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Before this show was shown on television, my parents and I (still at
home at the time) had the opportunity to be part of a home test
audience for it. It was one of the worst, if not THE worst, show I had
ever seen, even allowing for the trial version being something of a
rough cut. We so advised the testing organization making it very clear
that we thought it was an awful program that should not be released for
sheer lack of quality and expressed clearly our opinion that it was not
just a bad episode but essentially a stillborn project to the root. One
might also consider the hick stereotypes as offensive as well, but that
was not our point, our point was that it was simply bad. We took into
account that this is a country that bestowed success upon the likes of
The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres.
It went on to be shown in prime time. The show that went on was not substantially different from the test version. Our estimate was completely vindicated by its very short run. Very gratifying I suppose, but I would have not have been surprised it it had run for years like other bits of garbage have.
The show has competition for the top (that is, bottom) spot but will remain on my short list of most terrible attempts at entertainment forever.
I remember my brother and I being awestruck by this awful sitcom. It wasn't like the Beverly Hillbillies at all in that the "stars" were a family of no-account white trash who attempted to eke out a miserable existence by lying and cheating. No surprise. The family name was derived from "The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble-Mindedness," a 1912 book by American psychologist Henry H. Goddard. Each episode pretty much made you feel sorry for the people they were attempting to fleece. On top of that, the program was devastatingly unfunny. I believe it was only intended as a summer series with the option to continue if it had struck pay dirt. We suffered with glee through each of the four episodes that summer, mouths agape at the TV Titanic sinking in front of us. I can still hum that cheerful "Beat the System" theme song.
This show was on the same line as the Beverly Hillbillies,The cast worked well together,My only wish would have been that the network would have given it a chance.The theme song (Beat the system) performed by Roy Clark.Bonnie Ebsen (daughter of Buddy Ebsen Jed on the Beverly Hillbillies was very funny.Edie McClurg Played her Mother and David Huddleston her father.If you ever get a chance to view this show,I hope you do so.
Sure, the production values were pretty shoddy on this thing, but it would have found a niche on the Fox Network. It wasn't until "Married With Children" that we began to see edgy, cynical, and dysthymic views of family life, thanks to the advent of the post-modern movement. Now, we can point to My Name Is Earl, The Riches, and most recently Raising Hope as alternative views of family units. In 1977, people were still expecting to see "The Brady Bunch" and "The Partridge Family," At six episodes, The Kallikaks barely got a foothold, let a full season to develop. Incidentally, The Beverly Hillbillies ran for nine years and initially received similar diatribes from reviewers, most notably Cecil Smith of the L.A. Times.
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