It is a dark and stormy night and the Red Baron -- I mean, Maxine -- is fast asleep in bed, a book open on her chest and her glass clutched in one hand. A raindrop falls right on her face. She groans and turns over, but three more raindrops kersplash right into her ear. Maxine grumbles, turns on the light and sits up. There is a huge leak, right over her pillow. She gets out of bed, pulls a variety of cooking paraphernalia out from under the bed (a dog dish, a cookie sheet, a pot, all presumably placed there for this purpose) and examines the situation. The ceiling is in bad shape, and leaking both over her bed and right onto her dresser. She sighs.
Fast-forward to later that morning; Maxine barrels through the back door, all decked out in her galoshes and rain gear, with the dog. "It's going to be a long day," she warns him as she dries him off. "Nobody's going to be here to let you out." I sympathize; our dog, Ooogie (also known as Ooogalicious, Ooogtastic and Ooogariffic) won't pee when it's raining out, either. Not even if you take her out and hold an umbrella over her head. She's quite spoiled. Judge Amy "The Picture of Dorian" Gray comes bounding down the stairs and asks her mother to please get the roof fixed. Lauren, right on her mother's tail, waves her homework in Maxine's face. It's all wet. Maxine, in the time-honored tradition of mothers everywhere opines that water never hurt anyone and puts Lauren's homework in the oven to dry out. Amy complains more about the leaky roof. Maxine says it doesn't bother her and tells Amy that she's sure Amy has more important things to worry about than the roof. Lauren discovers puddles on the kitchen floor and starts splashing around in them, although she's not wearing boots and is getting her jeans all wet. Maxine and Amy just watch as she stamps around in the water.
Credit roll. Jangly theme song plays. Evocative black-and-white photos flash.
In the Halls of Justice, Amy presides over the custody hearing du jour; Eric Capono, stepfather, is fighting Natural Father Paul Brody for custody of Daughter Caroline, whose mother, Eric's wife, has recently died. Stepfather Capono has raised Carolyn with her mother since she was barely over a year old, and while Natural Father Brody has maintained contact with Carolyn through letters and phone calls since he and her mother separated, he hasn't actually seen her since. Why, you ask? Because Mr. Brody has a malady much beloved by writers of television dramas (David E. Kelley, I'm looking at you): Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, also known as OCD. And, as Capono's counsel so sensitively puts it, he's "afraid of getting cooties." As Brody's lawyer -- who looks just like a clean-shaven Steven Spielberg -- explains that Mr. Brody has been in therapy, and is mentally ready and willing to take on the myriad responsibilities of fatherhood, Bruce leans over the edge of his tiny desk and turns on the heater. The gust of hot air from the vent blows a paper onto Mr. Brody's lap. While Amy yammers about wanting to hear from psychiatrists and family interaction studies, Brody takes his gloved hands out of his pockets and places the paper on the table. Mr. Capono looks sad.