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After years of experiencing the rat race of Los Angeles, George Apple, his wife Barbara and their four children move back to George's hometown of Appleton, Iowa, where adjusting to a new culture, new climate, new friends and a new pace are not as easy as they thought it would be. Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Apple's Way" was an enjoyable family show. Unfortunately it appeared on Sunday nights, the "Death Slot" and only lasted one season.
It was a trend-defying series that focused on the family relationships of the Apples, who left Big-City life for a slower pace and a better environment for their children in rural Iowa. It struck a chord because the mood in America at that time was "malaise" after Vietnam, Watergate, gas lines, inflation, recession, drugs, and the overall erosion of family values. The parents wanted to give their children a more wholesome life without the peer pressures for sex, drugs, booze, and other temptations so popular at the time.
Overall, I thought the parents succeeded. . The three Apple children made friends with their classmates and managed to have a good time down on the family farm. They grew up with a better attitude. Having the grandfather added another dimension, a frame of reference that the kids would not otherwise have had. In the days of double-digit inflation, they were astonished to hear of 25-cent movies and nickel ice cream cones. As a World War I veteran, he told them about patriotism at a time when our Vietnam misadventure soured nearly everyone on the military.
The cast did a great job. Ronny Cox was perfect as the laid-back, patient father. Vincent van Patten came across very well as the teenage son trying to understand life. In one episode, Paul spends a lot of time playing tennis and falling in love with a young woman a few years older. The ending was sad.
The episode I remember best sums it all up for me. Another family they knew in L.A. spends a week with the Apples and becomes quite fond of the less-stressful way of life. They even think about moving to Kansas to start over. On their last day, however, the father, a corporate VP, is needed back in the office. Although he tries to buy time with the President, the company sends a helicopter to bring him back. As he flies off, the rest of his family realizes that they are, unfortunately, captives of their wealthy urban lifestyle, and drive back home.
I didn't watch it every week, but I enjoyed this sleeper of a show. It wasn't a hilarious comedy or a deep drama. With good scripts and acting, this show made a statement about life in the 1970s.
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