"Goodbye to All That"
Season 2, Episode 1 (?)
Airdate April 8, 1991
Writer(s) Robin Green
Director Stuart Margolin
Guest star(s)

←   Episode sequence   →
"Aurora Borealis" "The Big Kiss"


The installation of a satellite dish at Holling's bar signals a new era--and a second season--in Alaska, where Shelly becomes mesmerized by the video extravaganza before her, and Dr. Joel reacts to a "Dear John" letter from Elaine.


Chris in the Morning starts the day with an announcement that, after being in Cicely for eight months, Dr. Joel Fleischman is finally getting a two-week vacation to New York. Joel is working in his office, obviously excited about the trip, but is shocked when he receives a "Dear Joel" letter from Elaine, his fiancee. She tells him that she got married to Dwight, a retired federal judge from Louisville. After reading the letter, Joel leaves the office in stunned silence. Later, Ed shows up at Joel's cabin, where Joel is busily cleaning house. Ed shows concern over Joel's condition, but Joel is acting as if nothing's wrong, trying to convince himself that there are plenty of available women. However, it is painfully obvious that Joel is trying to hide from his pain.

At The Brick, Holling presents Shelly with a satellite television dish for the bar so she can watch all 200 channels. Shelly is thrilled at the idea of finally being able to see the world from her own home. Later, the denizens of the Brick gather around the television, and Shelly is mesmerized by an Italian documentary. She is slowly drifting away from reality.

The next day, Joel drops by KBHR to talk to Chris. Joel asks Chris if he knows any girls around to date, and Chris tells him that he is currently with someone who has a friend visiting from Boston University that night. Chris invites Joel to come along on a sort of double date, and Joel jumps at the chance. Joel changes from a serious, egotistical doctor, to a more vulnerable, occasionally obnoxious young man. The change itself is entertaining, as Joel is seen trying to impress the ladies with his pool prowess at the Brick later that night. Maggie expresses her sympathy to Joel about Elaine, and then notes that it hasn't taken him long to get back into the dating scene, showing at least a bit of jealousy and disappointment. Later, Joel is really trying to impress his date with his conversation, and asks her to dance. She rejects his advances, saying, "I didn't come 5000 miles to get all sweaty with a guy who could be in my chem class." Just as she leaves, Maggie walks by with Rick, noticing smugly that Joel is once again alone.

Shelly comes downstairs into the Brick in a formal evening gown, much to Holling's surprise. However, she is dressed up to watch Wheel of Fortune, and chides Holling for not being a fan. Later that night, Holling overhears her ordering things from the Home Shopping Network, and switching channels endlessly. She is obviously becoming more run-down and pale, but her deterioration is more sad than funny.

Late at night, Joel falls asleep alone in the movie theater. He wakes up when the projector begins running, and talks to images of an ex-girlfriend, as well as his younger self, who tells him to get over his depression.[1]

The next several days show Joel sinking deeper and deeper into his depression. He has visions of showing up at Elaine's wedding.[2] Ed wants to help him, and Joel explains that there is no closure to the whole relationship. Ed takes this as a challenge upon himself, and recruits Holling and Maggie to help Joel.

At the Brick, when all of Shelly's merchandise arrives, Holling issues an ultimatum to Shelly to turn off the television or leave. When Shelly is unable to shut it off, she flees, and seeks out Chris to take her confession. With his help, she overcomes her addiction, and returns to Holling's waiting arms.

Ed shows up at Joel's cabin and brings him into town where a table is set up outside the Brick recreating the circumstances of Joel and Elaine's favorite date. Holling serves iced coffee, and Maggie wears a dress and acts in Elaine's place to allow Joel to vent his feelings towards her. His discussion of sex causes Maggie to break out in a sweat but, in the end, Joel achieves a sort of closure and he and Maggie enter the Brick together.


Joel: Sex should be wild. Unfettered and free. We're animals, aren't we? And, basically, we're all wolves in sheep's fur. I always wanted more. Not frequency; I am not talking about frequency--although that would have been great, too. I wanted more intensity. I wanted to be out there, outside myself, outside my skin. I wanted sex to be like robbing life out of the jaws of death!
Maggie: Wow...
Joel: Are you okay?
Maggie: Why?
Joel: Well, it's 20 below out and you're breaking a sweat.



  • Chris is living at KBHR until spring thaw because an old cyprus tree at Kipnuk Lake (establishes name of the lake he lives on) fell on his trailer.
  • Chris and Greg "the Joy King" George (now serving 3-5 years at Lompoc prison) stole albums from Sam Blade Records in Wheeling, West Virginia. (But Chris actually says serving 5-10 in the episode.)
  • Joel dropped Tory Gould in high school; she, Mindy Ginn and Audrey Gutland called Joel "the juggler".
  • Elaine and Joel were together twelve years and lived together. Joel was devastated when he didn't get into Harvard.
  • Joel has been in Cicely 8 months at this point.
  • Dr. Bloom is Joel's New York City dentist. Joel is 5'9 _" (deleted).
  • Shelly was raised Catholic.
  • Chris is ordained by the Universal Life Church from an ad in the back of Rolling Stone.
  • Maggie suffered from a bladder infection.
  • Cicely has a movie theatre.
  • Ed had a kitty named Edgar as a child.
  • Chris is seeing a Swarthmore grad student
  • Alison, Joel's date, is from Brown.
  • Shelley's earrings: Hawaiian man and woman (the satellite dish arrives), crystals (comes down dressed as Vanna), blue vinyl records (Holling confronts her about watching too much TV)
  • The voice reading the letter at the beginning of the episode is not Jessica Lundy, who plays Elaine. There is also a scene where the music has been replaced, one song ends and there is too much space before the next one begins, as extras are still dancing and there's no music.
  • Ed's movie reference: The Graduate


  1. Dream sequences such as this are Northern Exposure trademarks, and afford an opportunity to look inside Joel's head.
  2. In a dream sequence similar to "The Graduate" (6-17).
  3. Joel and Maggie argue as they discuss her bladder infection.
  4. Joel and Chris talk about girls.
  5. A desparate Shelly drinks coffee after after being up all night.
  6. Joel, Chris and Alison play pool. Shelly dresses as Vanna White.
  7. Alison leaves Joel because she's not interested.
  8. Shelly dances on the bar while ordering from the Home Shopping Network.
  9. (This kind of seems to be Joel's New York daydream theme) Joel daydreams he stops Elaine from marrying Dwayne.
  10. Joel and Ed talk about closure as Joel lays in bed.
  11. Shelly has breakdown and recites a full lineup of TV shows.
  12. Holling serves drinks to Maggie and Joel in the "closure".
  13. Shelly apologizes to Holling.