Northern Exposure

Season 3 Episode 15

Democracy in America

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Feb 24, 1992 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • Tempest in a Teapot

    The plot of Democracy in America is absolutely ridiculous and full of holes. We find out midway through season 3 that Holling has been Cicely mayor for decades without any elections taking place during that time. (Incidentally, if Holling is mayor, then why does Maurice always call and chair town meetings?) Yet, Maggie and Joel are pressed into service to oversee election rules that have been in place for these nonexistent elections. The walk-on character of reclusive resident Edna Hancock has had a festering grudge for five years over a stop sign she had asked Holling for but not received. This, on a section of highway near her house, because she objects to the noise of the trucks working through the gears. This makes no sense, as the trucks would make even more noise if they had to come to a complete stop. On top of that, we find out she runs a logging operation on her property (no trucks there, Edna).

    The even bigger problem with this episode are the several breaks in character continuity from previous episodes. Normally likable and benevolent, Ruth-Anne becomes a tyrannical bully. She blackmails Joel into serving as an election official. During her moderation of the debate, she strictly admonishes Holling for interrupting Edna, yet ignores Edna's interruptions of Holling. Ruth-Anne's character is an atheist, yet quotes a bible verse when Chris enters the polling hall. She is uncharacteristically rude during this Q&A section of the debate:

    -Random Townsman: Uh, I was wondering if the candidates saw the stop sign as a Jeffersonian or Hamiltonian expression of democracy in action?

    -Ruth-Anne: What kind of a stupid question is that? Sit!

    The comedic irony is that it was probably the only intelligent thing said during the entire scene (Jefferson opposed use of public funds for special interests, whereas Hamilton approved of it).

    Inexplicably, for just this one episode, Maurice abandons his ambitions of growing and expanding Cicely, and gets vocal against tract housing and shopping malls, which we always thought he supported.

    This is a mess of an episode. Jeff Melvoin wrote a few fine episodes, but this isn't one of them.

  • Politics hits the town of Cicely in the 1st Mayoral Race ever!

    If you like politics and Northern Exposure then this should rank as one of the all time best episodes in the series. Ed has never voted and develops a tic and goes to see Joel where we find out that Holling as always been Mayor and this is the 1st time the town is voting for the office. Ruth Anne pegs Joel and Maggie as election officials heading up the mayoral election and watch the sparks fly! We also get to know who's the Republican and who's the Democrat b/t those 2 in a very funny exchange. One of the more touching aspects if watching Chris, who can't vote speak beautifully on the subject or as Ruth Anne puts it "wrapping himself in the star spangled banner." Awesome episode from the writing, acting, and snow filled shots of Cicely.