And now, I'm talkin' sitcoms




I mentioned Leave It to Beaver in my last post, the classic nuclear family sitcom of the 1950s. One of my favorite shows, I used to race home to watch reruns after school. Although some people see it as an example of the stifled emotion, stiff-upper-lip and 'Cut your hair, son' type of programs, for me it was merely reflection of its era, not an endorsement, and just a darn good show. Take any sitcom on TV today and tell me the plot didn't derive from a LeavIt to Beaver episode in some way. You can't. That show went through every scenario and emotion in regards to being a child or human, and the troubles thereof. Beaver keeps a lost puppy, Beaver picks up a baby rabbit, Beaver skips school, Wally wrecks the car, Wally dates the 'bad' girl in town, Wally and his crooked friend Eddy Haskel do underhanded business and get caught. There was the old 'confidant,' Gus, the fireman who provided sage advice to little Beaver. Gus was great. And the starched-apron parents, neither too strict nor too allowing, who had their own little comedy going on via the downstairs den. Did we ever see their bedroom? By the way, Ward Cleaver always threatened to spank the kids, but he never actually did it. There's a lot to be said in that.

Ah, Ward Cleaver. I admit, I have a fetish. Can you tell in the book? There's something about him. He's tall, dark and handsome, but not too handsome. He's kind, yet firm. He's gentle. He greases his hair back and wears old sweatshirts to clip the hedges. Did you know Hugh Beaumont hails from my area? That's right, just up the road in a small Kansas town. That makes me like him even more. I loved that the kids were scared to death of him (Dad's gonna wallop you hard fer that, Beaver!), but he never cashed in on his power.

And June . . . I didn't want Emma to turn into her one bit, though I do like June's sense of humor. There's a dark undertone in every thing she says. But the pearls? No. There's a reason they call it a choker. I've always wanted to rip that little strand off her elegant neck and yell, "Run, June, Run!"

I think Leave It to Beaver was more realistic than most shows of the 50s. Even though they lived in a sterilized world, they weren't boring. Did you know the boy who played Wally, Tony Dow, turned out to be a brilliant sculptor?

What is your favorite episode of this show or any old classic sitcom?

Comments

  1. I don't think it crossed the pond, unlike 'Lucy' which I remember well.

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    1. I Love Lucy is so good, I can see why it traveled out of The States. I read once that Desi Arnaz thought Lucy had poor comedic timing, which is crazy. She was perfect as a comedian. My favorite episode is when she meets Harpo. Insanely good.

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    2. She was certainly a lot better than him; I found him rather wooden.

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    3. I agree. Her facial expressions and voice were perfect. Can't imagine anyone else playing that role.

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  2. There is something about that show that always bugged me, but I can't really put my finger on it. My favorite oldies were Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Munsters.....because they were just FUN! :)

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    1. Haha, I can see why it would be annoying. Everything is so whitewashed and almost moralistic. But I do like the way they showed a child's view. And I liked the characters. LOVE I Dream of Jeannie and The Munsters!

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  3. I watched it sometimes but cannot remember one episode. It showed the fifties in the way we all thought others were living. I loved their house and wished that I lived there.

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    1. Interesting perspective. I think you're right that it was an unrealistic representation of that time, or any time really. That's why Rebel Without a Cause was so effective--it showed how teenagers in the fifties really felt about their parents and society.

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