When Big Guy Beck dies, the heirs to his estate are given a stipulation (via a pre-recorded video will) before they inherit his wealth. They have to live with Big Guy's illigitimate son, ...
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When Big Guy Beck dies, the heirs to his estate are given a stipulation (via a pre-recorded video will) before they inherit his wealth. They have to live with Big Guy's illigitimate son, Wild Bill Westchester and his wife Bootsie, and they have to learn to accept the Westchesters as their own family. Of course, this does not bode well with the snooty Becks, and petty rivalries and catfights soon ensue in this sitcom spoof of '80s primetime dramas. Written by
Over the span of a year, CBS ordered two pilot episodes. The network ultimately opted not to pick up the show, but they broadcast the pilots as filler during the summer of 1982. To their surprise, the broadcasts topped the Neilsen Ratings. Sure that they had a hit on their hands, the network scrambled to find a place on the fall schedule for the show. Ultimately, they bumped Mama Malone (1984) off the schedule altogether (it would be another two years before that series finally debuted). Initially airing opposite a new series called Family Ties (1982), ratings for the subsequent episodes of "Filthy Rich" were dismal. See more »
Bootsie, do you know "Spread Your Tiny Things and Fly Away?"
It's "Wings," Mama.
She's always one word off!
[The family finishes singing the "Happy Birthday Song"]
Alright, everybody rub my bottom and make a wish!
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There's no way to italicize Dixie Carter's delivery of the word "serve" with this particular forum, so that I will have to characterize it in prose. When Bootsie Westchester (breathily played by Ann Wedgeworth) worried aloud about what she would have to do if she got "a piece of gristle" at an upscale dinner party, Carlotta Beck (Dixie Carter's never been more caustic and haughty, but fun...) did a slow burn, and said, "We don't (shudder) *serve* gristle."
This sums up the basic us vs. them premise of "Filthy Rich." However, there were really two different rivalries for control of the family's wealth. Carlotta and Stanley were the Established, Recognized members of the family, but hated the gold digging Kathleen (Delta Burke, in her first former beauty queen-with-a-penchant-for-tiaras-at-the-dinner-table role), who was married to the recently departed "Big Guy." The second family feud was between these three "legitimate" characters and the "trailer trash" Westchesters, who recently discovered that Wild Bill was the Big Guy's illegitimate son,
and was in line for an inheritance, if they could all get along...
As a raw parody of "Dallas" and other night time soaps, the show was absolutely perfect in its timing. It appeared as a summer replacement program and was wildly popular. Critics hated it, but audiences demanded that the network put the show in its regular lineup in the fall.
Unfortunately, the show couldn't maintain the level of interest that it generated in the slow, dull, dog days of summer. Maybe the show was too "one joke" to sustain extended audience interest, plus the competition was providing new material, and it was no longer the only new fish in the pond.
The writing was bawdy, brilliant, and satisfying when U.S. audiences couldn't get enough of oil-rich families fighting and trying to out-maneuver one another. It's a shame that it never got the chance to grow.
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