Film and TV

Summer TV Club: The Dick Van Dyke Show, "That's My Boy?"

Luckily I have returned from my much-needed vacation because last week's discussion of Red Dwarf was way too balanced and cerebral. I thank John Gray for filling in; perhaps he'll watch some TV again with us this summer.

This week, Pete has chosen nothing other than a television classic comedy, The Dick Van Dyke Show. In this particular episode, "That's My Boy?," Dick, (whose name on the show is Rob Petrie) his best buddy Jerry, (Jerry Paris) and wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) recount the day that they brought home their son Richie from the hospital. As the story unfolds, the audience finds out that for one very long day Rob was under an intense suspicion that Richie was not their son! Through a series of mix-ups at the hospital involving another couple who also had a son on the very same day and whose name is Peters, quite similar to Petrie, Rob convinces his family that they have taken home the wrong baby. And hilarity ensues.

ABBY: I will admit that I have only seen a handful of Dick Van Dyke episodes and I was pleasantly surprised at how funny it was, even now 50 some odd years later.

JEF: It's from a time when comedy relied almost exclusively on stage timing, and you didn't have the camera tricks and other effects to shore up the weak points. I honestly thought it got a little hammy, but that stage timing is something to witness, I'll tell you.

PETE: Well, that and the writing. This particular episode was scripted by Bill Persky and Sam Denoff, who collaborated on the bulk of Season Three's episodes after Carl Reiner started doing other things. Fun fact: Persky and Denoff also created That Girl. Fun fact #2: DVDS writer John Whedon is grandfather to Buffy's Joss.