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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>
The character 'Ward Cleaver' was ranked #28 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (20 June 2004 issue). See more »
Boy, Beaver, wait'll the guys find out you were hanging around with a girl. They'll really give you the business.
Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver:
But gee, Wally, you hang around with girls and the guys don't give you the business.
Well, that's because I'm in high school. You can do a lot of stuff in high school without getting the business.
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During a recent TVLand "Top 10 Characters You Love To Hate" special, a well-known (under 40) female actress was quoted as saying that she believed sneaky Eddie Haskell to be the only character in the show that she remembered for resembling "a real person".
Though I'll agree that Ward and June might come across at times as being unrealistically conservative (for example, their sitting at home in their Sunday best for no reason) her comment was something I found hard to understand, since, Beaver was known to be the first show of it's kind to explore such teen issues as, alcoholism, divorce, and troubled teens.
It seems that many viewers also do not understand the significance of Ward's frequent reference (often shown as his sad remembrance) to his own harsh encounters with his strict Father, who made a point of "taking him out to the woodshed" to let Ward know "just what his Father meant", and how Ward, as a Father himself, deciding that he would not do the same when teaching his own sons right from wrong.
While the conservative side of the show might be a bit too much for some, in the end there is nothing wrong with that behavior either - it's a far better lifestyle than what we see in today's world, where parents sometimes see their children as a liability rather than a blessing.
Those who regularly watch Beaver know that while the corn does sometimes grow high in Mayfield, the trueness of the show's stories is what makes Beaver the timeless show that many still enjoy almost a half century after it's debut.
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