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Apparently, the creators of "The Education of Max Bickford," have LEFT the
show, because the honchos at CBS want to make Max more "sympathetic."
Why does corrupt corporate marketing constantly encroach upon quality television? One of the things that makes "Bickford" such a delight is its departure from one-dimensional characters and caricatured portrayals which are so endemic to network programming. Yes, Max is hypocritical, contradictory, enervating and downright offensive. And yet, amidst all his spiritual blemishes, Max's good intentions, deep respect for his colleagues and love for his family shine through. As opposed to the black-and-white world of the cop-medical legal dramas that pervade our airwaves these days, the main character's complexity enhances his humanity, rather than diminishes it. Sound like someone you know? Look around...there's more than just a little bit of Max Bickford in each of us.
Perhaps the lower ratings are due to the uniquely American need for blinding escapism, albeit at the cost of introspection. God forbid network television should be an instrument of self-reflection. No, they need those ratings, those delicious and oh-so-informative demographics, which translate into advertising revenue and profit. Where is our profit as the intelligent, discriminating TV viewer, huh? HUH?
This show tells about the life of a Jewish college professor called Max Bickford (Richard Dreyfuss) and his family, which includes Lester (Eric Ian Goldberg) and Nell (Katee Sackhoff), who also studies at the women's college where her father teaches.Other great characters are Andrea Haskell (Marcia Gay Harden), who's also a professor and Erica Bettis (Helen Shaver), who used to be a man.The Education of Max Bickford ran from 2001 to 2002.My question is why? Why did it last for one season only? I liked it.The comedy worked in it, the drama worked in it and the cast was magnificent.The adult actors were great, the kid actors were great.And then you could see these amazing guest stars making visits.There was Eli Wallach in three episodes as Jay Bickford, Max' father.In one episode there was Peter O'Toole as Sidney McKnight, an old professor.These legends can make any show better, and this one was good already.So why didn't it last? What can you do? Some shows go on and some don't.That's the way it goes.
Intelligent TV has returned to commercial television. Great topics with a fine grasp of cross generation relations. Maybe not a fair comparison, but M*A*S*H was rough around the edges when it started. "Max" has a great foundation to start on, it can only get better. Stick with it CBS I plan to keep watching. KM
I watched ` The Education of Max Bickford' and found that the premise of
series is quite promising. I like Richard Dreyfuss (American Graffiti, The
Good Bye Girl, Mr. Holland's Opus) and know his work pretty well. Max
Bickford reminded me of Mr. Holland in Mr. Holland's Opus, a person who
ready to succeed in life, but the problems and circumstances life itself
brings stalls his success. He gets just as annoyed as Elliot Garfield,
Dreyfuss character in' The Good Bye Girl' does. He does it really well.
Actually he can go through a broad spectrum of emotions and succeed.
is an outstanding actor.
Max Bickford is a professor who seems to be very good. He is a single
parent and sole provider for the family. His teenager is a typical rebel
teen, and his little son is very wise. The first episode did not show why
is still single, but did mention that his wife had died. He worked a lot
his profession and just found out that one of his ex-students, Marcia Gay
Harden (The Spitfire Grill) received a chair instead of him. That made him
really mad. I guess I would have made me mad too. It made him made enough
accept the position of department head that he earlier had refused as
Then there is a she who used to be a he. `Erica Bettis` Helen Shaver'
Color of Money). The audience is presented with a series of issues, that
could raise good discussion between the characters and to create an
atmosphere of a great show!
My husband and I both enjoyed the first episode. I liked going to college
much that a new show about a teacher brings back that mystery of finding
what a professor is all about! I recommend this series, and please do
yourself a favor and watch something fun and intelligent.
For the first time in my live I had the plan asking a television
network why they stopped broadcasting a great show.
In this case 'The Education of Max Bickford'.
The show was aired in Holland every late Sunday night.
Following 'The West Wing.
Another great show.
Watching both shows was a great conclusion of the weekend.
And something to look forward to.
I already planned an angry e-mail to RTL4, the Dutch network that aired the show.
I found out it was not their mistake.
I was shocked to find out CBS ran the show for only one season.
Shame on them.
What can I say about Richard Dreyfuss that hasn't already been said in
reviews. Having seen all his movies, he never ceases to amaze me at the
character roles he develops. He will never be a romantic leading man, but
his diversity allows the viewer to love him for who he is without being
stereotypical male actor. I feel like I know Max but he is more
than the show has yet to divulge.
"The Education of Max Bickford" has really grown on me. As I predicted I didn't think Aunt Erica/Uncle Stevie could be a recurring theme for long. Even though, CBS didn't overdue it with that role but it too added some interesting plots to the series along with humor. I also loved the way Richard Dreyfuss has evolved Max into a more lovable character, with the human flaws and frailties we all can identify with in our middle-age, daily lives. His children, Nell and Lester are typical of kids today on a multifaceted levels. And Max is finding dating at his age awkward, after many years of marriage and the subsequent loss of his wife. Then to compound matters, and I can really identify with this; his irascible father enters the picture with all the stubbornness and hard-headedness he displayed his whole life.
Max is sandwiched in between two generations both of which he can identify with to a point, but never fully understands either. To add to the interest of his teaching at Chadwick they have incorporated Marcia Gay Hardin, aka Andrea Haskell, who does a wonderful job on the series. She adds some of the balance that Max needs in his life but again she is a colleague and not a new love interest, even though he had his one time fling with her, while she was a student at the college. Perhaps a more intimate relationship will blossom as the show progresses.
For me it will be interesting to see what follows next season because the writers and Dreyfuss have allowed for a wide open door of possibilities. The surprise guest cast even keeps the show on its proverbial toes and adds another dimension and spark for the viewers. One thing I can say that holds my interest is that even though the setting doesn't change, the stories are always a surprise and fully entertaining. Many shows are so predictable that after several episodes one becomes bored. But for Max Bickford, I would give the show a 9.5 on the rating scale.
Just goes to show you, after reading recent comments, no change will please everyone. I am in the camp that was getting tired of watching the "severe" Max Bickford, and was considering dropping it all togther, until they changed the focus and softened him up a bit. I watch the show because I find it entertaining, and it usually makes me think. It seldom tries to come up with a solution, but it touches on such diverse topics as transexuality, aging, doing drugs, lying to parents, bigotry, free speech, plagarism, and on and on. I suppose daughter "Nell" is my favorite character. I know "Max", I am almost Max in my own world. But Nell is a good, bright, conflicted girl trying to find her path into and through young adulthood. I like this show, however I wouldn't expect everyone to. You have to be in touch with the real world.
What a shame that this series only ran for 1 season... I'm watching the re-run of all episodes again, enjoying every second of it!!! Not only a fantastic role by Richard but by all other characters. New England at its best...the atmosphere is very special. I hope that there will be another season of "the education" in the near future...because it's an education for everyone to watch this kind of television...... ...... ....... ......... ............ ........ ............... ......... ........ ........... ........... ........... ..................... ......... ....... ......... .......... ........... .......................... ....... ...... ......... ......... ......... .................. .............. 1000000compliments. Peter
We have been watching Max Bickford since the beginning. As a university
professor for the past 35 years, who has been a Chair of a Department, and
dealt with Presidents and Deans, Academic Senates and Boards of
I was unsure what to expect when the series started. From my experience,
the series truly gives the flavour of academic life, certainly as seen
the perspective of someone who, like Max, has to deal with colleagues of
temperaments and genders. I am often left wondering if the writers were
students at MY institution!
Beyond the academic realism, the human side of this series is a real joy to watch and savour. To see a parent willing to sacrifice himself for his kids, to stand up for the "old-fashioned" liberal causes he believes in, and to challenge the rich and the powerful when necessary, is to enter again the world of principles and love that had seemed to have been overridden by the social Darwinism so necessary to the operation of the new economic order.
This is a great show--we certainly hope that it continues in the CBS lineup--it should have real legs. Thanks.
I have seen most of the episodes of Max Bickford and found it to be a fun,
intelligent and well-layered program. Dreyfuss' character started out
quite the curmudgeon and then there was talk of "softening" his crusty
character -- making it "Touched by a Professor." However, they seem to
found a good balance. Bickford is still a wonderful crank, but he has
facets now than were originally evident. They have not softened him up
much. They have also made his daughter less of a drag, which is
The most recent episode, with Eli Wallach and Bob Balaban in guest roles, was truly worthy of an Emmy. Now they need to figure out how to get more of an audience to the program.
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