Charlene arrives at work to find Mary Jo brooding about the fact her ex-husband accused her of being an unfit mother when he couldn't reach her one evening when she was out with J.D. Mary Jo confesses that J.D. is the first man she has cared about since her divorce just as his ex-wife Janet bursts in and angrily informs her of the futility of that relationship, adding that she and J.D. are getting back together again. Later when Mary Jo relates the incident, J.D. makes light of it, claiming that Janet isn't to be taken too seriously. He changes the subject by suggesting that their relationship take another step and they spend a little more time together intimately.
Meanwhile, Anthony has need of a quick $5000. He met a girl who turned out to be the girl of a very powerful man and he hope to have one of the women call and tell the man that he was killed, sure that he will be forgotten in a few months. Charlene returns from a doctors appointment and happily reports that she doesn't have cancer, she does confess that the doctor did find a lump in her breast, but assured her it was nothing to worry about. Julia insists that she get a second opinion and reluctantly, Charlene phones her doctor for a referral, which he refuses to give and tells her to find another doctor altogether if she doesn't trust his judgment. Later, the women wait anxiously for Charlene to report in since she refused to let anyone accompany her to the new doctor. When she arrives, the report is not what they wanted to hear -- she is scheduled for surgery in two days!
In a romantic encounter, J.D. assures Mary Jo that she is most desirable, but before he can demonstrate, her ex-husband interrupts -- again -- by stopping by and J.D.'s ex-wife calls him away to repair faulty plumbing. In the meantime, Charlene is sure that she is going to die and distributes her treasured possessions. J.D. calls a conference of the two families to sort out things. He informs both ex-spouses that the two of them will no longer interfere by using their ploys to interrupt he and Mary Jo any time they want. In Charlene's hospital room, Anthony learns from Suzanne that she told a man's bodyguards where to find him. Thinking quick, Anthony dons hospital garb and crawls into the empty bed in Charlene's room. When the men enter, Anthony feigns illness and the arrival of the floor nurse forces their retreat. Meanwhile, Julia confronts Charlene's doctor in his office. And refusing to let his arrogance intimidate her, she accuses him of incompetence and informs him that she has filed a legal complaint.
This episode was the first in the new Sunday time slot. It marked the series' return to CBS from hiatus following a massive letter writing campaign.
The episode was the first of five hour-long episodes to air in the show's seven season history.
Linda Bloodworth-Thomason dedicated this episode to her deceased mother-in-law, Pauline Thomason, who passed away from breast cancer, and her late mother, Claudia Bloodworth.
The final episode of the season, Bachelor Suite, was originally written to air prior to this one. The episode revolves around Mary Jo and J.D.'s relationship, and if you listen carefully, it takes place prior to events in this episode.
MARY JO: Ted's idea of foreplay was to grab me by the ankles and yell, "Make a wish!"
SUZANNE: Charlene! I should think it would be enough that I bring in most of Sugarbakers' clients, I mean, it's not easy wining and dining a different person everyday and trying to think of something interesting to say about interior decorating. But if I can get myself out of bed every morning, put on a face like this, and get myself dressed to the nines, the minimum you can do as the office manager is to tell me whether or not the people I'm gonna be having lunch with are homosexuals.
CHARLENE: Suzanne, this may come as a surprise to you, but I do not consider a person's sexual persuasion any of my business. That is personal, y'know, like if you've ever been arrested or voted for Richard Nixon.
SUZANNE: I voted for Richard Nixon.
CHARLENE: That's not the point! (laughing) I've wanted to say that to somebody for so long.
SUZANNE: Y'know, I don't think you understand the trouble I go to for these lunches! I mean, do you think I would have worn this uncomfortable dress cut tight just below the batas if I'd known I was gonna be having lunch with homosexuals?
Julia returns annoyed from a shopping excursion to buy a birthday present for her son
CHARLENE: Whatíd you get him?
JULIA: I finally found him a pair of pigskin boots, which is what he said he wanted. But of course, shopping what it is today, it would have been much easier to just go out into the woods and wrestle a pig bare-handed.
SUZANNE: Well I see weíve had another altercation with the public-at-large.
JULIA: There was no altercation. I just refused to be pushed around by department stores where nobody cares anymore because theyíve all been bought by major corporations that put teenagers in charge of the merchandise who havenít got a clue as to where to find it. What ever happened to Ďservice with a smileí, Ďhow may we help you?í ĎThank you and come againí? Iíll tell you what happened. They went with that little fellow at the gas station.
SUZANNE: What little fellow?
JULIA: You know, that little fellow in the neatly pressed uniform and the little bow tie who always used to say, ďFill-er up maíam?Ē
MARY JO: Yeah, I miss that guy. What happened to him?
JULIA: They killed him.
SUZANNE: Who killed him?!
JULIA: All those vacuous slack-jawed people who sit in their little glass booths and tell you to pump it yourself.
MARY JO: Thatís right. There is just no sense of style or grace or pride anymore. Itís a pump-it-yourself, $4.95-all-you-can-eat world.
CHARLENE: Have yíall noticed how the repair people that come to your house donít look like Mr. Rogers anymore?
MARY JO: Idínt that the truth? They all look like mass murderers. I mean sometimes I have to stop and think to myself, ďI want my dishwasher fixed, but do I want it bad enough to die for it?Ē Mary Jo washes down some pills.
CHARLENE: What are you taking?
MARY JO: Tedís old vitamins.
CHARLENE: Donít they lose their potency after a while?
MARY JO: Yeah. So did he.
Julia dispenses some relationship advice to Mary Jo, and Charlene returns from the deli with everyone's lunch.
SUZANNE: Y'know, Mary Jo. I don't know why you always go to Julia for advice. I mean, I'm the one who has the most experience with men. I remember all my first times. Of course I'm not going to share the intimate details, but afterwards each one of them cried. Don't y'all just love grateful men?
CHARLENE: Who had the salami?
MARY JO: I did.
JULIA: Suzanne, if I were you I wouldn't be telling that story. Sounds to me like you had some very dissatisfied customers.
SUZANNE: Well, they married me, didn't they.
CHARLENE: Y'know, Suzanne, I've always tried to picture you with each of your ex-husbands in bed.
SUZANNE: (gasping) Charlene!
CHARLENE: I always wonder what people are like in bed. Don't you wonder about things like that?
JULIA, MARY JO & SUZANNE: No.
CHARLENE: Well I do. Like the other morning I was wondering about Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth. I mean, don't you wonder if he ever just reaches over and starts tickling her?
JULIA: No. I don't think he can get past that purse.
CHARLENE: I wonder what's in that purse.
CHARLENE: Well, I'm sorry, but I wonder about everything, y'know, like what the words to Mack the Knife mean, and how they make that cat to dance on that commercial. I mean I had a cat once and....
JULIA, MARY JO & SUZANNE: CHARLENE!!
CHARLENE: I'm sorry. I'll stop.
MARY JO: Pass the Cole slaw.
CHARLENE: (looking at the Cole slaw) You ever wonder who 'Cole' was?
Charlene returns from her doctors appointment just as Anthony has finished relaying the story why mobster Mr. Bebe is trying to extort $5000 from him by making him participate in a poker game.
CHARLENE: Y'all are just never gonna believe it. The most incredible thing just happened to me.
MARY JO: You got your income tax back.
CHARLENE: No, silly. I don't have cancer!
ANTHONY: That's great, Charlene! Do you have $5000?
CHARLENE: (confused) No.
MARY JO: What do you mean, you don't have cancer?
CHARLENE: I mean I don't have it. I went to see Dr. Mitchell for a routine exam and he found a lump in my breast. I didn't even know it was there.
ANTHONY: (Anthony excuses himself) I'll just be out back loading up the van.
CHARLENE: Oh, wait a minute, Anthony. There were some phone messages for you. (walking to the desk to pick up the messages) Anyway, I was worried sick about it because two of my mama's sisters had the same thing, y'know. Oh, here they are. The first one was 'You're dead meat.' The second one was 'You're dead meat, Man,' and the third one was 'Be there or you're dead meat.'
JULIA: There seems to be some sort of theme emerging.
ANTHONY: Thanks, Charlene.
CHARLENE: Big weekend eh?
JULIA: Now wait just a minute, Charlene. How does this doctor know that you're fine? Did you have a mammogram? a biopsy?
CHARLENE: No, he examined me, said not to worry and let him worry about it, and come back in six months.
JULIA: I donít like the sound of that. I think you should have a second opinion.
CHARLENE: Why should I get a second opinion. I like this one.
MARY JO: I agree with Julia. Six months is a long time.
SUZANNE: Yes, Julia and I have a very close friend, and she waited too late.
CHARLENE: Well, Iím sorry to disappoint you all. If you want me to have cancer Iíll have cancer!
JULIA: Charlene, donít be absurd.
CHARLENE: Well I couldnít just go to someone else. Dr. Mitchell has been my doctor ever since I came to Atlanta. Heís a very nice man.
JULIA: Charlene, this isnít something you can play around with. Iím going to go to the phone and call my doctor and make you an appointment.
Suzanne answers the phone, not knowing itís another call from Mr. Bebeís thugs to Anthony.
SUZANNE: No he isnít. He just stepped out. Whoís this?
SUZANNE: Well, I donít take messages from people who donít leave their name. And let me tell you something else. You would probably be better off if you spent less time making hoody telephone calls to people and more time trying to improve yourself like Anthony. Why donít you just leave him alone. Heís trying to start a new life for himself. He doesnít have $5000. Heís not showing up to your poker game tonight. Heís joining the pep club! So why donít you tell Mr. Bebe to put that in his pipe and smoke it.
SUZANNE: (turning to a petrified Anthony, who has just entered and overheard the conversation) Well, I donít think youíll be having anymore problems with those people.
Charlene returns from the second doctor after discovering she has a cancerous tumor in her breast.
MARY JO: Charlene, most of these things turn out not to be malignant.
CHARLENE: Oh, c'mon, I know the score. Those two aunts I told you about both died, and women in certain families are prone to it.
JULIA: Well, you know they're catching it in time, and it's going to be ok.
CHARLENE: I'm telling you, I just have a feeling about this. It's not going to be ok.
SUZANNE: Are you afraid of losing a breast?
CHARLENE: No, I'm afraid of losing my life! I mean, I wouldn't be happy about having a mastectomy, but I could live with that. After all, I had a fake chest all through junior high school. It's just that......I've never had children. I've never been to Europe. I've never even seen Jerry Lee Lewis in concert.
Julia goes to see Charlene's doctor.
JULIA: Dr. Mitchell, I'm Julia Sugarbaker. May I come in?
DR. MITCHELL: Yes, but I hope this won't take long. I'm on the staff of three hospitals, and I still have rounds.
JULIA: Oh, I understand how very busy you are, and I'll be brief. I've come because I'm a very close friend of Charlene Frazier's.
DR. MITCHELL: Charlene Frazier is no longer my patient, so I can't see....
JULIA: Actually I'm not here only for Charlene, but on behalf of all your patients.
DR. MITCHELL: I don't understand.
JULIA: What I'd like to know is, how many more women do you plan to kill before you retire.
DR. MITCHELL: I beg your pardon?!
JULIA: You see, I've done a little checking on you, Dr. Mitchell, and I've discovered that Charlene is not the first woman you've told to wait. You said the same thing to another close friend of mine, only at that time I didn't know that you were her physician. Well she trusted you. She waited four months before her breasts had become so misshapen she had to come back, but by then it was too late.
DR. MITCHELL: Mrs. Sugarbaker, I don't think I'd like to discuss with you medical judgments which you know nothing about.
JULIA: Medical jargon doesn't impress me. I was brought up in a medical family, and my grandfather always said 80% was common sense. There's nothing mysterious about having a lump in your breast. It's simple, when you find one you have it x-rayed or biopsied. I know that. Most physicians know that. What I don't understand is, why don't you know that?
DR. MITCHELL: Well, it's obvious to me that you are an emotional and overwrought woman.
JULIA: Not emotional, Doctor, I'm just plain mad. Which is why I'm filing charges against you with the state medical board and the AMA.
DR. MITCHELL: Well, if you'd like to make a fool of yourself, be my guest, but I can assure you you're in no way qualified to make these judgments. I think this meeting is over.
JULIA: I think so too, but as for qualified, neither are you. You don't depend on medicine. Your weapon is intimidation. You're a seemingly kind, benevolent authority figure who tells women to let you do their worrying for them. Well there's just one thing wrong with that, Dr. Mitchell; you don't have to do that dying.
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