102 - Attack of the Killer Parents 104 - Couples

Episode 103--"housewarming"

Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick
John Pasquin
Air Dates
10/13/87, 8/2/88
Guest Stars
Faith Ford as Janine; Tom O'Brien as Dave Firland; Ian Rabson as Jerry Stahl; Bill Kalmenson as young ad executive; Mel Berenson as older ad executive; Mary McKuen as woman party guest
Michael decides to throw a house warming party for all his business connections and then has an ulcer over the needed renovations.

Old screen capture from a VHS tape

New screen capture from DVD
Sound wavs from this episode
(Sorry folks, I have to do this one from memory)

Michael decides it would be a good business move to throw a huge house party and becomes knotted up over the trouble, the cost, anxiety, arrangements, renovations, and his insecurities regarding his career and life. Add to that the fact that Hope was involved with Jerry Stahl, one of the prospective guests, many years ago and it's a nightmare waiting to happen.

Michael has an extended dream sequence in which his friends put him on trial for having been unfaithful to their radical ideals in college (Gary figured prominently in this) and this is somehow related to his current dilemma.

In the end, Michael puts his foot down about the renovations to the breakfast nook, saying he wants to wait and get it done properly the first time, but not until after Dave the carpenter flirted with Hope a little (and Ellyn drooled like a rabid dog at a rabbit breeders convention).

The party goes off very nicely, Jerry Stahl is a dork and Michael has nothing to fear, and the episode closes with everyone gathered in the living room listening to old records.

  • Michael looked very scrawny in these early episodes, but he bulked out fairly well by the beginning of the next season.
  • First appearance of Michael and Elliot's mini-basketball game.
  • Jan took the time to use closed captioning to provide this observation about what was being said at the very end of the episode: "While I had hoped that it was something personal (like Hope complaining that her french braids gave her a headache), instead Michael says 'Jerry Stahl happens to make about 300 thousand a year' to which Hope replies '...he also happens to be a very nice guy.'"
  • Jerry Stahl is in fact a real person who worked on thirtysomething, writing "born to be mild" and working for many other television shows. He was also a heroin addict, an episode in his life which has been chronicled in the book Permanent Midnight, now also a film starring Ben Stiller.
  • Goofs Music Fashion Dream Sequences Quotes


  • [4/21/99] From Carlos:

  • "I notice that on the episode House Warming, or wahtever its called, when Mike and Elliot are deciding who to invite for the party, they suggest the name of Cate or Catie Broyles.  Then Elliot goes like: Catie Broyles, didn't she win that Design award? (...) Now she won't even return my calls...  Something like that... :-)

    As it turns out, Cate or Catie Broyles is the creator of the My So-Called Life logo [her name appears on the closing credits of this show] and on Relativity, the opticals and the logo design is credited to Broyles/ [something i can't recall the name], which suggests that she was involved in the Relativity logo as well.. So I assume that 30 logo was also created by her, since that's the only reasonable explanation for her name to come out Elliot's mouth...

  • Michael is a good deal more panicky in these early episodes. Also, the tone is set for the friends to be liberal in their social politics. Still, I find it amazing, that in later episodes some characters are violently sanctimonious about the homeless and other issues, yet have such large houses, drive expensive cars, dress as they do, and so obviously enjoy the more material comforts of life. The contrast is jarring and undercuts the supposed sincerity of their beliefs. Maybe the point was to examine the inconsistitences in all our lives, but it still didn't quite sit right.
  • - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    The dashed line marks the point where Lisa Stevenson Blackwell's original version of this page ended, and where Bob Fahey began adding material.

    Scene edited out in Lifetime version. - Luiza Hirsch (Luiza@gmx.org) has both the Lifetime versions and the unedited versions aired in Germany. She writes that there is "a whole missing scene, over 2 minutes long, around 31 minutes into the episode, right after Michael comes home, feeling beat, and Hope comforts him, with Ellyn looking on approvingly. Hope and Michael are in bed sleeping when Michael is awakened by an apparition of his late grandfather. The dialogue goes more or less like this (this is my re-translation into English so it's not literal):

    Grandpa: I came to this country in 1917, with 20 cents in my pocket. I was 19, a complete greenhorn. And what did I do? I went to work.
    Michael: Grandpa, what are you doing here?
    Grandpa (ignoring him): I worked day and night. And with God's help, I managed for fifty years to feed my loved ones.
    Michael: I know, but it's much more complicated these days.
    Grandpa: You know, back in Russia, they used to pay me 10 cents for protecting the other Jewish kids from bullies.
    Michael: I know, you told me many times.
    Grandpa: These peasant boys used to throw rocks at us. So one day, I beat one of them up.
    (simultaneously with Michael:) The other ones had to take him to the hospital. (Clearly Michael knows this story by heart) That taught them.
    Michael (mockingly): Don't forget the part about the cossacks.
    Grandpa (still ignoring him): Then the cossacks came. Took everything away. It was horrible.
    Michael: I know, I know, but to be honest, I'm totally confused.
    Grandpa: A man's got to do what a man's got to do. He marches on. I pray to God that I'll live to see the day that you'll be a great man.
    Michael: You really think I could be a great man, grandpa?
    Grandpa: You're the only one in the family, Michael. But the most important thing is that you graduate college first. Then you find yourself a wife and start a family.
    Michael (indignant, pointing at Hope): This IS my wife.
    Grandpa: (unintelligible) No more of this drop-out bullshit.
    Michael (simultaneously): What are you talking about?!
    Grandpa: All this protesting.
    Michael, desperately: But what am I to do?
    Grandpa: I know you had a fight with your dad. Listen to me. I'm older than you. You're turning a molehill into a whole mountain range. (Yelling) Get a haircut!

    "At that point Grandpa, who has been sitting on the end of Michael's side of the bed, staring ahead and ignoring Michael, looks at him for the only time, then he disappears again.

    Aug. 2009 update: The above scene is restored in the DVD release.

    "In a later scene Michael is lying belly-down on that same bed, with his head exactly where Grandpa had been sitting, and Hope scolds him for worrying too much. Obviously, Michael's remark that cossacks could come at any moment and take it all away (which Hope makes fun of, understandably from her WASP perspective) makes no sense if you haven't seen the other scene first. In a way, the root of Michael's Jewish angst is embodied in this scene (a little heavy-handedly, I think). So by extension, this scene is a key to Hope's and Michael's different backgrounds and hence, different ways to feel about life."

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