The Ropers

Season 2 Episode 7

All Around the Clock

Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Oct 27, 1979 on ABC

Episode Recap

It's morning, and Helen enters the bedroom carrying a small wrapped present while Stanley is still asleep in the bed. She tries to wake him up, telling him she has something nice for him. Not bothering to open his eyes, he tells her that it's too early. She asks him if he remembers what day it is, and he replies that it's Sunday. Helen forcefully declares that it's their 23rd anniversary. Stanley is upset she woke him up to tell him that. She shows him the wrapped present, telling him it's something to make him more macho. Stanley thinks it's a bottle of vitamins. He unwraps the present to find that it is a smoking pipe. She points out that there's also some tobacco in the box, and he asks why, explaining that she doesn't like him to smoke. As Stanley fills and lights the pipe, Helen explains that the girls at the beauty parlor read a magazine article that claimed men who smoked pipes were more romantic. He complains that she's taking all the fun out of this. He gets out of bed, and Helen wonders aloud if he remembered to get her one. He quips that he didn't know she wanted a pipe. He continues, saying that he couldn't forget because she's been dropping hints for weeks, like showing him ads for fur coats. Helen begins to hop up and down on the bed in anticipation of getting a fur coat, saying "you didn't". Stanley mimics her motion and says back "I didn't." He then goes to the foot of the bed and brings out an unwrapped box from underneath, placing it on the bed. She opens the box to find a fancy-looking mantle clock, that Stanley claims is an antique. She asks how much it was. Stanley claims that it's not right to ask someone the price of an expensive gift, then tells her it was $100, claiming it is actually worth a lot more. Stanley further explains the dealer was trying to clear out his stock, and that his van was double parked. Helen shows a hint of disappointment. Brushing it off, she tells him he deserves a great big kiss. However, as she moves in to kiss him, he blows a cloud of pipe smoke in her face.

The Brookes are returning home from a vacation, carrying luggage up to the front door. Anne is complaining that this was the worst vacation she's ever been on, because Jeffrey didn't want to do anything but golf. Jeffrey counters that she didn't want to do anything but nag. Anne thought they were going on a ski trip, but he contends that you can't ski with golf clubs because they throw you off balance. He laughs nervously, eliciting a sarcastic laugh from Anne. She complains that she might have enjoyed learning golf if he didn't criticize her the whole time… she was carrying his golf bag. Jeffrey opens the front door, but before he can enter, David complains that he wouldn't let him dig holes in the sand even though he was making a lot of holes of his own. Jeffrey explains that it wasn't intentional. They all enter the home to find it thoroughly ransacked.

Helen is in the living room looking for a place to display her new clock. Stanley emerges from a side room, lighting his pipe. She asks him if which table he thinks the clock looks better on. He decides on the table it's currently sitting on, which prompts Helen to pick it up and move it to the other table. Helen looks out the front window and notices the Brookes have returned from their vacation. Stanley quips that he thought he heard someone kicking his car. Helen responds that she'd like to kick something, referring to the clouds of smoke that Stanley is producing. He admits that she was right, that a pipe makes a man feel more like a man. This elicits the big grin on Helen's face, and she encourages him to keep puffing away. Stanley notices that a police car has pulled up to the curb, and he asks Helen what she did. He then contends that the cops must have found out she never got a license for their puppy Muffin. Helen begins to panic, but Stanley tries to calm her down, saying he'll handle it in a man's way. Asked to explain, he says they should pretend they're not home.

Jeffrey emerges from his kitchen with the police officer. The officer explains the burglar forced the back door lock open. Jeffrey wonders why they have to trample his freshly seeded lawn. The officer contends that very few burglars he encounters are garden lovers. Jeffrey then blames the increase on crime on the new housing project in the area, calling it a den of thieves, and where the officer should start his investigation. Before he can continue, the officer informs Jeffrey that he lives there himself. Jeffrey is silent, then humbly apologizes. Anne enters from the kitchen, informing the officers that the only thing missing is a blender… which she lent to the Ropers. This reminds the officer that he thinks it s a good idea to talk to them. Jeffrey disagrees. Disgusted, the officer theorizes the Ropers must have moved from the housing project, and leaves. Anne asks Jeffrey why he has to act so superior all the time. He responds that the accusation is ridiculous, because he is way above that sort of thing.

The officer is writing in his notebook on the front porch when he is approached by David, who is carrying a yellow ball. David says hello to him, and the officer asks if he lives here. David contends that he himself is a cop, from the Twelfth Division. The officer acts impressed, and asks what they should do, referring to him as Sergeant. David immediately corrects him, declaring that he is a captain. He then explains that they should jump in the car, and chase the suspects with the siren on. The officer breaks in, saying David can jump out and make the arrest single handedly. David agrees, but explains that he's not allowed to cross the street. He then admits he's not really a policeman. The office contends that it's still fun to pretend, which causes David to think the officer isn't really a cop either.

Inside the Ropers', Helen asks Stanley if he thinks the officer is questioning the Brookes about Muffin. Stanley, still smoking his pipe, theorizes that they are after Jeffrey for white collar crime because he has so many expensive possessions. He contends they don't knock on someone's door unless they're on to something. At this point, there is a knock on the door, causing Helen to scream and Stanley to drop his lit pipe and burn his hand. As they scramble, Stanley removes some flowers from a narrow vase and stuffs his hand into it to soothe his burn. Helen answers the door, and the officer says he would like to ask them some questions. Stanley yells that she doesn't have to tell him anything. Stanley nervously asks him if he's here to ask about the dog license. The officer denies that, citing the Chief himself handles important things like that. He then informs them about the robbery involving the Brookes. Stanley contends that Jeffrey must have denied everything. The officer clarifies that Brookes were robbed themselves, which causes Stanley to enter a goofy laughing fit. Helen tries to excuse her husband, saying he gets a nervous reaction to bad news, and tends to laugh at funerals. Trying to change the subject, the officer asks if she's missing anything. She quips that he has to be kidding, glaring at Stanley. She then decides to go over and see how Anne is doing. The officer asks Stanley if he's heard any unusual noises the past few days. Stanley asks if he means things like footsteps in the dark, whispering, and locks breaking. The officer enthusiastically agrees, to which Stanley responds that he didn't hear anything. He then asks the officer to help him remove the vase from his hand, which he does with considerable effort, drenching himself with the water.

Helen is sitting with the Brookes drinking coffee on their living room couch. Anne explains the burglars took all of her jewelry, Jeffrey's cufflinks, and the stereo. Jeffrey breaks in, saying he'll never see any of it again, because they sell it as fast as they steal it. Anne explains that the thing that upset her the most was that her wedding gift from Jeffrey's mother, an antique mantle clock, was taken. This causes Helen to choke on her coffee. Anne gives a description that also matches the clock that Stanley just gave Helen for their anniversary. Helen is becoming very uncomfortable. Anne explains that it was insured, but can never be replaced. Jeffrey continues to complain that the thieves are probably counting their money right now. Anne fears that some horrible stranger is admiring her clock. Helen can only sit there with a sour look on her face.

Helen rushes home, and angrily explains to Stanley that the burglars stole a clock from the Brookes that looks just like the one he bought from the curbside antique dealer. Stanley, who is still smoking his pipe, doesn't see what the problem is. Helen tells him to think about it some more. After a moment, he tells her not to jump from conclusions, contending it must be different. He points out all of the features of their clock, and she contends the Brookes' had all the same. He asks to start over. He then claims he bought his clock from an honest businessman. Helen angrily asks him what kind of honest businessman sells antiques from the back of a van. The doorbell rings, and fearing that it's the officer, they desperately try to hide the clock. Helen hides it behind a fern on an end table as Stanley answers the door. Jeffrey enters, looking upset. He tells Stanley that he has something of the Brookes'. Stanley claims he never saw it. Jeffrey angrily asks if that means he never watered it. Helen breaks in, remembering she promised to take care of the fern that is currently hiding the clock. Jeffrey sees it and approaches it, but Helen intercepts him, swinging her arms around him, and pulling him in so they are face to face. He is shocked and puts his hands up. He forcibly moves Helen to the side, and utters an alarming gasp as he stares in the general direction of both the plant and the clock. Stanley says that he can explain. Jeffrey hopes he can, because the fern is full of dead leaves. Relieved, Helen contends she watered it every day. Jeffrey walks to the door, then comments that the thieves must not have stolen anything from Stanley and Helen. Stanley proudly claims they know better than to steal from him. Jeffrey concludes that the criminals must have good taste, and leaves.

Stanley is lying in bed with an unlit pipe as Helen washes up in the bathroom. Stanley complains that he can't keep it going. Helen responds that she's noticed that, thinking he's talking about "something else". He further complains that it's not working the way it's supposed to. She replies that she's noticed that too. He thinks the problem has to do with the way it's curved. Helen returns, and realizes he's talking about the pipe. They start arguing about the clock again, and who it actually belongs to. Stanley then stops, and says he's come up with the answer. Helen is intrigued. He says he's going to try putting less tobacco in the bowl of his pipe. She tells him to be serious, because he could be charged with receiving stolen goods, and they have to figure out a way to get the clock back to the Brookes'. Stanley agrees, because then they can be charged with receiving stolen goods. Helen angrily explains the clock actually belongs to them. With Helen showing signs of desperation, Stanley suggests they try to sneak the clock back into the Brookes' house, an idea which Helen quickly warms to.

A claims adjuster is at the Brookes', discussing the robbery with Jeffrey, who happens to be a personal friend. Jeffrey brings him some scotch in a Styrofoam cup, because all of their glasses were stolen. After taking a drink, the adjuster contends the good scotch must have been stolen too. Changing the subject, Jeffrey admits that for a time yesterday he thought he had forgotten to renew his policy. The adjuster confirms he is covered for everything but flooding, then jokingly asks if he's sure the items weren't destroyed in a flood. This elicits a terse response from Jeffrey, to which the adjuster tells him to calm down, because it's only money. The adjuster looks over the list of items, and points out that Jeffrey is claiming $40 for a razor. Jeffrey gleefully explains that it's only money. Suddenly losing his sense of humor, the adjuster tells him he will only allow $20 for the razor, which doesn't bother Jeffrey, since he admits it's only worth $10. The doorbell rings, and as Jeffrey goes to answer it, the adjuster suggests that maybe the police will recover some of the items. Jeffrey says he doesn't have that kind of luck, opening the door to find Stanley smoking a pipe, with Helen standing next to him, cradling a large purse with both arms. Jeffrey tells the adjuster he has "this" kind of luck, pointing at his neighbors. Helen explains that Stanley wanted to express his condolences for the Brookes' predicament. Jeffrey says that's very kind, and tries to slam the door on them. Forcing the door back open, she explains they want to do the same for Jeffrey's wife. After he explains that Anne isn't home, Helen says thank you as she pushes Stanley into the house, then follows him in. Jeffrey explains that Anne is at the police station, because they were told the police have a lead on the robbery suspects. They take a seat as Jeffrey introduces them to the adjuster. Stanley asks if he's going to help the Brookes' stick it to the insurance company, claiming that all insurance companies are crooks. This elicits an angry stare from the adjuster, who then says that he works for an insurance company. Stanley says that's good, because he must know all the dirty tricks. Not impressed, Stanley and the adjuster continue looking over the list of stolen goods. At this point, Helen quietly removes the clock from her purse, and has Stanley take it back to the table where they last saw it. Unfortunately, the clock lets out a single chime as he is carrying it. Bewildered, Jeffrey and the adjuster look at Stanley, who gives an indication that he just burped, which seems to make sense to them. Just before Stanley is able to place the clock in its correct location, they get to the clock on their list. This elicits a loud moan from Stanley, which catches Jeffrey's attention. Stanley claims he bumped his leg against… his other leg. He places the clock on the table and quickly returns to the couch to retrieve his pipe. Once he does, Helen gets up and says that they'll be going now. Just as the reach the door, Jeffrey is startled to see that his antique clock has suddenly reappeared. He asks where it came from, which elicits a hearty laugh from Helen, saying it's funny how some things can be right in front of your eyes without even knowing it. Opening the door to leave, they bump into Anne, who is carrying a large box full of items. She happily tells Jeffrey that she got some of their things back. The adjuster then happily rips the claim form in half. She explains the police caught a couple of teenagers. Jeffrey contends they must have been from the projects, but Anne informs him they were from one of the townhouses in their neighborhood. She lists off the items in the box, then enthusiastically pulls out the antique clock that Stanley and Helen thought they were in possession of. Stanley and Helen are in shock. Stanley says that he thought the other clock was theirs, which causes Jeffrey to laugh, calling it a piece of junk. This offends Helen. The adjuster explains that the other clock is a fake antique made in Hong Kong that is worth $10. Mouth agape, Helen turns and looks at Stanley. Stanley angrily admits that he paid $20 for it. Helen is now fuming, having thought he paid $100 for it. Anne asks why the clock is at their house, and Helen clumsily explains she thought they might want to borrow it since they didn't have a clock of their own anymore. She takes it from Jeffrey, and tells them they wouldn't want a piece of Hong Kong junk, as she shoves it into Stanley's breadbasket. She orders him to follow her back home, but he contends he's the man of the family and doesn't have to listen to her. Outraged, she walks back to him and pulls the bowl of his pipe from his mouth, leaving him to blow smoke out of the stem. Thoroughly embarrassed, Stanley sulks out the front door.