Category Archives: Season One

1/3-Amanda King: Housewife Looking for Work

Amanda King.  Housewife?  Yes.  Den Mother?  Yup.  Agent?  Hardly.  Spunky?  You bet.  From the moment she accepts that package from Lee Stetson at the train station to the moment he comes to offer her a ride in his new Corvette, Amanda morphs into a changed woman.  Let’s take a look at how she grows from your typical suburban mother and housewife who is looking for work in TFT to becoming the Agency’s only hope in CBAH. 

But before we start, I’d like to thank iwsod for the use of her lovely screen caps.  Thank you, iwsod!!  Open-mouthed smile You saved me so much time!  Also, I am using iwsod’s season 1 episode order.

In the tag of TFT, we don’t get to hear Amanda totally explain how she figured out the entire case and helped save amanda tag explainingLee in the process.  Actually, I think Billy must not have heard the whole thing either, or I’d wonder why he didn’t just hire her on the spot as a trainee agent – not as a civilian they rely on from time to time.  All on her own she does this:

  • realizes the words on the paper in the music box are recipe titles  and researches until she finds out they are from Mrs. Welch  amanda boo boo 1
  • uses a cover to get the air dates for each recipe from the TV station
  • links each air date with the dates the agents were murdered
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  • figures out Lee is missing
  • connects Lee being missing to air date of Pilgrim’s Peach Puff
  • goes out to Mrs. Welch’s mansion only to discover Francine is the tft dumbwaiter

leak and helps save Lee’s life. 

  • Oh, and she flies a helicopter.

Sounds like potential agent material to me!  Right off the bat, we see she is persistent, a critical thinker, able to quickly make connections and is very courageous. I’ll give Billy the benefit of the doubt and consider she maybe had a bit of beginner’s luck with this first case, so let’s look at the rest of season 1 and see what develops.

Initially, Amanda is asked to help the Agency because of who she is, what she does, or where she lives.  From being dimple 5asked to be the “authentic” half of a suburban couple with Lee,parent 3     to babysitting a smug “orphan”, to using her driveway to hide the next best thing in the government’s mobile weaponry arsenal, and touch 4to being a Bedside Bluebell for a crabby Lee, we see that Amanda is being used in ways that take advantage of her expertise. 

But what we see is so much more.  We see her ability to think and make connections to the job with ramble 2 “normal life”, her ability to get people to talk and share information, a saves lee 2her attention to detail and powers of observation, and let’s not forget her driving skills – driving in NYC on a saves lee 1 Thanksgiving for the Macy’s parade is equal to proving your skills at LeMans and Monaco Winking smile.  You go, girl!

Billy must also take in these skills that Amanda is displaying and practicing, because she is rewarded and gets her first “real” spy assignment in SD:  she is to be an undercover operative (messenger) at the Pioneer’s football camp where Lee is already undercover.  After successfully completing her first real assignment, she is used again for her expertise.  In Gift Horse, a “frumpier”- jack 2than-Francine Amanda with her PTA connection gets to show Princess Penelope around an elementary school. 

 

 

Lee is in need of a beautiful woman for a date to the Quickie Chickie Snack Shack backer party in SAAB and in SBTB he needs someone who will feed his fish while away meeting women in the Caribbean. 

Amanda clearly displays her people skills when she befriends Penny and gets her to open up.  She also displays her quick thinking skills and comes up with a convincing cover in SAAB.  Even Billy is impressed, “She’s thinking on her feet.  She has instincts.”  In SBTB, her observation skills are tested, but with her excellent memory and eye for detail, she comes through and she and Lee find the house where she was held captive.  We also see a new skill in SBTB: she climbs up to the top of some high shelving and pushes over a tall stack of heavy tires to take out the baddies and free Lee.   Amanda is growing and getting more used to being in the spy business!

After all this, she is rewarded again by Billy in TLCE by being given a short undercover assignment.  Although this operation doesn’t go ramble 3quite as planned, we get to witness Amanda’s bravery and common sense as well as her first aid skills.

In ROTP, Billy gives Amanda another “spy” assignment.  She plaid 2is asked to help Lee investigate his own murder by doing his legwork.  She gets to see the seedier side of life and almost amanda booboo 3gets blown to smithereens by that nutter, Sinclair.  But hey, at least she now knows the going rate for such an establishment, ahem.

By this point, Amanda has certainly proven that she adds value to Lee and the Agency beyond her expertise in being a normal, everyday mother of two housewife.  She’s recognized by Billy for her ability to think on her feet and for having good instincts.   Lee also must see some of this, because in IANNNHIEBAS, for the first time not borne out of desperation, Lee gives her an assignment: she is to pick up a message from the elevator guy and bring it to him at the drop at Milo’s Daffy Dogs.  Unfortunately, all does not go as planned. Lee thinks he’s gotten Amanda killed, and he is significantly impacted.  But Amanda, ever resilient, comes through and continues on with the Agency. 

 

What pluck!

Amanda next has a series of small assignments in LAF, TAD, DR, and TM.  She is asked to use her life experience plus what she’s learned from working at the Agency so far.  More importantly, she learns a couple of lessons.  In TAD, to her horror, she is personally used and betrayed by the Dodger so he can steal the final MAB sheet.  On the positive side, she learns that she has earned some level of trust with Lee in The Mole.  He trusts her to dig around in everyone’s personal business and actually gives her a badge and sends her out to interview someone on her own to get information.  

Savior is a bit of a different episode, and it is another hard lesson learned for Amanda.  Despite being used personally in TAD, she falls prey again and is tricked in Savior out of her loyalty and dedication to Lee.  But this time it is from a professional standpoint.  I think she learns that Lee is truly the only person she can trust in this business and that she needs to be wary of others who may try to take advantage of her. 

 

In FR, Amanda is accidentally involved in the case, literally.  And it is her relationship with the parking lot attendant that brings the videotape of people coming and going from the Agency to light.  Once again, Amanda’s people skills are on display: she can befriend a princess or a parking lot attendant.  She continues to offer up suggestions to Lee with the idea of looking for a sub-basement at the warehouse and even finds a way to help stop the baddie by taking a trick from her favorite movie,   The Sound of Music, when she removes a bunch of wires from his car.

In Weekend, we see Amanda get her last assignment of the season.  She gets to be Mrs. Lee Stetson at a posh resort.       She continues to show how she can think on her feet when helping Lee with his “pill”. 
Amanda keeps earning Lee’s trust and she is rewarded with a little freedom when he asks her to trail Valerie Tucker, one of the suspected baddies to be his eyes and ears.  

The last three episodes of the season have Amanda getting involved coincidentally with the Agency (WFG – estate sale/meatloaf for a princess, FD – Dotty/Drought Cycles of Burma, and CBAH – her charity work at the Equidome).  We also learn she’s been transcribing phone conversations and typing reports.  In WFG, Amanda’s logical mind and keen senses help Lee crack another case.  He’s impressed with her ability to glean useful clues from the tapes and even shares details of the assignment with her even though she doesn’t have a need to know. 

In FD, her attention to detail and memory help the sketch artist to come up with a close enough picture to ID Carlos,       and she quickly makes the connection between the book her mother “bought” and the fact that it is her mother the bad guys are after.  She even shows quick thinking and good aim with the hose, which helps stop the bad guy. 

CBAH makes a great season-ending episode, and I think it highlights Amanda’s professional growth. Despite the danger of being discovered as Lee’s “in” to the Equidome, Amanda comes through for Lee just like she did in TFT.  With Lee tied to the bar, Amanda takes the initiative to go search for the secret formula and winds up finding a dead body.      Not long after that, she realizes Lee might be in trouble and goes to find Billy to let him know.  Although Billy tells  her to give Lee more time, her instincts tell her not to listen.  She disobeys Billy, takes out a security guard, and rescues Lee from the freezer.  Wow!  No Lee popsicles this season!

Despite learning a hard lesson or two along the way, Amanda has proven her value to Lee and to the Agency in season 1.  She’s successfully pulled off a cover many times and has used her intuition, common sense, and quick thinking ability to help Lee solve many of his cases.  She’s grown in self-confidence and street smarts and to trust in herself, despite being used and tricked.  She’s shown her loyalty and dedication to Lee and the Agency and we’ve never seen her courageous spirit falter.  As a result, she’s earned some trust capital with Lee and Billy.  And although she still has to wear that damned Guest Pass on her lapel, Amanda King has made her mark.  I think she is ready for bigger and better things in season 2, don’t you?  (Not to mention a ride in Lee’s new Corvette!)

S2E05_Charity.flv_002676680_thumb.jpgSo, what do you think???  How do you see Amanda’s professional growth in season 1?  What do think Lee thinks about her at the end versus the beginning?  What does Amanda think about herself?  We know Amanda’s kidnapping in IANNNHIEBAS impacted Lee.  How does it impact her professional growth?  What about her other “booboos”?  Is there anything that sticks out for you?  Is there anything you can relate to?  Please share!!  Thanks for reading!

2/2 A walk through (and around) 4247 Maplewood Drive- Seasons 1 and 2 by Kiwismh

The Laundry

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Onto the laundry, which we don’t get to see much except as background to the kitchen. I am thinking there must be a downstairs toilet (and possibly shower) in the laundry area too. It would be very inconvenient to have to dash upstairs at every call of nature.


So, notice this is definitely a different side door to the one off the family room, hence my amendment to the floor plan.

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The Formal Dining Room

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This room didn’t make it into many episodes but most notably was the room transformed into a KGB Interrogation Room in The Three Faces of Emily in which its pretty Wedgwood blue walls were painted Soviet Grey. 

Also, another good view of the differences in the altered kitchen from S1 (Amanda packing the picnic basket) and S2 Car Wars.

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 The Formal Lounge

Another seldom seen room. First glimpsed in TFT with Dean and Amanda presumably smooching in front of the fireplace. Ick! They were out of sight thanks goodness – none of us wanted to see that! I think it was also the room from which Amanda made her first phone call to Lee. I think the window seat shot of Amanda in the opening credits is also in the lounge.

clip_image014[4]clip_image016[4]The formal lounge is also seen again in Dead Ringer. What on earth is the significance of that bull over the fire? It seems so not Amanda. It is an old weather vane? Maybe Joe liked it.
Dead Ringer

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The Stairs and Upstairs

We never get entirely upstairs in the first 2 Seasons, but we do get part-way up the stairs. Amanda has been doing some redecorating after TFT – note the different wall hangings/pictures at the stair landing in The ACM Kid.

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In Always Look a Gift Horse we see Dotty all the way up on the second floor, but this is as close as we get to upstairs until Season 3. Whose bedroom door is that upstairs? Could be Amanda’s I think.

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Heating

The open fire place in the formal lounge is the only form of heating we see in the house, but I assume it is also centrally heated. I understand some US houses have some sort of central heating unit in the basement.

A chimney can be glimpsed from the kitchen window too, implying a fire place in the formal dining room, but I don’t think we ever got to see enough of the formal dining room to see if it had a fireplace in it. 

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The Garage

This is Amanda’s garage : 

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Is that a “flat” or “apartment room” above the garage, or just a storage room?
Seen here is the frequently used ‘running family’ shot. 
 

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Gratuitous Eye Candy and Amanda’s real garage. Does this man look like he belongs in the suburbs? Nope! I foresee some acreage and a few horses in this man’s domestic future.

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This isn’t Amanda’s garage but for some reason it became her garage in Murder Between Friends :

It’s even the wrong way around!

I had to transpose this shot (photo on the right) to get it so that it looked like Lee wasn’t going onto the neighbour’s property to get into the garage door. The transposed shot below works better but it is still the wrong garage.

And the house next door is wrong too, but we will get to that in “The Neighbourhood”. 

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The rear of Amanda’s house is a virtual maze of trellising – I guess to form a back-drop and to screen the sound stage or set they were on. I can’t figure it out. Seasons 3 and 4 might give us more clues as to the lay out of the yard.

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The Neighbourhood

 

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The house next door (on the garage side of Amanda’s house) has stone cladding and is single storey – most of the time – except on rare occasions when it’s weatherboard and 2 storey.

Establishing shot from A Relative Situation. A short time later in that episode the trees had mysteriously lost all their leaves, and there is that weird eagle over Amanda’s door (mentioned in post 1), but at least the neighbour’s house hadn’t transmorgrified into this!

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The rest of the houses down the street on the garage side of Amanda’s house :

 

Amanda’s other neighbouring property (on the kitchen/family room side of her house) is less often seen and usually only fleetingly as a car chase races past, usually involving a silver Corvette. Amazingly the whole neighbourhood seems woefully ignorant of the unusual goings-on at 4247 Maplewood Drive and don’t seem to notice that it is the nucleus of so much drama in their “normal” suburban street.

Here is the immediate neighbouring house on the other side of Amanda’s home. Kidnapping in progress – you’d think that one of the nosey neighbours would notice! Again, this house is single storey, as is the next one along by the look of things.

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And here Billy makes a rare appearance in Amanda’s neighbourhood – this exterior shot enables us to see again the houses next door to Amanda.

Hmmm, trench coat and fedora hat – yes, everyday suburban-wear. Way to blend in, Billy!

And, below, the houses along the street – all single level.clip_image019clip_image021

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And, down the road (garage side) to the corner, and below Maplewood Drive.

And finally, here we get to see the house on the corner across the street, and what look to me like not very typical hills in the background. Anyone familiar with Arlington who can let us know whether hills like this would form a typical back-drop there?

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So “it’s hello, it’s goodbye” from Mrs Dukaine and me as we come to the end of our tour of 4247 Maplewood Drive and the neighbourhood as it was in Seasons 1 and 2. I expect I will add to this post at the end of Season 3.

 

I hope you’ve all enjoyed the tour and feel free to fill in any gaps or correct any errors or omissions.

Kiwismh

1/2 A walk through (and around) 4247 Maplewood Drive- Seasons 1 and 2 by Kiwismh

Hi Guys! Kiwismh here introducing my guest post on JWWM.

I live in New Zealand and (for my sins Winking smile ) I have been in real estate for the last 11 years. Given my “expertise” Iwsod thought it might be a good idea for me to write a post on Amanda’s house.

In this first post I have covered 4247 Maplewood Drive and the neighbourhood as it appeared in the first two Seasons. I expect to do another post at the end of Seasons 3 and 4 on the same topic – it will be interesting to see what changes and what stays the same as the series proceeds. There was plenty of material to work with in the first two seasons and it’s such a zany neighbourhood I’m sure there will be plenty more to comment on at the end of Season 3. 

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this post and feel free to add comments and point out anything I might have missed.

First off, let’s be clear, this is Amanda’s house :

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This is not Amanda’s house (but it does feature in the opening credits of every episode of the first two Seasons) :

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General Disclaimer : My forte is New Zealand houses, so if I get anything wrong or I use a term you are not familiar with, feel free to correct me or ask me to explain.

I believe Amanda’s house is what is referred to as a “Cape Cod” style home. We have a version of this sort of home in New Zealand, although they are not that common compared with other styles of houses. In the real estate industry we often refer to them as “dolls houses” or sometimes “colonial style”.  Most of this style in NZ were built in the 1970’s through to the early 1990’s (see pic below as an example).

I’m not sure how to date Amanda’s house – I notice a chimney (or possibly two chimneys) so it would have been built with open fires, so does this date it to most likely prior to 1960’s as it would in NZ?

The sash windows in Amanda’s house make me think of 100+ year old houses as those windows are typical of New Zealand villas of the 1870-1920 period.

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A 1970’s era New Zealand “Cape Cod” style home with hints of Tudor and Colonial influences. In other words, a typical New Zealand mash-up of styles and eras. (And it looks like the original garage has been converted into a room as well – lower left hand side of house.)

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Briefly, 4247 Maplewood Drive features a medium to large medium size 3 bedroom home with two living rooms downstairs (is one of them what Amanda calls “the den”?) and I assume 2 bathrooms upstairs.

There must be a downstairs toilet at least and possibly a shower too, but more about that later. At a rough guess I would say 180 to 200m2 floor area, excluding garaging. I’m thinking NZ sizes here – maybe being American it’s larger than that?

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So, let’s start at the Front Door.

There is only one ongoing anomaly I noticed and that is the odd cover that sometimes appears over the door. I thought it may be a pull-out or wind-out awning – used in the colder months to shelter the doorway a little from the weather? Whatever it is, it doesn’t look like it would provide much cover.

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Even Lee is wondering what it is :

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Thanks to BJo who spotted a random one-off anomaly in A Relative Situation – a weird eagle-like motif over the door.

The only explanation I can come up with that would make it fit in the show is it is one of the boys school projects Winking smile What do you think?

For a reasonably detailed view of the front door area, here’s Amanda stepping out with Art Garfunkel,

clip_image016errrr, I mean Artful Dodger. She even has a boot scraper at the front door. Wonder if she had one at the back door for Lee after all the tramping around he did in Dotty’s flower beds?

The Entrance Foyer

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This is really quite spacious but with all those steps it’s a real nightmare for the mobility challenged and a crazy tripping hazard even for the able-bodied. A trend towards sunken lounges and split level homes from the 1960’s to 1980’s in NZ saw many homes built with step-ups or step-downs where a level floor would be the preferred option today.

<<Check this out – how is it that Amanda doesn’t have water flowing in her front door when it rains. The outside pavement is higher than the level of the interior, which in turn features two steps down. There might be a small lip on the edge of the paving but this wouldn’t be enough to stop the water in a real downpour. Not to mention why would you want to be on a lower level than the person outside when you are answering the door?? Very odd.

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See those crazy steps up and down through to the kitchen/family room area. Great exercise I’m sure but trippy, trippy, trippy!

The closets either side of the entrance door are handy storage for coats and jackets, bowling gear and of course the occasional knife wielding criminal.

The interior lay-out Amanda’s house can seem pretty darn confusing so Jeanine’s floor plan was an invaluable resource for me during my research, and is helpful to include here for readers. The original plan can be viewed HERE

Apart from scale it was pretty accurate but as I researched this post I noticed that something wasn’t quite right in the plan and I began to notice another small nook between the laundry and family room that has an outside access door. I have overlaid some features on Jeanine’s original plan. None of this is to scale and I haven’t drawn in all windows, etc. Although out of kilter it does give us a good idea of the floor plan. One day when I have oodles of time to spare (in other words, when my Lotto numbers come in) I will draw this up properly as close to scale as I can. I the meantime, if anyone out there has drafting or architectural drawing skills, feel free to volunteer for the task.

 

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The two rooms we see most are the kitchen and “family room”. What I call the family room is the living room adjoining the kitchen – not sure what it would be called in the US. I would call the living room on the other side of the house, which we don’t get to see so much, the “formal lounge” (more about that later).

The Kitchen and Breakfast Nook

Amanda did some significant remodelling to part of the kitchen after Season 1 – maybe that’s why she was having cash flow problems later in Season 2 – overspent on the remodelling? clip_image026The oven which was originally situated on an angle by the breakfast nook has now moved along to form part of the wall between the kitchen and laundry rooms. Early in Season 1 she got rid of those ugly lights over the island bench and she moved the blue and white planter from next to the oven to the wall over the bread bin. No doubt she moves lots of stuff around but she has so much “stuff” it’s hard to keep track of it all. Time to de-clutter Amanda!

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Here is the Season 2 remodelled kitchen. Notice the view through to the laundry room behind the Colonel, and L-shaped cabinetry next to the breakfast nook, where the corner oven used to be. 

The rest of the kitchen stays much the same throughout with the exception of ornaments and other stuff being re-arranged from time to time.

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Hey, here’s Amanda and Lee looking quite domestic in her kitchen in ROTP. Interesting stable type door between the kitchen and formal dining room. (Not common in NZ homes except for a few built in the 1970’s).

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And we don’t often see the breakfast nook from this angle, looking back into the kitchen. clip_image040

From I’m Not Now… a view of the other end of Amanda’s kitchen, which remains unchanged.

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Looking back into the formal dining room. There are those icky lights from TFT. They are a real distraction which probably accounts for why they disappeared immediately after TFT.

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The wall the plates are displayed on here in S1 is where cabinetry housing the oven is located in S2. Notice Lee disappearing out the side door onto the driveway side of the house.

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If you can look past the eye candy here, you’ll notice cabinetry where the oven used to be, and (below) the wall oven now located on the wall in front of the laundry.

This cabinetry also closes up the other doorway into the laundry/driveway side entrance door that we see Lee using above.That triangular set of display plates gets moved around a lot!

The Family Room

The main changes here between the S1 and S2 are the installation of bi-fold doors (I think called pocket doors in the US?), and a window instead of cabinets in the nook at other end of the room which also has a side door onto the patio/gazebo area. (This is in addition to yet another side exit door out of the laundry.)

 

Here’s the family room from TFT. Amanda subsequently changed the family room couch too.clip_image048clip_image050

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New or re-covered couch, less bookshelves and now a door through to the formal lounge, vinyl flooring with a smaller rug too. The bookshelves move a bit as we also see them further along the wall from the French Doors.

 

Now let’s check out that often seen but very confusing side exit door tucked away in a nook in the family room.

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Here it is early on with some cabinets in the background. The same door later on features a window where the cabinets are, just out of shot to the left side in this pic with Amanda standing outside.

 

Confusingly what is apparently the same door with Lee standing outside has a straight wall and window instead of a corner, or is Lee looking into the laundry door but that does look like the family room through the window beside him – it does get very confusing.

 

I’ve included lots of photos so you can see it is definitely meant to be the same door, but the exterior does seem to change. Maybe two different stage sets? Playing Possum has a good exterior scene showing Amanda coming out of this door and past the laundry door.

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Any comments? thoughts? questions?? feel free to share!!
Next in part 2:
The laundry, the formal dining room, the formal lounge room, the stairs and upstairs, heating, the garage and th
e neighbourhood.