Bruce Feist on Northern Exposure ''Cicely'' Episode
From: Bruce Feist
To: All Msg #114, Jul-27-93 04:54PM
Subject: Northern Exposure "Cicely" Episode
The "Cicely" episode of Northern Exposure was re-shown last night. I hope
others here saw it, since it had a strong feminist theme.
Cicely is the Alaskan town that the show takes place in. It is also the name
of half of a lesbian couple who the episode is about; Rosalyn is the other
The episode is largely a flashback to the days of the Wild West, which was
very much evident in the town (then unnamed) at the time, which was being
terrorized by an unruly gentleman and his following. Rosalyn and Cicely
arrive and turn the town into the 'Paris of the North', a haven for artists
and freedom of expression. Rosalyn in particular has a number of memorable
lines, which I will procede to misquote since I have neither a script nor an
infallable memory available.
Background: Mary, a religious young woman in the town, tries to start the
townsfolk singing hymns in a bar. A ruffian shouts her down and starts people
singing a bawdy ditty instead. Rosalyn goes to him, and explains that she
finds the use of superior force to suppress the weak reprehensible. He
suggests that she sit down before she gets hurt. She decks him. The
townsfolk sing hymns.
Mary seeks out Rosalyn, who is doing yardwork (plowing, I believe). She asks
Rosalyn if there is anything wrong with her; she is unable to attract a man
despite the fact that she is doing her best to demonstrate her great morality
by opposing drinking, gambling, and so on. What do men want?
Rosalyn replies that this has been a problem since Eve and Adam. It is
natural for men to love women, since it is simply a transfer of the affection
felt originally for the mother, who is a woman. However, this love is tainted
by the anger at the mother for being the source of discipline as well as love.
Women, on the other hand, are not as naturally attracted to men, because the
transferrance of affection now involves a switch in gender as well. "In my
experience, it usually does not work." (Note: the father does not enter into
this conversation at all).
And in a completely off-topic sideline, one of the town terror's sidekicks is
a bit of a philosopher. When Mary offers him a Bible, he pulls out a copy of
Crime and Punishment and offers it to her instead; they immediately descend
into a philosophical debate on godhood versus humanity. Later, he delivers an
ultimatum from his mentor, and demands action by the time he counts to
three... no, that's not right; by the time he recites the three basic tenets
of Hegelian philosophy: "Thesis! Antithesis! Synthesis!"
I love that show!