Audiences viewing this show in syndication are often confused by Rue McClanahan's shift in physical appearance during the course of the series' run. During her intermittent appearances in the first season, the 38-year-old McClanahan was aged significantly in order to make her appear more of a contemporary to Maude's character, which included graying her hair. Once McClanahan was invited to become a regular, she insisted on reverting back to her age-appropriate appearance, which the writers explained by having Vivian return from having just undergone a facelift.
Maude, did you wreck the car again?
Maude Findlay: Did you hear that, everybody? DID YOU HEAR THAT? Not "Maude, are you sick?" Or "Maude, are you unhappy?" Or even, "Maude, are you pregnant?" No, "Maude, did you wreck the car again?"
Walter Findlay: You're right, darling. You're ...