Maude is an American sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS network from September 12, 1972, until April 23, 1978.
Maude stars Beatrice Arthur as Maude Findlay, an outspoken, middle-aged, politically liberal woman living in suburban Tuckahoe, Westchester County, New York, with her fourth husband, household appliance store owner Walter Findlay (Bill Macy). Maude embraces the tenets of women's liberation, always votes for Democratic Party candidates, and advocates for civil rights and racial and gender equality. However, her overbearing and sometimes domineering personality often gets her into trouble when speaking about these issues.
The show was the first spin-off of All in the Family, on which Beatrice Arthur had made two appearances as the character of Maude, Edith Bunker's cousin; like All in the Family, Maude was a sitcom with topical storylines created by producer Norman Lear.
Unusual for a U.S. sitcom, several episodes (such as "Maude's Night Out" and "The Convention") featured only the characters of Maude and her husband Walter, in what amounted to half-hour "two-hander" teleplays.
Maude Findlay (Beatrice Arthur) first appears in a pair of season two episodes of All in the Family: the first in December 1971, and the second, a pilot setting up the premise of the Maude series, in March 1972. She is Edith Bunker's (Jean Stapleton) cousin who has been married four times. Her first husband, Barney, had died shortly after their marriage; she had divorced the next two, Albert and Chester. Albert was never portrayed on screen, but the episode "Poor Albert" revolved around his death, while former second husband Chester would appear on the show (played by Martin Balsam). Her current husband, Walter Findlay (played by Bill Macy), owns an appliance store called Findlay's Friendly Appliances. Maude and Walter met just before the 1968 presidential election. Maude sometimes gets in the last word during their many arguments with her hallmark catchphrase, "God'll get you for that, Walter", which came directly from Bea Arthur. Maude's deep, raspy voice is also an occasional comic foil whenever she answers the phone and explaining in one episode, "No, this is not Mr. Findlay; this is Mrs. Findlay! Mr. Findlay has a much higher voice."
Maude's daughter from her first marriage, Carol Traynor (played by Adrienne Barbeau – in the All in the Family pilot episode the character was played by Marcia Rodd), is also divorced and has one child, like Maude. Carol and her son, Phillip (played by Brian Morrison and later by Kraig Metzinger), live with the Findlays. Though single, Carol maintains her reputation of dating many men. She dates various men throughout early seasons, initially forming a serious (but brief) relationship with a man named Chris (played by Fred Grandy). Like her mother, Carol is an outspoken liberal feminist who is not afraid to speak her mind, though they often clash.
The Findlays' next-door neighbors are Dr. Arthur Harmon, a stuffy, sardonic Republican and foil for Maude played by Conrad Bain and his sweet but scatterbrained second wife Vivian, played by Rue McClanahan, who confirmed in an interview with the Archive of American Television that she was approached by Norman Lear during the taping of the All in the Family episode "The Bunkers and the Swingers" (1972) to take on the role as a late replacement for Doris Roberts, who was originally intended for the part. Arthur has been Walter's best friend since the two men served together in World War II; he was the one who brought Walter and Maude together in 1968 and "affectionately" called Maude "Maudie." Vivian has been Maude's best friend since they both attended college together. At the beginning of the series, Arthur is a widower and Vivian is a soon-to-be divorcée. Arthur and Vivian begin dating at the beginning of the second season and marry each other by the end of the season.