Meet Millie | Revolvy
Ironically, this colorful cold-war programming met with and abrupt cancellation. .. He demanded to read the sitcom script before sanctioning Kennedy involvement. Millie functions as a sidekick, a kind of sounding board for Laura , allowing. Movie scripts, Movie screenplays Original Unproduced Scripts. 47 pages ( Short, Romantic Comedy, Crime Drama) pdf format When two strangers meet on a plane, casual conversation leads to one Guy and Millie by Jackson Gary. Created by Frank Galen. With Elena Verdugo, Florence Halop, Marvin Kaplan, Roland Winters.
Harry and Barbara return with their baby and each go to their separate corners. Sorry to say, I did not laugh — nor did I feel like laughing — once during the screening. Meanwhile, the regulars are bland. The only redeeming thing about this series, judging from this episode, is the liveness, which forces the action to occur with a limited number of actors on a limited number of sets.
The first 52 existing installments have been released on DVD. I do not own this collection, and one of my reasons for selecting an episode to screen at UCLA who helped produce the setswas to test the waters before making a purchase.
The first set goes until mid Season Two, and the second set goes to early Season Three. Excitingly, I can report that I was pleased with what I saw! I chose this installment, from the third season and not yet released on DVD, because I felt that, coming in the middle of the run, it would be an ideal candidate for representing the series and its humor.
Also, I knew that the episode, given its title and premise, would feature a lot of Lorne. Additionally, I was aware that the supremely funny Reta Shaw you may remember her from Mary Poppins or even as Aunt Hagatha on Bewitched appeared in this installment in her recurring role as Mr. Fed up with riding the bus, Mrs.
Gurney heeds the advice of Peepers and Weskit and decides to learn how to drive. Fortunately, no one gets hurt, despite some fearful expectations. Gurney eventually gets her license, but then realizes, what good will it do her? Lorne shines brightest in this episode, and there are many laughs, even though the writing never tries to hit you over the head with humor.
Of course, the episode that I viewed was in black-and-white, which is actually a good thing; free of the mystique of glorious color, I could assess the series based solely on its quality. Thus, the greatest disappointment about what I saw was not that it was poorly told, just that it was told without laughs. After a mildly uncomfortable dinner in which the clumsy Logan played by William Redfield makes a pest of himself, the two take a stroll in the park where they have a moment of genuine bonding.
When Cronyn comes home and has a mild argument with Tandy, Redfield sticks up for her, before making an embarrassed exit. The writing is good, but not exceptional. Simply, not a situation comedy — just a situation. The entire premiere exists — in color — at the Paley Center. In his over-eagerness, he breaks his desk, annoys his neighbor, and runs home to tell the good news to his wife. They take a taxi back to the bank where he plans to show off his desk and reveal the good news in front of his co-workers.
Unfortunately, his new desk the one he broke was taken away for repairs during his lunch break. He explains this to his neighboring co-worker, who agrees to let him use his desk instead. Things end happily, though there are no laughs. What amused me less, however, despite its wonderful fascination, were the fifteen introductory and eight conclusory minutes, in which Kodak lectured on the merits of its technology. This was no more than a showcase for color. Obviously not a showcase for comedy.
No need to watch, unless intrigued by early color technology. For those who may need a premise refresher: Boynton, the clueless biology teacher across the hall. At the time of writing those three posts, which can be read herehereand hereI had only seen the episodes in my possession of the produced. The short list of candidates to replace Reiner in the role of Rob Petrie consisted of two thirty-five-year-old nationally familiar but not yet star performers, both Midwesterners by birth: Johnny Carson and Dick Van Dyke.
The Iowa-born, Nebraska-bred Carson had been a television personality sincewhen he had hosted Carson's Cellar, a local Los Angeles satire program in which the comedian riffed on the day's headlines, much as he would in his Tonight Show monologues years later. The show drew the attention of several West Coast comedy giants, including Red Skelton and Groucho Marx, both of whom willingly appeared as unpaid guests to help out the young comedian.
InSkelton gave Carson his big break, hiring him to write the stand-up monologues with which he opened his weekly CBS show. In less than two years, the network decided to try Carson in a comedy-variety hour of his own. Johnny, however, proved not ready for prime time. A native of West Plains, Missouri, he had started out in the forties by opening his own advertising agency in Danville, Illinois.
Moving over to the performance end of the business, he gradually built a prime-time resume that offers an eclectic panorama of s television: Scott on The U.
TV stardom, however, eluded Van Dyke. Unable to find a suitable format in television for his considerable talents as a physical comedian, he turned his efforts away from the medium in and scored a tremendous smash on Broadway in the musical comedy Bye Bye, Birdie. Leonard, however, strongly favored the gangly, pratfalling Van Dyke to the mesomorphic, wisecracking Carson, despite Johnny's greater public recognition factor.
He had envisioned Rob Petrie as the kind of guy who Is not "too glamorous to be sharing your living room with," 24 and following this logic, Carson's relative fame worked against him; the newer the face, the better, as far as Leonard was concerned. He had also imagined Rob as someone who "doesn't want to get up in front of an audience, but who can perform in a room at a party.
While Carson could do stand-up, some yeoman's party magic, and a bit of ventriloquism, Van Dyke could sing, dance, do pantomime, and play broad slapstick. Van Dyke received permission from his Broadway producer for time off to go to the West Coast and shoot the pilot.
As Sheldon Leonard had predicted, the cast change proved to be the key to getting the series on the air. But the significance of recasting Rob Petrie from a Bronx-born Jew to a heartland gentile surely could not have been lost on an author who had so self-consciously set out to produce an autobiographical work. Carl Reiner had never worn his Jewishness on his sleeve. He had in fact played the ethnically nondescript 'interviewer' of Sid Caesar's "German Professor" on many occasions.
On The Year-Old Man record albums which contain not only the title cuts, but a wide variety of sketches Reiner characteristically plays the 'American' straightman to Mel Brooks' howling ghetto mishuganeh. By what logic had Leonard come to the conclusion that "if recast, the show would have every chance of making it? Was there an unspoken agenda to the change in personnel? It has been suggested that Berle and Caesar in particular had proved 'too Jewish' for the vastly expanded television audience of As the series unfolded it was obvious that Rob's background had been thoroughly reimagined to reflect the life of the actor who now played the role.
In flashback episodes, we learn that the comedy writer is a native of Danville, Illinois; 26 that he met Laura, a dancer with a USO troupe, while serving in the army; that Rob and Laura lived as newlyweds in Joplin, Missouri, before moving to New York.
The transformations in ethnic cosmology brought about by Van Dyke's assumption of the lead role is a subject that has apparently never been broached in print. Anatomy of a Classic, the only book ever devoted to the program, Ginny Weissman and Coyne Sanders go into otherwise exhaustive detail about the mechanics of recasting the series, but completely ignore the issue of ethnicity.
There is no mention at all of it in an interview that Reiner and Leonard gave to Television Quarterly inat the height of the show's popularity.
Leonard, with his excellent sitcom track record, had little trouble in placing the revamped show on the CBS prime-time schedule. In the early sixties, advertising agencies tended to control blocks of time on network television and had great leverage in making program decisions.
Using his liaison with the Benton and Bowles agency which handled the sponsor accounts for both Danny Thomas and Andy GriffithLeonard obtained an assurance from Procter and Gamble that the retailing giant "would back any pilot I chose.
Thomas, who provided much of the financing for the new pilot out of his own pocket, was to receive the lion's share. As for the name of the program, it was generally agreed that "Head of the Family" would be abandoned so as not to confuse the series with the Kennedy-backed pilot of the previous summer.
Several titles that referred to Rob's dual management functions in the office and at home were considered. In the end, however, Leonard reverted to form.
Like the television industry itself, Reiner under the tutelage of Sheldon Leonard had made the transition from the blackout sketch vaudeville of live East Coast comedy-variety to the prerecorded, studio-edited filmed drama of West Coast situation comedy. He was one of the very few who did this successfully. Caesar, Berle, Coca, and other golden-age stars attempted periodic comebacks, but to no avail.
Imogene Coca's Grindl NBC, was a particularly ambitious sitcom in which Coca, playing the title role of a housemaid, was afforded generous opportunities to perform pantomime bits and other types of high-tone physical shtick. Unfortunately Grindl was programmed against The Ed Sullivan Show during a season that included appearances by half the groups in the British invasion - the Beatles and the Rolling Stones among them - and it never had a chance. While the fifties comedy-variety performers frantically tried to retool for the brave new prime time that Madison Avenue was inventing for the sixties, the best golden-age writers abandoned the medium, using their TV resumes to gain entrance into the relatively genteel circles of popular theater and cinema.
After penning several "Sergeant Bilko" scripts for his friend Nat Hiken's Phil Silvers Show, Neil Simon headed for Broadway and became the most widely produced playwright of the century - some say of history.
Woody Allen and Mel Brooks dabbled in stand-up performance, but soon began new careers as movie directors and, eventually, producers. Each of the three won a national audience by focusing his lower- middle-class Brooklyn Jewish sensibility on a different social circle: Simon created a theater of consumer realism that made him a comic plainfiff voice for New York middle-class arrivistes.
Allen, with his shiksas and poetesses, became the bard of the uptown condominium cosmopolitans. Brooks, apparently knowing no shame, continued to cultivate the scatological excesses of the schoolyard. Ironically, Reiner - who had been both performer and writer during the comedy-variety era - accomplished his feat of network survival by creating a nostalgic West Coast sitcom about the life of a New York comedy-variety writer. In the bargain, he was forced to reinvent his Bronx persona in the image of a tall, skinny gentile who had grown up next to the Mark Twain National Forest in Howell County, Missouri.
Leonard, the bicoastal mastermind of this transmutation, apparently mixing up his Midwestern states, once referred to Van Dyke as "an Indiana Baptist". This system synthesized film, theater, and video techniques so that a live audience, in effect, attended the filming of a short movie that was shot with three stationary cameras and then cut in an editing room.
In April, CBS chose to pick up the series without a preseason airing of the pilot; full-scale episode production began on June Reiner's original writing staff consisted of the team of Jerry Belson and Garry Marshall; in subsequent seasons another team, Bill Persky and Sam Denoff, was added, along with several contributing free-lancers.
The half-hour, black-and-white show premiered that fall in the Tuesday 8 p. Each episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show opens in a fashion that makes it recognizable as a turn-of-the-decade nuclear-family sitcom: The signature scene of Dick Van Dyke, however, distinguishes itself in several ways. Most fifties suburban domesticoms opened with brief but potent establishing shots of the exterior of the family home. These suburbopastoral house portraits emphatically underscore the family's unbearably secure upper-middle-class status.
No such shot, however, is offered of the Petrie house. Their class status must be gleaned instead from the more subtle connotations of interior decoration: In this way, the Petrie living room transcends the traditional sitcom standard of family comfort, introducing notions of personal taste.
The signature sequence then departs even further from fifties sitcom custom: Rob enters the living room his and yours through the front door, emerging from behind the superimposed series title, as it is vocally announced. The white-collar dignity of his suit and tie is immediately betrayed by a slapstick pratfall over the ottoman. Later, this was self-reflexively revised so that Rob enters and avoids tripping over the ottoman.
The show-business world, as symbolized by the pratfall or nonpratfall and the joke writers, is resolved into the domestic world of wife, child, and spacious but warm living room. All constitute one big happy family-only forty-five minutes from Broadway.
Though Rob is a 'real character', in the Midwestern sense of that phrase, his soul is 'out here' in the New Rochelle house, among the prosperous eight-cylinder families-and not 'down there' among the Others of Manhattan. There is a kind of curious narrative anomaly embedded in this opening. What, a regular viewer might ask, are Buddy and Sally, city-dwelling Others, members of minorities, doing in the idyllic Middle American house?
They seem somehow to be waiting for Rob to come home from the office. The typewriter sitting on the coffee table foreground, viewer's left suggests that a work session is about to take place, but this is something that never happens in the course of the episodes.
The scene might as easily have been shot at the office, with Laura and Ritchie dressed for a visit. The use of the living room, however, establishes the show's cosmic priorities: Though the series will spend more time at the office than other family sitcoms, it proclaims itself no less a family sitcom than Donna Reed or Danny Thomas by reaffirming the primacy of family life.
Much like the New Frontier, the show viewed in reruns a quarter century later waxes and wanes as a series of promises and compromises. Fresh and unconventional styles are used to package familiar morals in what evolves as an upbeat saga of a bright, fast-track couple playing by the rules and making it.How to Write a TV Show Script - Difference Between Television and Movie Scripts
The power-and the possibilities of power-all belong to a youngish middle-aged white male hero, an unpretentious college graduate of liberal sensibility who makes good money in a creative position with a Madison Avenue industry. A modem guy riding the wave of late-twentieth-century technocracy, Rob outranks the older, more experienced writers on The Alan Brady Show staff by virtue of his college diploma.
Luckily, his political outlook is just as up-to-date. Perhaps he is satisfied to simply make more money than they do. Laura Mary Tyler Moore is Rob's sitcomic Jackie, a talented beauty who has given up any number of possibilities in life to pilot the family station wagon.
With their pointedly youthful good looks, with their emphatically moderne suburban detached single-family dwelling, with a respect for art and Kultur that is topped only by a love of show business and what it can do for you, the Petries were perhaps the last sitcom couple who could simultaneously take for granted their unnamed and, on television unnamable white, middle-class, heterosexual advantage and still manage to exhibit a kind of quasi-sophistication and personal warmth that imply sympathy for civil rights and possibly even advocacy of welfare-state measures.
The politically progressive feel of the show is due in part to the inclusion of black actors as extras in crowd scenes at public places and private events, such as museums and parties. Reiner was by no means the first sitcom producer to attempt to integrate his cast. Car 54, premiering the same season as The Dick Van Dyke Show, was perhaps the most integrated series that had ever appeared on network tele-vision. Regulars included Officer Anderson Nipsey Russell and Officer Wallace Frederick O'Neal and many episodes of the series, which took place in the Bronx, featured black extras and walk-ons.
But Dick Van Dyke, unlike the Hiken shows, was about suburban family life and even token integration stood out as extraordinary. Before leaving the house, however, they accidentally dye their hands indelibly black while helping Ritchie make a costume. Embarrassed, they wear white gloves, but take them off when they are reminded by their hosts that truth is the only path to human understanding and therefore world harmony.
In "That's My Boy?? A series of events influences Rob to believe that the hospital has given them the wrong baby, switching Ritchie Petrie of Room with Richie Peters of Room Rob calls the Peters family and tells them what he thinks has happened. The Peters walk in-and they are black. Could Carl Reiner have voted for them?
The Petries and the Reiners might well have parted ways, however, in and While an identifiable if tepid political statement is implicit in Reiner's casual integration of middle-class blacks into the series mise-en-scene, Reiner is more explicit on other, perhaps less controversial themes.
One of the recurring leitmotifs in Dick Van Dyke is a kind of status-based tension between art and mass entertainment. Artists who work in relatively low-return media - painters, poets, independent filmmakers - are almost always treated skeptically.
At the same time, the pursuit of money by the commercial artist is tied to common sense, love of family, and humane social values, all of which are embodied in Rob, who is utterly valorized. In "I'm No Henry Walden", Rob is mysteriously invited to a charity cocktail party where all the other guests are poets, playwrights, novelists, critics, and assorted literati given to avant-garde hyperbole.
Everycouple Rob and Laura are completely out of place. The 'serious' writers turn out to be nothing but a bunch of intolerable snobs who can't even get Rob's name straight, no matter how many times he introduces himself.
When he mentions that he is a TV writer, they are aghast, one of the guests exclaiming, "Why I don't even own a television machine. The snowy-haired Walden, who has not been. Unlike his snotty friends, he is a Whitmanian appreciator of mass culture, an unabashed fan of The Alan Brady Show. He even proves his sincerity by reciting the complete career resumes of Buddy and Sally. Interestingly, we learn that Buddy, like Morey Amsterdam, had once had his own comedy-variety show and that Sally had been a gag writer for Milton Berle.
The real reason he invited Rob to the party was to ask him to collaborate on a TV documentary on the history of American humor from the Revolutionary War to the present. When Rob protests that he knows nothing about American history, Walden assures him, "Don't worry, I know all about that stuff. I need someone who knows television. Huntington's Park Avenue apartment to watch the documentary on a 'television machine' that has been placed in the living room just for the occasion.
Henry Walden reads the writers' credits aloud at the end of the broadcast and the literati are forced by the revered poet to recognize Rob's talent-and the 'validity' of television as an art. Poor Henry Walden, however, must remain with the entourage of pseudointellectuals; he is dependent on their patronage.
Rob, on the other hand, is lucky to be "no Henry Walden" but a self-sufficient breadwinner with a beautiful wife who can choose his own friends. In "Draw Me a Pear" a risque pun on "pair"Rob and Laura take art classes from a devious female painter who praises Rob's work in an attempt to seduce him. Laura sees through the ruse from the start, but wishing to appear modern, she tells her husband to do "whatever makes you happy, darling.
After giving him a phony line about "freeing himself from his inhibitions," she makes her move. Instructing Rob to feel her face with one hand while sketching it with the other, she fondles Rob's fingers with her mouth, an extraordinarily frank bit for an early sixties sitcom. Perhaps more extraordinary, the sexually aggressive home wrecker is not made to seem either excessively evil or pathetic.
Her personality flaw is revealed as deviousness, not hypersexuality. The conclusion, however, is strictly fifties: Rob tells Laura in the coda, "It's a good thing I'm such a good boy. Perhaps the most sarcastic dig at noncorporate artists takes place in "October Eve", in which Reiner once again caricatures the artiste, this time playing the role of Serge Carpetna, a Russian painter - complete with goatee, beret, and insufferable ego.
Though she had posed for him fully clothed, the artist had taken license to paint her as a nude. Enraged, Laura attempted to destroy the canvas by throwing black paint on it. But Carpetna, we learn, has restored the painting. In a flashback sequence, Laura tells the story of the painting to Rob, apologizing for having kept it a secret from him for all these years.
We see Laura's reaction as she gazes at Carpetna's image of her nude body for the first time.
Though her outrage is presented as the only reasonable attitude in such a situation, the arrogant artist shows no understanding for her middle-class morality. In a stereotypical display, he calls her a "peasant" and tells her to "go back to New Rochelle, land of peasants.
The maestro is hard at work on a new masterpiece-with squirt guns. When Carpetna learns the reason for Rob's visit, he throws a tantrum, threatening to knock Rob in the head before allowing him to destroy his work of art. Revealing sensitivity and fairness, however, even as he seeks to protect his own interests, Rob offers Carpetna a deal: The 'happy' ending has the artist selling his painting to a reclusive South American millionaire who will place it in his Brazilian mountaintop retreat.
As if this is not enough, an extra potshot is added after the climax. Carpetna does a new painting of Laura, which he promises will not be a nude. Keeping his word, he creates a Marcel Duchamp-like "portrait" in which no one can even find Laura. The artiste, unlike the TV writer and most people, simply cannot comprehend the 'normal' human preference for simple representationalism.
Carpetna would no doubt agree with Yale Samsden that "verisimilitude must be stamped out. Male artists are usually portrayed as either effeminate or lecherous; female artists, as either sexually maladjusted or just downright daffy. But the fact that Rob himself is a writer gives a certain edge to Reiner's obsession. There is a plea for identification with Rob's relatively down-to-earth attitude.
The audience is asked to accept the TV writer as one of the bourgeois crowd. Rob is a writer the way Jerry Helper Jerry Parishis next-door neighbor, is a dentist. There are no callings in New Rochelle, just professions. Each man democratically pays off his auto loan with the same green money.
Ironically, the signature credits sequence concludes each week with the superimposition of an episode title across the Petrie living room, a flourish that in sitcom terms suggests no small artistic pretension.
Who does Reiner think he is, Quinn Martin? The avant-gardists down in the city of art are provocative, but they are too self-important to be the cognoscenti of a democracy. Let them jump off the deep end, as is their right; Rob, the American poet, seeks the center.
The making of the Sitcom
It is left up to him, the man with the mortgage, to be the divine literatus of posturban society. Rob-the mate, the breadwinner, the homeowner, the artist, the manager, the Middle American-is the hub of all of the drama's dynamic human relationships.
The lack of emphasis on parenting problems in The Dick Van Dyke Show was another factor that helped create the penumbra of sophistication that still surrounds the series twenty-five years later. As is the case with I Love Lucy, the plots tend to focus on adult problems, often excluding the couple's son completely. When Little Ricky does appear in an I Love Lucy episode, however, he is often trotted out in grand style, wearing miniature Xavier Cugat outfits, playing the bongos, and joining dad in a chorus of "Babalu".
Ritchie Larry Mathews rarely if ever gets such attention. He is occasionally used as a font of cute remarks, but his personality and his consciousness remain largely unexplored. His problems are presented only to the extent that they allow the viewer to see how Rob and Laura react to them. Besides being obedient and painfully well adjusted or perhaps because of these things he is pretty much of a nebbish. The screaming apple-of-my-eyeism that so thoroughly dominated the genre during this period was absent from the show.
Alley has argued that the classic domesticoms of the fifties, which are often ridiculed today as ideological fossils of a conformist conservative era, actually contain many highly relevant-and in some cases quite liberal-political and social messages, especially in the area of parent-child relations. Instead, they are reasoned with in a calm but firm manner as prescribed by Dr. Spock, who, according to Laura in one episode, "is a genius [and] knows everything.
Parents who do not can expect an Eddie Haskell or a Lumpy Rutherford. The child-rearing philosophy of the Petries is perhaps best illustrated in the episode "Girls Will Be Boys", in which Ritchie is repeatedly harassed and beaten up by a female classmate, Priscilla Darwell, at school.
Having been taught by his parents never to hit a girl under any circumstances, he refuses to retaliate, choosing instead to suffer the pain of emasculation. Under his mother's concerned and sympathetic questioning, he breaks down and reveals his shame. Rob goes to see the girl's father, but Priscilla, in perfect little party dress, looking like Patty McCormack in The Bad Seed, politely denies having ever hit Ritchie and, as far as Mr.
Darwell is concerned, the matter is settled. Rob, whose sense of fair play transcends his paternal pride, is equally impressed by the performance and is perfectly willing to believe that his son is the liar-until an impeccable eyewitness Jerry and Millie's son Freddie bears Ritchie out. The attacks continue, and this time Laura goes to see Mrs. She turns out to be an even worse parent than her husband. She refuses to believe that her little girl is even capable of such behavior and suggests that Laura try giving Ritchie some sweets to get him to tell the truth.
Dumbfounded and enraged at such parental irresponsibility, Rob and Laura give Ritchie permission to defend himself. Tension builds as Rob and Laura wait for Ritchie to get back from school; Rob has come home from work early that day just to be there.
Comic harmony is breathlessly restored as the twenty-two-minute drama winds to its conclusion. We learn that Ritchie was too embarrassed to tell his parents that all the little girl ever wanted from him was a kiss. Refusing to hit a girl despite parental permission, he gives in and kisses her, ending the attacks. As in "October Eve", a bit of overkill is added after the climax: Priscilla tells Ritchie's classmates about the kiss and some boys tease Ritchie and start a fight with him.
He promptly beats up all three of them. Hearing the story, Rob is devilishly delighted; he sees both his virility and his values redeemed in such good, old-fashioned male horseplay. As the show's increasing ratings gained credibility for him at CBS, Reiner gradually became freer to leave behind parentchild situations and give more attention to the Rob-Laura and Rob-office plots he favored.
By the fifth season, Ritchie had all but disappeared from the show, and quite frankly, not much was lost. In general, Reiner proved to be far more interesting and original at the office than in the home. Both had been stars of radio and early TV who made phoenixlike comebacks on the Van Dyke show. Amsterdam was born in Chicago in A cello-playing prodigy, he gained admission to college before the age of fifteen but chose to devote himself to show business, achieving national stature as a popular comedy-variety figure in the late forties and early fifties.
He was known for his theme song, "Yuk-a-Puk", which he played on the cello as punctuation for the one-liners of his stand-up routine a style of presentation made perhaps more famous by Henny Youngman and his violin.
Along with Youngman, Jack Carter, Milton Berle, and several others, Amsterdam had been one of a rotating circle of comedians who had hosted The Texaco Star Theater before Berle won the job for himself in Once again, however, he was passed over for an NBC op spot when the network gave the show to Jerry Lester on Monday-through-Friday basis.
As comedy-variety went into its tailspin in the latter part of the decade, Morey Amsterdam began what seemed to be a descent into game-show oblivion, appeanng as a regular on no less than five prime-time network mes, including Keep Talking, which Reiner had briefly hosted. She had been a regular on The Ina Ray Hutton Show NBC,a short-lived summer replacement series that retains the distinction of havg been the only program in prime-fime history to have had an all-female cast, featuring Ina Ray and Her All-Girl Band.
Rose Marie's game-show credits included Pantomime Quiz, a long-running charades vehicle that had also featured Dick Van Dyke for a time. Buddy and Sally, though toned down considerably by the onstraints of genre, medium, and period, evocatively conjure visions of Mel Brooks and Selma Diamond in a Max Liebman writers' room. Known as "the human joke machine", Buddy s the acknowledged master of the one-liner-the wiseguy comic from the streets of neighborhood New York.
The stuffy and officious Mel Cooley Richard DeaconAlan Brady's bald producer and brother-in-law, is the natural butt of Buddy's sessive schoolyard rank-out prowess. Buddy's Jewishness s for the most part implicit, though it is freely acknowledged upon occasion. When Rob tries to give the dog some milk, Budprotests: For him it's cream soda or nothing.
Rob, he's trying to kill that dog Rob: No, he's trying to convert him. Scott Fitzgerald had once called "gonnexions" to get Rob and Laura a fur coat at a wholesale price. The most 'Jewish' episode of all, however, is "Buddy Sorrell-Man and Boy", in which the middle-aged comedy writer corrects an injustice of his poverty stricken Brooklyn youth by finally taking bar mitzvah lessons. In the last few minutes, the bar mitzvah itself is presented in Englishcomplete with synagogue, congregation, and a yarrnulke-clad Dick Van Dyke.
The rabbi even refers to Buddy by his Jewish name: Occurring as it does in the final months of the series production run, the episode seems like a whimsical revisiting of some of the autobiographical material that Reiner had been forced to abandon to put the sitcom on the air back in Amsterdam's organic toomlerdelivery makes him the surviving vessel of jewishness in the otherwise mainstreamed narrative. The archetypal sitcom career woman of the pre-Mary Richards era, her significance radiates strictly from gender.
Sally's lack of a husband hangs over her like a dark cloud, adding an element of pathos that is lacking in any of the other characters. Rob and Laura frequently fix her up with blind dates, but her aggressive 'unfeminine' style makes her unfit for each of these potential mates.
Her one steady boyfriend is Herman Glimsher Bill Idelsona pathetic mama's boy whose widowed mother takes full advantage of his oedipal problems. The "Sally episodes" take on a familiar pattern.
In "Jilting the jilter", comedian Fred White Guy Marks tries to marry Sally as a cheap source of gags for his stand-up nightclub routine. In another episode, Rob's brother, Stacy Jerry Van Dykecomes for a visit and dates Sally in order to get over his shyness so he can propose to the woman he really wants to marry.
In "Dear Sally Rogers", Sally appears on a network talk show and shamelessly solicits marriage proposals by mail. It is not unusual for a Sally episode to end with a tear in her eye; she has a cat named Mr. There is something inescapably off-center about the sitcom relationship of Buddy and Sally. Appearing together frequently at social functions, they might easily be mistaken for husband nd wife.
It is easy to speculate, however, on why Reiner and Leonard chose not to marry them. For one thing, Sally is not Jewish. Mixed marriages, then as now, were not considered sitcom fare. With Sally a single woman, Reiner retained the comic prerogatives of Sally's self-effacing spinster jokes as well as a dependable plotting device that accounted for more than a half dozen episodes.
Buddy's wife, Pickles Joan Shawlee; later Barbara Perrythough often mentioned as the butt of his one-liners, is rarely seen on screen. Yet, the fact that Buddy has a wife obviates peculation about his sexuality. Sally, by contrast, is the female eunuch, unfulfilled and philosophical about her lot in life. She s typical of the pres sitcom career woman in this way.
Boynton, a colleague in the Biology Department. Ann Sothern carried this archetype into two series: The structural supposition of both proms was that she worked for a living in lieu of marriage, which was valorized as the principal or 'real' goal of any woman. In the latter show, she plays an assistant hotel manager who is passed over for promotion in favor of an outside man. The new boss is played by none other than Don Porter, the same actor who had played Sothern's boss in the earlier series.
Most of the episodes are built on her attempts to 'snare' the man ho has taken the job that was rightfully hers. Sally is slightly better off than the Eve Arden and Ann othern characters in that her career is meaningful to her, but he is still very much the victim of male domination. Though fficially a full member of The Alan Brady Show's writing staff, he does all the typing while Buddy lies on the couch and Rob ces the center of the room. She is a big hit on the late-night talk show and takes an indefinite leave from her job to become one of Stevie's regulars.
Rob and Buddy find themselves unable to function without Sally around to keep the office in order and do the typing. Sally, however, gives up her big chance to become a star by purposely getting into an argument with Stevie Parsons when he makes a crack about The Alan Brady Show on the air. She dutifully returns to her place at the typewriter in the office, leaming the old sitcom lesson that a solid place in a warm gemeinschaft is worth more than anything the flashy gesellschaft can ever offer-a lesson still frequently taught in the genre.
The show's three regular women characters offer a constellation of sitcomic female figures.