Uncompromising, enterprising, anything but tranquilizing… Television history has given us many memorable, amazing women… and then there’s Maude. Bea Arthur (“The Golden Girls”) stars as the feisty and funny title character in Maude: The Complete Series, finally available on DVD from Shout! Factory on March 17, 2015. The box set contains all 141 episodes on 19 DVDs, as well as a 40-page collector’s book containing an essay by Pulitzer Prize–winning TV critic Tom Shales, and several bonus features.
Created by Norman Lear (“All In The Family”, “The Jeffersons”, “Mary Hartman”), Maude pushed the boundaries for network television during its six-year network run from 1972 to 1978. Often controversial and always refreshingly honest, the series never shied away from tackling the topical issues of the day, yet its depth of character and humor left audiences laughing all the way.
Decades after its initial broadcast, Maude remains a benchmark in television for its sharp, intelligent writing, impressive supporting cast (including Bill Macy, Adrienne Barbeau, Conrad Bain and Rue McClanahan) – and of course, the amazing Ms. Arthur. In a role that earned her a well-deserved Emmy award, Bea Arthur created an indelible portrait of a fiercely liberated woman, paving the way for other noteworthy, female-driven sitcoms from “Roseanne” and “Murphy Brown” to “30 Rock”.
As Shales writes, the character of Maude Findlay was introduced on an episode of “All in the Family” in December, 1971. Maude was Edith Bunker’s feisty feminist cousin, someone as far to the left in her political beliefs as Archie was to the right – so devoted a Democrat that in her youth, she once ran 30 blocks up Broadway to get a glimpse of FDR as he began a Manhattan motorcade. Maude & Archie’s clashes were the stuff of snappy, crackling comedy – Archie called Maude a “big-mouth buttinski” – and it seemed preordained that Maude would get a show of her own. It turned out to be a show which, for most of its run, placed in the Nielsen top ten, or twenty, just as “All In The Family” had routinely done.