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'The Dick Van Dyke Show' was one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. A
comedy show that was actually *about* comedy, this series brilliantly
combined slapstick, low banter, high wit and sophisticated cultural
references. Three episodes addressed the changing nature of race
relations in America during the early 1960s.
Oddly and regrettably, while many other (vastly inferior) sitcoms of later vintage engendered 'reunion' episodes, for many years Dick Van Dyke refused all offers to take one more trip across the ottoman as Rob Petrie of New Rochelle. It was not until several members of the supporting cast had died that Van Dyke finally agreed to do this reunion special.
The good news is: it was worth the wait! 'The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited' does full justice to the original classic series. Annoyingly, the special is introduced by Ray Romano, an actor I don't care about who stars in a series I don't watch. But I recognise the realities of modern television; the producers of this special were eager to bring in a current 'name' actor as insurance for all these old-time names. (Anybody whose stardom peaked more than five years ago is a has-been for today's amnesiac audience.)
The show opens in that familiar New Rochelle living room ... but the person living here now is Richie Petrie, all grown up and still played by the same untalented (former) child actor who was the biggest drawback to the original series. After this painful opening scene, we cut to Rob and Laura Petrie, who must be the only couple who moved *to* Manhattan to retire. Rob is now dabbling in computer animation. (In real life, Van Dyke is a talented caricaturist: here, we see a pointless piece of animation in which a badly-animated cartoon Dick Van Dyke dances alongside a video clip of the real one. The impressive dancing of the real Van Dyke - still supple at nearly 80 - merely emphasises the crudeness of the animation.)
Rob's wife Laura teaches ballet classes in their Manhattan home, but yearns to open her own dance studio. We briefly see several little girls in leotards and tights, one of whom addresses Laura as 'grandma' even though Richie Petrie looks like he never had sex with anybody. Along comes a voice from the past: Rob's old boss Alan Brady, who wants to pay him and Sally Rogers (Rose Marie) a lot of money to write his eulogy so that Brady can hear it while he's still alive.
The dialogue cleverly establishes that Buddy Sorrell, Mel Cooley and the Petries' neighbour Jerry Helper are all dead (the actors who played them are now deceased). Laura is still friends with her former neighbour Millie Helper, who is now dating Rob's somnambulist brother Stacy. (Dick Van Dyke's real brother Jerry played Rob's brother Stacy in a few episodes of the original series, but here he seems to be reprising his annoying character Luther from 'Coach'.) The perennial spinster Sally Rogers is now in a dull boring marriage with Herman Glimcher, the mama's boy she dated back in the early 1960s (and played by the same boring actor, minus his hair). Sadly, no mention whatever is made of Buddy Sorrell's wife Pickles.
The real delight of this reunion special is the barrage of clips from the original show, although I wish the clips had been selected with more emphasis on comedy rather than music. It's a shame that there isn't even a brief clip of Van Dyke and Henry Calvin doing their Laurel & Hardy routine in the episode 'The Sam Pomerantz Scandals'. One clip included here may baffle viewers unfamiliar with the original show. In that classic series, Rob's boss Alan Brady was played by Carl Reiner, but he made his arrival gradually. Brady was only an offstage presence in the early episodes, making his first few appearances with his back to the camera and his face concealed. During the transition period before Alan Brady's face was shown, Reiner occasionally guest-starred in other roles in this series. This reunion special includes a long clip from the episode 'October Eve', featuring Reiner as eccentric portrait artist Serge Carpetna. Reiner is very funny in this role, but -- since Reiner as Carpetna looks exactly like Reiner as Brady -- modern viewers may wonder why Alan Brady is speaking with a European accent. (By the way, I savoured Reiner's guest appearance as Alan Brady on an episode of 'Mad About You'.)
'The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited' should have been done ten years sooner, but it's a pleasure to be reunited with these beloved characters one more time. Mary Tyler Moore is still trim, and clearly delighted to show off her lithe figure in dance clothes. Despite a few minor flaws and some odd production decisions, I'll rate this delightful special 10 points out of 10.
It was good to see the gang again. The writing was sprightly and
stylish, but the premise was all wrong. Who cares about a eulogy for
Alan Brady? That angle fell completely flat. I would much rather have
spent more time with Rob and Laura in their old living room where we
had last seen them; and in color!
As far as I'm concerned, the whole show should have centered around Rob and Laura selling their home in New Rochelle and moving into that Manhattan apartment. It would have been a more fitting way to bring us from the 60s and into the 21st Century. It also would have had more of the flavor of the old show as they faced quirky prospective buyers, real estate agents, etc. Alan Brady could have made an offer to buy the house and turn it into a rental property with a shrewd Ritchie stepping up to buy it out from under him.
One last party at the New Rochelle house to celebrate the move would have given the cast a chance to reminisce over archival footage. It would have been far more upbeat than spending an hour talking about death. Who knows? It could have provided Carl Reiner with a great platform for spinning off another reunion show. With critics panning this reunion as they did, they may never do another reunion episode again. I hope that's not the case.
This "new" episode of the old series is an embarrassment to watch. Being an avid fan of the original, I eagerly awaited this reunion. Some memories are better left alone. I own all of the DVD's of "DVD", and that's all I need. It is even worse than the "Mary & Rhoda" TV-movie a few years back. At least in that "reunion," MTM was still playing Mary Richards. In this debacle, she's definitely not Laura Petrie....I have no idea whom she is portraying. Laura in this special appears sedated, with none of the spunk of the 60s version. Granted, it's forty years later, but DVD himself still manages to evoke the character of Rob. CBS deserves criticism for having Ray Romano "host" the show. I realize they consider him their current top comedian, but he can't hold a candle to DVD. The class, acting and writing of "DVD" cannot be found on network TV these days. And, I LOVE Rose Marie, but she doesn't appear well in this reunion. Again, go purchase those "DVD" DVD's - a great investment. I've already introduced many young friends to the series....friends who were equally appalled by this 2004 special.
This was probably one of the best reunions of a 60s sitcom in the last
ten years or so. Instead of having an hour of reminisces, Carl Reiner
decided to write a good 45-minute storyline of the Petries in 2004.
Some, in fact, a lot of this story-line works: Alan Brady is not dying,
but wants Sally and Rob to write his eulogy so he can have the chance
to rewrite it. Laura now has a small dance studio at home, and Sally is
finally married to the guy she was always going out with.
Yet, there are some parts of the reunion show that doesn't make sense: Why did Rob stop writing? Didn't he write a book? Also Millie and Stacey's little "date" is strange, but funny. Yet, despite these few flaws, The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited still retains some of that old "magic," mostly because Dick Van Dyke, Rose Marie, Ann Morgan Guilbert, and Carl Reiner stepped right back into the shoes of their old characters. Unfortunately, though, Mary Tyler Moore's performance is a bit stale and rushed, almost as if she forgot how to make a comedy show. Larry Matthews' appearance is quick, strange, and we really don't learn what he's doing forty years later.
And why did Ray Ramano host this? What does he have to do with Dick Van Dyke? His scenes are even stranger than some of the weirdest parts of this reunion.
Finally, the clippings of the old show also make this reunion. When the new footage starts going a bit stale, they add in footage of the "good 'ole days" when these people were younger and funnier. Yet, all in all, this was a pretty good reunion, and I recommend it to every fan of The Dick Van Dyke Show to watch.
I must disagree with one user's review. Of course the program doesn't have the same magic as the original Dick Van Dyke Show. But common, that was 40 years ago. I have to give them credit for their efforts. I think it's wonderful that they were able to get all of the surviving members of the cast together, and I did find several of the jokes, and most of the story line very funny. As far as Rose Marie "not looking good", what do you expect?! She's in her 80's now! I just think it's difficult for us to see characters 40 years older, especially since we're all so familiar with how they looked and acted in their youth and prime. However as far as I'm concerned, the show was probably as good as it could be considering how much time has passed. I do have to admit however, that Mary Tyler Moore looked unnaturally much younger than the rest of the cast, which can be attributed to the amount of (admitted) plastic surgery she has had.
Over the years, TV show reunions have varied in quality. "The Dick Van
Dyke Show Revisited" actually comes out quite well. In this one, Rob
(Dick Van Dyke) and Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) are retired and living in
Manhattan when Alan Brady (Carl Reiner) summons Rob and Sally (Rose
Marie) to write a eulogy for him before he dies. So arises the
question: how do you write a eulogy for someone like Alan Brady? The
characters themselves haven't changed a bit in the nearly 40 years
since the original series. Rob is still tense, Laura is still fiery,
and Alan is still a jerk. Sally is now married to Herman Glimscher
(Bill Idelson), and neighbor Millie Helper (Ann Morgan Guilbert) is
dating Rob's brother Stacy (Jerry Van Dyke). A good thing that the
reunion did is not try to replace the deceased cast members (Morey
Amsterdam, Richard Deacon, Jerry Paris); I think that we can agree that
no one throws out hilarious insults like Morey Amsterdam.
So, this reunion isn't bad at all. However, couldn't they have found someone other than Ray Romano to host it? Oh well, it's pretty good otherwise. Still, I would have liked to have heard Buddy make just one more comment about Cooley's bald head.
Actually the age factor in the show wasn't a problem--the
gut-wrenchingly bad writing was the problem. This is hideously unfunny
I couldn't tell by listening to the laugh track if it was automated-- as laugh tracks often were in the era from which this show evolved--or if they just had a really easily amused audience. I heard the audience laughing, of all things, at Dick dancing around in a baggy red sweater while a 3D animated caricature of him cavorted on a monitor screen. This mystified me, since the show was created in 2004. Where did they locate an audience that would find a 3D cartoon dancing funny? Or even interesting? Perhaps the audience was made up of Sun City retirees like the cast, and they had never heard of "Shrek" before.
I haven't figured out if most of the writing team has watched episodes of the original show--I caught no clue of this one way or the other. The skyscraper-glitz penthouse suite the Petries were living in---in place of their previously normal suburban home--was pointless, and actually called so much attention to itself that it undermined the show. "Look! we have money and we're still alive and kicking!"-apparently was the message.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the writing. Supposedly Carl Reiner was responsible for this mess, but I find that rather incredible.
Hope Dick gets more work. Like Sean Connery, Bill Shatner, and Paul Newman, the aging actor still has more to offer the audience than do the clueless folk running today's film and TV studios. Age is a transient state. Stupid is forever.
Did not know this was EVER done, a DVD Show reunion. Saw it 2014. Enjoyed and laughed. I have only ever seen the original show in reruns and didn't understand the show until I was an adult. Something's just did not make sense. First, Sally Rodgers was one of TV's first femmenistsj I would have believed that Sally and Herman were living together. But Married? After the seventies even Sally would have not settled for Herman in marriage. Live together perhaps but not marriage. One would think that Laura would have had her own studio (outside the home) long before, say twenty years. Given that Alan Brady hasn't talked to Rob in thirty years and Rob a successful TV writer would have invested in his wonderful wife's dream years before. Ann Gilbert always a hoot, should have had more banter. With anyone! This reunion could have been done in 1984 and 2004! Perhaps better relationships and timing amongst actors. Everyone loves Raymond? No, we don't. But he's more tolerable than some, Dennis Miller.
This has to be the most depressing sitcom reunion I've ever watched.
The remaining cast of The Dick Van Dyke Show,in their twilight
years,except Larry Matthews/Richie.
I understood the storyline/plot here but I failed to find any humor at all about it or these people sitting around talking about Buddy,Mel & Jerry who were gone. Millie Helper and Rob's brother a couple? Grasping for another idea here also? What an absolute desolate waste.
I don't get why anyone would wait so long to do a reunion special for any TV show. 38 years? Was everyone so really busy in the 1980s that they couldn't get together for a reunion? Dick Van Dyke wasn't on Diagnosis Murder yet,Mary Tyler Moore starred in one flop after another when her own series ended. Rose Marie was a Hollywood Square.
Richard Deacon passed away in 1984 and Jerry Paris was busy in the 70s with Happy Days and the like but died in 1986. The rest were doing very little,maybe guest spots or TV movies.
Larry Matthews did only one TV movie after the series ended. That,this reunion and an appearance on Dick Powell Theatre before Van Dyke are his total works.
With the 60s revival going on in the early 80s,the reunion should have been 1982 or 1983 ,all were still present at that time. It could have been a much funnier outing and more like what the series was like,instead of "this".
1 star - I watch sitcoms and/or their reunions to laugh,not attend a wake. (END)
I hate reunion shows of old TV shows. They always stink, but at least this one has a lot less stink than most of the others. It's not a bad film and it does reunite SOME of the original cast around a reasonably believable plot (the dead ones, thankfully, were not brought back). It also isn't so maudlin like many reunion shows. But, it also isn't all that wonderful and if you don't see it you aren't missing much. I loved the original show (except, of course, for episodes where they put on musical variety shows), but felt pretty tepid about this--the film isn't really necessary nor is it offensive. Now, believe it or not, this is a VERY positive review, because compared to other reunion shows I have seen, this is Hamlet-quality. For a nauseatingly bad reunion show, try the Beverly Hillbilly reunion. Or for a rotten time, but not quite as traumatic, try the Leave it to Beaver or Andy Griffith Show reunions. Now they ARE truly bad.
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