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Michael J. Pagan,
As a single mother of five, Mrs. Millicent Torkelson is a do-it-yourselfer with a flair for finding ingenious ways to make ends meet. Her oldest daughter Dorothy is a sensitive dreamer who finds solace by talking to the "man in the moon". The rest of the clan includes Steven, Chuckie, Mary Sue and Ruth Ann, all of whom easily get themselves in and out of trouble. Making the best of bad times. Written by
Although The Torkelsons was an ensemble comedy, Connie Ray and Olivia Burnette were the obvious stars. They took characters who could have been caricatures (the frazzled, whacky southern mama and her precocious wannabe-poet daughter) and gave rich, realistic and complex performances. Dorothy Jane's crush on Riley was realistically poignant, exciting and angsty as only unrequited teen love can be. The jokes were cute, the lessons learned didn't clobber watchers over the head, and the Torkelsons had a moral-center much more admirable and realistic than most "family values" programming. Networks didn't know what to do with this show. It was so unique that it was difficult to fit smoothly into programming blocks. It was bounced around in the schedule so much that devoted fans set up calling networks to alert each other when they happened to find an episode on the air.
Almost Home tried to put The Torkelsons' heart and wit into a more marketable package, but the sarcastic city kids' reaction to the earnest Oklahomans mirrored the condescension shown by network executives.
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