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21 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

...not quite good enough

Author: F Gwynplaine MacIntyre from Minffordd, North Wales
27 December 2003

Bob Denver had a long successful career playing sitcom characters who bore no resemblance to human beings. 'The Good Guys' was his only series role as a plausible human, and it flopped badly. Which is a shame, because 'The Good Guys' was an honest attempt to do something different in a sitcom: the depiction of an honest friendship between two men who were basically decent working-class guys, just barely surviving financially ... as opposed to Bilko-like connivers.

Denver was partnered here by the tragically underrated Herb Edelman, a hugely talented actor who did his best work in support. Another flaw in the format was that the two lead characters' jobs didn't complement each other; Rufus was a cabdriver, but the premise required him to hang about at Bert's Diner rather than cruise for fares.

The opening credits were clever, with a rapid montage establishing the life-long friendship of Rufus and Bert: we see a photo of two babies, dissolving into a photo of two little boys, then two teenage buddies, then Rufus and Bert as adults. Rufus (Denver) is a swinging bachelor, while married man Bert (Edelman) runs the diner with his wife Claudia. Joyce Van Patten brought absolutely nothing to the (poorly written) role of Claudia: she seemed to be the generic sitcom wife.

The first episode of 'The Good Guys' started promisingly, with a clever gag cribbed from Harpo Marx in 'The Big Store'. On a street that's obviously an interior set, Rufus drives up in his taxi and parks it directly outside Bert's Diner, in a parking space left vacant by the presence of a hydrant. Rufus gets out of the cab, then he picks up the (fake) hydrant and chucks it into his back seat.

Unfortunately, from here the premiere episode declines into one of the oldest plots in sitcom land: the one in which the boss and the flunky switch places. Bert's Diner isn't doing well, but he expects business to pick up as soon as he qualifies to join the chain of restaurants in the Howard Jackson (geddit?) franchise. The diner isn't doing any business, but - out of the goodness of his heart - Bert has hired one of those stereotypical sitcom foreigners to be his dishwasher. Get this: the dishwasher is depressed because he's been sending letters to his mother telling her he's a big success in America; now his mother is coming to see him, and she'll find out he's just a dishwasher. So guess what the dishwasher wants Bert to do. That's right; Bert pretends to be the dishwasher while Foreign Boy pretends to own the diner. His mother shows up and she's delighted to discover how 'successful' her son is. (Owning a diner with no customers.)

So, of course, the executive from the Howard Jackson chain shows up at the worst possible moment, when Foreign Boy's mama is the only person in the diner. (No wonder this place is losing money.) When she finds out that Howard Jackson's name would go over her son's name on the roof of the diner, guess what happens. 'Guess what happens' is a good explanation for why this show was so bad: the first five minutes of each episode set up the premise, and then we know exactly how it will play out.

Midway through its run, 'The Good Guys' tried to stay alive by altering its premise. Bert, Claudia and Rufus moved to a California beach resort where they ran a coffee house. This was an improvement, as it allowed Bert and Rufus to interact all the time. Also, the coffee house provided an excuse for lots of gorgeous blonde surfers (of both sexes) to hang about in skimpy swimming gear.

During the second half of its brief run, 'The Good Guys' at least had somewhat more original script ideas. In one episode, money kept disappearing from Bert's cash till. Rufus and Claudia both denied taking it ... but then both of them made some large purchases with money they claimed they had 'found' in the pockets of their clothing. Bert was sceptical, so he hid a home-movie camera in the coffee house to record the thief. It turned out that Bert was sleepwalking: in an extreme case of nice-guyness, Bert was stealing his own money from the register and slipping it into his wife's and his buddy's pockets while they slept ... then waking up to remember nothing.

I'm tempted to say I wish I could remember nothing about this series, but that's unfair. 'The Good Guys' was an honest attempt at originality at a time when many other sitcoms were derivative. The onscreen chemistry between Denver and Edelman was delightful, but not strong enough to carry this show. It's a shame that 'The Good Guys' wasn't quite good enough to succeed ... and that many other sitcoms that were far worse (step forward, Gilligan) became very successful.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

After Gilligan Came This

9/10
Author: DKosty123 from United States
24 December 2006

Essentially, this series centers around two soda jerks, Bod Denver & Herb Edelmen, who try to bumble their way through a lot of comic situations. Even though the idea of soda jerks is from the 1950's, this show manages to bring off the idea with comic results. Actually they own an ice cream shop. The chemistry between Edelmen & Denver is as good as Denver & Hale.

In fact, a couple of Gilligan's alumni appear on the series, Hale &Jim Backus. I was hoping that Mary Ann would appear, but if I remember correctly she didn't do any shots on this show. No matter, the show was funny & well done.

Jack Perkins does some excellent drunk sketch comedy on this show. While that type of humor has gone out of style now, his reoccurring guest shots on this show were all very funny.

This was yet another CBS series that did not last long enough in the late 1960's as it just barely got to the second season. Too bad as Denver was very good in this one too.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

very funny series I wish I could see more of it

Author: kungfuml from Fredericksburg, Virginia
6 July 2005

I think anything with Bob Denver is great and when I had the opportunity to see this rare series I was very happy. I was not expecting much from it when I saw it, but it was very funny. I watched four episodes including one with Alan Hale Jr. I wish that this series would air on TV because it really could have the chance to catch one even if it has not been seen in 35 years and that many people have never heard of it. I like the connection between Bob Denver and Herb Edelman. The jokes were funny and original and they are still funny even if you were not around in the late 60's. I just wish more people could have the chance to see this because I know a lot of people would like this. Its funny show with family values and could fit in with any audience.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Small comedy, if it's available, watch it, you'll laugh

Author: a_genda from Mexico
21 January 2001

The plot outline pretty much sums it all up.

It was just some sort of a warm-down for Edelman (bit on "The Odd Couple") and Denver (Gilligan's Island), but a most enjoyable little show with a very pleasant, understated Joyce Van Patten.

The show was Seinfeld-esque, little happened in it, but was still very enjoyable. A fun show was when, in anger, they revealed each other's middle names Bertrand "Ranravenald" Gramus & Rufus "Fahquart" Buttterworth.

Silly and nice.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Not great, but strangely memorable

6/10
Author: wwgrayii
19 May 2010

I was pretty young in those days, but I definitely remember this series. It's a decent, mildly amusing, middle-of-the-road sitcom, about on the level of "I'm Dickens, He's Fenster" (which was made by the same producers and which bears more than a passing resemblance to this series). Bob Denver and Herb Edelman play (respetively) lifelong best friends Rufus and Bert. Bert and his level-headed wife (played by Joyce Van Patten) own a diner (the imaginatively named "Bert's Place") somewhere in downtown Los Angeles. Rufus runs a one-man taxi service (complete with a custom taxi designed by George "Batmobie" Barris), although it's hard to tell how he makes a living, since he seems to spend almost all of his time hanging out at Bert's Place. The two of them have typical 1960's sitcom misadventures, usually involving get rich quick schemes. Denver and Edelman have decent chemistry, and the stories, while repetitive, are OK, but the ratings must have been pretty soft right from the start, since halfway through the first season, since former "Gilligan's Island" co-stars Alan Hale and Jim Backus were added to the cast in recurring roles. The first season was shot on film in front of a studio audience.

The ratings ultimately justified renewal, but the second and final season brought wholesale changes to the show. Hale, Backus, the taxi and the studio audience disappeared as Bert and Rufus became business partners and moved the diner to a beach front location. The stories became much more silly and slapstick, and the series lost whatever charm it had. 17 episodes into the second season, it was canceled.

This is the final series in Bob Denver's CBS sitcom hat trick (the others being "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" and Gilligan's Island" ). Denver held an ownership interest in the show through his production company, and was an uncredited executive producer. The story is that Denver felt shafted by the producers of "Gilligan's Island" (imagine that), so he negotiated a very lucrative back-end deal for this series. He would have made a Thurston Howell-sized pile of money from the reruns, but, unfortunately for Denver, after the series was canceled, it was never syndicated. So much for the pile of money.

Denver, who had been a fixture on CBS prime time sitcoms for ten straight years, never had another prime time network series, although in 1975 he appeared on a CBS Saturday morning live action sitcom, "Far Out Space Nuts." A couple of things worth noting: Jerry Fielding's outstanding title tune, which is far more musically interesting than most TV theme tunes, and Reza Badiyi's charming opening credits sequence. Fielding also wrote the catch theme music for "Hogan's Heroes" and Badiyi will always be remembered for the title sequence for the original version of "Hawaii Five-O," the best title sequence in the history of American television, bar none.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A funny show for a 12-year-old perspective

Author: DrSamba from New Hampshire
27 November 2004

I started watching this show because I remembered and had enjoyed Bob Denver from his Gilligan days (and even as Maynard G. Krebs)

Unfortunately, I only remember a couple of gags from this show. One was when Rufus was trying to promote the diner as a truck stop. He told Bert that one of the truck drivers "pushes reefer" (a term meaning to sell marijuana). But before Burt could protest that he didn't want drug dealers frequenting his diner, Rufus explained that he drives a refrigerator truck.

In another episode, Rufus had taken a loaf of bread and sliced it the long way instead of across. When Bert asked him why he did it that way, Rufus explained that slicing it across cuts against the grain. Bert told him, "There is NO GRAIN in bread," realized what he had just said, and then gave up trying to argue.

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