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Manhattan lawyer Douglas drags his protesting socialite wife and her finery to the rural backwash of a rundown farm outside Hooterville. They attempt to get the farm fixed up. Farmer Fred Ziffel's pig Arnold watches TV and is in many ways smarter than the Hootervillians. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
This show was to be the obverse of "The Beverly Hillbillies" and instead turned out to be perhaps the most surreal TV show ever done in on American TV.
Oliver Wendell Douglas is the button-downed, successful New York lawyer who longs to be a farmer (he even grows corn on the balcony of his Park Avenue apartment). So off he goes to Hooterville with his glamorous Hungarian wife where they begin to farm Green Acres and live a house so ramshakle that even the Joad family in "The Grapes of Wrath" probably wouldn't live in.
Oliver tends the farm every day in suit and tie and Lisa wears elegant gowns while cooking the only meal that she knows how to make---"hots cakes" which possess extraordinary qualities---some are like granite, others bubble like sulfur mud baths, and others are stickier than any adhesive known to science. The house itself is hilarious---the bedroom closet sliding door which flys off its runners each and every time Oliver touches it, the phone which is at the top of the telephone pole, the "pore-key" hole for the house which makes it impossible to paint the place. And occasionally Arnold the Pig, perhaps the smartest inhabitant of Hooterville, regularly comes in to watch television which is always showing the same show--a wild Western gunfight between cowboys and Indians.
That's just the house. The townspeople are an assortment of extreme oddballs. Hank Kimball, the memory-gapped county agent, Ed and Doris Ziffel who are the parents of Arnold, and Mr. Haney who is the biggest flim-flam man since P.T. Barnum (he sold Oliver the house in the first place) and who has a seemingly unlimited assortment of things to peddle to Oliver. Meanwhile, the Monroe Brothers, Alf and Ralph, are perpetually trying to repair Oliver's house. Ralph is a woman and probably the first female tradesman in the history of American television, decades before women were welcomed into the construction industry. Oliver's hired hand, Eb, lives in the barn. Even Eb gets surreal---one great episode has him trying to win a radio "name that tune" call-in show. Every song snippet that is played is exactly the same as the previous one but Eb always comes up with some bizarre new title which turns out to be right.
The entire world around Oliver is insane but he gamely struggles along, erupting on occasion but absolutely determined not to give up farming and regularly trying to inspire his neighbors with stirring speeches about the nobility of the American farmer---the backbone of the economy, while his neighbors keep wondering where the patriotic music-- which always accompanies Oliver's speeches--comes from.
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