Elizabeth Hoffman as Eleanor Krieger.
Nancy's mother comes for a visit just as Nancy and Elliot are reconciling
The process for Nancy's book is going along well and she catches everyone up on it as she and Elliot visit with Hope and Michael. While leaving, it's obvious that she and Elliot are dating, but still a little awkward about kissing goodbye.
Nancy's mother, Eleanor, comes to visit and she's obviously quite close to her mother. Eleanor obviously isn't too keen on Elliot coming back, asking about Nancy's former boyfriend Matt, who is obviously out of the picture. They talk late, drinking cold beer on the porch, blowing into the bottles, and laughing.
Elliot meets Nancy for lunch the next day and laugh about how inane it is that they have to date. Nancy cautiously brings up the idea of making a monster doll to go along with the book and Elliot is very excited and supportive. That night Elliot comes over for dinner with the family and Eleanor isn't very civil toward him, though Elliot makes a very good effort. Nancy is still working at the community arts center and has a shot at teaching a class there in a little while. While visiting after dinner, Elliot and Nancy keep exchanging funny glances, waiting for Eleanor to go to bed. Finally, Elliot has to leave, but climbs up the tree and into Nancy's room where they make love.
Nancy and Ellyn help Hope paint in the house while discussing the renewed relations with Elliot and being honest with your Mom about sex. At the office, Elliot lets Michael know that they're back together and that Eleanor caught him sneaking around the house late that night. Nancy and Eleanor discuss her being back with Elliot. Elliot comes by later with some of the sketches for the doll while Nancy tries to keep a rational mind about it. Eleanor takes the family out to dinner, but Elliot wisely bows out to preserve the peace. Eleanor shares the news that she's thinking about moving to town and wants to look at condos. Elliot makes a model of the doll, but begins to scare Nancy a little by having so many ideas and moving so fast. While renting movies (Care Bears or The Dirty Dozen), Elliot finds out that Eleanor might move to town.
A day or so later, Elliot tells Nancy that a company in New York wants to talk to her about the doll, so they take a trip together. Elliot is on his best behavior and even gives up a chance at sex to take her for a corned beef sandwich and a cream soda (i.e., the man has definitely reformed). The company, however, doesn't want to take the plunge on the doll, and it's a little disappointing, but not horribly. Eleanor is supportive and continues to play poker with Ethan throughout the entire episode.
The next morning, Elliot comes over early and manages to get into a huge fight with Eleanor in the kitchen and Nancy walks in on the end of it and warns her mother off. Nancy and Hope discuss dealing with mothers. Finally, while looking at the condo, Nancy lets Eleanor know how she feels, asking why Eleanor wants to move back, and asserting that she can take care of herself. Eleanor takes the kids to work and makes some peace with Elliot. While puttering around the house together, Nancy intimates to Elliot that she would really like him back.
Nancy's publisher's name is Grace "The Poky Little Puppy" is mentioned Opener clip of Hope shoving Michael toward Elliot and of Nancy and Elliot embracing Nancy doesn't have cable Nancy's father (Jack) has been dead for eight years Jack and Eleanor made Elliot play croquet the first time they met The Caldecott Award is mentioned.
The song that Nancy and Elliot dance to at the end of the episode is "Blue Eyes (I Still Miss Someone)," written by Johnny Cash and performed by Stevie Nicks, taken from her album The Other Side of the Mirror. Huge whopping thanks to my buddy Shawn Keehne for her frightening knowledge of Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks trivia.
Elliot wears jacket pin and the yellow check shirt. Reference is made to Britty's costume in the play that Nancy made out of her dress from the show in college
Joan has very kindly written in to share her memory of a scene from this episode that was clipped by Lifetime for time purposes.
"In the uncut version, the tension between Elliot and Eleanor was resolved in a scene where Eleanor brings the kids to Elliot's office. After sending Ethan and "Britty" out to roam the halls, Elliot and Eleanor have a confrontation in which they get all their frustrations and doubts out on the table. At the end of the scene, they agree to rebuild the broken trust of their own mother-in-law/son-in-law relationship. It's been years since the show aired, of course, so my memory is a bit fuzzy, but I do recall that it seemed Elliot definitely "won" in the confrontation. I think (but am not sure) that Elliot very forcefully told Eleanor that she should accept him because Nancy has decided that he 'makes her happy.'"
"In the Lifetime rerun, Elliot only briefly refers to this scene when, at the episode's end, he and Nancy are discussing how Eleanor took the kids out to give them some privacy."
Andrea adds her observations:
"In the scene, Elliot tells Nancy's mom that she wants Nancy to stay just the same, "be Jack's best girl" so that they can go look at leaves together. He also says Nancy has been changing and he "can't wait to see what she does next!"
Rebecca also notes:
"When the show originally aired on ABC, there was a scene where Eleanor actually catches Elliot in the kitchen, wearing only a shirt and his boxer shorts, after he has sneaked back int the house to make love with Nancy. In the Lifetime reruns, this is cut and Elliot only refers to it later, with Michael."
"24 channels and nothing to watch, except penguins. There's always something on about penguins." --Eleanor
"Oedipus oats--you and your mother will love them." --Michael's second worst ad slogan ever
"I used to be embarrassed when [Elliot and Dad] would go into a restaurant because they'd do weird things with the silverware." --Nancy
Trivia: Elizabeth Hoffman was Nancy's mom here, and she was Patricia Kalember's character's mother on the series Sisters (1991-1996). Kalember played Gary's girlfriend Susannah.