come over as being shallow or anything, but Maddie and Walter Bishop?! When the actor auditioned for David Addison, he was deemed to be well out of Maddie's league, so why wasn't he now? It really does seem like a let's-get-Cybill campaign at that point.
AND the fact that she was so upset with MacCuilicuddy when he did it!!!!! And then she goes and does the same????? Made no sense at all. I can understand her trepidation returning home to David but come on!
 

Quest

Well-known member
Walter Bishop made no sense whatsoever. Totally out of character for Maddie to marry a virtual stranger.

As far as her belief in God, I have no doubt her being portrayed as an agnostic dampened her appeal in the USA, and there was no need for her religious beliefs, or lack of them, to be mentioned.

It did appear Maddie being written in a bad light.
 
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