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I used to love watching reruns of this show when I was younger but now that I've seen it on TV Land, I have absolutely fallen in love with it. This precious gem of a classic is full of laughs and awesome characters. It was certainly different from many other situation comedies of its time and that, in my opinion, is tremendous enjoyment in itself. Hands down, one of the greatest shows ever to grace television.
This is one of the all time classic sitcoms in the history of
television!!! "The Dick Van Dyke Show" was pioneer as a sitcom
revelation which implemented many different forms of comedic
conversation!! Because "The Dick Van Dyke Show" used so many dead pan
dialog techniques, and one liner diatribes of amusement, it left a
positively impressionable trademark on the television audience!! For an
extended period in prime-time during this era , it effortlessly became
the most popular T.V. Show on television!!! The talent was there, on
and off the screen!! Dick Van Dyke, RoseMarie, Morey Amsterdam, Jerry
Paris, Richard Deacon, and of course, MTM Productions mogul, Mary Tyler
Moore!! Off the screen, you had Bill Persky, Sam Denoff, John Rich, and
the creator of the show, Carl Reiner!! This show exuded a plethora of
talent!! Comical situations persistently amused the small screen viewer
by illustrating predicaments of precarious identifiability, and aspects
of utterly human quirkiness that were never depicted on television
shows before!! "The Dick Van Dyke Show" was the inventor of the
triple!! What is the triple? When two statements follow a pattern, and
the third statement breaks the pattern which sparks a laughter!!!
Examples of the triple are:
Does this restaurant serve anything flaming?
2) Bananas Foster
3) Richard Simmons?
Another one: You need something that breathes a lot:
1) A Full Bodied Bordeaux
2) A Summer Linen
3) A Raunchy Pervert
Another one: Did something go down the wrong way?
1) Something You Ate
2) Something You Drank
3) Your Last Property Tax Bill!!
Suffice it to say, the element of the triple is a lot of fun, not to mention, very effective!! The above triples are mere examples, "The Dick Van Dyke Show" had their own, and popularized the use of the triple tremendously!! The triple has been a sitcom staple ever since!! This show discusses a lot of real life experiences with the characters on the show, as well as many typical proclivities which are indicative of many New Yorkers!! This show was an excellent portrayal of a polite comedy writer who displays his latent tendencies through a lot of physical humor (Dick Van Dyke)!! Razor sharp sarcasm was replaced with succinct accuracy!! The Madison Ave boys who are writing the show can be the ones who are acrimonious, they are better at it anyway!!! When the show went off the air in '1966, it left an indelible mark on small screen entertainment!! The episode with Laura falling out of the hallway closet with a bunch of walnuts is considered THE!! classic episode of all time!! My favorite episode is the one with the Spanish dancer who was auditioning for a benefit show that Rob was in charge of!! Her dancing redefined sensuality for suburban Connecticut (New Rochelle). Her sex appeal was the genuine article, as opposed to someone like Laura, who just looks sophisticated in worsted wool!! A lot a people may recognize this episode in which I am talking about!! This series, in my opinion, is one of the best sitcoms ever!! Many critics rank it third, putting it only behind "The Honeymooners" and "M*A*S*H". This series was totally outstanding!! The "Dick Van Dyke Show" was a definite diamond in the rough!!
The Dick Van Dyke Show has always been one of my favorites; from the first
time I saw it in syndicated reruns, to the recent dvd releases. Despite the
passage of time, it still holds up. The reason? It had the best writing and
performances of any show and it presented real characters in believable
situations. You can argue about other classic shows, like I Love Lucy, All
in The Family, MASH, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Seinfeld, or Cheers; but, in
my opinion this was the finest comedy show on television.
Carl Reiner is a comedy genius who turned his own life into a comedy goldmine. After starring in an unsold pilot, he was faced with the fact he was wrong to portray his own life. With the help of Sheldon Leonard and Danny Thomas, he was able to bring Rob Petrie to life, via Dick Van Dyke. He filled the series with great actors and the best writing on television. It was a perfect format, a show about a writer for a top variety show. It lent itself to logical guest appearances and a host of unusual and amusing situations. It was filled with a cast of great characters: lovable, if klutzy Rob Petrie, beautiful and talented wife Laura, joke machine Buddy Sorrell, sarcastic and love-starved Sally Rogers, pompous, but exploited producer Mel Cooley, demanding egomaniac boss Alan Brady, neighbors Jerry and Milly Helper, and cute son Richie Petrie. Everyone had their moments.
So many of the shows were classics that it is hard to pick favorites. There are the wonderful dream stories, such as "The Gunslinger", "It May Look Like A Walnut", and "The Bad Old Days". There are the performance shows, like "The Alan Brady Show Presents", "The Sam Pomerantz Scandals", and "The Alan Brady Show Goes to Jail". There are the flashbacks to Rob and Laura's courtship and early days of marriage, as well as Rob's beginnings with the Alan Bady Show. Then there are the ones that are just plain fun, like "A Ghost of A. Chantz", "Never Bathe on Saturday", and numerous others. The shows could also be quite touching, like "Buddy Sorrel, Man and Boy". Even weaker shows had great moments.
One of the reasons the show holds up well is that it lasted only 5 seasons and didn't get a chance to wear out its welcome. Everyone was at the top of their game when they called it quits.
When the show first came to "Nick at Night," I was ecstatic. I hadn't seen the show in several years and proceeded to tape the entire premiere marathon (which meant getting up early in the morning to change tapes). Those tapes quickly became worn out. Now, I have them on dvd, complete with promos, commentaries, features and other extras. This show will continue to live on as testament to the best of television comedy. Too bad they don't make shows like this anymore.
Carl Reiner made one of the most best written shows with this series by creating all of the scripts by himself. The man has an innate talent for comedy, timing and characters as the first show known where the characters spend half of the time hurling funny insults at their boss, and the other half showing the life of a happily married couple very much in love with each other. This is probably the first show to show the husband at work where so many other tv husbands vanished to "the job;" for all we know, Ward Cleaver and Ozzie Nelson could of been embezzlers or secret agents. This show went one more level further by showing the scenes behind the writing of a comedy-variety show. Dick Van Dyke is an eternally likeable talent and Mary Tyler Moore was demurely sexy and wonderfully irresistible before her looklike cousin got a job in that Minneapolis news office. That role was a far distant cry to this one. Forget the Bradys, they were the parents I wanted; they were both wonderful, fair and funny, but who wants to have a crush on their mom ? Larry Matthews was every model son as he played the "low-maintenance kid" missing from shows on end. Morey Amsterdam and Richard Deacon were perfect comedy foils for each other as was Rose Marie who played eternally optimistic bachelorette Sally Rogers. Jerry Paris and Ann Morgan Guilbert were everyone's favorite neighbors. All this and appearances by Reiner himself as oft seen Alan Brady, the star of the show within the show, made this series a comedy classic even above The Cosby Show or the Brady Bunch.
If there was ever a show that seemed an unlikely candidate to be
regarded years later as a masterpiece of TV comedy, it would have to be
the Dick Van Dyke Show (TDVDS). And younger viewers who happen upon it
while cycling through their many cable channels might not give it a
chance when they see the banal-looking living room of Rob and Laura
Petrie that looks like it was furnished by K-Mart, or the office of the
comedy writers of the Alan Brady Show which looks more like a waiting
room at a dentist's office. But behind the veneer of what looks like a
vanilla-clad suburban cliché is actually a little TV wonder boasting
biting wit, outlandish circumstances, and perpetual unstoppable humor.
This was the show that the likes of The Brady Bunch or Happy Days
aspired to but could never ever hope to attain.
There are three reasons why The Dick Van Dyke is the best and not to be missed: The writing, the writing, and the writing. It all starts with the genius of Carl Reiner who did what all young writers are told to do at the beginning of their careers: write what you know, and Reiner did just that. He wrote about the life of a comedy writer, which is what he was. For years he was one of the writers for two of Sid Caesar's shows: "The Caesar Hour" and "Your Show of Shows" from the 1950's. And when he created the Dick van Dyke Show he re-created much of what he had experienced as a comedy writer and layered it into this new sitcom.
When Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) is not at home with his wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), he is the head comedy writer of a fictional television show, The Alan Brady Show. His fellow comedy writers are Sally Rogers (Rose Marie) and Buddy Serrell (Morey Amsterdam), and his boss Alan Brady occasionally appeared played by Carl Reiner, the producer of the Dick Van Dyke Show in real life. Even the premise seems tame at first.
Why does this show work? What Reiner did was take a scenario that seems rather hum-drum on the outside, and then gradually take the characters into unchartered territory simply for the purposes of entertaining TV audiences for 30 minutes (well really 22 minutes). There are many standout episodes, but some of the best involve Alan Brady, the self-centered star and boss of The Alan Brady Show who could give Atilla the Hun a run for his money. One episode, which has become a TV classic, involves Laura accidentally revealing on national TV that Alan Brady wears a toupee, and how Rob and Laura must jump through hoops to soften the damage. Another episode equally as hilarious recounts when the comedy writers, Rob, Sally, and Buddy, are mad at Brady and decide to write an insulting script about him with the intention of discarding it without Brady seeing it. Of course, it ends up falling into Brady's hands! The comedy writers then go on a wild goose chase trying to get it back before he reads it! You'll be rolling over the floor with this one.
Another ingredient, often overlooked, is the comic genius of Morey Amsterdam. Amsterdam, as the other comedy writer, improvised many of his caustic biting sarcasm that gives the needed edge to scenes at the office. Often, Mel Cooley, Brady's lackey, is the butt of much of Amsterdam's cruel humor. Amsterdam was actually a major inspiration to Robin Williams who became Mork of "Mork and Mindy" fame, another show that was inspired by The Dick Van Dyke Show. Check out "the Walnut" episode, and read some of Buddy's dialog under the "quotes" section. Are you sold yet?
Ironically, The Dick Van Dyke is far better than the Sid Caesar shows, which were its parents. Today the Caesar shows come off dated, while the Dick Van Dyke Show continues to gain new audiences, even since the passing of Amsterdam. A strange and wonderful chemistry came together although it was under-appreciated during its original airing. Dick Van Dyke himself became one of the biggest entertainment stars of the 1960's, and Mary Tyler Moore got her own show ten years later, and twenty years after that was nominated for an academy award for "Ordinary People". But the Dick Van Dyke Show reigns supreme as possibly the funniest show ever produced by American television, much funnier than even "Saturday Night Live". As for THE funniest show ever to air on television, you have to go overseas because the award for that goes to "Monty Python's Flying Circus".
This was the sitcom that broke the mold when it came to the head of the household actually having a profession and showing him at work. For many years before this show premiered, you would always here about "dad" being at work but you would never hear what kind of work he did. In some cases you would even see them at home all the time (eg. Ozzie Nelson). This was the first show where you got to see the main character interact with his co-workers as well as his family at home. And very often the two would meet, especially in the classic episode "Coast to Coast Blabbermouth" when Laura almost cost Rob his job by revealing that Alan Brady wore a toupee. This show is just as funny today as it was when it first premiered in 1961.
I guess the most dated item on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" are those silly
twin beds in Rob and Laura's bedroom. This had to be one of the last
sitcoms to feature such absurdities.
Regardless, "The Dick Van Dyke Show" is the best sitcom ever! The writing, characterizations, and timing are flawless. Few sitcoms since the mid '60's have measured up to the quality of this series. None have surpassed it.
Be thankful for the incredible 5-season DVD set. This set has been a long time coming, but the wait has been worth it. The DVDs will help preserve the greatness of this show into the 21st century.
The crazy tales of comedy writer Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke), his wife
Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), son Ritchie (Larry Matthews) and co-workers
Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam) and Sally Rogers (Rose Marie). Usually,
some mishap starts out small, but spreads and ends up involving
everyone. As a side note, whenever Rob, Buddy and Sally's producer Mel
Cooley (Richard Deacon) enters the office, Buddy always makes
unfriendly remarks about his bald head.
I watch "The Dick Van Dyke Show" every chance I get. From the moment that Rob trips over the ottoman in the opening sequence, you know that something loony is fast approaching. Whether Rob and Laura accidentally eavesdrop on their neighbors Jerry and Millie Helper (Jerry Paris and Ann Morgan Guilbert), or Sally's relationships remain in limbo, TDVDS never disappoints me.
While of course Rob is the main character, my favorite character is Buddy. I nearly die laughing at his comments about Cooley's bald head. It's just wickedly funny. The sort of material that could only come from Carl Reiner (who occasionally appeared on the show as Rob, Buddy and Sally's boss, the tyrannical Alan Brady).
All in all, TDVDS is definitely one of the funniest shows in TV history. I hope that it never stops rerunning!
As a teenager growing up in the early 1960's, I was a big fan of "The
Dick Van Dyke Show". And this episode is the one I remember the best,
after all these years. It is a flashback to when Ritchie was born and
Rob becomes convinced that the hospital accidentally switched their
baby for another one born at the same time of a family with a similar
name. The climactic moment (which I will not reveal) was both one of
the funniest things I ever saw on television in my life and an amazing
demonstration of how American attitudes were changing. I have read that
this is Dick Van Dyke's personal favorite episode, and I completely
agree with him. Apparently, the live studio audience laughed so long
and hard that the cameras had to stop until they calmed down and the
actors could continue.
I would guess that today the shock of this moment is lost to a great extent, but for its time, it was an astonishing, courageous moment - and also side-splittingly funny.
I have to say, even knowing enough about TV history to have respect for
this show didn't prepare me AT ALL for how ridiculously funny it is. As
a long time fan of "Mad About You," which is clearly a tribute, I can
see the setup here, but it's amazing to see how one of the truly
landmark television shows still stands up after all this time. I'm just
finishing Season 2 on DVD, and I have to say kudos to whoever put these
As to the show itself, if you've never seen it, you're seriously missing out. Some of the best laughs I've ever had watching television have come from watching this show. In fact, watching this, I can see many early glimpses of popular sitcom characters from later years.
A real treat!
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