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The Cleavers are the 1950's 'All-American Family' in this 'feel-good' family sitcom. Parents Ward and June, and older brother Wally, try to keep Theodore ('the Beaver') out of trouble. However, Beaver continues to end up in one kind of jam or another. Unlike real life, these situations are always easily resolved to the satisfaction of all involved and the Beaver gets off with a few stern moralistic words of parental advice. Instigator and troublemaker Eddie Haskell is an older kid who always manages to avoid being caught. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
When I was young, way back in the 1960's I never really dug this show. It was too 'predictable'. In the first five minutes we meet the Cleavers, then in the next 15, Beaver has screwed up, and the last few minutes of the show, we get a good lesson on 'cause and effect' from Ward. Everybody laughs, credits roll, and we get to see Wally and Beaver walking home and a brand new De Soto go by in the street (Chrysler, replacing Ford Motor Company, sponsored the show from about 1959, onward and used the closing credits to get a product placement shot in.) And as I was a kid at the time, I never enjoyed seeing other kids get into trouble.
Now that I'm in my forties, I find the show hysterical. The exasperated look that Ward and June get when something happens, Wally's comments, and the dealings with all the Cleavers friends are priceless.
Wally's come backs of 'Aw, heck, Beaver', and 'Don't be a creep, or something.' Crack me up. You can always count on a great line from Tony Dow in every episode.
The story lines were fairly typical fifties fluff, with a few exceptions. There is one that deals with an alcoholic handyman that Ward knows, that frankly could be re-shot today, and not feel 40 plus years old. I recently saw one, where Beaver joins a record club, and forgets to send back a card to cancel the next shipment of records. Hands up, out there, how many of us do that today with our CD and DVD club selection cards?
A true, kindhearted, and well written classic to be enjoyed by the whole family.
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