Murder, She Wrote: My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean   Rewatch 
September 30, 2014 6:10 AM - Season 1, Episode 15 - Subscribe

Jessica's niece, Pamela, is distraught over the suicide of her husband, so to cheer Pam up, Jess books a cruise for the two of them. But while on the cruise, Jessica's niece is terrorized with reminders of her dead husband.
posted by filthy light thief (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I love this episode!

1. A character professes his romantic intentions toward Jessica, which I think is the fifth one this season.
2. Jessica has yet another niece
3. Jessica ignores all warnings and protocols and does whatever she wants
4. Jessica looks great, this time in cruisewear

And great guest stars: Leslie Nielsen, Vicki Lawrence, Jo Anne Worley, Lynda Day George, and Doogie Howser's mom as Jessica's niece.
posted by mochapickle at 11:21 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh! And 5. Jessica puts herself in immediate danger.

I love her drunken fedora.
posted by mochapickle at 11:26 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

There are definitely great elements to this episode, but overall, the writing on this show is so very episodic, with limited continuity from episode to episode. For instance, in Capitol Offense, Jessica says "We'll get along just fine if you try to remember that I'm not your addlepated great-aunt from East Nowhere," but in this episode, she calls a walk on the deck "having a constitutional," and later says "jim-dandy."

Those are some key tropes.
  1. Only the 5th romantic proposal in 15 episodes? It has to be higher than that. Ah, I'll think on it later
  2. Seriously, what kind of family tree is Mrs. Fletcher a part of? (A blog with questions about MSW, sadly lacking in a family tree - another thing for me to fill my time :) )
  3. I think Jessica has the combined gifts of celebrity and advanced age, which reduce her concern with rules and regulations that hold so many people back in life.
  4. I agree, and so does the L.A. Times, from 1992: 'The reigning fashion queen, and one of the few female TV performers old enough to collect Social Security, is indisputably Angela Lansbury of the long-running "Murder, She Wrote."'
  5. Kind of goes along with #3. JB was YOLO before there was YOLO.
Great lines said and missed, and the things I thought after them:
  • "Smell that clean air, darling." Ah, the smell of dead fish and diesel exhaust. "Think of it two straight weeks of solid breathing." Because we had agreed to stop breathing up to now.
  • Dr. Andrea Jeffreys Reed's comment about not knowing how to use a camera was the perfect set-up for Jessica's brother (in-law?), Dr. Marshall McGill, to say "just point and shoot" as the set-up for Dr. Reed getting shot, but no...
  • Neice Pamela Crane, of the suicide letter from her husband: "It's all I have left." So, you burned and/or gave away the rest of your husbands things?
  • Dr. Reed is, well, a doctor, but "George does all the reading in the family"? I guess she's busy being a doctor.
  • George Reed to Jessica: "We don't want to disturb." But you've already interrupted her dinner, you dolt.
  • When Jessica asks who added the daily special, Jess is told "Why, no one's. This must be someone's idea of a joke." Because the Chicken breast stuffed with chopped walnuts, mushrooms and covered with mustard sauce is a terrible recipe?
  • Who thinks that their dead husband would whisper to them on a cruise? Does Pam have no fear of ghosts?
  • When Pam is in the ship's infirmary, and Jessica (or someone) says "She lost some blood," I really wanted Leslie Nielsen to respond "We'll send someone to look for it."
  • Jessica really ages herself by saying she and her niece are out on a "constitutional," and when she later says "jim-dandy."
  • Pam, about her dead husband: "His real mother was an unwed teenager." Well, she's older now. She should be in her twenties, at least.
  • Pam, to Glasses: "You're married, aren't you? ...You seem the type." What, the marrying type?
  • "Amazing what computers can do nowadays."
  • "That some deranged woman is responsible for the attacks on your niece? Well, that, uh, is one possibility." Well, not really, because everyone knows that women are the weaker species, and prone to fainting spells.
  • This crude transcript doesn't capture the captain's response to Miss Fletcher's accusation of Mrs. Reed as possibly being Johnny Crane's real mother, which was more of a drawn-out "Whaaaat?"
  • Oh, Ramon, you cad! "I hope this evening you will do me the honor of one dance. Perhaps some more, hmm? I will show you my hootchy-kootchy."
  • Nitpicking: there's a ship-wide call for "Pepper," Pam's pet name from her now-dead husband. She goes to get the telex, which doesn't say Pepper, and how is that message worth an all-call? It was something like "Til death do us part," from "Johnny" - complete with scare quotes! And it was addressed to Pamela Crane, not Pepper, so whoever spoke on the intercom was in on the plot ... or it was another poorly scripted moment! Dun dun DUN!
  • Captain: "Oh, good God, woman. At this moment, I have motive for killing you." People are generally awful in this show about being faced with the potential list of murderers.
Parting thoughts: the kooky ladies also deserve more screen time. A shame they're only fun characters for this episode, who Jessica visits with to complain about the ship (and to see if they have any connection to her niece or dead husband).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:12 PM on October 3, 2014

'Drunk' Jessica is a hoot.
posted by Monochrome at 12:20 PM on October 3, 2014

Only the 5th romantic proposal in 15 episodes? It has to be higher than that. Ah, I'll think on it later

Here's the ones I have so far -- I think I'm missing one (wasn't there any Irish guy?) but see if this helps:

S1E1: Jessica's publisher
S1E2: The adrift millionaire
S1S5: Super-creepy David Tolliver, who is super creepy. Also: super creepy.
S1E8: Anatole Karzof of the KGB!
S1E9: Cruise ship captain Leslie Nielsen
posted by mochapickle at 2:49 PM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

In this episode, there was also Ramon, who tried to woo a few other ladies, too, the tramp.

In "It's a Dog's Life," didn't the soon-dead Denton try to woo her with talk of "withers?"
posted by filthy light thief at 9:41 AM on October 5, 2014

Ah, the Irish man I was thinking of is in Paint Me a Murder, the next episode.

I'm not sure about counting Denton and Ramon in the official tally... Ramon flirted with anything that moved, and Jessica tells Denton that she already knows his reputation, so he's a player as well. That withers line is amazing!

I think those examples are more intended to be character-building, to show how Jessica is appealing to all kinds of men. The more serious proposals help show her enduring love for her late husband -- she declines them all with sensitivity and grace. I'm counting the serious ones, but agree the flirtations are important. (I'm reading Tolliver as genuine.)

Separate tally?
posted by mochapickle at 7:33 AM on October 7, 2014

« Older Castle: Driven...   |  Resurrection: Revelation... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments