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Father Knows Best: Fair Exchange (1958)
Celebrating Diversity on FKB
An article of faith about the classic family sitcoms, endlessly drummed into us by the popular media, is that they reflected a "white bread" vision of American life. In point of fact, most of the old shows had a "multicultural" episode of some sort. Here we have "Fair Exchange," a 5th-season episode of FATHER KNOWS BEST. Rita Moreno plays an exchange student from India named Chanthini whom Betty has befriended at college. Chanthini is staying as a guest for a few days at the Anderson home. As you might expect, Kathy at first thinks that Chanthini is an American tribal Indian, and shows up wearing a feathered headdress. The children all get a cultural lesson about Chanthini's native land. So much for "white bread" sitcoms!
Although the Andersons do everything they can to make Chanthini feel at home, a series of mutual misunderstandings and faux pas conspire to make her feel like an outsider. But all the conflicts are resolved by the end, and the episode drives home a message of tolerance and respect even if the script is a bit talky at times in typical FKB style. Puerto-Rican-born Rita Moreno does an amazingly good job of playing an Indian. Definitely one of the more surprising episodes of FKB, and one to show to the classic sitcom naysayers in your life.
Complex Episode in the Relationship of Betty and Bud
This is an episode bound to engender mixed feelings and much discussion. A grease-covered Bud tells his parents of how he was driving on the highway recently and helped a man change a flat tire; the man had two children, a 10-year-old boy and a pretty girl about Bud's age. The man was very grateful to Bud and promised to return him the favor sometime.
Meanwhile, Betty has become infatuated with a wealthy, popular young man at college and has invited him to come to the house. But she is ashamed of her brother Bud's appearance and lack of social graces. She repeatedly insults him and tells him to make himself scarce when her friend arrives; at one point she even refers to him as a "thing." Betty's behavior towards her brother is abominable. But what is galling is that Jim and Margaret simply stand there amusedly watching this without saying a word. As if all this weren't enough, the writers of the episode repeatedly subject Bud to being banged and slammed by various doors in the house, as if he were a human punching bag. Whether this was because Billy Gray genuinely enjoyed doing rough physical comedy or because the writers wanted to make Bud into a butt of every joke, I can't say.
It transpires that the young man Betty is interested in is none other than the older son of Mr. Wickett, the man whose tire Bud changed on the road. Mr. Wickett invites Bud over for dinner; Betty may come too. To compound everything horrible she has done thus far, Betty lies to Bud about the nature of the invitation, telling him that SHE is the one being invited and that he may come if he wants to. However, Bud learns the truth by overhearing a phone conversation of Betty's.
So instead of being a social outcast, Bud is actually the man of the hour. This Cinderella-like reversal of fortune offers Bud the opportunity to enact revenge on his sister. Will he take it, or take the moral high road?
If you ever disliked Betty for her snobbishness and ambition, this episode will give you more reason to dislike her. Meanwhile, the parents' hands-off attitude to the whole affair is questionable to say the least.
Without revealing the conclusion, suffice to say that it emphasizes reconciliation rather than justice.
In this episode, Jim is faced with a difficult choice: attend a business dinner that may lead to his landing the presidency of a local committee, or attend a PTA presentation where his daughter Kathy will present an essay in his honor. Margaret wants Jim to chase after success. Kathy is no less counting on Jim to be there to hear her presentation. What will Jim do?
Beneath the mundane domestic situations on FATHER KNOWS BEST were profound parables of the 1950s, dealing with themes like the meaning of success and the importance of family. Another of the show's strengths was its willingness to be inventive with the sitcom structure, including the use of dream and fantasy sequences. Here we have a fantasy sequence in which Jim comes face to face with St. Peter at the pearly gates! St. Peter tells him: "We keep throwing difficult choices in your path to test you, and it's the decisions you make that shape you into what you are." That could well be the moral of this and many other episodes of FATHER KNOWS BEST.
FATHER KNOWS BEST Meets THE TWILIGHT ZONE
"Mr. Beal Meets His Match" indulges in the series' penchant for dream and fantasy sequences. On a stormy night, Betty is busy finishing a story for English class. It is a moral parable taking off on "Faust" but incorporating the members of the Anderson clan. Jim walks in to see why Betty is up so late, and Betty starts reading him the story. One by one the other Andersons file in to hear the tale, in which they all play a part. Meanwhile, the tale is played as a fantasy sequence.
It is a Faustian story alright, featuring an urbane but possibly sinister gentleman (played by English actor John Williams) who sells the Andersons a set of encyclopedias. It turns out that these "books of knowledge" contain secret powers that enable the users to obtain their fondest wishes. But as in many an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, the Anderson's learn to be careful what you wish for.
I won't reveal any more, except to say that the episode shows FATHER at its inventive best. I particularly enjoyed the atmospheric cinematography. "Mr. Beal" will bring you back to a time when TV episodes were morality plays, as edifying as they were entertaining.
SPOILERS: The fact the devil is named "Beelzebub" in the Bible should give you some indication of who "Mr. Beal" is!
Showcase for Joseph Sweeney
Do you remember the actor who played the sharp-sighted elderly juror in the movie classic 12 ANGRY MEN? His name was Joseph Sweeney, and he guest-stars in this 4th-season episode of FATHER KNOWS BEST. Margaret has been deeded some property by her parents, and she goes to claim it. Unfortunately, the property next door is owned by a crotchety old man named Mr. Boomhauer (Sweeney). Boomhauer decides to sue Margaret over some changes to the driveway that she wants to make. Can Margaret win the case, soften Boomhauer's heart?
For those who enjoyed Sweeney in 12 ANGRY MEN, this episode has what I am sure is a deliberate reference to the film in a sequence in which Margaret dreams about the impending court trial. Margaret glances over to the judge and jury - and they are all Joseph Sweeney! The episode is notably progressive in its positive portrayal of a woman (Margaret) engaging in business and property ventures.
Fine Performance from Ernest Truex
I enjoyed this episode for the chance to see Ernest Truex as the Anderson children's grandpa. Truex was one of the most recognizable avuncular character actors of the 1950s, memorable especially for his two appearances in THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Here he plays Margaret's father, the owner of a newspaper printing press in a small town for whom the thought of retiring causes him to become depressed and dyspeptic. The episode propounds the message than human beings need work to feel fulfilled and useful, and to make life truly worthwhile.
FATHER KNOWS BEST could be remarkably philosophical at times, and this is a prime example. Margaret has hired a man to chop wood for the Andersons' fireplace. His name is Sageman. He looks like a cross between Paul Bunyan and an Old Testament prophet and speaks in lyrical, poetic paragraphs, expounding an elemental philosophy of life. He is indifferent to material possessions and wants to be paid only in meals: "An honest meal for an honest day's work." He also shows an interest in helping the Andersons with their problems. Kathy has an annoying set of warts on her hand, for which Sageman prescribes an elaborate, backwoods remedy involving beans and a bonfire (Margaret dismisses this as so much superstition). Jim has a business opportunity with a high-level client which he feels reluctant to pursue, while Bud has an unfinished speech for a contest which no amount of cajoling can induce him to complete.
Sageman makes the Andersons a deal: he will abstain from all his meals until that night, when he will stage a bonfire ritual in which the Andersons' problems will be solved. Margaret reluctantly allows the "bonfire" to take place at the family fireplace. This leads to a magical and miraculous scene. Without spoiling anything, I will only say that the Andersons' problems are solved, but not quite in the way they expected.
This parable about belief is chock full of biblical symbolism for those who look for it. The name "Sageman" speaks for itself. He is whimsically described as being "about 190 years old." He explains to Jim that some people are more receptive to his teachings than others, like an acorn falling on good soil. When Margaret offers Sageman his well-earned meal it turns out to be...lamb.
Sageman is played by character actor Royal Dano, only in his 30s at the time but outfitted with a flowing white beard and speaking in stentorian tones.
This curious episode is a perfect example of the quality, thought-provoking entertainment which 1950s audiences enjoyed. Not to be missed.
The Title Has More Than One Meaning
Inspired by a talk by a visiting foreign news correspondent, Beaver dreams of becoming a journalist and "enlightening the world" through his reporting. To this end he hopes to snag a paper route in the neighborhood. To Beaver's disappointment, another boy gets the job. At first the delivery is first-rate, but for some strange reason it goes suddenly downhill, so Ward calls the company to complain and Beaver lies in wait for the paper boy to give him "what for" (he still has hopes he can get the job). When Beaver tussles with the paper boy - it turns out to be a girl! Beaver has transgressed a sacred code: "Getting into a fight with a girl is about the worst thing a guy can do," declares Wally.
Now the girl (who is never named) shows up at the Cleavers' to collect her pay. Ward in a gentle manner complains about the quality of service and the girl bursts into tears. It turns out she had only been covering for her sick brother. Just at the right moment June appears and offers feminine comfort to the girl, who then leaves with her pay and her dignity restored. When the newspaper company calls Ward back to register the complaint, he hands the phone to Beaver and lets him decide what to do. Will he do the noble thing?
Of course, this dry synopsis can't convey the charm and social insight of this episode, which is among the more memorable of the final season. Ward's mortification in front of the paper girl ("Dad's yelling at a girl, Mom!") won't soon be forgotten. At episode's end Beav has made a new girl friend, prompting Richard to declare ruefully that he remembered "poor Beaver" when he was alive.
Two Kinds of Life
Wilbur has to choose between taking a high-powered executive job with a dyspeptic boss (played by Charles Lane, a specialist in sourpuss characters) and flying a kite in the park with Mister Ed.
It's the deeper themes of MISTER ED that make it something more than a silly fantasy-comedy. Looking back at the show today, one can't help noticing a subtle anti-establishment message, almost a foreshadowing of the "drop out of society" ethic of the hippies. But here the theme serves to assert the value of home and family. At one point Lane's character tells Wilbur that he has "no ambition, no drive, no initiative," to which Wilbur slyly adds "and no pills." Wilbur's wife and friends are insistent that he get the job - thinking only of the material benefits that will follow from it. But in the end, they realize that Wilbur's happiness is the most important thing. All the time, the mischievous Mister Ed has Wilbur "on a string" just like his kite, using every ploy to keep his master at home. As someone who works at home in a creative occupation, I find it easy to sympathize with and root for Wilbur and I am certain that he chose the better part.
Which would you consider the better life? To work "like a horse" at all hours for a corporation and "make it to the top," or to enjoy the simple pleasures at home surrounded by the people (and pets) you love? Which is the more meaningful existence?
A cute and poignant episode from the first season. Beaver briefly becomes a go-between in order to facilitate a dance date between Wally and Mary Ellen Rogers. He learns a bitter lesson about feminine wiles when he realizes that Mary Ellen was simply "using" him. Wally is just on the cusp of developing an interest in girls, but is not quite there yet. A number of different viewpoints are highlighted in the episode: Ward has a man-to-man talk with Beaver about women; June then breaks in and offers her point of view. And we get to see what a poised young actress Pamela Baird (who played Mary Ellen Rogers) was. Altogether, a superlative first-season episode.
Ice Skate Huckster
LEAVE IT TO BEAVER was at its most subversive when it put the deviousness and corruption of adults on display. In this episode, an ice skate salesman - call him an adult Eddie Haskell - succeeds in selling Beaver a size 9 pair of skates under the guise of a size 6 by simply turning the label upside down. Beaver falls for the dirty ruse, and when he gets out on the rink it's painfully obvious that the skates are too big. Beaver is now in a fix, because he had been begging his father for the ice skates for ages (as well as for season tickets to the skating rink). What will he do?
As usual, Beaver declines to go to his father for help but instead lets his parents think he is at the skating rink every day after school while he instead hides out at the library. When Beaver and Wally try to return the skates, the corrupt shoe clerk evades them. At this point Ward steps in to solve the problem. All in all, a solidly average episode of the penultimate season.
Mister Ed: Ed the Beachcomber (1962)
Social Satire on MR. ED
MR. ED is often considered a silly, childlike show. As a matter of fact, the series included a good deal of clever social commentary and satire, as this episode demonstrates. A bunch of beatniks are taking up space on Addison's beachfront property, using it as an art colony, and Addison is annoyed. Kay sides with the young misfits and eventually brings her husband around. What's more, Mr. Ed feels sympathy for the beatniks - he, like them, feels rejected by society - and joins their colony! The generation gap humor between the young people and Addison is priceless, and the latter gets in some great quips. This is a superbly written episode that is both of its time and timeless.
Beaver and Wally Learn the Value of Sacrifice
This is a much discussed episode among LEAVE IT TO BEAVER fans for its ethical questions. Was June wrong for insisting that Aunt Martha and her friend stay and destroy Wally and Beaver's afternoon plans? Or were Beaver and Wally correct to sacrifice their plans in order to make their aunt happy? Or was the real problem the sour attitude the boys had about the whole thing? The episode offers much food for thought.
The other reviewer gets one important detail wrong. June does NOT insist, in front of Aunt Martha, that the boys have no plans. In fact, it's Wally who does this, no doubt out of a sense of duty. He could just have well said, "Well, Aunt Martha, as a matter of fact we were planning to go to the carnival," and Aunt Martha would no doubt have understood.
What the other reviewer gets right is the frustration inherent in the episode. Its message could be read that we must sacrifice of ourselves to make others happy, even when it seems pointless. To be sure, the two elderly ladies' conversation is inane and even somewhat embarrassing for the boys (talking about how Wally was swelled up with the mumps, for example). But we must take it on faith that this sort of familial chatter was important to Aunt Martha. Above all, we should have a good attitude about such a situation. It was nice that the Cleavers did get to go to the carnival in the end.
As a cat lover I am gratified that the LITB folks decided to do a cat episode. Even though the episode as such is fairly bland, it's still worth a watch especially for cat fanciers. Beaver has attracted a strange feline - a fluffy, silver number named Bootsie who, it turns out, belongs to a lady named Mrs. Prentice. Mrs. Prentice comes to collect Bootsie, but Beaver unfortunately has been feeding him, and you know what that means! Sure enough, Bootsie soon returns for more handouts. How will Beaver shake his feline friend? The cat himself is photogenic and the sound mixers spliced in some effective meows here and there.
Leave It to Beaver: Beaver's Bike (1960)
The Bicycle Thief
Beaver has received a shiny new bicycle from his parents. He begs them to let him ride it to school, and they somewhat reluctantly give him permission to do so. Immediately an older boy steals Beaver's bike from him, by stealth you might say, while he and Larry are standing outside a drug store. Beaver gets a scolding from Ward for his irresponsibility. But when it transpires that Ward for his part forgot to register and insure the bike, he has to eat his words. This is the subversive side of LEAVE IT TO BEAVER: adults were not infallible, and Ward frequently had to admit to being in the wrong.
Beaver eventually recovers his bike, but not before Ward discusses with him the nature of conscience and how it torments wrongdoers. Beaver and Larry (who was responsible for goading the older kid to steal the bike in the first place) then conclude the episode with a whimsical conversation about conscience, which Larry assures us is located in his stomach.
This episode is from the third season, so you know it's going to be top notch in every respect. And so it is.
The Best of Bass
"How do you do, Mrs. Wi-ley?"
The most hilarious and memorable of the episodes featuring eccentric backwoodsman Ernest T. Bass, played brilliantly by Howard Morris. In this one Ernest T. is longing for the love of a woman - any woman - but first he has to be accepted in society. So, in a parallel to the famous story of "Pygmalion" and "My Fair Lady" (the movie of which came out the year this episode was made) Andy tries to make a gentleman out of this rough rustic and pass him off at a fancy party. This re-education program leads to some very funny bits between Andy, Barney and Ernest T.
Howard Morris' layered, funny and touching characterization of Ernest T. Bass makes this episode special. Watch out too for character actress Doris Packer (you may remember her as school principal Mrs. Cornelia Rayburn on LEAVE IT TO BEAVER) as society matron Mrs. Wiley. The TAGS writers exploited this situation one more time for the episode "The Education of Ernest T. Bass."
Sweet and Sentimental
Aunt Bee's birthday is coming up, and although she urges Andy and Opie not to make a fuss over her, she secretly longs for the beautiful blue bed jacket displayed in Mrs. Luckens' store window. This is out of character for Bee, who is usually a very practical woman. Aware of this practical side of his aunt, Andy dutifully purchases a set of preserve jars as her birthday gift. But then harried Mayor Stoner comes on the scene: it seems he has no time to buy a going-away present to his wife and enlists Andy to buy the bed jacket for him to give to her. It looks as if Aunt Bee is bound for disappointment when the time comes to open her presents on her birthday.
Without revealing any more of the plot, suffice it to say that this is TAGS at its sweet and sentimental best. Andy engineers a solution which makes Aunt Bee glowingly happy while teaching Opie a lesson about the unexpected joys of self-sacrifice. The last scene will cause you to tear up.
Earle Hagan's musical score plays a prominent role in the episode, with a magical series of chords underlining Bee's wonder at beholding the bed jacket. Bee's friend Clara also plays a key part, coming off in a more sympathetic light than is often the case. Of the episodes that highlighted Bee Taylor, this is easily one of the most memorable.
The Attractive Outsider
In this memorable entry of TAGS, attractive young Ellen Brown (the beauteous Barbara Eden) arrives in Mayberry intending to set up as a manicurist in Floyd's Barber Shop. The menfolk of Mayberry don't quite know how to react to Miss Brown, being both bashful and fascinated at the same time; as for the womenfolk, they become highly suspicious and jealous. The usually sensible Andy ends up putting his foot in his mouth in front of Miss Brown and must then correct his faux pas, winning back her confidence.
We have some funny and perceptive observation of human (paricularly male) behavior in this episode, leading to some subtly risqué material as the men absentmindedly ogle Miss Brown in the barber shop. Andy, with his gallantry, exemplifies the real way to act toward a woman. A solid human story arc, as well as an affecting performance from Eden as a good-natured outsider who is simply looking for a "friendly town" in which to set up shop. Don't miss this one.
Beav and Gilbert's Shenanigans
I always think of this episode and "The Haunted House" as requisite LITB Halloween viewing, even though neither episode actually takes place on Halloween. Beaver and his pal Gilbert stay alone of an evening at Beaver's house while Wally, after basketball practice, plans to go to a masquerade party with his buddies Lumpy and Bill Scott. Beaver and Gilbert have been watching a scary movie on TV, and they become thoroughly spooked to the point where the arrival of a car with two "masked men" in it (in reality Lumpy and Bill on their way to the masquerade) prompts them to call the police!
This is an exciting and amusing episode with the usual LITB moral nuance: was Beav right to call the police, or were he and Gil overreacting? And was Beav right to impersonate Ward on the line? There is also a certain amount of pleasure in seeing Lumpy "get what he deserves."
Mister Ed (1958)
Charming Classic About an All-Too-Human Horse
I recently rediscovered this delightful series after not having seen it since I was a small child. MR. ED, I think, often gets incorrectly bracketed with such "silly" mid-1960s fantasies as THE MUNSTERS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY and I DREAM OF JEANNIE. Maybe a talking horse just seems too foolish to take seriously. As a matter of fact, this is an extremely inventive, witty and sharply written show - one in which the character of Mr. Ed, the equine hero, is used to comment on human foibles. It is also a comedy about values and conflicting familial duties.
What makes MR. ED work is the magical illusionism of a talking horse combined with a perfect, likable cast. Wilbur Post, the hapless owner of Mr. Ed, is played by the late Alan Young. Young combines an easy-going Bing Crosby vibe with a bumbling innocence reminiscent of Danny Kaye. His dialogues with Mr. Ed, conducted in the barn which doubles as his office, form the comedic core of the show. The attractive Connie Hines plays Wilbur's charming but demanding wife Carol. The highly original "triangle" which forms between Wilbur, Connie, and Mr. Ed fuels many of the plots.
For the first three seasons, the couple next door - MR. ED's equivalent of the Mertzes - were the acerbic Roger and Kay Addison. This elegant couple are the perfect foil to the homespun Wilbur and Carol, and their sophisticated bickering repartee is a key part of the show's success.
MR. ED himself is played by a palomino named Bamboo Harvester and voiced by Allan "Rocky" Lane in an inimitable Western drawl. Ed not only talks, he also sings, reads, writes notes, uses the telephone (a lot!), watches TV, does exercises, and shows at times a high level of erudition. He combines a cheeky insouciance with a the neediness of a little kid and in fact is practically a surrogate child for Wilbur. How they got Bamboo Harvester to perform some of the tricks required of him throughout the series is anybody's guess!
The genial bucolic setting (for the most part a convincing set, although some scenes are filmed outdoors) conjures up a specific place, the San Fernando Valley in California. The pastoral atmosphere is one of the most appealing aspects of the series, which was a unique contribution to the genre of the rural comedy. MR. ED remained in glorious black and white to the end of its run, even as many other shows were switching to color.
MR. ED has become one of my favorite early '60s sitcoms, alongside LEAVE IT TO BEAVER and THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW. It is entirely worthy to keep company with those shows and remains a unique comic experience for audiences of all ages.
Surrealism in LITB
LEAVE IT TO BEAVER had some notable forays into the surreal. This is one of them. Beaver has suddenly become interested in magic tricks after visiting a local novelty shop with his pal Larry Mondello. The two boys perform a magic stunt for little neighborhood boy Bengie Bellamy in which they appear to transform Beaver into a rock. Bengie is fooled and carries the rock home, thinking it is really Beaver.
To complicate matters, Beaver goes away to visit his Aunt Martha this weekend. The adults and Wally try every trick in the book to convince Bengie that Beaver is not really a rock, but he is unshakable in his belief. Even talking to Beaver on the phone doesn't convince him!
Interesting episode with philosophical/epistemological overtones, not as silly as it first appears. Bengie's mother is played by old-time character actress Ann Doran, who went back to Frank Capra films in the 1930s. Many funny lines from her as well as from starchy Madge Kennedy as Aunt Martha and Joey Scott as Bengie.
Upholding the Law
One morning a sleek black limousine pulls up in Mayberry. It's the governor's car! Mayberry's cadre of old codgers goad Barney into tagging the limousine for being illegally parked. When Barney finds out it's the governor's vehicle he is mortified for a split second, but then - imagining the mockery he will endure from the old codgers if he backs down - he sticks to his guns and gives the chauffeur a ticket.
Andy supports Barney for holding to the law, while Mayor Stoner is furious. It turns out that the governor, instead of being angry, is pleased with what Barney did and wants to stop by to meet and congratulate him. But will the visit go as planned?
This memorable episode examines themes of authority, peer pressure, herd mentality, and the individual versus the crowd. The chauffeur is played by Rance Howard, Ronnie's dad.
Jeeves and Wooster Separate
A substantive and even emotionally moving J&W episode, drawn from the P.G. Wodehouse novel "Thank You, Jeeves." Much is at stake here as a rift develops between Wooster and Jeeves because of Wooster's trombone playing. Unable to stand the infernal din of Wooster's music, Jeeves leaves his master, who moves to the country and hires a new and entirely inadequate valet named Brinkley. Meanwhile, Wooster's friend Chuffy Chuffnel is in love with American heiress Pauline Stoker and must sell his estate to Pauline's millionaire father in order to have enough money to marry her. Chuffy becomes suspicious when he finds out that Wooster was formerly engaged to Miss Stoker. And with Jeeves now free, Chuffy snaps him up as his new valet...
The Wodehouseian complications pile up, culminating in a house fire. The episode ends with a beautiful scene the morning after the fire, in which Jeeves comes and restores order.
One of the least commented upon aspects of J&W was the subtle Christian symbolism that was often present. As Jeeves makes a rustic breakfast for Wooster in a meadow (to the strains of a Vaughan-Williams-like version of the J&W theme), we have a Creation, a Resurrection, and a priestly liturgy.
Bertie in the Big Apple
Definitely the best of the "New York" episodes. While Bertie is staying in his flat in Manhattan, he and Jeeves attempt to help Bertie's artist friend "Corky" Corcoran marry his fiancée over the objections of his industrialist uncle. Meanwhile, a young wastrel named Cyril Bassington Bassington shows up sent by Bertie's Aunt Agatha; Bertie must prevent Agatha from discovering that Cyril has become a bit player on Broadway.
As is often the case, the script writers have woven together several Wodehouse short stories for this episode. Having read the story "Leave It to Jeeves" upon which the "Corky" portion is based, I can testify that the story is actually handled more interestingly here. There are a lot of funny situations here, as well as great period NY settings and the feel of Broadway in the '30s. There is an elaborate Broadway-style production number, "Ask Dad," which recalls the Busby Berkeley production numbers of that period. The only misstep in the episode is the slapstick scene with the firefighters at the end, in which Aunt Agatha and another character are blasted by a fire hose. However, this is not enough to mar one of the most memorable episodes of the series.
Wally is lovesick over Ginny Townsend, a pretty blonde upperclassman. Eddie urges him to talk to her, but Wally is content to admire her from afar. When June finds Wally mooning around the house listening to love themes on the phonograph, she becomes determined to do something to bring Wally out of this state. Unbeknownst to Wally, she invites Ginny to a family picnic. Wally is mortified. On the picnic, it turns out Ginny is an eccentric bundle of allergies: she's allergic to everything from chicken to sunlight. Wally becomes pretty well cured of his infatuation.
And so Wally learns not to fall in love with an image; love is about more than just looking good. This is an important moral lesson, and although we might question Wally's behavior here (why is he cold towards the object of his adoration when she's sitting right next to him?), this is still a solid episode.