- 7 Seasons
Benson is an American sitcom that aired from 1979 to 1986 on Sony. The show starred Robert Guillaume as Benson Dubois, the witty and charming butler of the Governor Eugene X. Gatling, played by James Noble. Inga Swenson played the role of the Governor's wife, Gretchen, while Missy Gold played the role of their daughter, Katie. The show also featured RenÃ© Auberjonois as Clayton Endicott III, the Governor's assistant.
The show follows the life of Benson, who began as a butler and worked his way up the ranks to become the Governor's personal aide. Through his quick wit and intelligence, Benson was able to provide important advice to the Governor while maintaining a lighthearted, humorous approach to his job. Throughout the series, the audience is taken on a journey of Benson's life and the relationships he develops with the Governor's family and his colleagues in the Governor's mansion.
The Governor's family plays a big part in the show, with Benson forming a close bond and paternal relationship with Katie. Benson becomes a father figure to her, and their interactions are endearing to watch. Katie's coming of age and growth throughout the series is an important aspect of the show. Additionally, the relationship between Benson and Gretchen is not without its challenges, with Benson regularly calling her out on her privileged lifestyle and lack of awareness of the struggles of the middle and lower class.
Endicott III is Benson's nemesis of sorts, with the two characters often clashing over their different personalities and professional aspirations. Endicott is the Governor's assistant, and the epitome of the privileged upper class. He often takes issue with Benson's commoner background and challenges his motives and intentions with the Governor. The witty banter between the two characters adds an element of humor to the show.
The show tackled important social issues of the time, including racism and gender equality. With Benson being an African American lead character, the show explored the challenges and prejudices that Benson faced working in a predominately white, upper class setting. Benson's character was written to be intelligent and capable, dispelling many of the stereotypes and suppositions that were commonly held about African Americans at the time. The show also featured female characters in positions of power, such as Gretchen and the Governor's chief of staff, Marcy, played by Caroline McWilliams.
The show was renowned for its ensemble cast, with each character bringing a different dynamic and energy to the show. The chemistry between the actors was palpable, and the dialogue and interactions felt natural and seamless. The humor was clever and witty, and the show often found humor in the mundane moments of day-to-day life in the Governor's mansion.
Benson was a groundbreaking show for its time, featuring a diverse cast of characters and addressing important social issues in a humorous and lighthearted way. The show was created by Susan Harris, who also created other popular sitcoms such as Soap and The Golden Girls. Benson received critical acclaim throughout its run, and Robert Guillaume won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Benson. The show has remained a beloved classic and is still re-watched by fans today.
Benson is a series that is currently running and has 7 seasons (159 episodes). The series first aired on September 13, 1979.