Season 1 Episode 17

Into the Night

Aired Saturday 9:30 PM Feb 21, 1987 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Reuben asks the deacon to spend an evening with his visiting aunt. Ernie sees that she is very reserved and tries to bring her out of her shell. They have a wild night on the town, and Aunt Martha ends up in jail.

    This early episode more clearly defines the philosophical differences that exist between the deacon and the reverend. Of course, there will be less strife in later seasons and this antagonistic relationship will mellow considerably after the reverend finally marries Thelma. But here, at the beginning of the series' run, the men are very much at odds. The point of contention involves Reuben's Aunt Martha. The reverend must take care of some urgent church business, so he asks the deacon to look after his aunt and help her celebrate a special birthday. But the deacon knows what a bore the old woman is and tries to pawn her off on Rolly (Jester Hairston), though Rolly is not interested either. Ernie has no choice but to go to a Polynesian restaurant and wine and dine Aunt Martha. At one point, he gets sick of her being such a stick in the mud that he decides to pay the bill and leave. But she changes her mind and decides to loosen up. He then takes her out on the dance floor, and she suddenly becomes a very wild, uninhibited woman. Of course, the plot is a bit far-fetched, but it's amusing and fun to watch. In fact, this episode, probably more than any other, shows how limber Hemsley's body is and how great he is at physical comedy (during the raucous dance number).