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S01.E15: Nine Birthdays

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The Kids Are Alright

Nine Birthdays (Season 1 | Episode 15)

8:30PM EST | ABC

Peggy's knack for reusing wax from old birthday candles to make new ones lures her outside the home for the first time. Her newfound candle-making work takes up more time, prompting Mike to get angry that her focus is straying from the family and the domestic duties. Meanwhile, Timmy is determined to get audience tickets on his birthday for a taping of "Boxcar Billy's Hobo Jamboree" in the hopes of making it on TV.

Airdate: Tuesday, February 26, 2019

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This one was actually dull.

But I did like, "I have a check with my name on it....Mrs. Michael Cleary."

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This episode was better than last week’s, but I agree that it was -dull. And I did not know I’d say this - but I prefer Lawrence with his long hair (get him a better wig!). Though I think Lawrence would look nice with the shorter hair if it wasn’t combed back. I swear he looked younger than Joey. I felt so bad for Eddie at the start- what a horrible birthday!  I loved the comment “ you’d think the Catholic Church would be more accepting if people in funny hats.”  But the episode never really jelled for me. 

I have one big question/gripe. The dates. So the show takes place -sort of- at least it starts- in the summer of 1972. So... why was Lawrence still in seminary in June? And not there in July?  Maybe they don’t get the entire summer off- but that confused me. Oh and Frank was in the room when Eddie called assistance to get Wendy’s number- but he knew nothing about her in the first episode and  tattled to his parents on Eddie. Sometimes I think “ have the writers watched the older episodes?”  

Edited by Bteam

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Glad the show decided to acknowledge how much Wendi and Eddie look alike by making her the ghost of his absorbed in the womb twin Lynn.

Kinda figured that all the birthdays would have been put together and celebrated on one day. If I had eight kids I'd combine that shit with July 4th and kill all the birds.

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1 hour ago, Bteam said:

So... why was Lawrence still in seminary in June? And not there in July?

He dropped out during the summer so that’s definitely possible.

54 minutes ago, goldenpuppy said:

When did Laurence go back in the seminary?

He didn’t. This show was a flashback.

I think what made the show confusing is the fact that the show was mostly set in the summer 1972 but then had the Christmas and Valentine’s episodes that were outliers so messing with time made it more complicated than it otherwise would have been.

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Peggy used shower hair for the candles. Ew.

Joey's birthday present was everyone else leaving the house 😅

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I liked this episode.  I found the continued spiral of losing between Peggy and Mike over the candles kinda funny.  Even though Peggy had substantial talent it got way to big for her to handle but every time Mike put his foot down Peggy doubled down making both of them miserable.  

Also kinda loved Peggy putting spare change in the birthday cakes.  And yeah in  a family that big giving someone even a hour in the house alone would be an awesome gift so everyone leaving the house for Joey’s Birthday was a nice simple gag.

its actually funny the thing that loses me is often Timmy.  I don’t really care about his obsession with being a star.  

Pat was adorable this episode.  

Edited by Chaos Theory
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I usually don't like Timmy's acting antics either but I thought it was sweet that he seemed to appreciate Peggy's efforts and really threw himself into it.

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I loved this episode!  There were tons of great one-liners. ("And there's a dead bird you can pet for free!") We got to see how Eddie met Wendi and found out he had absorbed a twin in the womb. (And, what about the creepy picture of Lynn painted by the watercolor artist that Peggy threatened to fram and put over Eddie's bed?)  We found out about Pat's glasses.  We got to see Laurence with short hair.  He had a realization -- that mostly he just parrots back what his dad says (the realization of which is probably what caused him to start radically thinking for himself thereafter).  We met one of the low-lifes in Joey's network. (And I wonder if that's where Joey gets all his great band t-shirts, because that's what the guy was selling?) We also got more of the lady from night court as Peggy's frenemy, Helen. 

I re-watched most of the episode before work today, and was trying to catch the boys' ages. So, Laurence turned 20, Eddie was 18, Frank turned 16, Timmy turned 12, William turned 10, Pat turned 6, and baby Andy turned 1.  I haven't made it yet to Joey's age, but I'm guessing maybe 14?

Pat can indeed correctly pronounce "beautiful" as Timmy bemoaned in the Love List episode. ("I know women. Hey Lynn! You look beautiful!")  The pairing of Pat and Eddie was fun in this episode.

One thing I don't quite get.  When Pat gets his new glasses and Peggy comes late to his party, he doesn't recognize her.  I can't decide if it's because he can finally see properly, or if his vision is now even WORSE because Peggy found the glasses on a bus bench and they weren't made for his vision problems.  Thoughts?

And finally, the episode featured two of the big things I remeber from the 70's -- candle making (My sister and mom did this together when I was too little to participate. They made avocado green mushroom-shaped candles.) and Acapulco, Mexico.  I remember that all the game shows seemed to be giving away glamorous trips to Acapulco all the time in the 70's.

Edited by Cowgirl
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1 hour ago, Cowgirl said:

I loved this episode!  There were tons of great one-liners. ("And there's a dead bird you can pet for free!") We got to see how Eddie met Wendi and found out he had absorbed a twin in the womb. (And, what about the creepy picture of Lynn painted by the watercolor artist that Peggy threatened

One thing I don't quite get.  When Pat gets his new glasses and Peggy comes late to his party, he doesn't recognize her.  I can't decide if it's because he can finally see properly, or if his vision is now even WORSE because Peggy found the glasses on a bus bench and they weren't made for his vision problems.  Thoughts?

Honesty I think you are thinking too much about it.  As someone who slowly developed horrible eyesight and then got a pair of glasses I was almost like”wow this is what the world looks like”.   Even with a RX not exact i can see Pat suddenly seeing what his mom looked liked and it stopped him for a moment.

Edited by Chaos Theory
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@Cowgirl I also remember Acapulco was one of the ports for the Pacific Princess.  So yah, it was big time in the 70’s.

Pat is still my favorite.  That little kid slays me.

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2 minutes ago, Chaos Theory said:

Honesty I think you are thinking too much about it.  As someone who slowly developed horrible eyesight and then got a pair of glasses I was almost like”wow this is what the world looks like”.   Even with a RX not exact i can see Pat suddenly seeing what his mom looked liked and it hatred him for a moment.

I thought it was because the glasses were found on the bus, but yes that is also possible. 

Not my favorite episode. I was a bit confused but it had some great parts. And at the end when Joey got the house to himself, did I hear him say "ladies"? 

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21 minutes ago, libgirl2 said:

And at the end when Joey got the house to himself, did I hear him say "ladies"? 

I believe he said “goodbye ladies” referring to his brothers.

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1 minute ago, biakbiak said:

I believe he said “goodbye ladies” referring to his brothers.

Okay. That is what I heard. Though lets face it, probably the ladies did come over. 

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Peggy is very handy with construction paper and garbage! I assume she reuses the happy birthday signs every year, but I hope "Lynn" got crossed out after Eddie told her it made him sad. I like the tradition of the crowns, and that Lawrence thought wearing his back to seminary would be cool.

I laughed at:

Peggy: "You're the only one I care about in this house."

Mike: "Me too."

Also, Peggy's indignant claim that she's doing a great job as a parent and "knows where most of them are!"

Mike and Peggy's "seen it all before" weariness dealing with eight kids will never not be funny to me. 

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found out he had absorbed a twin in the womb. 

If that happened, why was there a cemetery plot?   I'm surprised they'd even have known that happened.  My aunt is as Catholic as they come and had two miscarriages in the early 60's but there's no headstone for them.

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@Angeltoes, I was wondering about that too.  As thrifty as Peg is, I was surprised they paid for a stone, even if it was a cheaper one, set flush with the ground.  They would have had to buy a plot too, even though no one was in it. Maybe since this was only their second (and third) "set" of kids money wasn't so tight then?

I also wondered at Lassie the dog being buried in a human cemetery.  Then again, it is L.A. and weirder things have happened. I wonder what Eddie's other facts were regarding Lassie? 

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4 hours ago, biakbiak said:

I believe he said “goodbye ladies” referring to his brothers.

I have to go back and watch, but I thought he said goodbye to his brothers and then as he turned back around and closed the door, he said "Ladies..." to girls he presumably had over.

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AnnaRose, I thought I heard the same thing.  

I think they were close to having a really clever episode that gave us fun little peeks of pre-show Cleary life.  We got to see how Eddie and Wendi became a couple, how Pat got his glasses, and the passive-aggressive way Mike and Peggy fight.  Laurence in his earliest incarnation was obedient rather than rebellious.  The longer his hair, the more rebellious his attitude.  Who knew Peggy was a candle-making genius with Nixon as a muse?  I just think they tried too hard to change up the format.  

I felt the prolonged focus on Lynne brought down the light-heartedness of the episode.  I really felt sorry for Eddie.  

Edited by Phebemarie · Reason: I should know the difference between to and too
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14 hours ago, Cowgirl said:

And finally, the episode featured two of the big things I remeber from the 70's -- candle making (My sister and mom did this together when I was too little to participate. They made avocado green mushroom-shaped candles.) and Acapulco, Mexico. 

My brother caught the kitchen on fire making candles.  I thought he was a total hero for saving me from the fire.  My mom (who was out of town at the time) thought my dad and older brother were idiots for leaving him home with me making candles but that poor boy still blames himself now 40 years from the incident where literally nobody got hurt.    

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Wow, this episode was all over the place.  I realized they were doing flashbacks but I had to keep freezing the screen to keep track of what was going on, especially with the rapid dialogue.  I didn't really get the whole deceased twin thing, especially the cemetery part.  Is that really a thing or is that just one of Peggy's eccentricities?

I kind of wish the show would move on from 1972 already.  Maybe next season?

I somehow remember Nixon candles being an actual thing, but that was so long ago I don't recall.

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23 minutes ago, Yeah No said:

, especially the cemetery part.  Is that really a thing or is that just one of Peggy's eccentricities?

It’s definitely a thing for people to bury whatever remains from pregnancies that don’t come to term even with multiples where they do.

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4 hours ago, biakbiak said:

It’s definitely a thing for people to bury whatever remains from pregnancies that don’t come to term even with multiples where they do

Yeah but supposedly Eddie absorbed her so there was nothing to bury...I'm overthinking this.

Eddie and Pat are my 2 favorites, so their scene at the portable toilets was especially cute to me.

This episode may not have been the liveliest but I did like seeing some plot points filled in for us. Glad the parents got to go on a nice trip.

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You also have to take into consideration that Lynn might have been Peggy’s one chance for a female child.  In a house full of boys to have the girl baby die in childbirth might have been harder then she let on. 

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33 minutes ago, xander874 said:

Yeah but supposedly Eddie absorbed her so there was nothing to bury...I'm overthinking this.

Eddie and Pat are my 2 favorites, so their scene at the portable toilets was especially cute to me.

This episode may not have been the liveliest but I did like seeing some plot points filled in for us. Glad the parents got to go on a nice trip.

I loooooove Pat so much. 

Are you my mom? . . . You sound like my mom.

It was adorable, after they dislodged the quarter: Eddie smiling at Pat, both so relieved/grateful that Pat was okay.

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1 hour ago, xander874 said:

Yeah but supposedly Eddie absorbed her so there was nothing to bury...I'm overthinking this.

Maybe the second placenta?  There must have been some remains, otherwise she wouldn't know it was a girl and probably wouldn't have known she even lost it.  Vanishing Twins are very common (probably 1 in 7 conceptions start out as twins) but I don't think they did routine ultrasounds in the fifties like they do now.

57 minutes ago, Chaos Theory said:

You also have to take into consideration that Lynn might have been Peggy’s one chance for a female child.  In a house full of boys to have the girl baby die in childbirth might have been harder then she let on. 

Oh yes, for sure!

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35 minutes ago, AnnaRose said:

Maybe the second placenta?  There must have been some remains, otherwise she wouldn't know it was a girl and probably wouldn't have known she even lost it.  Vanishing Twins are very common (probably 1 in 7 conceptions start out as twins) but I don't think they did routine ultrasounds in the fifties like they do now.

The voiceover said that Peggy just assumed that the absorbed twin was a girl and named her Lynn.  I have no idea what, if anything, they buried.  That whole thing was a bit weird. 

I love how Mike is so nonchalant about Pat choking.  Crises must happen every other day in a large houseful of boys. Mike is always so calm during an emergency.

Edited by Cowgirl
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4 hours ago, hoodooznoodooz said:

It was adorable, after they dislodged the quarter: Eddie smiling at Pat, both so relieved/grateful that Pat was okay.

I loved that scene, it reminded me of those two waking up in the tent!

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3 hours ago, Cowgirl said:

The voiceover said that Peggy just assumed that the absorbed twin was a girl and named her Lynn.  I have no idea what, if anything, they buried.  That whole thing was a bit weird. 

For me the absorbed twin thing was fine until we got to the cemetery part. Since he absorbed the twin, I don't think there would be anything to bury. 

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35 minutes ago, joanne3482 said:

For me the absorbed twin thing was fine until we got to the cemetery part. Since he absorbed the twin, I don't think there would be anything to bury. 

Yeah, I was all confused about that. None of that made a lick of sense to me. 

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8 hours ago, joanne3482 said:

For me the absorbed twin thing was fine until we got to the cemetery part. Since he absorbed the twin, I don't think there would be anything to bury

Would have made more sense, and been more Peggy-like, if it had been shown that Peggy just latched on to some random "Cleary" gravestone at the cemetery with the name being Lynn to represent her lost "daughter" that never was.  Maybe panning to an inscription covered by flowers with Lynn's actual date of birth and date of death and her being someone's wife and mother.  The "daughter" would have a grave for Peggy to mourn at (and to hold over Eddie) that wouldn't cost anything and would not need anything to bury, as there was nothing to bury.  Somewhat like Beatles fans making a memorial out of the grave of a real Eleanor Rigby, as if it were the Eleanor Rigby from the song.

This episode would work better on a rewatch.

Edited by Bazinga
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16 hours ago, xander874 said:
21 hours ago, biakbiak said:

It’s definitely a thing for people to bury whatever remains from pregnancies that don’t come to term even with multiples where they do

Yeah but supposedly Eddie absorbed her so there was nothing to bury...I'm overthinking this.

Obviously so am I because that's what I was thinking.  I know people bury the remains of deceased pregnancies when there are remains, but the show did make mention of the empty casket at one point in addition to talking about how the other twin was absorbed.  I never knew that it was possible for a twin to become absorbed but I was willing to accept that I somehow missed that.  It just seemed strange to bury an empty casket!  I'm going with a Peggy eccentricity. 

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I want to know what Laurence puts in his hair because he had short hair in March, chin length in April and shoulder length by June. 

Edited by biakbiak
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5 hours ago, biakbiak said:

I want to know what Laurence puts in his hair because he had short hair in March, chin length in April and shoulder length by June. 

I was thinking that myself. It would have made more sense to start the episode in 1971 and move into 1972. Some of the events would have made more sense. 

On another note, until Andy was born all the kids had their own birthday month. I felt that was a bit odd- to well planned. On the other had, it explains a bit about Christmas. You have to buy all those gifts at once they are smaller. So Peggy made a big deal out of the birthdays. I’ll bet the kids got their one big gift then. 

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7 hours ago, Yeah No said:

I never knew that it was possible for a twin to become absorbed but I was willing to accept that I somehow missed that. 

Doctors think it happens more than we realize because often times nobody knows the twin was absorbed. 

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8 hours ago, Yeah No said:

Obviously so am I because that's what I was thinking.  I know people bury the remains of deceased pregnancies when there are remains, but the show did make mention of the empty casket at one point in addition to talking about how the other twin was absorbed.  I never knew that it was possible for a twin to become absorbed but I was willing to accept that I somehow missed that.  It just seemed strange to bury an empty casket!  I'm going with a Peggy eccentricity. 

Google "vanishing twin", or checkout this page

Quote

How is Vanishing Twin Syndrome identified?

Before the use of ultrasound, the diagnosis of the death of a twin or multiple was made through an examination of the placenta after delivery. Today, with the availability of early ultrasounds, the presence of twins or multiple fetuses can be detected during the first trimester. A follow-up ultrasound may reveal the “disappearance” of a twin.

13 minutes ago, joanne3482 said:

Doctors think it happens more than we realize because often times nobody knows the twin was absorbed. 

From the article linked above:

Quote

Vanishing twin syndrome has been diagnosed more frequently since the use of ultrasonography in early pregnancy. Estimates indicate that vanishing twin syndrome occurs in 21-30% of multifetal pregnancies.

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I liked (paraphrasing):

Lawrence: The last time I saw you, we were playing Hide & Go Seek. 

Girl: Then I guess I won.  

Also, Mike’s half-a- -ed effort to change Peggy’s Happy Birthday, Andy! banner to a Happy Birthday, Frank! banner. 

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On 2/28/2019 at 8:08 AM, Cowgirl said:

I love how Mike is so nonchalant about Pat choking.

Yes! And when Peg said "Don't run with that knife! You might bend it!"

On 2/27/2019 at 4:42 AM, Snow Apple said:

Joey's birthday present was everyone else leaving the house 😅

I think I might have to steal this - it's basically my dream!

On 2/27/2019 at 9:25 AM, 2727 said:

Peggy: "You're the only one I care about in this house."

Mike: "Me too."

And this is why an empty house is my dream - I live with a 9yo boy and a 14 yo girl and I am never alone! 🙂

I think we know the moment Seminary was toast for Lawrence - the way his eyes lit up when he opened the door and the pretty girl was on the other side.......

I also laughed at Eddie's inability to understand that someone named Jean could be a woman AND a doctor! Not surprising considering his mother doesn't work (candles notwithstanding) and can't drive a car.....

And did Night Court lady say that Spencer's Gifts was classy?!? Ha! Man, I remember that store - my friends and I liked to go in there and look at all the weird and inappropriate stuff when we were about Joey's age, as in old enough to wander the mall without supervision!

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12 hours ago, Ilovepie said:

I also laughed at Eddie's inability to understand that someone named Jean could be a woman AND a doctor! Not surprising considering his mother doesn't work (candles notwithstanding) and can't drive a car.....

Also because female doctors were rare back in 1972.  In medical situations people routinely mistook them for nurses.

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6 hours ago, Yeah No said:
18 hours ago, Ilovepie said:

I also laughed at Eddie's inability to understand that someone named Jean could be a woman AND a doctor! Not surprising considering his mother doesn't work (candles notwithstanding) and can't drive a car.....

Also because female doctors were rare back in 1972.  In medical situations people routinely mistook them for nurses.

In an October 1972  episode of All in the Family called "Gloria and the Riddle," Gloria posed a riddle to Archie, Edith and Meathead.

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies immediately, but the son gets taken to the hospital for surgery.  Once in the operating room, the surgeon takes one look at the boy and says: "I can’t operate on him. He’s my son."  Who is the surgeon?

Most of the characters, especially men, had trouble figuring out that the surgeon was the boy’s mother.  Due to gender stereotypes, the idea of a female surgeon never came to mind.

Note 1: The riddle was also done in a 1988 episode of The Cosby Show with the same results.

Note 2: The riddle also could work with the mother dying and a nurse saying this is my son, with the nurse ending up being the father.

Edited by Bazinga
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1 hour ago, Bazinga said:

In an October 1972  episode of All in the Family called "Gloria and the Riddle," Gloria posed a riddle to Archie, Edith and Meathead.

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies immediately, but the son gets taken to the hospital for surgery.  Once in the operating room, the surgeon takes one look at the boy and says: "I can’t operate on him. He’s my son."  Who is the surgeon?

Most of the characters, especially men, had trouble figuring out that the surgeon was the boy’s mother.  Due to gender stereotypes, the idea of a female surgeon never came to mind.

Note 1: The riddle was also done in a 1988 episode of The Cosby Show with the same results.

Note 2: The riddle also could work with the mother dying and a nurse saying this is my son, with the nurse ending up being the father.

There was also an episode of AITF, maybe the same one, where Meathead Mike needs an appendectomy and the surgeon on call is a woman.  Despite his liberal rhetoric, he is hesitant to allow her to do the surgery.  Happened a lot back then.  By the time I went to medical school in 1979 things were a little better but I still heard plenty of comments from patients wondering why such a cute girl wanted to be a surgeon, and this was in OB/GYN where it should've been kinda obvious why a woman might want to do it.

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1 hour ago, Bazinga said:

In an October 1972  episode of All in the Family called "Gloria and the Riddle," Gloria posed a riddle to Archie, Edith and Meathead.

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies immediately, but the son gets taken to the hospital for surgery.  Once in the operating room, the surgeon takes one look at the boy and says: "I can’t operate on him. He’s my son."  Who is the surgeon?

LOL, I remember that episode.  I know, I'm old.  I remember starting to have female doctors in NYC in the '80s.  A lot changed in a decade, but it still took a while before people wouldn't fall for that joke!

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On 2/28/2019 at 6:32 AM, Chaos Theory said:

You also have to take into consideration that Lynn might have been Peggy’s one chance for a female child.  In a house full of boys to have the girl baby die in childbirth might have been harder then she let on. 

But at the time Eddie was born, there was only Eddie and Lawrence.  She wouldn't have known she'd be living in a house full of boys, unless she didn't start making a big deal about it until a few kids later.

Also, wouldn't Eddie and the twin have had to be in the same placenta in order for him to absorb the other one?  Can fraternal twins share a placenta?  If Eddie absorbed his twin, wouldn't it have had to be a boy?  (Correct me if I'm wrong!)

The whole Lynne plotline was not funny.

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3 hours ago, janie jones said:

If Eddie absorbed his twin, wouldn't it have had to be a boy?  (Correct me if I'm wrong!)

No. It occurs very early on in the pregnancy and it’s basically just tissue. Peggy blamed Eddie but it’s just as likely that the tissue was absorbed by her uterus or the placenta and not Eddie.

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On 2/28/2019 at 3:32 AM, Yeah No said:

I kind of wish the show would move on from 1972 already.  Maybe next season?

The Valentine's episode and the Vietnam episode were set in early 1973, I believe.

Quote

And finally, the episode featured two of the big things I remeber from the 70's -- candle making (My sister and mom did this together when I was too little to participate. They made avocado green mushroom-shaped candles.) and Acapulco, Mexico.  I remember that all the game shows seemed to be giving away glamorous trips to Acapulco all the time in the 70's.

They also mention a mall. Malls were booming in the 1970's and the 1980's.

Edited by methodwriter85

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On 3/1/2019 at 10:05 AM, AnnaRose said:
Quote

Before the use of ultrasound, the diagnosis of the death of a twin or multiple was made through an examination of the placenta after delivery. Today, with the availability of early ultrasounds, the presence of twins or multiple fetuses can be detected during the first trimester. A follow-up ultrasound may reveal the “disappearance” of a twin.

On 3/1/2019 at 9:47 AM, joanne3482 said:

My mom had twins unexpectedly in 1973 (like, had the first child and then was told 'there's another one in there').  Once she delivered, the doctor told her that the twins were fraternal based on what he saw of placenta(s) and sacs.  Anyways, fast forward to two years ago when I bought my sisters DNA kits and my mother was stunned to find out they're identical (nobody else was stunned because they look exactly the same).  She's like 'but the doctor said'....and I said, yeah, and that same doctor was probably able to smoke in the delivery room.  Times were different.  

I laughed out loud when Mike was complimenting Peggy and she was like 'you're right'.  Truth.  🙂 

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On 3/1/2019 at 9:17 AM, CountryGirl said:

Joey in his Hugh Hefner-esque robe and silk PJs, waving goodbye... 😂

D0YIWXeUYAENOjU.jpg

you just know the women are going to be there! 

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On 3/3/2019 at 9:26 PM, VartanFan said:

and my mother was stunned to find out they're identical

Did she dress them alike as kids?

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