What I’m Watching

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The Dick Van Dyke Show

I’m taking a break from my rundown of the Fall television premieres, because I absolutely have to tell you how much I LOVE The Dick Van Dyke Show.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that I think it’s one of the best television shows that has ever been made!

The show centers around Robert Petrie (Van Dyke), a comedy writer at The Allan Brady Show – a primetime comedy/variety show.  Whether it’s because of the zany antics of his co-writers,  (played by Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie), his son Ritchie, or his wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), Rob seems to find all of the inspiration he could ever need for his skits from situations that arise in his own life.

Despite the fact that it’s filmed in black and white and originally aired from 1961 to 1966, the show never really feels dated thanks to the humor which is smart, witty, and ahead of it’s time. Even the slapstick bits feel natural and refined, instead of forced and pandering.

Laura: “I’m sorry, Rob, you’re right… I don’t think that you are interested in her. I’m sure you’re not – I trust you. I realize that a handsome man like yourself is bound to attract a certain number of coquettish women, and I want you to know I understand this…And if Miss Layton feels it’s necessary to attempt a flirtation with you, I’m not going to be one of those screaming, nagging wives – I’ll merely go up to her and quietly kill her. Dinner is ready.”

Although I do have to admit that many of the references they make to pop culture icons of the day, and the majority of their famous guest stars, are unknown to me. But never once has that hindered my ability to enjoy the plot line.

Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore are comedic geniuses – not to mention extremely talented singers, dancers, and actors.  The entire cast comes together and plays off each other in such a manner that often times you can see the enjoyment on the actors’ faces as they interact during certain scenes.

Not only that, but the show was created by Carl Reiner.  Carl, (the father of Rob Reiner) was also the main writer, and was often joined at his desk by the likes of Garry Marshall, Joseph Bonaduce (Danny Bonaduce’s father), and John Whedon (Joss Whedon’s grandfather!!), so really, it’s no wonder I love this show so much.

The best thing about the show, however, is that it’s all at once familiar and original. Curling up on the couch to watch a few episodes feels like visiting old friends – but ones who are always up to something new.  Because of that, I have a hard time imagining someone who wouldn’t like it!  Honestly, even if you aren’t a fan of “classics” or of black and white, I guarantee that if can manage to put aside those prejudices and just watch a couple of episodes, you’ll find yourself hooked in no-time.

You can catch all five seasons of The Dick Van Dyke show right now on Netflix Instant Streaming.

The Whedon Tanget: While doing research for this post, I discovered that not only did John Whedon work on The Dick Van Dyke Show, but he also wrote for The Andy Griffith Show and The Donna Reed show.  His son Tom (Joss’s father), went on to write for The Golden Girls, Alice, and Captain Kangaroo.  Holy cow, I’m in love with the entire Whedon family.  Joss Whedon, as we all (should) know, is responsible for a ton of great TV, but most importantly, Firefly!!

Do you watch/did you watch The Dick Van Dyke Show?  How much do you love it?


4 thoughts on “What I’m Watching

  1. I haven’t watched it for years, but when it was on, I loved it. I love that you are such a history buff that you know who’s related to whom. Very impressive. I don’t even keep track of the first who let alone the second, and history’s my thing! Good for you!!!

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