Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Sick Boy and the Sitter - Season One, Episode One - First Aired, October 3, 1961

You can see the chemistry, you can feel it, and it just gets better and better.  The Dick Van Dyke Show is quite possibly one of the best television sitcoms ever ...  Ever !!! ...  And I say this with no qualms or trepidations. 

This episode stars Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Larry Matthews, and Richard Deacon, and was written by Carl Reiner, directed by Sheldon Leonard, with makeup by Lee Greenway (The Andy Griffith Show).  With a lineup like that, how can you go wrong?

The show begins as Ritchie (Matthews) gets sent home from a neighbor's house when one of his little friends comes down with a slight fever.  Laura being the loving mother that she is becomes concerned and decides to call a doctor.  In the meantime, Rob (Van Dyke) is busy at work with Sally (Marie) and Buddy (Amsterdam) trying to come up with an ending to the week's show.

It's a typical day at the office as the trio bounce jokes off one another and Buddy exchanges insults with the show's producer Mel Cooley (Deacon).  The jokes that the staff dismiss as being "not funny" are actually some of the funniest of the episode.  Mel invites the staff to a fancy dinner party at the Alan Brady residence.   Rob accepts the invitation not knowing what's in store for him when he gets home.

When Rob does get home and tells Laura about the party, he finds out that Ritchie is sick and now Rob is torn between his responsibility to his job and being a responsible parent, with Laura trying to emphasize the latter.  The two negotiate a deal, call the girl next door over to babysit, and it's off to Alan Brady's house for the party.  After a while when Rob and Laura attempt to leave the party, Mel gets Rob, Sally, and Buddy to entertain the guests while Alan is tied up with a phone call.  Needless to say Laura is not pleased and just wants to get home to her sick child.

Is it just me, or does everyone else seem to get drawn into the show and forget that they're actually watching a sitcom?  The characters just seem so real and comfortable with each other.  It's not often that you find a show that's has that kind of chemistry right from the first episode.  Usually it takes a few shows for the cast to build up a good head of steam.
  And as far as jokes are concerned, there are lots of them.  They come at you almost as fast as they do in a Marx Brothers film.  While you're busy laughing at one joke a couple more might sneak by you.  I think every episode of every season is worth watching (even The Twizzle, S1, Ep23).

Just about every cast member either had or continued to have a very successful career on stage, in film, or on television.

This is just more great classic TV entertainment.  They really don't make them like this anymore.


  1. You're right, this is one of the great sitcoms of all time! I have been enjoying the show on MeTV.

    1. Hi Gilby -

      I actually catch it now and then on MeTV also. But I do enjoy the marathon viewing sessions when I just pop in a DVD and just kick back and watch for a couple of hours. Great stress relief ... Thanks for visiting ...

  2. It's definitely not just you! I always felt that the Dick Van Dyke cast were real people, and was always completely drawn in. We never missed an episode at my house, and I agree -- if I had to pick one sitcom as best, it would be this one!

    1. Becky -

      The Dick Van Dyke Show is definitely a tough show to top. Some come really close but they don't quite make it ...