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Timely Reviews: Television Edition


Dick Van Dyke ShowThis week, I would like to share my enthusiasm for two sitcoms that I have recently come to adore. In my constant drive to keep my finger on the geeky pulse, I have started watching The Dick Van Dyke Show and Cheers. Both shows are well executed sitcoms with sharp writing and great characters.

Cheers is, perhaps, the more accessible of the two, as it is merely thirty years old. I should point out that, with the exception of Shelly Long’s outfits, the show looks and feels like it could have been released two years ago. There are occasional references to the eighties, like the cameo by Tip O’Neil and the Red Socks championship draught, but most of the humor comes from the characters. The show trades on the awkward social lives of the barflies and staff, and is often as cringey as The Office.


The Dick Van Dyke Show seems to be as cringey as Cheers, but often resolves things before it becomes a problem. The things that save this show from the cringe are the cast and the writing. Carl Reiner (yes, the old guy from Ocean’s Eleven) created the show and wrote many of the episodes. Every single cast member is fantastic, with Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore as the happy couple around which the show is centered.


The Dick Van Dyke Show is fifty years old but has more surprises than I have seen on a sitcom in a while. It is telling that in 1962, The Dick Van Dyke Show handled many of the clichés of popular sitcoms better than the numerous shows that followed it. The best example I have is how this show dealt with the husband who needs to buy scalped tickets. I have seen Crom-knows-how-many husbands get busted for buying scalped tickets in the same number of shows. The Dick Van Dyke Show neatly handled the situation and gave our goofy lead an elegant solution.


If you are a fan of television comedy, then these two shows should definitely be on your list. They are two of the finest shows that television has ever produced and are well worth your time.



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