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The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited (2004)

TV Movie  -   -  Comedy  -  11 May 2004 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 149 users  
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A reunion of the surviving cast members from the original 1961-1966 TV series finds Alan Brady wanting Rob and Sally to collaborate on a eulogy for him before he dies.

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Title: The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited (TV Movie 2004)

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
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Himself - Host
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Larry Mathews ...
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...
Jerry Helper (archive footage)
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Buddy Sorrell (archive footage)
...
...
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Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jeanne Allen
...
Melvin 'Mel' Cooley (archive footage)
Mimi Dillard ...
Mrs. Peters (archive footage)
Bill Idelson ...
Sandy Kenyon
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Storyline

40 years after The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961), Allan Brady wants to hire Rob and Sally to write his eulogy - in order to win a bet with his wife. Although they don't want to do it, he offers them a huge amount of money. If Rob takes the job, Laura could open her dream dance studio. Written by Martha Quick

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Comedy

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11 May 2004 (USA)  »

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(archive footage)|
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The living room set in the special is the exact same set that was used on the original series. It had been kept in storage for forty years. See more »

Crazy Credits

The late Richard Deacon is the only major cast member to not receive screen credit during the opening sequence, though he (along with now-deceased producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard ) does receive special acknowledgment at the end of the show. See more »

Connections

References The Comedy Spot: Head of the Family (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sadly, Ripshin is correct: this reunion special is dreadful
18 September 2005 | by (Glendale, California) – See all my reviews

I'm usually the guy telling other reviewers they're being too harsh. But I found myself grimly forcing myself to sit through this travesty to the bitter end, for no better reason than I'm a stupid, masochistic completist anent this series. What a bitter caricature of a capstone; I wish I hadn't noticed it was on.

First of all, the age difference in the cast, while not readily apparent in the show, burns like a lighthouse beacon FORTY YEARS later. DVD is eleven years older than MTM, and he looks about twenty years older. Ann Morgan Guilbert ("Millie Helper") looks like a female Orville Reddenbacher without the energy; she should be on the Golden Girls (or maybe the One Foot In the Grave Girls).

Now, to be fair, they never made any secret about the relative ages of the characters on the show: the birthyears given for the characters (when possible to deduce) pretty much matched up with those of the actors (within a year or so). Still, there is nothing to prepare us for Mary Tyler Moore looking fairly young -- though awfully skeletal, probably due to the actress's (type 1) diabetes -- and her "best friend" Millie looking like a fossil from the pre-Cambrian era.

Dick Van Dyke still looks reasonably good (for a man of nearly eighty). Others haven't aged well at all: "Baby" Rose Marie ("Sally Rogers"), who began her career as a singing tot in 1926, bloated up terribly in her old age, possibly due to illness; I kept expecting her to keel over at any moment. And of course, Morey Amsterdam ("Buddy Sorrell"), Jerry Paris ("Jerry Helper"), and Richard Deacon ("Mel Cooley") had aged themselves to death... a fact that they kept banging us over the head with repeatedly throughout this reunion, talking about all the eulogies that Rob Petrie had to give.

(Carl Reiner -- "Alan Lester Brady" -- is actually just slightly older than Dick Van Dyke but looks much older; this is fine, though, considering the work relationship in the show.)

I could forgive the incredible aging if the plot were clever and the characters clearly the same people; alas, neither is true: the story is uncompelling and dull, and the characters act nothing like their forty-year younger counterparts. The absurd marriages and other relationships that are supposed to have occurred in the intervening time don't help, seeming contrived for the sole purpose of bringing back old characters (such as Jerry Van Dyke, Dick's younger brother).

The scenes from the original show jarred terribly because they were so much better written, acted, and directed... and because they cut them at odd places, even editing out sections from the middle of a skit! With hamfisted chopping, they managed to terminate most flashbacks just BEFORE the punchline. Yeesh.

And although they seemingly tried to duplicate the original set for the opening scene -- which was utterly gratuitous, the only purpose being to let us see that Larry Matthews ("Ritchie Petrie") grew up to be a fat, balding old man -- they completely screwed up the most important piece of furniture in the living room... the famous ottoman is replaced by a small chair, as if the set designers actually forgot what it was supposed to be! When Ray Romano ("Everybody Loves Raymond") pretends (badly) to almost trip over it, it actually annoyed me no end: for Pete's sake, couldn't they even get such a simple thing right? Romano, incidentally, seems utterly talentless in this show; I've never seen Everybody Loves Raymond, so I don't know if he's capable of better.

There is absolutely nothing about this reunion show that gives even the faintest pleasure; even the nostalgia is turned sour by the relentless march of the years. They should have done this in 1984, not 2004: all of the actors would have been alive still (except perhaps Richard Deacon, depending when they filmed), unsedated, and not all that old; and maybe Carl Reiner would have been fresher as a writer.

A sad coda to the greatest sitcom ever on TV.


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