Ivan Petrovsky, a decent and hard-working blue-collar man, toils at his menial position as head-waiter at a Moscow hotel in order to provide for his wife, three children, mother-in-law and ...
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Ivan Petrovsky, a decent and hard-working blue-collar man, toils at his menial position as head-waiter at a Moscow hotel in order to provide for his wife, three children, mother-in-law and Cuban exchange student, all of whom live together in a small one-bedroom apartment.Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This was one of my favorite TV comedy series' ever, ranking with Newhart and Carol Burnett. At the time I was disappointed that the series ended after so few episodes.
Unlike some reviewers, I found 'Ivan the Terrible' delightful for what it was: mocking Cold War-era satire, ridiculing an obscene communist political system, played entirely for laughs.
Of course it, like Hogan's Heroes, it was not intended to accurately depict the realities of the time and place depicted, nor their spirit. Doubtless life in Moscow was bleak, just as life in a WWII POW camp was grim.
It has been said that the most effective means to destroy an idea is to make it into a joke and lampoon the oh-so-serious pretensions of its adherents.
Just as the Wendy's television commercials themed on a Soviet fashion show delightfully derided the USSR's uncultured clunkiness, so did Ivan the Terrible. (The Soviet Embassy reportedly protested the Wendy's television commercials, so their sting was not lost on the oh-so-serious folks in Moscow. It wouldn't be surprising to learn of similar USSR protests against Lou Jacobi's sitcom.)
One thing nobody has alluded to and which does not appear in that late actor's credits on the internet, is the uncredited cameo appearance at the end of each episode of Harvey Korman as a stern uniformed Soviet bureaucrat.
The echo of unseen Carlton the Doorman from MTM's contemporary Rhoda series in the 'person' of Rasputin the dog was a nice touch, too.
Ivan the Terrible was for me the perfect Cold War comedy. Sadly it was about the only such, unless one counts the Boris and Natasha scenes in the various Rocky and Bullwinkle animations.
I would love to obtain tapes of the few episodes made, almost as much for Korman's walk-ons as for the rest of the show in its own right.
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