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This episode is not played for laughs, but instead uses the two best
actors in the cast, William Schallert and Patty Duke, in an intense
emotional conflict. Schallert thinks he has caught Patty in a lie.
Patty Duke's reaction to her father's lack of faith in her
is...profound and riveting.
After her legendary triumph in The Miracle Worker, a tortuous examination of the human will, someone decided this prodigy should do a sit- com...like making Shakespeare write toothpaste commercials ...Nevertheless, when given the opportunity to really act, as in this episode, Patty Duke reveals the depth of her astounding gift. In the final scene, in which Schallert sings Keemo-Kimo, Duke proves how transformative and essential forgiveness can be. If you get the chance, watch this episode, and appreciate.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Here we have Patty dating an older man--who graduated a few years
ago,we hear, and is working for a stock broker. He has a mustache (rare
in the mid-60s) and smokes most of the time (common then). He is polite
in meeting Martin. Just before leaving with Patty, he brings out
virtually the only chuckle in this entire episode. He offers to help
Martin if he ever wants stock advice, because he has been with his
company "over two months."
We next see the young couple parked in a secluded spot (I guess these are rare, but possible in Brooklyn Heights/Brooklyn) where Patty appears to be quite bored as the man just talks about how much money he is making. Suddenly two men come up from behind and tell the man they are repossessing the car for three missed payments. He gets out, apparently to be left alone, but the guy returning the car is happy to drop Patty off where she lives.
We next see Martin and Natalie's bedroom, where Martin wakes up, at 1:30 and sees that the porch light is on--which to him proves Patty did not get home by her curfew of midnight. Natalie convinces him to check her room, which he does.
Just before he goes there, Patty happens to wake up, remembering she forgot to turn off the light, so she goes downstairs to do so. So when Martin peeks in, he sees her bed is empty. Somehow he doesn't notice that it looks slept in--blanket and sheet askew. He returns to his room and in seconds he and Natalie her Patty's door shut. They figure she just got home.
Now Martin has the right idea--talk to her right away. This would preclude her having much time to come up with a lie/ or even think about it--supposing Martin was right. Of course, we viewers know he would see her in her pajamas and robe and happily accept that she just went down to turn off the light. Episode over at this point. But Natalie convinces him to wait till morning.
The next blunder comes when Martin only gives Patty his conclusion-- that she wasn't home by midnight. She says he was and believing she is lying upsets Martin so much that he next interrupts her when she tries to explain, saying, "I'm not interested in any explanation..."
This crushes Patty. Since he doesn't want to hear her explain, she politely asks to be excused. She has always been portrayed as having a good relationship with her dad and to suddenly not be trusted, to not even get a chance to explain hurt her, as it logically should have.
After a full day apart, at work and school, the two finally talk enough to make up, with Martin learning what really happened the night before. He was stunned to learn that he had said to Patty that he didn't wantto hear her explanation. He never meant to say that.
I find it quite believable that Martin would have been unaware of what he said that so stunned Patty. (Been there, done that.) Thinking of her as a real-life person, Patty should be commended for not yelling at her dad, but quietly excusing herself that morning and then talking politely with him that night. I think most teens would not be that good.
Of course, the whole morning scene would have ended the episode quickly if Martin had just begun by telling Patty what he saw instead of giving her his conclusion. Had he just said, "Patty, I woke up about 1:30 in the morning and saw the porch light was still on. I checked your room and you weren't in bed. Then I heard your door being closed a minute later. Why did you get home so late?"
Her answer would have been good enough and there would have been no conflict to be resolved. The dialog had to be a bit convoluted so they could have the big issue about trust to show the dramatic scene the writers were seeking.
As a drama, not too bad. But this show was a comedy. It had no more than two things that were even supposed to be funny. (The second was a tag scene where 3 members of the family, Cathy absent, teased Martin when he was seen in pajamas turning off the porch light the next night.)
The serious tone really made it a weak episode to me. We knew they would make up and that all that was needed was for Martin to learn what really happened.
Comedy shows really should stick to making us laugh, with serious scenes not dominating whole episodes.
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