The Dick Van Dyke Show
- 5 Seasons
One of the last of television's black-and-white comedy series, perhaps the first of modern television sitcoms, The Dick Van Dyke Show was a tribute and slice-of-life of an era in an America on the verge of losing innocence. This television landmark represented how life was for middle-class professionals and gave example of how life could be for those striving to that class. Aired during a cultural bridge in years prior to the JFK assassination and the years following, the show presented viewers with a mixture of values based upon experience and more modern values of education. Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) was the college-educated head of a team of comedy writers that included two veterans without formal education, but with a wealth of experience. By making Rob the boss, the show foreshadowed a move in American society towards achievement through education rather than that based on sweat, toil and experience. The Dick Van Dyke Show also highlighted many basic American family values. Rob was married to Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), they shared a suburban home in New York with their son. Rob donned his hat and left each morning for work while Laura stayed home to keep house and care for their child. Rob came home from work to deal with troubles Laura had worked up as a sometimes frustrated housewife. The only female figure who worked in the show was Rob's work-mate Sally (Rose Marie), single and always hunting for the right man, never getting past her current boyfriend. Somewhat autobiographical of its creator, Carl Reiner, the Dick Van Dyke show gave insight into the workings of television at a time when the media was evolving from theatrical presentation and almost slap-stick comedy to more audacious treatments of everyday life. Though Mr Van Dyke was given freedom to mime, make faces and take pratfalls, realism was important in the development of the scripts that would later be taken as standard for situation comedies that followed in later years. The Dick Van Dyke show closed at the end the fifth season with an intentional last episode. As television moved towards the realism of color, this black-and-white show became a time capsule, a representation of the Camelot of the JFK years as well as a reality-check of the awakening of America in the aftermath of that historical moment. It was a precursor to a real look at American life on television.