Becoming Donna Reed

Season 1: Episode 21 – Donna Plays Cupid


Episode opens with Donna and Alex stepping off an elevator. Their arms are filled with a tray and baskets of food. They have come to provide sustenance to Dr. Beau who hurt his back. Donna realizes she forgot the hollandaise sauce in the car and sends Alex back out after it. While Donna is preparing to knock on Beau’s door he is inside being berated by one of his lady friends who is jealous. It appears he hurt his back rescuing a damsel in distress and the rescue involved a bottle of champagne. As Donna enters with a tray of food, the girl is enraged further and storms off. Alex joins them as Beau eats Donna’s food. He praises the vittles and the woman. Alex is hungry and grumpy. Donna and Alex leave to go home.

On the way home Donna tells Alex that Beau really needs a good woman. She brainstorms some possible names and Alex tells her not to meddle. Back home Donna prepares dinner and continues to ponder women for Beau. Mary gets in on the act and they both decide on Celia Pennington, who has recently split from her boyfriend, Herbie. The idea is cemented.

Donna goes to visit Celia and finds she is indeed single. Then Donna calls Beau and invites him to dinner. She convinces Celia that a night out is exactly what she needs.

Donna creates a lavish, romantic dinner. There are candles, roses, and music. Beau and Celia arrive separately and conversation is awkward. Donna and Alex leave them to get acquainted and Celia and Beau chat about being fixed up. They decide to pretend to be interested in each other to appease Donna. Donna and Alex return to the living room and find Celia and Beau slow dancing. Donna is thrilled.

There is a knock and the door and Donna answers. She looks shocked. She goes outside to talk. The visitor is Herbie, Celia’s ex, he wants her back. Donna manages to keep him outside until he hears Celia’s laugh. He barges in and finds her dancing with Beau. There is a brief skirmish. Herbie confesses that he loves Celia and wants to marry her. They embrace. Beau calls up one of his lady friends and exits. Herbie and Celia go off together. Donna and Alex are alone.

During dinner Donna is happy that Celia and Herbie worked things out, but she still wants to find someone for Beau. Alex tells her to leave well enough alone.


Cupid had to carry arrows; matchmaking is dangerous.


I totally understand the urge to play matchmaker. When you are happy in your relationship you want to see all those you care for equally as happy. Since we know waving a wand a making everyone magically happy won’t work, we try to pair them off. We think of the good, nice, and fun people we know and attempt to pair them off. The idea comes from a good place, but it’s an impulse best squashed.

This is not to say there has never been a successful matchmaking attempt, but the odds of success seem to be equal to the odds of winning the lottery. I can only think of one couple I know who was brought together by matchmaking, but I know many, many people who had to endure horrific dates arranged by well-intentioned friends. It’s just not a gamble worth taking.

The truth is that there is nothing more complex and deeply individualized than our choice of life partner. What each of us wants and needs from a partner is so specific. Some couples push each other to achieve, some are base their partnership on the need  for mutual independence, some are about shared vision, and there are millions of more nuances. In all relationships supporting each is a major component, but the shape that support takes varies widely.

The problem with matchmaking is its hard to keep ourselves out of the equation. We put people together based on our idea of a relationship, but that may not be what the person needs. It’s like giving someone a winter coat when they really need a bathing suit.

Plan Of Action

Avoid the impulse to play matchmaker.