The episode revolves around The Cooley Family. There's the father, Garry (Robert Forster), mother, Ruth (Shannon Wilcox) and son, Sandy (Chad Allen). One night as Ruth is ironing and Garry is working on his newest ad pitch (apparently he's in marketing), Sandy comes home and asks if he can have a birthday present early because he seems to have lost his watch. When Ruth replies that he will just have to wait and try looking for his watch, Sandy replies that he'll just ask The Milkman.
Confused (naturally) Ruth asks him what The Milkman has to do with anything. Sandy goes on to inform his parents that all over the neighborhood, people are asking The Milkman for things by leaving notes for him in their milk boxes the night before delivery. Sure enough Ruth scoffs at the idea. Garry tells his son that he'll buy him a new watch the next day if he still hasn't found it.
Later that night, we see Gary writing a note to The Milkman and putting it out in the milk delivery box. In the morning, sure as lactose intolerant go-go dancing midgets love chocolate, Sandy has a new watch! As the episode continues on, we learn that most of the men in the neighborhood are aware of The Milkman's gift giving. Friends of the family Howard and Edna are over for dinner one night and Howard starts to spill the beans about it. Garry sends the women to the kitchen and starts to reprimand Howard, until he finds out that Edna knows the deal. Apparently, Howard has been asking for a new car every week for about two months and the old "I won it in a contest" excuse was running a bit thin.
I won't spoil the whole thing for you, and will leave off the plot synopsis there. There's a fun twist to the whole thing and while it's a bit of a slow burn episode, it does have a fun kick at the end that makes it all worth it.
Chad Allen was a popular child star in the 80's, appearing in the show Webster as one of Webster's friends, though I'm sure most people will recognize him more from his roles in St. Elsewhere and Our House. Though if you're reading this then you're like me and you know him best as Sherman in TerrorVision! Hell yeah!
This episode was directed by John Strysik. Mr. Strysik has not directed a lot of other shows or films, but what he has directed is quite notable: Six episodes of Tales from the Darkside, one episode of Monsters, three episodes of Land of the Lost as well as several other features. Most interestingly, a short film in 1980 based on H.P. Lovecraft's The Music of Erich Zann, which I am now on a quest to find and watch!
The Milkman Cometh first aired on January 25, 1987 and is Episode #13 on Season 3.
*Due to some technical difficulties, I do not have any screen captures of my own right now, so I was at the mercy of the internet to find some screen caps. Please do forgive me this one time. I will go back and reinsert my own screencaps at the closest convenience!