I had high hopes for this one going in; generally regarded as one of the finest sitcoms of its era, The Dick Van Dyke Show casts the likeable pairing of Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore as its leads. Being a huge Diagnosis Murder fan, I was definitely ready to hop on board. Most of all, the title promised three of my favorite things: Dicks, Vans, and Dykes. Unfortunately, this copout of a show completely fails to deliver on any of its promises. How this unfulfilling garbage stayed on the air so long is anyone’s guess. Here’s a rundown of some of the show’s more egregious missed opportunities:
- Dicks – All episodes: With three males (Dick Van Dyke, Morey Amsterdam, and Larry Mathews) listed as series regulars and several others making frequent guest appearances, there was no shortage of dick-showing opportunities. Yet for some bizarre reason there is literally not a single dick shot in the entire series! Everyone talks about the iconic gag of Rob tripping over the ottoman, but imagine if he then gets up, dusts himself off, and looks down to realize his penis has fallen out of his pants! Now THAT’S comedy!
- Vans – Episode 88 – “Scratch My Car And Die”: In this season three episode, Rob buys a fancy new sports car. Why a sports car? They had a perfect opportunity to introduce a van into the story to replace the boring old station wagon (which is NOT a van no matter what ANYONE says!) yet the show once again blows it by making the “safe” pick. Wow, a sports car. REAL revolutionary, fellas. Really reinventing the wheel, over here.
- Dykes – Episode 117 – “Girls Will Be Boys”: When I saw this episode title I thought we would FINALLY be getting an in depth exploration of lesbian culture during the 60′s. Instead, it’s just some garbage about Ritchie getting beat up by a girl at school. Almost completely devoid of any transgressive elements, even the reversal of traditional gender roles only serves to reinforce societal norms by making the reversal such a curiosity. I also wanted to see Mary Tyler Moore kiss a girl but she didn’t.
My verdict: A D for Do not watch! As I said earlier, I was a huge fan of Diagnosis Murder because it contains both a diagnosis and a murder in almost every episode. That’s television you can trust! Based on that solid track record, I gave The Dick Van Dyke Show the benefit of the doubt and I’m disgusted that a liar like this is still allowed in Hollywood. For shame!
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