This article was originally published on previous Caroline in the City fansite, but I think it was far too good to let it die together with SincereAmore.com. Althought the whole idea is great there were few tiny mistakes in the text (you'll find my explanations at the bottom of the page).
Did you ever wonder why seasons 3 and 4 of Caroline in the City were so different than the first two seasons? Did you ever wonder why the characters changed so much practically overnight? Did you ever wonder why Annie never confronted Richard about his feelings for Caroline after he announced his 'marriage' or why Richard's love letter was never mentioned again? Or why that 'divorce' seemed so unrealistic?
What happened to this laid-back gently humored show that changed to a silly, hyper and soapy show. Gentle, sweet and insecure Richard changed overnight to a self-confident man who could make a life altering decision at the drop of a hat. Easy going Caroline with a sense of humor suddenly transformed into a character that changed in turn from emotional to angry to happy to sad, sometimes in the same episode. Most fans were left very confused. Want an explanation? Stay tuned and I'll fill you in. Keep in mind that this is my opinion after watching for four seasons and going to two tapings.
The last two seasons were Caroline's hallucination, a different twist to the old dream sequence idea. I think most fanssuspected something like this.
It all started in Caroline and the Bad Trip, part one of the season two ender episode. Caroline is exposed to LSD in the cab ride onthe way to a taping of Jay Leno's television show. The cabbie remarksthat 'that stuff brings back memories.' Remember this line because it explains the rest of the show. All the story lines that follow really consist of her memories of her past, as in most dreams that we all have. And as most dreams are, things are out of proportion, nonsensicaland strange. This 'past' is what we know of her life from the first two seasons which means that the plotlines were actually shown TWICE during the run of the show. I'll list the episodes in order and comment on each. When you rewatch the episodes, keep a lookout for the clues. Remember, don't expect a literal connection between the episodes of the first half of the show and those in the second half. The plotlines were different for obvious reasons. Look for similarities.
There were certain commonalities running through the last 50 episodes. Each episode had a message for Caroline in it or in otherwords, a moral to the story. Each episode would begin in a normal way but as the show progressed, the plot became more absurd and ludicrous.
Then there were the numerous inconsistencies and questions the fans noticed and complained about for two years. Who could ever believe that the 'marriage' between Julia and Richard was real? Why would Richard, who is most definitely not a spontaneous kind of guy, run off and marry someone who had hurt him and that he hadn't seen in years? Why would his chosen 'sincere amore' be such a self-centered bitch when he was basically a sweet guy? Why were both Caroline and Richard lacking in affection towards each other during the fourth season? It might be easy to explain Richard's hesitancy but Caroline too? Watch the first two seasons and her playfulness/aggressiveness with Del and Joe. Except for brief kisses, she still treated Richard as a friend. Also, there is the fact that sitcoms do not marry off 'intendeds' to someone else, keep them together for a year and then throw in a divorce scenario. That has a tendency to push viewers away, which judging by the ratings plunge, is exactly what happened. In my opinion, there isonly one scenario that explains all the questions, bitches andcomplaints of those last two seasons. There is certainly more than enough evidence to support my belief.
So... Caroline's hallucinations of past memories or just a huge coincidence? Now you be the judge.
The dream: Richard chokes on peanuts while trying to catch a woman's attention and she performs the Heimlich on him.
From her memory: Annie pretends to choke while trying to catch the art critic's attention and he performs the Heimlich on her -- Caroline and the Gay Art Show
The dream: Charlie is searching for his 'real father' (this is the first we've heard of this, previously he was looking for his mother).
From her memory: Richard's mother tells him who his 'real father' is.
The dream: Richard meets an old girlfriend in a restaurant.
From her memory: Del runs into an old girlfriend in Remo's while waiting with Richard for their dates (Caroline and the Bad Date).
Out of character: Richard accompanying Del to a bar and learning to pick up women. This was not his personality.
The dream: Caroline comes home to find a strange woman (Julia) standing in her apartment.
From her memory: Caroline comes home to find a strange woman (art patron) standing in her apartment (Kept Man).
The dream: Richard stands inside the door, nervously repeating Julia's name before opening the door.
From her memory: Caroline stands outside Del's office door, nervously repeating his name before opening his door (The Pilot).
The dream: Richard carries Caroline over his shoulder.
From her memory: Caroline carries Richard over her shoulder back to the hospital (Caroline and the Victor/Victoria).
The dream: Richard and Caroline dance close together.
From her memory: Richard and Caroline dance close together (Nice Jewish Boy).
The dream: Caroline and Richard pretend to be married in front of Italian Julia.
From her memory: Caroline and Richard pretend to be married in front of the Italian mobster's girlfriend (The Gift).
The dream: Caroline calls Richard 'pookie' in front of Julia.
From her memory: Joe calls Salty 'pookie' (The Younger Man).
Interesting note: Did you notice that Julia was the exact opposite of Caroline in physical build, coloring and personality? Did Caroline's subconscious think that this is the kind of woman Richard wanted?
Caroline's subconscious: If she doesn't tell Richard how she feels about him, she might lose him for good.
The dream: Caroline sleeps in the bed and Richard sleeps on the floor.
From her memory: Ditto in the Perfect Record.
The dream: Caroline and Richard discuss the shadows on the bedroom ceiling.
From her memory: Caroline and Del discuss the hand puppet shadows on the wall (The Convict).
The dream: Julia rubs Richard's shoulders and makes a pass at him.
From her memory: Del's ex-wife's boyfriend rubs Caroline's shoulders and makes a pass at her (The Ex-wife).
The dream: Caroline slaps Richard in front of the 'other woman.'
From her memory: Caroline slaps Richard in front of the 'other woman.' (The Gift).
The dream: Hot dog cart
From her memory: first time in The Movie.
The dream: Annie messes up her lines constantly, gets fired.
From her memory: Annie constantly interrupts the shoot, eventually gets fired. (The Movie).
The dream: Caroline leaves a message that is never received.
From her memory: Richard leaves a letter that is never read (The Wedding). Caroline never read the letter but Richard asks 'didn't you get my letter?'
The dream: Annie pokes a corpse in the eye with a medical instrument, he yells 'ow.'
From her memory: Richard hits Caroline in the eye with a hot dog, she yells 'ow' (The Movie).
Out of character: Del sounding so intelligent in his non-self centered advice to Caroline; Richard pointing out Julia's obvious physical attributes. Puleese! That would be a Del thing to do.
What Caroline's subconscious realizes through Del: since Richard entered their lives, her relationship with Del has changed. She and Richard have a special communication. Maybe there was more than just friendship between them.
The dream: Caroline uses Tabasco sauce in the angel food cake.
From her memory: Caroline puts allspice in the rice krispies treats (The Condom).
The dream: Annie keeps a handcuff key handy.
From her memory: Annie keeps a tag remover handy (The Folks).
The dream: That 'little Richard' joke of Annie's.
From her memory: Caroline called their 'son' little Richard (The Gift).
The dream: Caroline gets a little tipsy on straight vodka when she loses Richard.
From her memory: Caroline gets a little tipsy on straight rum when she loses Del (The Christmas Break).
Caroline's subconscious: she desperately wants to deny her jealousy.
Things that didn't make sense: Richard and Julia discuss how they had sex on an escalator (how is this remotely possible?) and in a refrigerator box (in a word.. huh?) How did the whole group toast with 'sincere amore' when only Richard and Caroline and maybe Annie knew about this phrase?
The dream: Caroline talks about 'her boyfriend Steve.'
From her memory: Caroline's bridesmaid talks about 'her boyfriend Steve." (The Bridesmaids)
The dream: Caroline tells Richard to just tell Julia the truth. Her advice breaks them up.
From her memory: Caroline tells Richard to tell Shelly the truth because he wants to break up with her (The ATM).
The dream: Richard states that fights start by talking.
From her memory: I seem to remember Del saying that their relationship was fine until the talking began. [*]
Absurdities: Annie returning all the clothes she ever borrowed from Caroline. Annie reading 'The Grapes of Wrath'. Richard actually putting on one of Caroline's short, red sweaters. Or how about Julia throwing away Richard's cereal? We know he hates cereal and refuses to eat it. We, the fans, were supposed to notice these discrepancies.
What Caroline's subconscious realizes: She has been trying to change him into a 'people person'. She should accept him for the man he is.
The dream: Caroline offers Richard money to read a book for her.
From her memory: Caroline offers Richard money to be an extra in a movie (The Movie).
The dream: Caroline picks up a guy at a store who turns out to be a big bore. (Isn't my number on this book?)
From her memory: A guy picks up Caroline at a store and turns out to be an even bigger bore. (Isn't my number on this card?) [**]
The dream: The opening scene has the group eating Chinese food and reading fortune cookies.
From her memory: Caroline, Annie and Richard are eating Chinese food and reading fortune cookies in Cat Dancer.
The dream: Richard offers pepper to the table at Remo's.
From her memory: The woman in the restaurant asks Caroline if she is going to be dusted with pepper (The Folks).
Related notes: Charlie thinks he's in love with Annie. "How do you know I'm not the one?... True love could be right under your nose." And "You be the DREAMER and I'll be the practical one." This was Richard's and Caroline's relationship... he was the poor artist and dreamer right under her nose and she was definitely the practical one. Remember The Dreamers? [****]
Interesting quotes: Richard, talking about the book... "It's not about events; it's about the meaninglessness of events." (think about this!) Caroline, questioning Richard..."I need to know who Sheila is and what she meant to you." Richard "She doesn't mean anything. Sheila is a DREAM." He went on to describe Sheila as a troll. Now substitute the name Julia for Sheila. The writers were trying to tell us something with that whole exchange.
Ridiculous: Caroline's date carrying an ottoman on his head; Del being picked up by a newlywed on herhoneymoon (this is over the top even for him).
Backwards: Richard brags that he made $76 in tips working at Remo's. Caroline takes $75 from him instead of paying him the $75 even though he read her book for her. [*****]
Caroline's subconscious: Caroline needs to learn to express her opinion even if it's not flattering before she finds herself caught up in a lie. (This from Richard in the restaurant scene).
The dream: Caroline unplugs her cable and everyone in building groans.
From her memory: Caroline tells Annie to turn down the music and everyone groans. (The Mugger)
The dream: Caroline is insulted and insists she isn't a thief and even pays her 3 year unpaid cable bill.
From her memory: Caroline pockets condoms and is called a thief (The Condom).
The dream: Richard is thrown a big birthday party.
From her memory: Richard lies about having a big birthday party. (The Folks)
The dream: Richard and Caroline toasting with champagne.
From her memory: They did this first in the Christmas Break at her company Christmas party.
The dream: Caroline receives a tote bag from the cable company.
From her memory: Annie says "I haven't seen him (Richard) this mad since PBS forgot to send him his tote bag" (The Ex-wife).
Absurdities: All those cables under her stairs and she just now finds them?? Annie ending a date with the shrink because it just didn't 'feel' right??
The dream: Richard is playing with the sugar packets at the restaurant.
From her memory: Del is playing with the sugar packets at the restaurant. (The Bad Date).
The dream: Richard seems to know everything about Caroline.
From her memory: Caroline states that Richard doesn't listen to her like she listens to him. (The Monkeys)
The dream: Richard points out that Caroline can't eat nuts.
From her memory: Caroline points out that Richard is the one that is allergic to walnuts.
The dream: Richard says Caroline hates opera and she doesn't contradict him.
From her memory: Caroline loves opera (The Opera) and told Richard so.
Interesting note:Did you notice that Trevor was the exact opposite physically and in personality from Richard?
Down the rabbit hole absurdities: Caroline whipping off the table cover and using it for a skirt. Caroline getting ready for a date in less than 30 seconds and drinking chocolate syrup for better breath.
Caroline's subconscious: Even meeting a handsome guy who seems perfect for her doesn't sway her from caring about Richard.
The episode: Caroline tries to help a friend have a baby.
Deja vu: Caroline helps a friend have a baby in The Letter.
The dream: Annie, Caroline and Jeannie sing and Richard leaves via the window.
From her memory: Annie, Caroline and Florence Henderson sing and Richard leaves via the door. (The Balloon).
The dream: Annie and Jeannie compare magazine articles.
From her memory: Caroline and Richard compare magazine articles (The Critics)
The dream: Annie plays a few dirty tricks on Richard who reciprocates in kind. Annie spews coffee.
From her memory: Richard and Annie play dirty tricks on each other (Richard's Mother); Richard spews coffee (The Condom).
Out of character: Richard can't cook? We know he can in The Getaway but Caroline doesn't know. Caroline giving away one of her eggs? So far out of character, it's ridiculous, which is the point of it. [********]
Jeanie says to Richard: "Don't you love this job? It's a DREAM."
Caroline's subconscious: She never really wanted that "Volvo and kids" scenario with Del and now, with Richard, she wants a baby more than she realized. This was a different twist to the old biological time clock.
The episode: Annie desperately begs her producer for one night in Cats to convince a friend she is still in the play.
Deja vu: Annie desperately begs her producer to let the IRS agent have one audition in Cats.
The dream: Richard is drugged.
From her memory: Richard is drugged (Victor/Victoria)
The dream: Richard and Charlie call Caroline 'Marilyn.'
From her memory: Mrs. Fox called Caroline 'Marilyn.' [*********]
Ridiculous: Richard wearing skates?? An elective experimental surgery that removes a toe?
Out of character: Annie is upset about lying to an old friend and Caroline is gloating about getting away with the lie. Del crying over a performance of "Cats."
The dream: The Chinese delivery boy says he's not a thief.
From her memory: The Asian store manager insists that Caroline's a thief (The Condom).
The dream: Annie sings in a nightclub.
From her memory: Annie's sister sings in a nightclub. (The Singer)
The dream: Angry Richard lifts the refrigerator to find the lost ring.
From her memory: Richard says Mrs. Duffy is so angry she is actually lifting the refrigerator (28lb Walleye)
The dream: Caroline says in mock anger "bad Salty for eating Julia's ring."
From her memory: Caroline says in mock anger "bad Salty for eating Richard's muffin." (The Condom)
Ridiculous: The Chinese delivery boy is living with Caroline now??
An obvious parallel: Seth works for Annie and is secretly in love with her. [**********] She treats him as just a friend. They have a special connection between them. Annie's usual choice is good looking with little intelligence. Substitute Richard for Seth and Caroline for Annie. With those glasses, you can't miss the resemblance to Richard.
Caroline's subconscious: When Annie stated that with other guys she feels special and with Seth she feels just like herself, it was Caroline thinking that she shouldn't dismiss Richard just because he doesn't make her feel different than who she really is.
Interesting note: By the way, is there really such a thing as cold sesame noodles?
The episode: Richard is the bitter beast who wrongly thinks his songs were stolen from him. He steals the Grammy because he thinks it should belong to him.
Deja vu: Richard wrongly thinks his (second) wallet was stolen from him. He steals the other man's wallet because he thinks it belongs to him (The Mugger).
The dream: Trevor feeds Caroline spaghetti sauce.
From her memory: Joe feeds Caroline ice cream (Younger Man).
The dream: Caroline and Annie look through Richard's box of past mementos.
From her memory: Caroline and Annie look through Richard's box of past mementos sent from his mother (Richard's Mom).
The dream: Annie pretends to be Richard's legal counsel when confronting Marvin Hamlish.
From her memory: Annie pretends to be Caroline's outside agitator (The ATM).
The dream: Richard picks out a tune on the piano.
From her memory: Caroline and her brother pick out chopsticks on the piano (The 28lb Walleye).
The dream: Caroline runs out on Trevor to help bail Richard out of trouble.
From her memory: Caroline runs out on Del to help bail Richard out of jail (The Mugger).
Interesting note: Marvin Hamlish asks if these people are Richard's DREAM team. He answers that they are his NIGHTMARE.
Did you notice the irony of the song used...'MEMORIES of the way we were..'
Think about this: Caroline talks to Tonka (Trevor's dog), telling him to give up the old girlfriend and give her a chance. Tonka now loves her, goes with her everywhere, makes her laugh and even holds her purse. Now put Richard in place of Tonka. (Sounds silly but remember how Richard held Caroline's purse in the Mugger?)
Her subconscious: No matter who she is with, Caroline always runs to Richard when he needs her help.
* This is not accurate - what Del in The Condom said was that instead holding back on sex they should hold back on talks, because that's how usually problems begins (quote: What we should do is take a break from conversation, that's where we run into trouble.)
** if it is about guy from Bad Date technically Caroline picked him up (pressed by Annie to do this) and when Caroline asked 'You're not actually a handsome, funny, single guy, are you?' actually he was asking 'They didn't put that on my card?'
*** There wasn't such scene in the series (at least not in published version)
**** Actually the Fright King episode would be a better example - Caroline realizes that she dropped her dream of being ballerina to work as a cartoonist which brings her money (perhaps that's what Rebekah had in mind)
***** I think it's obvious that Caroline payed Richard the $75 for reading the book and then took it back, so it's just the matter of one line in which she said that he is still a $1 up on a whole thing, which doesn't make any sense
****** It was the third time - first was in pilot episode
******* Del wasn't mistaken for gigolo, he joined agency to work as gigolo
******** Not exactly so out from the character - Caroline constantly helps people even when they don't want it or even when they are using her (New Neighbor)
********* link missing - it was episode The Therapist
********** Seth didn't work for Annie, they've worked together as a band