The Ropers

Season 2 Episode 20

The Rummage Sale

Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM May 01, 1980 on ABC

Episode Recap

Stanley is in the living room with Helen, looking at the bird cage and trying to figure out what is wrong with his pet parakeet, Oscar. Helen thinks Oscar is dead, and Stanley picks it up and begins petting it, asking it to tell "Popsie' who's a pretty boy. Helen contends that the bird never said that when it was alive, so it most certainly won't say it now. Stanley isn't convinced, and puts the bird up to his ear. He claims he can hear its heartbeat, but Helen informs him that it's only his watch. He switches hands, then concedes that the bird is dead. As he sits down at the table, Stanley wonders who he is going to talk to, and who will greet him when he gets home. Helen reminds him that she'll still be around. Stanley angrily contends that it's not the same, because the bird really liked him. Helen tells him that it's not the end of the world, but Stanley suggests she should try telling Oscar that. She reminds him that he'll always have his memories of the bird. Stanley agrees, and reminisces about the time Oscar made a poopsie on Ethel's hat. Helen laughs out loud. He then reminds her about the time Oscar flew up Helen's dress, which she doesn't think was quite as funny. Stanley gets up and begins to look for something to bury the bird in. Helen suggests he use an empty cereal box, which outrages Stanley. He explains that he wants to use the box tops to enter a contest. He notices her jewelry box, and asks if he can use it. Helen objects at first, then notices it only contains hairpins, and lets Stanley have it. Stanley explains that he'll dig a little hole in the garden, and asks Helen to borrow the Brookes' shovel. She asks why he can't go himself, and he claims that he's in mourning.

Jeffrey and Anne are collecting items to donate to their church's rummage sale, while David is sitting on the floor reading a book, out of his parents' sight. Anne has doubts about donating a blue dress to the rummage sale, because she thinks it was the dress she was wearing when Jeffrey proposed to her. Jeffrey reminds her that she wasn't wearing a dress when he proposed to her. As Anne smiles in agreement, David asks why she wasn't. Jeffrey is shocked, then contends that Anne was wearing slacks at the time. He politely asks David to sit on the chair, where he can be seen. The doorbell rings, and Jeffrey answers it. It's Helen, who asks if she can borrow a shovel, explaining that it's for Stanley. Jeffrey hopes that she's also returning the hedge clippers Stanley borrowed last year. Anne scolds him, and he goes outside to get the shovel. Anne asks Helen if Stanley is planning on doing some gardening. Helen explains that he's going to plant his bird. Anne asks what happened to Oscar. At this point, Jeffrey returns with the shovel, and overhears Helen's response, "he died during the night," and thinks she's talking about Stanley. Helen takes the shovel from a sullen Jeffrey, and contends that it must have been his heart, because she found him with his legs in the air, stiff as a board. Jeffrey is shocked, and consoles her. Helen explains that she just wants to give him a simple burial. Jeffrey asks if there is anything he can do. Helen tells him that she's just going to dig a little hole at the end of the garden, and drop him in. Jeffrey is confused. Anne hopes that the neighbor's cat doesn't dig him up. Jeffrey glares at her with his mouth agape, and angrily asks if she's talking about Stanley. Helen finally explains that she's talking about their pet parakeet. Stanley sarcastically says that's a shame, then storms to the bedroom. Anne explains that she's sorting through some old clothes for the rummage sale to raise money for their church. She asks Helen if she has any old clothes. Helen bluntly responds that she must be kidding.

Stanley is still mourning his dead bird when Helen returns with the shovel. She tells him to hurry up, because they are going to the St. Filberts rummage sale. Stanley angrily contends that she already has enough clothes, then laughs. She explains that she needs to find something to donate, because she volunteered "our" help. Stanley is outraged. Helen angrily contends that this is their chance to join the congregation, so that they can meet the right people. She further explains that they have a lot of interesting social activities. Stanley is perturbed by the word, "activities." Helen quips that she forgot that he doesn't know the meaning of that word. She repeats her request that he find a few things to donate. He tells her to just donate some junk they would otherwise throw away. She retorts that his description covers everything they own. He admits that he just doesn't like the idea, which causes her to inquire what he has against the church. He reminds her that's where they got married. She angrily scolds him, and hopes he won't talk that way when Reverend Harper arrives to pick up the donations. Stanley is perked up, because he's going to ask the Reverend to say a few words over his dead bird. Helen orders him not to do that. She then thinks about what else she could donate, then looks in Stanley's direction. She lunges for him, and he darts out of the way. However, she is only interested in the bird cage behind him. Stanley angrily proclaims that the body isn't even cold yet, and she's selling Oscar's house.

Later, the Reverend arrives at the Brookes' and sits down on the sofa for some coffee. Jeffrey paces back and forth behind the sofa and begins a tirade about smut being everywhere you look, even the drugstores. The Reverend asks what he means by smutty drugstores. Jeffrey angrily contends that the new drugstore forces smutty magazines on you, placing them right under your nose. The Reverend admits he didn't notice. Stanley explains that you have to stand on tip toes to see them on the top shelf behind the auto magazines. The Reverend is appalled, and declares that he would rip them from the shelves to keep them from the eyes of the innocent, but the law has tied his hands, so there's not much they can do about it. Jeffrey angrily contends that they can, and stomps he feet on the floor, declaring that they can stomp it out. Anne agrees, pointing out that they haven't tied his feet down yet. Jeffrey and the Reverend aren't impressed by her humor.

Helen is packing clothes into boxes with her name written on them, when Jenny comes downstairs and asks if they should donate a dirty, worn out jacket she is carrying. Helen tells her to set it aside and she'll put it in the garbage. Jenny throws it on the floor, and agrees with Helen's assessment. Helen thanks her for helping out, and Jenny says she doesn't mind because it's for a good cause. Stanley enters from the front door, and immediately notices the dirty jacket lying on the floor. He proclaims that they found his favorite jacket, and picks it up and puts it on. He watches Jenny pick up a red dress and angrily demands to know if Helen is giving it away. She explains that it is ten years old. Stanley contends that she never wore it. She admits she hasn't, explaining that it's a party dress, then hopes that no one finds out who donated it because it's so out of style. Jenny explains that she wrote Helen's name on the boxes because the charity probably wants to know where it's coming from. The doorbell rings, and Helen lets the Reverend in. He tells her that Anne told him she would have some things for him. Helen explains that she has some things that are old and might not be useful anymore, and introduces him to Stanley. The reverend declares that they must be friends of the Brookes'. Helen says yes, and Stanley says no. The reverend contends that Jeffrey is a fine man who is a leader against moral decay and always strives to be closer to God. Stanley suggests that must be why Jeffrey always has his nose up in the air. Helen elbows him in the stomach. The Reverend thanks them for their generosity, to which Stanley contends that he told Helen that nothing is too good for the church. Helen offers him tea, but he has to leave. Stanley contends that with all of the rich people in the Reverend's congregation, he must make out like a bandit. Helen scolds him, and the Reverend nervously asks if he can take the boxes. Stanley tells him he doesn't have to lift the boxes…because Jenny and Helen will carry them out. Before the Reverend leaves, Stanley says he wants to ask him a religious question. The Reverend is intrigued. Stanley takes him to the side, and asks if birds go to Heaven. The Reverend is now confused. Stanley explains that his bird already has wings, and would be right at home there. The Reverend explains that there is no definitive statement on the subject. Stanley explains he just wants to give the bird a decent burial, handing the jewelry box to him and asking him to say a few words. The Reverend hesitates, and Stanley tells him not to worry, and suggests the next time he's burying someone, he can just slip the jewelry box in the grave. The Reverend is appalled.

Sometime later, Stanley is watching television while still donning his old jacket, when Helen comes downstairs and demands to know why he isn't ready to leave. He explains they've helped enough already by giving away all of their good stuff. She contends that she only gave away things they don't use anymore, like the bird cage, Stanley's old gardening magazines, and old clothes. Stanley angrily jumps to his feet after hearing she gave away the magazines. Helen explains that Jenny found them in the storeroom in a cardboard box. Stanley becomes enraged, and explains that only the magazines on top were gardening related, and the rest were… art magazines. Helen realizes what they were and begins to fume silently, while Jenny is intrigued and asks what kind of art magazines they were. Stanley angrily contends they were just art. Helen angrily reminds him that he told her he threw out all of his girlie magazines, then declares that she's just donated a box of dirty magazines to a church rummage sale. She says that she could just scream. Stanley says that he could too, because it was a valuable collection. Stanley suggests they could get them back, but Helen fears that if the church found out where the magazines came from, they wouldn't let them join. Stanley reminds her that Jenny put her name on the box. Helen screams hysterically.

Jeffrey enters a room at the church where the rummage sale is taking place, carrying a box of goods. He places it on a table, and walks over to another table where the box labeled with Helen's name and containing the dirty magazines is located. Anne approaches him and asks how much she should ask for a pair of hedge clippers. He examines them, then realizes that they are his, and angrily explains that Stanley borrowed them, then donated them to the rummage sale. David approaches and asks if he can buy a comic book. Jeffrey contends that he doesn't approve of him reading comic books, but David retorts that his father reads them, and identifies the comic as "Sharkman." Jeffrey is intrigued, and eagerly pages through it. He then tells David he can buy it for a dollar. David proceeds to ask him for a dollar, which disappoints Jeffrey. He asks what David has done to earn a dollar. David responds that he's helped sell a comic book. Jeffrey concedes and lets him take the comic as he places a dollar in a collection box. The Reverend comes over, declaring they are just about ready for business. Jeffrey casually moves the box containing the dirty magazines to the center of the table, which draws the attention of the Reverend. He sees the gardening magazine on top and picks it up and looks at it, turning his back to Jeffrey. Jeffrey claims he likes to garden himself, then looks down at the box and screams, lunging to cover the dirty magazine as the Reverend is jolted and looks at him. He asks Jeffrey, who is draped over the box, what is wrong. Jeffrey contends that nothing is wrong, and that he was just impressed by the turnout. The Reverend explains that there's nobody here yet, and Jeffrey claims he is just practicing, saying hello repeatedly. The Reverend turns away, and Jeffrey picks up a dirty magazine and begins looking at it. He opens the centerfold, and the Reverend declares that he can't believe they grow that large. Jeffrey is shocked, and presses the open magazine against his chest. He nervously asks the Reverend to repeat what he just said. The Reverend clarifies that sunflowers get very big. Jeffrey takes both magazines and returns them to the box, just as David returns and asks to see a magazine. He scolds his son, and tells him to go see how old Mrs. Wilson is. The Reverend attempts to retrieve the magazine, but Jeffrey forcefully prevents him from doing so, and claims that it is time to open the doors. Anne returns, and asks where Helen is. Jeffrey contends that she must be ashamed to show her face, and places the box under the table. David returns, and tells his father that Mrs. Wilson is 72 years old, "if it's any of your business." Jeffrey is shocked.

Helen nervously enters the room, leading Stanley by the arm and ordering him to smile so that no one notices that anything is wrong. Stanley grins goofily, and she tells him to stop. She orders him to find the magazines and sneak them out before anyone sees them. He blames Jenny for snooping around. She scolds him, and wonders how he could buy such trash, because its cheap, cheap, cheap. Stanley tells her she sounds just like Oscar. Stanley leaves, and the Reverend approaches, and proclaims that he was just browsing through her magazines. Helen is shocked. He admits that they share some of the same interests. Helen is confused. He says she would be surprised at some of the things he does behind the church. Helen glares at him with her mouth agape, and scolds him. He declares that it helps him relax while he works on his weekly sermon. Helen puts her hands on her face as he walks away. Jeffrey notices Stanley frantically looking around. Stanley claims that he's just browsing for a book. Jeffrey picks up a book about strip mining in Brazil. Stanley says he'll wait for the movie, then asks if he has any gardening magazines. Jeffrey pretends to think about it, then contends that the Reverend or his wife bought them all. Stanley is shocked. Jeffrey then brings the box in question back onto the table top, and Stanley proclaims he will take the whole thing. Jeffrey asks him how much he's willing to offer, and Stanley responds with 50 cents… for the whole box. Jeffrey angrily suggests $35. Stanley reminds him that he donated them. Jeffrey suggests they look through them, which causes Stanley to fork over the money and carry the box off. Helen finds Anne, and asks if she can have an orange jacket for $5. David finds the jewelry box containing Stanley's bird, and asks how much the dead bird is, as he presents it to his mother.

After returning home, Stanley is trying on his new orange jacket after Helen altered it to fit him. He says he feels like a popsicle, and asks what she did with his old jacket. She explains that it came in real handy for wrapping up the garbage, then orders him to get rid of his box of magazines because she doesn't want that trash in her house. Stanley contends that there's nothing wrong with looking at the human body. She asks why he never wants to look at hers. He explains that he's already seen it, then smiles goofily at the camera. She begins to angrily sift through the magazines, but notices that they are all actually gardening related and begins to laugh hysterically.

Jeffrey and David are sitting on the couch, and Jeffrey is reading his son the comic he bought at the rummage sale, speaking in a dramatic voice which doesn't impress David. David gets up and walks away while his father is still reading. The doorbell rings, and Jeffrey answers it. It's Stanley, still wearing the orange jacket. Jeffrey notices it, and declares that it's his jacket. He explains that he's had it since prep school, and would like to buy it back. Stanley pretends that it means a lot to him, causing Jeffrey to repeatedly ask how much he wants. Stanley offers to give him the jacket if he tells Stanley where he hid the dirty magazines. Stanley hands him the jacket and they shake hands. Jeffrey angrily declares that he threw the magazines into the incinerator. Stanley tries to take the jacket back, to no avail. Helen enters from the front door, and Stanley tells her that Jeffrey burned the magazines. Helen smiles, and happily declares it to be a shame. Jeffrey tries on the jacket, but finds out that the sleeves are now much shorter. Helen explains she had to shorten them for Stanley. Jeffrey is enraged, and Stanley reminds him that a deal is a deal. Anne enters carrying a handful of dirty magazines, and angrily asks Jeffrey where they came from and reads off the names – "Girlie Girl", "Nudes", and "Broads." Jeffrey claims that he was going to burn them in the fireplace. She angrily reminds him that they don't have a fireplace. He explains that he is going to be getting one very soon, and asks her to picture it on the wall, and roasting weenies and marshmallows. He then bends over, and the coat splits down the back. Everyone laughs hysterically at his misfortune.