Moominmamma's Maid is the tenth episode in the first series of the 2019 television series Moominvalley.
Autumn has arrived in Moominvalley. Moominmamma is visiting Mrs Fillyjonk at her house, where she is showing her the new lawn - which conveniently rolls up to be stored away when summer is over. Mrs Fillyjonk complains to her about how "untidy" nature is. The two of them have tea inside the house, which is entirely symmetrical from the outside and the inside. The pristine cleanliness of the house makes Moominmamma uncomfortable, though he compliments Mrs Fillyjonk on her house. Mrs Fillyjonk beings to tell Moominmamma about "order above chaos" when Moomintroll bursts inside the house, shouting that he thinks Moominhouse might be on fire. Mrs Fillyjonk fetches a bucket of water - so that she can clean up the dirty footprints that Moomintroll left on her carpet.
Moominmamma and Moomintroll arrive at Moominhouse to see smoke coming from the top of it. Moominmamma sounds an alarm by using an alarm clock. Little My bursts out from the chimney, covered in soot, and jumps down into Mrs Fillyjonk's arms. Little My tells a disgusted Mrs Fillyjonk that they've been cleaning, and Moominpappa emerges from the house covered in soot and holding a chimney sweep. He explains to Moominmamma that they were just cleaning the chimney "and whatnot", to her relief, and greets Mrs Fillyjonk, who almost faints from the sight of his dirty paws. Moominmamma takes Mrs Fillyjonk inside for some tea to "calm the nerves".
Across the river from Moominhouse, Snufkin chuckles at the Moomin family's antics. He writes a letter, which he leaves in their postbox, and then rolls up his bedsheet.
Inside Moominhouse, Mrs Fillyjonk struggles to find a tidy place to sit. She trips over a sleeping Muskrat, and then is shocked to discover that the family keeps their dirty dishes under the sofa until the next time it rains, which Moominmamma tells her is "much tidier". Mrs Fillyjonk is also shocked to find that there is a tree growing inside the house, which they "didn't have the heart" to fell. Moomintroll tells Mrs Fillyjonk that the tree is "so practical", and hangs a teapot from a branch to pour her some tea.
Not long after, Mrs Fillyjonk leaves, telling Moominmamma that she is in "urgent need" of a maid. Mrs Fillyjonk tells her that she must advertise for a maid "at once", and that it is "one's duty to one's family". Little My is playing with the chimney sweep outside, spinning around to fill the area with soot, and Mrs Fillyjonk calls her a "filthy child" and leaves.
That night, Moominmamma is awake thinking about whether she should get a maid or not. She tells Moominpappa that Mrs Fillyjonk might be right, and perhaps they could use "an extra pair of hands". She asks Moominpappa what he thinks, however he is mostly asleep and mutters "absolutely" in response. Moominmamma continues to lie awake, uncertain, until she decides to write an advertisement for a maid. She says in her advert that they need a maid who is "as small as possible" and who "likes picking apples". Snufkin sees the advertisements stuck up on trees in the forest and reads one, commenting that it's "a bit late for a spring clean". He then says how it is "almost winter again", and sets off further into the forest.
Inside Moominhouse, Moomintroll retrieves his old fish sandwich from behind an armchair. It is revealed that the Moomin family is cleaning their house. Moominmamma calls it a "pre-clean" for when the maid arrives, and Moominpappa doesn't understand why they are doing it. There is a knock at the door, and Moominpappa announces that he will do the interviews.
The first person to respond to the advertisement is Sniff, who asks how much he will get paid. Moominpappa shuts the door in his face. The second and third applicants are a Hemulen and Muskrat, who Moominpappa also declines quickly. Sniff returns with a "two for one" offer, saying that they can pay him twice and he will clean once, however he is rejected, again, and a third time when he asks for a "three for one" offer. Little My also turns up, with her chimney sweep. At one point Moominpappa pretends to interview himself, telling Moominmamma to see the "fella" who has turned up, and when she finds that it is her husband she says "really, dear" and shuts the door. Inside, Moominmamma worries about what Mrs Fillyjonk will think of her.
There is another knock at the door and Moominmamma opens it to find a very small maid carrying a suitcase. The maid greets her pessimistically, saying that she's come about the job she won't get, and she mentions how she always drops everything, then drops her suitcase on her own toes. The maid begins to leave, crying, and falls over a pile of wood. Moominmamma tells her to wait and asks for her name, which is Misabel, which Moominmamma says is "lovely". She asks Misabel if she can clean, to which Misabel shrugs in reply, and Moominmamma tells her that she is hired. Misabel agrees to start the next day, "as madam commands", and leaves.
The next day, Moomintroll asks Moominmamma why they need a maid, and she tells him that it is so they can be "neat and tidy", as a tidy house is a "tidy mind". She sets down a homemade cake on the table and quotes Mrs Fillyjonk, saying that it is "one's duty". Little My tells her that it isn't "this one's duty" and tries to leave, however Moominmamma sits her back down and tells her that she can't leave until she's said hello to the new maid, and made her "feel welcome". Moominpappa agrees with Moominmamma and says that is why he plans to do a welcoming party for their maid, with some fireworks. Moominmamma begins to ask her husband if he thinks that's a good idea, however Misabel arrives before she can finish. Moomintroll, Moominpappa and Little My shout "hoorah" and set off the fireworks, which almost blow the roof off Moominhouse and cover the house in streamers. Misabel cries "murder" and runs away screaming. Moominpappa comments that he thinks Misabel enjoyed it, and Moominmamma looks at him crossly with her hands on her hips.
Later, Moomintroll and Moominpappa are sitting by the uneaten cake, looking sorry for themselves. The streamers have been pushed aside and Misabel is inside the house. Moominmamma offers her some tea, however Misabel points out that if they need a maid then the cup won't be clean, and that she might "catch something nasty". Misabel leaves the room to clean the cup, then she trips on a streamer but finds her balance again. However, pulling the streamer dislodged a grandfather clock and tangled up the room in streamers, and Misabel looks back in horror to find the Moomins and Little My tangled up in streamers and hanging from the ceiling, except from Moominpappa, who has the cake on his head. Moomintroll eats some of the cake and tells Moominmamamma that it is nice.
That night, Moominmamma lies awake again. She tells Moominpappa that she thinks "everything will work out fine", and she asks him what he thinks, however he is mostly asleep again and merely mutters "yes". Moominmamma is about to go to sleep when she notices something above them, and jumps when she thinks that it is Mrs Fillyjonk cleaning their chandelier with a duster. She switches on the light to find that it is Misabel cleaning the light, and Moominmamma tells her that she only needs to work during the day. Misabel agrees - "as madam commands" - however her weight on the chandelier pulls it from the ceiling, and both Misabel and the chandelier land on Moominmamma and Moominpappa's bed. Moominpappa sits up in his sleep and says "spooky".
The next day Moominmamma wakes up to find with shock that the living room is filled with their belongings - books, boxes, crates and jars. Little My tells her that the kitchen "is even messier than before", and that she loves it. Moominmamma goes into the kitchen to find that all of the crockery is out on every surface. Moomintroll greets her and says that he couldn't find a spoon or a bowl for his porridge, and continues eating it out of his paw, from a bucket. Moominmamma asks if Misabel has been in the kitchen, and Moominpappa appears from behind a stack of plates and tells her that their maid is "cleaning the cutlery-ish". Moominmamma finds Misabel washing dishes in the sink, and Misabel jumps in surprise when she greets her, dropping and breaking two cups. She says to Moominmamma that she told her she "wasn't very good" and prepares to pack her things, however Moominmamma says that it is her fault, as cleaning their house is a "much bigger task" than she thought.
Moominmamma looks at a circled day on the calendar, and inside the square she imagines seeing Mrs Fillyjonk telling her that she will call back in three days time "precisely". Moominmamma covers the calendar with a curtain and suggests that it might be quicker if they "all cleaned together" as "one big, happy family". Moomintroll, Moominpappa and Little My do not look happy with this decision.
The group of them begin to clean the house together. Misabel cleans the picture frames and Moominmamma turns them the right way around, while Little My slides down the banister to clean it. Moominpappa helps them to sweep up leaves from the tree, which Misabel places in a cutlery drawer. Moominmamma anxiously crosses off the days on the calendar as they clean. Muskrat falls out of his hammock when Moominmamm and Moominpappa take it inside to press, while Misabel cuts the heads off the flowers to try and plant them in a pot. Moominmamma continues to see Mrs Fillyjonk judging her whenever she looks at the calendar and checks behind it to make sure that she isn't there. Moomintroll tidies up the spare firewood and Misabel tries to clean a teapot, however falls over in shock to find Little My inside it.
The day finally arrives when Mrs Fillyjonk comes to visit, and she congratulates Moominmamma on the "remarkable" change in Moominhouse, saying that she "hardly thought it would be possible". Moominmamma thanks her, then quickly hides away a leaf that falls from the tree inside the living room. Mrs Fillyjonk says that they must all be feeling "much happier", while Moominpappa, Moomintroll and Little My stand around looking uncomfortable. Little My begins to complain, however Moompappa muffles her with his hat. Moominmamma tells Mrs Fillyjonk how Misabel is a "most excellent maid", and Mrs Fillyjonk tells Misabel that if she ever needs any "extra work", then she knows where to find her. Mrs Fillyjonk leaves, saying how glad she is that Moominmamma took her advice, and Moominmamma sighs.
Once Mrs Fillyjonk has left, Moominpappa announces that it is a "victory" and that it calls for a "fabulously messy party", with fireworks, much to Moomintroll and Little My's delight. Moominmamma encourages Moominpappa to light his fireworks outside, reminding him that they wouldn't want any mess for Misabel to "deal with". Moominpappa asks her about saying "cheerio" to Misabel, now that the house is tidy. Moominmamma says that she supposes he is right about letting Misabel go, but it might just "break her heart".
Misabel continues to tidy the house, while making more mess in the process, and Moominmamma repeatedly tries and fails to ask her to leave. Moominmamma waves at Misabel, who misunderstands it as a friendly gesture instead of a dismissal. Moominmamma tries again to talk to Misabel but turns away, however she surprises her by saying that she knows Moominmamma wants to "get rid" of her. Moominmamma quickly tells her "not at all" and asks what gave her that idea, and Misabel tells her sadly that "they always do". She tells Moominmamma that she's even been called a "curse", and that nobody wants a maid "like me". She begins crying and Moominmamma comforts her, saying why they would ever get rid of her, and telling her that she's made them all "so happy". Misabel is surprised to hear that and cheers up as she asks if she can stay. The "messy party" fireworks go off outside as Moominmamma tells Misabel that "of course" she can stay, "forever and ever". Misabel slowly smiles, which Moominmamma says is "lovely", and she looks outside as she says: "just wait till the others see it".
The next day, Moomintroll wakes up with a shock when his bedcovers are pulled off him, and he is greeted by Misabel. In his study, Moominpappa is pushing books from surfaces, saying that "creativity is supposed to be messy", however he is shocked when a book gets pushed back to where it came from, and finds Misabel dusting his study. Moominmamma wishes him good morning before disappearing, and Moominpappa tells her to "wait a minute", following after Moominmamma and Misabel. He tries to subtly bring up the topic of Misabel leaving to Moominmamma, calling it "the matter at hand" and "the issue of the day" and Moominmamma tells him that "this way" everyone is happy. Moomintroll appears and seems confused, and Little My jumps out of a teapot being washed in the sink and says "that's it, time to move" before jumping out of the window. Moomintroll and Moominpappa look at where Little My was and then look at each other.
The next morning, Moominmamma wakes with a shock to find Misabel standing beside her bed with a mop and bucket, asking if she should clean the living room. Moominmamma is surprised to find that Moominpappa is not still sleeping beside her, and descends the stairs to find her living room looking very bare and gloomy as Misabel scrubs the floor. It is raining outside, and Moominmamma looks out to find that a makeshift house has been created with their furniture, and Moominpappa is ushering Moomintroll inside it. Moominmamma says to Misabel that "at least" she is happy, however Misabel begins wailing and crying. Moominmamma asks her what is the matter, and Misabel tells her that she hates cleaning. Moominmamma sees her calendar on the floor and picks it up, glaring at the Mrs Fillyjonk she sees looking back at her there. She hears Mrs Fillyjonk's voice and then sees that she is stood outside, complaining loudly that the makeshift house is "outrageous" and that she will "have to make a formal complaint".
Moominmamma rushes outside and calls out to Mrs Fillyjonk that their house might have been messy but at least they were happy. Mrs Fillyjonk stops and says that she "very much" doubts it, before continuing on her way. Moominmamma frowns after her with her hands on her hips, looking very cross. She goes to Mrs Fillyjonk's house, where she is drinking tea, and dumps a pile of dust onto her head, and angrily says: "there's some extra dust for you to dust!" This, however, is a daydream of Moominmamma's, which she dismisses, saying that perhaps she shouldn't do that, however she also decides that she won't apologise because she is right.
Moominmamma hears joyful laughter and piano music, and enters the makeshift house to find Little My, Moominpappa and Moomintroll all dancing and wearing costumes. She applauds when they finish and Moominpappa says that now she is here, the party "can really begin". Moominpappa and Moominmamma begin to dance together, however they bump into a wardrobe and house starts to fall down and collapses around them. Little My says that they've made a "big old mess", and the other three laugh as Moominmamma happily says: "yes we have".
Misabel leaves Moominhouse with her bag in hand and smiles at Moominmamma. Moominmamma sends her off, saying that it has been so nice having her, and asking where she will go now. Misabel says she is not sure, she supposes it will be somewhere she can "make a mess" and not worry, and Moominmamma tells her: "that's the spirit". Moominmamma tells Misabel that she can always come back next year for a "spring clean", however Misabel says "a spring mess up, don't you mean", and the two laugh. They shake hands and then part ways, however Misabel walks into the river and falls in with a yell. She climbs out and says "typical", laughing as she leaves. Moominmamma suddenly stops her and says: "I know exactly what you can do".
Misabel arrives at Mrs Fillyjonk's house with a new bag, greeting her by calling her "Mrs Flippyjonk", and she says that she came to see her about the "extra work" she mentioned. Mrs Fillyjonk remembers her and invites her in, telling Misabel that she is "far better off" with someone who "appreciates" her skills. She asks Misabel when she can start, and Misabel smiles a little as she replies: "right away, ma'm". The door closes and we hear Misabel happily shouting "smash" and "crash" while laughing and smashing things up. Suddenly a fireworks and streamers explode from inside the house, revealing the contents of the barrel that Misabel was carrying.