Becoming Donna Reed

Season 1: Episode 15 – Mary’s Double Date


Episode opens with Mary primping before the hallway mirror. She joins the rest of the family at breakfast. She has a dilemma. The junior prom is two days away and the boy she really want to go with, Ernie, has a girlfriend but their relationship is on the rocks. His friend, Phil, really wants to go with Mary, but she doesn’t want to say yes to him if there is a chance for her to go with Ernie. As she is explaining this to her family the doorbell rings. It is Charlie, a third boy who is head-over-heels for Mary, who has come to walk Mary to school. Mary tells Charlie she can’t walk with him and then gives him a list of errands to run. He happily agrees. They both leave.

Alex is shocked at how Mary is treating these boys and he discusses this with Donna.

At school Charlie continues to dote on Mary. She talks to Ernie about his rocky relationship and flirts with both he and Phil. Both boys seem on the cusp of asking Mary to the dance.

Mary returns home and tells Donna she is expecting calls from both Ernie and Phil. She hopes Ernie calls first because she does not want to prematurely accept Phil if she has a chance with Ernie. Donna can’t keep the two boys straight. Charlie approaches and Mary escapes to next door. Donna greats Charlie and they have a heart-to-heart. Charlie confesses that he is in love with Mary. Donna tells him that to get a girl he can’t be such a pushover. He has to learn to say no if he wants Mary to respect him. They role-play saying no.

Charlie leaves and the phone rings. It is Phil calling to ask Mary to the prom. Donna, still confused as to the whole Phil/Ernie thing, says that Mary will go with him. Mary comes back elated because she ran into Ernie and he asked her to prom. Donna confesses her error and now Mary has two dates. Mary vows to cancel plans with Phil.

The evening of the prom Alex and Donna are horrified to discover that Mary still has not cancelled plans with Phil. It is clear Mary is enjoying the attention from both boys. The phone rings and it’s Phil. He cancels plans with Mary. Then Ernie gets on the phone, he is at Phil’s house, and also cancels his date with Mary. Mary is crestfallen. Donna tells Mary she has been playing a dangerous game and must now face the consequences. Mary decides to call Charlie and go with him.

Mary comes down dressed for prom but still distraught. She can’t reach Charlie. She runs upstairs to try another number and there is a knock on the door. It is Charlie. Donna and Alex pull him aside and convince him to play it cool. Then he listens as Mary confesses her bad behavior and appreciation of Charlie to her parents. Charlie comes in and is no longer the pushover. He and Mary go the dance.

At the dance Mary is enamored with Charlie. She now appreciates him.


Don’t take those who adore you for granted.


In this episode Mary is labeled with two, perhaps seemingly contradictory, romantic stereotypes. First, she is the femme fatale, the woman toying with many men. Second, she is the good girl who falls for the bad boy. She is both heartbreaker and heartbroken.

Of course, the most sympathetic character is this whole debacle is Charlie. His only fault is that he is too nice, too attentive. I think we all know a Charlie, we may even be a Charlie. I think one of the true tests of maturity is when we stop being attracted to the bad boys and realize we worthy of the adoration of the Charlie.

Growing up, falling for the wrong guy seems to be a nearly unavoidable right-of-passage for most girls. What is the allure of the dangerous boy? Why do we need to put ourselves in the position to have our hearts and self-esteem beaten and battered?

As we get older we watch our peers splitting into different groups. The hopefully larger group starts to find more appropriate partners. People who value them and truly care for them. I really believe this is linked to how these women see themselves. At some point they realize that they are worthy of adoration and let themselves be adored.

Unfortunately, there always seems to be a small group of women in our lives who never come to this realization and continue to allow themselves to fall into relationships that are damaging. They have yet to realize that they deserve love without games.

When we start to allow ourselves to be adored, the Charlie’s become much more attractive. We want the nice guy. However, I think we all know Charlie’s who are still  looking for love. I do think there is a line here. If you only lavish adoration and don’t expect to be adored in return you are allowing yourself to be a doormat. No one wants to be with a doormat.

Finding the perfect partner and maintaining a strong relationship is one of the most wonderful and most frustrating things in the world. No matter how strong the pairing, there will always be challenges. However, starting with a partner with whom you share a mutual adoration is certainly a good start.

I guess I have been thinking a lot lately about the Charlies in my life, those amazing people I know, and there are a few, who are so wonderful, loving, giving, and yet they still have not found the perfect partner. Now, this is not to say that you have to have a relationship to be complete. I know other wonderful people who are happy to be single. The ones that have been on my mind are those who want a partner but can’t seem to find the right person. It certainly has nothing to do worth. These people all deserve to be loved and adored. I feel guilty sometimes that I found love so young when people I truly care about are still looking. I don’t know why I got lucky and others did not. I try never to take my love for granted.

Plan Of Action

If you have found your perfect mate, adore them wholeheartedly and appreciate the adoration they give to you.

If you know a Charlie, help them to realize that love can’t be all give and no take. Remind them that they deserve to be loved as much they love.