Brooklyn Bridge

Season 1 Episode 4

Sylvia's Condition

Aired Friday 8:30 PM Oct 18, 1991 on CBS

Episode Recap

It is Jewish Thanksgiving Day, Succoth, and the Silvers and Bergers are planning a family dinner with Sophie running the show as usual. Alan wants to watch a football game on television, however and so he negotiates with his mother Phyllis for a few minutes after dinner. Better than nothing, Alan resigns.

Setting the table, Sophie and Phyllis discuss Sylvia, Sophie's other daughter. As Sophie finds fault with Sylvia's unorthodox appearance and lifestyle (beret and coffee houses), Phyllis defends her sister Nathaniel chirps in with the fact that his Aunt Sylvia is his favorite relative.

Like a brisk late winter breeze. in comes Sylvia, spouting poetry and handing out gifts to her nephews. "Where's Joel?" Sophie inquires immediately. Joel is Sylvia's husband. "He had an emergency, Ma." Sophie is even more perplexed than before. Joe; is after all, an accountant.

Jules worries that Joel works too hard and offers to send the couple away for a night on the town, including an Eddie Fisher concert. "Not my type of music," sighs Sylvia. Taken aback, Jules and George break into song with a rousing rendition of "O my Papa, to me he was so wonderful, O my Papa, to me he was so good."

As the men leave the room, Phyllis comments how lucky the family was to have three good men. "Oh? Who is the thuird," asks Sylvia. "Joel." "Oh, yeah, my husband."

Now it's Sylvia's turn to have a heart-to-heart talk with Phyllis, who is now defending their mother to Sylvia. But Sylvia knows nothing she does is ever pleasing to her mother and confesses she was always jealous of Phyllis being the good daughter. As Phyllis delights in the whole family getting together, Sylvia comes clean. She and Joel are getting a divorce.

Realizing dinner is going to be late and the football game is at risk, Alan tries to convince Natie to fake illness so they can both go upstairs. Natie wants no part of that scam again and rebuffs his older brother's ruse. Willie and Miriam arrive in a flurry but not as light as Sylvia's earlier the family sits around the table, Sylvia's baba ganoush goes all the way around untouched.

As Sophie is withholding the turkey til Joel's arrival. Sylvia finally tells everyone about her failing marriage. Shocked and angry, Sophie declares "Dinner's over. Everybody, go home!" nobody budges and Sophie goes to lie down, Jules coaxing her to come out to their guests and at least bring out the turkey. "No one has ever gotten a divorce in this family or on this block," Sophie laments. "So, we'll be the first," chimes in Jules.

Willie and Miriam leave but not before trading insults while Willy slurps down several helpings of the baba ganoush.

Sophie comes out and has a detailed explanation from her daughter. 1st, she is leaving Joel, not the other way around. She wants to fly and he keeps her suffocated on the ground. Besides, he doesn't satisfy her sexually, a point Nathaniel picks up and repeats to Sid later at the candy store. "I'm not surprised," replies Sid as if he was speaking with an army buddy instead of a nine year old boy.

On their way home from the store, the boys see Joel sitting in his car outside of the apartment building. Climbing in, they listen to the game on the radio as Joel reaffirms that he will always be their uncle.

As they try to sneak him a plate of food, Sophie catches them and give the plate to Sylvia to take to her husband and talk things out. She indeed takes him the plate but to Sophie's chagrin as she peers out the window, Sylvia then just turns and walks away.