Proof of the “Too Close for Comfort” Monroe Rape Episode

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monroe rape too close for comfort

In the collective mind of all generations their are dark moments that dwell just at the edge of remembrance, occasionally surfacing in our fevered dreams, but remaining untouchable during our waking times. For some generations it is the dark memories of war or the specter of depression and plague. If you were born in the 1970s there is a good chance that the dark phantom that haunts you is the episode of “Too Close for Comfort” where Monroe is raped by two women in the back of a van. I know your mind is racing now. You remember it right, but you are not sure that if it really happened. Now go ask all your friends about it. About 1 in 10 will remember the episode, 4 in 10 will stare at you with a puzzled look (they remember, but are blocking) the other 5 will think you are a total idiot and will no longer take your calls.

I had read about this episode a few years ago and I was one of those 1 in 10. I clearly remember the episode, but everyone else looked at me like I was making stuff up. So I let it go – that is until I found the short movie “A Very Special Episode” by Ethan Duff and the memories returned. “A Very Special Episode” is a story about a man who remembers the episode and follows his short descent into madness as he tries to prove to himself and the world that the episode exists. If you have ever had a memory of something that no one else seems to remember this is the film for you.

a very special episode

After watching the episode I decided to see if I had anything in my immediate possession that proved that I had indeed seen the episode. I knew from the movie that the episode aired on July 20th, 1985 and that it was called “For Every Man, There’s Two Women”, which is more then I had before. I started digging through old VHS tapes hoping to dredge up something. Sadly it turns out I didn’t have one episode of “Too Close for Comfort” on tape. I was about to give up when I remembered that the “Retroist Print Archive” (box at bottom of hall closet) is filled with old TV guides. After an hour of searching I found what I was looking for:

too close for comfort rape episode

So there it is. Proof of the airing of the episode in 1985 New Jersey. Notice that the show is airing at 6 pm on channel 17? That is because at this point the show was airing on the Metromedia network (which would eventually become Fox). The show had run for 3 seasons on ABC, but due to declining ratings, they decided to pull the plug. Metromedia picked up the show and ran it in syndication from 1984 to 1986. The show still can be found in syndication, but mysteriously enough, “For Every Man, There’s Two Women” had never been rebroadcast.

I still do not have this episode of the show in my collection, but my quest for proof had energized me and it is only a matter of time before I get to watch this episode again with adult eyes and will have more to share.


60 Responses to Proof of the “Too Close for Comfort” Monroe Rape Episode

  1. josie says:

    Brilliant movie. I thought I was the only one who remembered this episode. The truth is out there!

  2. I am so happy you wrote about this! I think it would be more like 1 in 1000 who remember that episode, and that number would include me!

    I remember mentioning the episode to my sisters on one or two occassions. The producers of “Too Close For Comfort” must have thought the only believable way Jm J Bullock could ever have sex with a woman would be if he were forced at gunpoint.

    For me the other “Am I the only one who remembers this?” episode of a TV show is an episode of Diff’rent Strokes where Mrs. Garrett dates a man in his early twenties.

  3. The Retroist says:

    I think you might be right about the 1 in a 1000.

    As for that Different Strokes episode….I smell another post!

  4. Paul says:

    Wow that was a great movie. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I assume that the filmmakers had access to the episode because of the clips in the film? Or am I wrong?

  5. The Retroist says:

    He seemed to at least have access to some clips. I am sure the full episode will surface at some point. Until then I will continue to seek it out.

  6. I played Sara Rush on Too Close for Comfort, and now I’m going to be haunted by this episode. Was Monroe really raped by two fat women? It’s all coming back to me. Now I know why they buried this episode; it was too disturbing for the
    masses.

    I have repressed memories of this episode. The movie “Was Monroe Raped” is very well done…. chilling.
    Now I have to look through all my taped episodes and hidden archives of
    episodes. At first I thought this was actually the
    Selma Diamond episode in which Monroe loses his virginity to
    Rafkin’s sister.
    But now the memories of this bizarre rape are coming back to me.
    I’m getting together with Jim (Bullock) soon and we’ll “probe” the evidence.
    Luv xo
    Lyd

  7. Boy I think I overused the word “episode” a bit (above.)

  8. Brian says:

    Wow, a comment by a (major) cast member. And even she doesn’t remember!? What the heck is going on here?

  9. The Retroist says:

    Lydia – thanks for dropping by the site. Having a comment from you more then made my week.

    But now that I know how vague it is to the cast, I wonder what hope their is for the rest of us. The mystery deepens.

  10. Doug says:

    Great article! The link above wasn’t working, but I poked around on Google and found this:

    http://www.dufftownmedia.com/wasmonroeraped.html

  11. The Retroist says:

    Thanks Doug – Link must have just changed or something. I updated it.

  12. CLAM says:

    Five or six years ago I worked for a pop-culture radio program. I was and am one of those people with ghostly memories of this episode, but at the time I had grave doubts about its actual existence, and was frankly a little worried about what it meant that my imagination would create such a thing.

    I discovered that it was real, which was amazing enough. I wanted to find out the reasoning behind this episode, so I got in touch with the guy who was the story editor for that season of Too Close For Comfort. Turns out he taught creative writing or screenwriting at, I think, Columbia, or possibly NYU. And then I happened to be going to New York, and so I pitched a piece for the radio show which would explore the journey of discovery and get an interview with this guy (whose name I forget), and clear up the whole mystery.

    Well, we made a date for the interview, but the guy never showed, and I never did the radio piece. I call conspiracy! There are powerful forces trying to keep this from us, people.

  13. Jewel says:

    It’s listed on IMDB, but no plot outline.

  14. The Retroist says:

    Like they are trying to erase it from our collective memory?

  15. angel love Figueroa says:

    I was 13 when I saw this episode. What I can tell you from my memory is that when Munroe told Henry Rush what happened to him, he had Munroe lay on the kitchen table to reenact him being taken away in the van. He had to remember which way the van turned and how far it went so that they can try and find the place where these women lived. Anyway, they find the place and knock on the apartment door, and when it opens up a LARGE woman answers the door. We’re talking Weather Girls large, only taller. And Munroe yells, “That’s the little one!” and runs off. Then it cut to commercial. After that I guess they confronted them in the 2nd part of the show, and I think in the end, if I’m not mistaken, Henry gets it too. But that’s left up to the imagination of the viewer because that’s where the episode ended. Has anyone checked Youtube, or Hulu.com yet?

  16. The Retroist says:

    I keep checking for for it angel, but its a difficult episode to get a hold of. I have a lead, but they guy is on a long holiday and it will be a few weeks before he comes back. So I wait.

  17. Jim says:

    I remember that episode VERY well. I remember Henry and Monroe going to confront the women, and a VERY fat woman comes out, and Monroe says, “There she is… the LITTLE one!” Later an absolutely towering gigantic woman (well, someone in a dress anyway) comes out. I think I blacked out at that point.

    At one point Henry was having a conversation with Jackie and Sarah in their apartment, with Henry saying something like “After all you’ve said about equal rights between the sexes, how can you not take this seriously?” and one of the girls said, “It just doesn’t seem as serious when it happens to a man.” Very “Oprah,” n’est-ce pas?

  18. drose says:

    I remember this episode, too. I only watched the show a few times and was never really a big fan, but this episode really made an impression on me. I was just a kid when I saw it, but I knew that there was something Very Wrong about the episode, which is probably why I remember it so clearly. I didn’t realize there was anybody claiming it didn’t happen until I stumbled across this today.

    Also, the few times I did see TCFC it was in the afternoon. I never once saw the series in it’s first-run time slot, so it had to have been shown in syndication at least once…

  19. Melanie says:

    this is hilarious! I thought I was the only one obsessed with finding proof that this episode existed, lol!

    And “drose” is correct, it must have been shown in syndication. I didn’t watch the show when it originally aired, but I did see this episode. And what a surreal experience it was…

    I’m about to watch the movie now – can’t wait! Thanks for the link!

  20. jimmy says:

    I was 5-7 when the show was in first run so the only time that I would have watched it was in afternoon syndication yet I remember this episode. The non network, later Fox affiliate, channel only showed syndicated programming from the big three. This is one of the first syndicated shows I remember, along with Mork and Mindy and Benson. For us this was BC (before cable) You know when you had to go to Radio Shack and spend $1.50 for a bow tie shaped UHF antenna and spend 3 days finding the best place to lean, tape, hold it, to get the clearest picture. Definately not HD!

  21. Tman says:

    I still remember Ted Knight saying “That’s The Little One?!” I believe the two women try to do the same thing to Ted, but they get caught. I think Ted escapes in the nick of time, but I just can’t remember. Must be 20 years since I saw that episode, funny how I can still visualize some of it. Long Live Cosmic Cow!

  22. Steven M. Hogue says:

    I was 12 years old watching this show daily on FOX47 in Michigan and don’t remember this episode at all. However I do remember Lydia’s role in the episode of Battlestar Galatica where Starbuck crashes on a planet with a Cylon base and he helps them free their father from cyclon captivity.

  23. Sarah says:

    I am laughing so hard right now. I totally remember this from when I was a kid because I had only recently learned what “rape” was and I didn’t understand how a man could be raped. Seriously, for pretty much all of my adult life, I’ve totally associated male rape with Monroe. (Not that it comes up a lot. Ahem.) It’s pretty much the only episode of that show I remember. And I’ve always thought to myself, “Surely, they wouldn’t have had an episode about that. Would they?” but then I think, “Surely, there’s no way I could have made that up. Could I?” I feel so much better knowing I’m not crazy …

  24. barkerr says:

    Neat post.

    I do remember this episode, but I’d the Retroist (or anyone else) write about what the tone of the episode was: Was it serious? Ridiculous? And what about this particular episode makes it so strange? I’d love to read people’s impressions, based on memories from 20 years ago.

  25. barkerr says:

    Sorry. It’s a long day and I left a few words out of my post by mistake.

    I meant to say “I’d LIKE to see the Retroist…”

  26. Jess says:

    Wow, I feel so totally and 100% validated. I actually sat down to my laptop today to search for this episode…only to find nothing. Fuzzy memories of it have dwelt in the corners of my mind for years, and I really was starting to think I had imagined the whole thing. I can’t tell you the shame I felt searching for this episode online…not only wondering if it really happened, but if it did, why would I want to watch such an awful thing again? And then there’s the look on my husband’s face when he heard the TCFC theme song coming from my computer. I couldn’t bear to answer him when he asked me what I was doing.

    Then I stumbled upon your site and http://www.wasmonroeraped.com. Finally! I know I’m not alone! Sarah I completely echo your comments, especially wondering as a little girl if male rape by a woman was even possible. That mental picture has stayed with me!

    Barkerr, from what I remember the tone of the episode was comedic. Although Henry and Monroe went to confront the women, if my memory serves me correctly, it seemed to me that Monroe’s, err, incident, was trivialized and belittled. I was strangely confused after watching it. It left sort of a sweet/sour, hot/cold, funny/sad taste in my mouth.

  27. Nbtpo Dsbof says:

    While surfing through the Internet Movie Database the other day, I saw a comment about this rape-themed episode of TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT, but at first I thought that it was just a sick, tasteless joke until I learned that this particular episode does indeed exist. I was only 6 in 1985, so I am too young to remember it.

  28. The Retroist says:

    Once you have seen this episode it will haunt you for life — so be glad you were 6 at the time.

  29. mooncity says:

    I remember this episode. I saw it. I was there.

    Well, not with Monroe, thankfully, but watching this episode!

  30. The Retroist says:

    It is crazy that no trace of it can be found on the web yet. I need to get some energy to quest for it again.

  31. joseph says:

    I remember this episode. Considering I was only 6 when it first aired, I must have seen it as a rerun. I definitely remember him being traumatized, and I remember him talking about the van. They never show the event or the women involved though. He just comes home freaked out I think.

  32. Howard says:

    I was 8 in 1985 but I definitely remember this episode.

  33. julius may says:

    Good afternoon. I wanted to let you know that the network called Antenna TV does have the Too Close For Comfort episode in which Monroe was raped in their possession. Its going to be a while I think before they might air it. You can ask the channel yourself for more info.

  34. John says:

    I have this episode, it was aired in syndication. I recorded it from WFLD-TV (FOX) Chicago in 1998.

  35. The Retroist says:

    @John Have you ever digitized it?

  36. John says:

    No but I could, I do have a DVD recorder.

    I went back through my tapes to confirm that I do have the episode and I found it! The episode, although in the original run aired in the fifth season was produced for the fourth season. In the syndicated run it airs after the season four episode “Hawaii Five-8″. The episode definitely has more of a comedic tone.

    Synopsis:

    Monroe’s boss calls the Rush home after Monroe does not show up for work, moments later Monroe comes home in his security uniform, disheveled and reveals he had been abducted the night before from the parking lot of the mall. In telling the story to the family, he reluctantly reveals he was kidnapped by two large women, thrown in a van and taken back to their apartment and made to physically “perform” for them. Upon hearing this, Henry insists on bringing Monroe’s attackers to justice and involve the police, whereas Muriel and the girls believe it’s not as serious of a crime because there’s no way a man could be forced to “perform”.

    When a police detective tells Monroe not to pursue the matter because it would only cause more embarrassment, Henry tries to persuade Monroe to comb the city and find the attackers themselves. Through recalling the attack, Henry and Monroe end up at the attackers’ apartment, where Henry winds up being “captured” by the ladies (One named Monica, who is obviously a man in drag) when Monroe bolts.

    The episode ends with Monroe in the Rush living room telling Muriel how he tried to save Henry by going to call the police but getting mugged instead. Muriel then tells Monroe that she had called the police soon after they left. Henry then returns safely with the police detective and informs them that thankfully the cops arrived before anything happened with the ladies. Monroe then leaves with the detective to press charges against his attackers.

  37. John says:

    Oh, and I believe I also have the Diff’rent Strokes episode “InfomercialReviewer” referred to a as well.

  38. John says:

    You know, TCFC is currently airing on Tribune Broadcasting’s digital channel “Antenna TV” and by my calculations, if they are showing every season, the episode in question should be broadcast somewhere in late April-early May timeframe.

  39. Ange says:

    Vividly remember this episode. People must have heaps of dumb friends because this is the ONLY episode anyone ever remembers from this show. It aired in syndication and it’s a pretty well known episode. Hipsters need to find something better to do with their time rather than manufacturing fake controversies.

    I remember the episode’s tone trying to explore the idea of male rape from a non judgey position with the sisters and mom scoffing at the idea males could not be raped. Not really getting the concept of anyone forcing sex on a person is kind of rapey regardless of the gender.

    I was 12 when it aired and remembered vividly. It’s up there with the Diff Strokes episode where Arnold and Dudley befriended a pedophile. I’ll never forget Dudley’s “He tried to touch me!” chilling.

  40. Ange says:

    could be raped, rather.

  41. 80's junkie says:

    This episode will air on Antenna TV on Sunday May 22nd!! Check your local listings!!

  42. steve says:

    A source from Antenna TV told me Friday June 3rd at 5:30 eastern, it will be on.

  43. Frank says:

    I hope this episode does air on Antenna TV. I have been wanting to see this episode since I found this article a few months back. I searched the net up and down for it but could not find it. Fingers crossed!

  44. julius may says:

    The infamous Too Close for comfort rape episode will air on Antenna TV on Friday, June 3rd at 6:30 PM ET and Saturday, June 4th at 5:30 PM ET.

  45. Exacta King says:

    Watching the episode right now on Antenna TV!

  46. The Retroist says:

    What did you think?

  47. Steve says:

    This was the most bizarre episode of any show I’ve ever seen! Everything that people remembered, such as Monroe rolling on the kitchen table to give Henry an idea on where the van went and the bathtub full of jello. When I saw the women, one was obviously a man in drag. I watched through the end credits and the other guest star name other than the guy who was the detective was someone named Charlene. This was really out there for 1985 television, unbelievable!

  48. Joe says:

    I just watched it too, and have it saved on my DVR. If no one else recorded it, I will eventually post it on youtube.

    I will agree, it was extremely bizzarre. The word “rape” is never used in the episode, but there is a short debate between Henry and the women about there being a difference between a woman and a man being “attacked”, since a man “has to cooperate” in order for the crime to occur. The debate only lasted a couple of minutes on screen, and besides a few serious moments between Henry and Monroe discussing the incident, the rest of the epsiode has a comedic tone, including the part where Henry gets trapped in the women’s apartment and is saved by the police just before the women subdue him.

  49. JonnyT says:

    The episode aired last night on Antenna TV! I can’t believe I missed it the first time it aired. I never would have watched for it if not for this site’s “expose.” :-)

  50. Joe says:

    The episode has been posted on Youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGdJF4nW6Go

  51. Antonio says:

    NOW that this episode has finally been found, can we please move on to a REAL mystery? Who is the woman on the box of Mavis Beacon typing software? HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  52. Amy says:

    This episode just aired on Antenna TV! Tonight in 2012 :) It was great.

  53. Did you not watch the video?! YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW THIS INFORMATION!!!

  54. cjane says:

    Amy!!! I was watching too!

    What a bizarre ep. Good for them for tackling the topic?

  55. Natalie says:

    Here you go….the episode:

  56. damian says:

    i don’t recall this episode at all, but i Do remember the Little House on the Prairie one with that creepy-ass clown/mime masked rapist. that mask freaked me out at the time.

  57. demoncat_4 says:

    omg the infamous monroe rape episode really has to be one of the most craziest tv episodes ever if even the cast from the show don’t remember its existance. for how cool of Lydia to say she would search her own archives for it not to mention talk to jim jay himself who played monroe himself. for the episode must really be almost star wars holiday special like if even the cast don’t remember it.

  58. demoncat_4 says:

    and talking about crazy special tv show episodes like the monroe rape and if mrs garret dated a twenty year old on differant strokes as episodes one wonders if they saw them or not. would have to add the legendary original Hawie five o episode bored she hung herself. one that not only has never been allowed to air in syndication but never put out on dvd too. the original version with jack lord.

  59. Louise says:

    Well, I recently viewed that Monroe’s rape episode a few months ago on a little, obscure cable station called Antenna TV (or was it ME TV?) on Time Warner Cable. Both stations air old tv as far back as the 1950′s. I don’t remember watching that episode before and was surprised to see it in reruns. There you are………….it exists!!!

  60. sured says:

    Like the above commenter, I recently saw this episode on AntTv. I wasn’t shocked by it or anything, I just thought it was a good episode with a unique story. Odd that it seemed to have disappeared but perhaps back then the story was too much for the masses.

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