THE GREATEST TV SHOW EVER!!
TV land on my cable channel 34 broadcasts re-runs of “Leave it to Beaver” every morning. There have been some great situation comedies through the years, “I Love Lucy,” “You’ll Never Get Rich,” “Mash,” “The Cosby Show,” “Sienfeld,” on and on right up until today with “The Office,” “How I Met Your Mother,” and others. Far and away the best and probably the most underrated comedy of all time is “Leave it to Beaver.”
This show was the closest to reality of any situation comedy I have ever seen. If you lived a lily-white middle class life in any suburb USA in the fifties and sixties, you either knew or were “The Cleavers.” There were no complicated plots in this show, just the stuff every family with boys goes through every day. The writers managed to combine life as seen through the eyes of a child, an adolescent, and a mom and dad in perfect comedic juxtaposition. (I looked it up...it is used correctly)
Watching the frustrated dad “help” his third grader with his homework is as accurate (and funny from the outside looking in) then as it is today.
“Beaver, you’ve had three weeks to write this poem for school, why did you wait until the day before it is due?”
“Gee dad, I was afraid that if I did it earlier I might lose it and junk.”
If you put this show in a time capsule the future archeologists that view it would shake their heads in disbelief.
“Mom washing dishes in a full party dress, pearl necklace and perfectly quaffed hair…REDICULOUS!”
“Dad coming to dinner with a suit and tie…how unrealistic.”
Who would believe parents would let their six-year old wander around town alone all day?
“Wally, will you go and see what’s keeping the Beaver, it’s almost time for supper.”
All these things and more were actually an accurate portrayal of suburban life in the fifties and sixties. It was an age of formality and innocence we will not see again.
In one episode, The Beaver decides to run away from home because he was yelled at by his father. Mom and Dad helped him pack, patted him on the head and on his way out the door said, “Were sure going to miss you.”
Would this ever happen today in a world of helicopter parents looking over their shoulder for kidnappers, pedophiles and drunk drivers at every corner?
When I was six, I ran away from home. I don’t remember why, but I do remember my mom yell on my way out, “Don’t forget your toothbrush.” When I returned to the door she handed my toothbrush to me and said, “We’re sure going to miss you!”
Of course she sent my older brother, Chris, to follow me. After about three blocks he caught up to me. Apparently he was tired of this running away nonsense.
“Hey squirt, where are you going to go? Join the circus? What?”
I had no answer, so I just turned around and came home. Dinner was waiting. No one ever mentioned the brief time I was “on my own.”
I guess that is why I like “Leave it to Beaver;” anyone that has ever been a little boy has been “The Beaver.”