7th Heaven
Season 5, Episode 8
Air date November 20, 2000
Written by Sue Tenney
Directed by Chip Chalmers
Episode Guide

Gossip is the eighth episode of the 5th season and the 96th episode overall of 7th Heaven.


Now that Mary has left Glen Oak for the time being for her own good despite being sent away to live with her grandparents in Buffalo, some of the ugliest rumors are being spread within the four walls of the family's church. Since everyone seems to believe that all the Camden kids are "bad seeds", Simon and his friend decide to take advantage of it by getting involved with a rebellious pair of twins at school. Elsewhere, Ruthie spreads some phony tales around town to draw attention away from Mary; Matt is infatuated with a beautiful stranger; Annie meets up with an old boyfriend; and Lucy must decide if dating a formerly suicidal classmate is worth the trouble.


At church, Eric is delivering a sermon about how people can let each other down and the community is gossiping about Mary and her sudden change in behavior. Rumors of her pregnancy, running away, stealing, nudity, and drinking are being tossed around. After church, Eric and Annie are in Eric's office, discussing the decision to send Mary away to the Colonel and Grandma Ruth in Buffalo for her own safety. As they are talking, they overhear a couple of women gossiping about the wild stories they've heard about her. Outside, Matt sees a woman dressed in a wedding dress coming out of a limo and gives her directions to St. Monica's church. He is struck by her beauty and barely manages to get out directions before she leaves. At the church food service stand, Lucy and Ruthie are giving out food when a couple of teenage girls approach them to ask why Mary left and if the rumors about her being pregnant are true. Lucy politely explains that it's a personal and private matter. Ruthie then asks if Mary is pregnant, but Lucy explains it's just gossip and that it is wrong to gossip. Luke, Simon's friend, encourages Simon to use Mary's bad-girl reputation to his advantage and to meet girls. Simon is skeptical until Luke points out a few girls who think he is bad. Simon wonders why they would think that and Luke explains he told them, the Murphy twins. Eric puts the twins to bed and runs into Annie who has just gotten off the phone with an old friend from high school, Robin, who is taking her out to dinner. Eric tells her that it's not a good idea for her to go out as people are already gossiping about the family and brings up the story of Rick Nelson whose death was attributed to drug use even though no one knew the real story. Annie insists that she is going and Eric can't stop her. At the pool hall, John and Matt are talking about the girl in a wedding dress, and when she randomly turns up there after getting off the payphone, she kisses Matt and ruffles his hair before walking away. Matt tells John he is going to marry her, but John tells him he should get her name first and Matt tries to do so unsuccessfully. At home, Eric is playing a Rick Nelson song in his bedroom when Ruthie walks in and asks him about the rumors she's been hearing about Mary. Eric assures her everything will be alright and Mary will be back, and everyone will see the gossip about her being pregnant or being in jail is fake. Lucy answers the door to Mike and tells him she'd forgotten about their studying. Mike tells her he's heard lots of gossip about Mary and also that people still talk about his suicide, which happened over a year ago. He suggests to Lucy that she diverts people's attention by giving them a way to pity the family, by making up a story. Lucy explains she is tempted, but refuses as she isn't good at making up stories, but Ruthie overhears and decides to make up a story herself. The next morning, she tells her principal false stories about her family, like Lucy had a lot of disabilities, Simon not being able to talk, Matt being in jail, Eric losing his job and Annie drinking all day. Ruthie then asks the principal if she feels sorry for her family and advises her to spread it around.

Eric and Annie are in the kitchen, with Eric strumming his guitar and singing Rick Nelson songs, while Annie is trying to prepare lunch. Annie asks if he is ever going to stop playing and help her, Eric says no and continues playing. Eric eventually stops and explains that playing the guitar relaxes him, and asks how can he help in some other way. At that moment, Mrs. Beeker, one of the ladies talking at church, appears at the door with her niece, Paulene, a family counselor, and offers her services to Eric and Annie. Paulene suggests that they should hug in order to solve their problems and hugs, plus love, equals marriage. Annie politely declines the offer, and when Eric reveals that he is a family counselor himself, Paulene tells him that a family counselor that counsels himself makes him a fool. They leave and Eric and Annie are left stunned by what just happened. Eric then suggests that Annie should go out with her friend from school and if people are going to talk then make people talk about something. In the process of telling her to go, Eric accidentally calls her a tart, which makes Annie angry, and as she leaves, he jokingly calls out for a hug and recites what Paulene said earlier, that hugs plus love equals marriage. At the pool hall, Matt walks up to the bartender and Matt explains that he can't sleep or study without knowing who she is. Matt asks what makes her more different than the other girls and Bartender tells him that she is the most beautiful woman he ever met. At school, Lucy is approached by the two girls from earlier at the church, who tells her the gossip they heard about her and Mike being together and if it's true, which Lucy denies and tells them not to gossip about other people. They explain that no matter what Mike does because of what he did, people are always going to gossip about him, and by extension Lucy too. Simon is also at school and Luke tells Simon to make his move on the Murphy girls, but before he has a chance to ask one of them out, they walk up to him and tell him that they would be happy to go out with him and Luke. Simon is stunned that they would even talk to him and they make a date to go to the Promenade that night with a group since their parents only allow them to go out with groups.

Lucy walks into Mike at school and when he asks her when she wanted to be picked up for the dance, she says she can't go to the dance and doesn't seem too excited to hang out with him. She tells him that something came up, an emergency, and she couldn't go. He tells her that while he's disappointed, he knows she wouldn't cancel unless she had to and they can go to something else together later. Lucy feels guilty lying to Mike once he leaves. At home, Robin shows up to pick up Annie and he doesn't recognize Eric and doesn't remember his name despite that they met already and this is the third time. Robin comes in and explains that he wrote a book about not being a loser and how his book tells people to be blunt and upfront with their comments. Robin tells him that his book is brutal honestly and is like the bible. He tries to explain that he isn't comparing himself to God, but couldn't remember who wrote the bible and had to ask Eric, and what's he saying is that if you come to him looking like a loser, he is going to be brutal and encourage you to stop being lazy. Annie comes downstairs, they hug each other and then leave for the restaurant. Eric mutters under his breath that he hates that guy. In the kitchen, Lucy is sitting in the kitchen looking sad while eating carrots. When Eric offers to buy ice cream, she is unenthusiastic about the suggestion. Eric probes her about why she isn't going to the dance but she insists that she doesn't want to discuss it. Simon and Ruthie enter and Ruthie hands Simon a list of questions for the Murphy twins, like if they can read each other thoughts, but Simon tells her that he isn't going to ask them any of her stupid questions. Lucy is impressed that Simon is going out with them and tells him that they are wild, Simon tells her to not judge people and that she can't believe everything that everyone says, just like with Mary. Simon explains that they are not wild since their parents only let them go out in groups and that you can't be wild in a group. Ruthie asks Lucy if she is sad about Mary and when Lucy says that she does a little bit, Ruthie assures her that she took care of everything, deliberately leaving it vague. The lady from earlier, now wearing casual clothes, walks into the pool hall and tells the bartender that she is looking for a guy and the bartender tells her that the guy is looking for her. Simon and Luke wait for the Murphy twins and when they show up, they tell them they have four hours to do whatever they want. When Simon worries about waiting for the rest of the group, the girls tell him that they just lied to their parents so they could go out. Eric runs into Ruthie's principal at Baskin Robbins when trying to get ice cream, and when she tells him that she wanted to speak to him after she spoke to a professional, Eric is concerned that there is a family in crisis. Eric asks who the family is and she tells him that it is actually his family. Eric asks what it is about and the principal explains that his family is so sad and tells him that they need to hold it together for the children. At that moment, Lucy confronts Ruthie about what she told her principal and Ruthie explains why she did what she did. Ruthie thinks that they are going to thank them for doing what she did, but Lucy tells her that they won't be happy.

At the pool hall, Annie gets an earful about Robin's view of people and how you should be blunt. Robin harshly criticizes an old high school friend and deems him a "loser" for being a waiter, despite Annie pointing out that he is happy with being one. Annie gets uncomfortable with the conversation and Robin tries to sell her his book. Mrs. Beeker and her niece, Paulene, walk into the pool hall and finds Annie with another man they don't recognize and decide to eavesdrop on the conversation from a nearby table. Meanwhile, Simon and the Murphy twins are at the convenience store when the twins start shoplifting. Simon refuses to join in, but when Luke almost gets caught, they all run without paying for anything. Matt receives news from the pool hall bartender and he tells him that the woman asked about Matt and that the lady's name is Julia. She is a model and wants to meet him at 9:00. Matt tells John the good news, but John is going to be more cautious with this relationship since Matt seems to find love everywhere he goes. Matt offers that John is jealous. At the Promenade, the twins and Luke leave without paying for their meal, and Simon reluctantly follows due to peer pressure. A woman sees them leaving, but they run away before they can be caught. Back at home, Lucy wakes up Ruthie and tells her that she and the twins are going to the senior dance since she realized she did a stupid thing but she can't leave them home alone. Ruthie asks if she is going to get in trouble for the whole lying scandal and Lucy with absolutely certainly, says yes, she will definitely get in trouble with Annie and Eric. At the movie theater, one of the Murphy girls makes Simon take the blame for pinching a girl in line. Just as her boyfriend gets in Simon's face, they run away. They go back into the theater but this time without paying or getting in line, much to Simon's refusal. A whole group of ladies are at the pool hall with Mrs. Beeker and gossip about the Camden family and get shocked when they see Eric walk in with a woman that isn't Annie. Eric walks up to Annie and tells her that he needs to talk to her, but Annie gets nervous since Ruthie's principal is with him. Eric takes Annie away from the table and tells her about Ruthie and what she has told the principal. He gets angry at the ladies from the congregation who are watching, and they concoct a fake story about how they are both seeing other people in order to throw them off. The ladies are left speechless. At the movie theater, Simon expresses that he is tired of acting badly and shoplifting before one of them kisses him and he decides to forget everything he just said. The usher catches them and asks them to show him their ticket stubs. Lucy shows up at the dance with Ruthie, Sam, and David and asks Mike to dance. While dancing, she explains that she acted badly because of all of the gossip surrounding him and wants him to forgive her.

Sergeant Michaels speaks to Simon and his group outside the movie theatre, informing them that they match the description of some recent trouble around town. Simon blames Mary for causing it all, and that Luke told the Murphy twins that he was bad. Sergeant Michaels warns him that bad behavior has consequences and offers not to press charges if they return what was taken and pay back any debts. Back at the pool hall, Annie then gets a beep from her pager and leaves to answer it, allowing Mrs. Beeker to approach Eric and apologize for spreading gossip about him. She admits she never thought it would cause such harm before being interrupted by Annie who tells Eric about Simon's misdeeds. At the Promenade, one of the Murphy girls reveals that they actually wanted to teach Simon a lesson about trying to up his reputation by going out with them and that they aren't as bad as everyone says, but Simon tells them that he never wanted to do any of the bad things. Simon tells one of the girls that he likes her and wants to go out with her without being bad and they set up another date. Eric and Annie catch sight of them kissing as they arrive and tell him it is time to leave. Matt returns back to his apartment disappointed after waiting all night for Julia only for John's enthusiasm tips off her presence behind a wall and surprise Matt. Julia explains that she was modeling and that was why she was wearing the wedding dress. She also explains that she is leaving tomorrow and is only here visiting her father. Matt asks her if she would like to go get some coffee, but when she says no, he offers to stay and make out until her plane leaves. They begin kissing. At the dance, Lucy asks Mike about the suicide rumor about him trying to kill himself because his girlfriend moved away and he tells her it's untrue and romanticizes an act of suicide; the dance they are at is what real romance looks like. Eric, Annie, and Simon show up at the dance and find Ruthie, Sam, and David dancing. Ruthie gets nervous when she sees her parents and then explains why she told her principal what she did. She explains that if people felt sorry she thought people will stop talking about Mary and that if people stop talking about Mary, she would come back home. Eric tells her to not tell any more stories and when Ruthie asks if she is going to be punished, Eric explains that they have been punished enough and the whole family dances together.


  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen guest star in this episode as Sue and Carol Murphy.
  • This episode marks the first time one of the original main cast missed an episode.


  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were both on CNN talking about their appearance on 7th Heaven, reminiscing about their experience on the show and discussing how they enjoyed being part of a family-oriented drama. Ashley Olsen mentioned, "You just get hooked on the episode. You want to know what's coming next. And similar to Full House as well. It's a good family show where there's problems between everyone, but everyone gets along and there's moral." David Gallagher says, "If you get a date with these girls, it's like you're in, you're set, you're a cool guy. We do a little shoplifting and into sneaking to movies and things like that."
    • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were also featured on E! Entertainment. Mary-Kate mentioned that they were going to be showing a different side of themselves in this episode, playing "bad girls" which was a departure from their usual roles, "We don't usually play the bad girls." Tracy Nelson, who also appeared in the episode, shared that her daughter was a big fan of the Olsens, "But my daughter, who is eight years old, is going to absolutely flip when she comes to the set today because they're here." E! Entertainment also showed that Beverly Mitchell was E's guest reporter the show's 100th episode. They showed a clip of Beverly asking Stephen Collins if he had a favorite episode, for the 100th episode, "I actually love this episode, this 100th episode, which for reasons that I can't give away to the audience because some really cool stuff happens this episode."
  • This episode features music from Ricky Nelson Legacy album. Interesting enough, his daughter Tracy Nelson, guest stars in this episode as Pauline.
  • Jamie Lauren (Katie) was nominated for a Young Artist Award as Best Performance in a TV Drama Series for her performance in this episode.

Goofs & Errors[]

  • Early in the episode, Ruthie has to ask Lucy what the word "gossip" means. It seems very unusual that a fifth grader (not to mention a fifth grader who attends a high-profile private school) doesn't know that word.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]

  • Mary-Kate Olsen as Carol Murphy
  • Ashley Olsen as Sue Murphy
  • Jeremy Lelliot as Mike Pierce
  • Michael Woods as Robin
  • Natasha Allas as Julia
  • Christopher Michael as Sergeant Michaels
  • Brenda Strong as Mrs. Carmen Mackoul
  • Joey Zimmerman as Luke
  • Rachel Winfree as Gossip Lady
  • Michael Canavan as Steve
  • Edie McClurg as Mrs. Beeker
  • Tracy Nelson as Pauline


  • Jamie Lauren as Katie
  • Veronica Lauren as Chris
  • Jodi Carlisle as Bonnie
  • Loanne Bishop as Sharon
  • Danielle Aubry as Barbara
  • Terry Ray as Theatre Manager
  • Gregory Phelan as DJ
  • Jeff Witzke as Phil


  • Erik Audé as Boy Friend
  • David Markey as Peter
  • Abigail Revasch as Café Waitress
  • Paul Michael Sandberg as Convenience Store Clerk
  • Jessica Hinton as Girl
  • Scott Strassner as Jack

Opening Credits[]

Featured in the opening credits are: