Recap and React: The Dick Van Dyke Show, ep. 11 – 15

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Laura finds Rob lying flat on the floor after he stumbles over one of Ritchie's toys. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Laura finds Rob lying flat on the floor after he stumbles over one of Ritchie’s toys. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

SEASON 1, EPISODE 11: “FORTY-FOUR TICKETS”
DIR. JOHN RICH
WRITTEN BY CARL REINER
ORIGINALLY AIRED DECEMBER 5, 1961
Recap: Rob complains of tripping over Ritchie’s toys that he always forgets to pick up, and Laura says that Ritchie’s forgetfulness was inherited from his father. This proves true when Rob realizes that he forgot to reserve 44 tickets for the PTA of Ritchie’s school to visit the set of his show.
Reaction: This episode starts out with a bit of great physical comedy before turning to focus on Rob’s absentmindedness and becoming a comedy of mishaps. The plot of the episode is quite simple, but very funny. This one’s pure fun to watch, and Dick Van Dyke’s delivery is spot on.
Favorite moment: Rob continually tripping over Ritchie’s toys in the opening of the episode, + the tossing around of ideas about how to derail the PTA’s trip by hiring a drunk or sober bus driver

(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
At Rob’s request Laura wears the “Empress Carlotta” necklace when the neighbors visit. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

SEASON 1, EPISODE 12: “EMPRESS CARLOTTA’S NECKLACE”
DIR. JAMES KOMACK
WRITTEN BY CARL REINER
ORIGINALLY AIRED DECEMBER 12, 1961
Recap: When Mel’s cousin Maxwell, a jeweler, stops by the office, he convinces Rob to buy a garish necklace for Laura that is a replica of one designed for “Empress Carlotta.”  Rob is worried that Laura won’t like it, especially since it came with a pretty hefty price tag. Sure enough, she hates it… but she must pretend that she loves it so she doesn’t hurt Rob’s feelings.
Reaction: We can all relate to Laura’s situation of having to pretend that we love a gift that we actually would rather  not accept, which makes this episode even funnier. Rob’s enthusiasm over the necklace (including a “big reveal” in which he hides Laura and the necklace behind a curtain before showing it to their friends) in contrast with Laura’s guilt-tinged dislike of the necklace is hilarious.
Favorite moment: Laura’s face when she sees the necklace for the first time!

Frustrated Laura plays hostess to the dinner party. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Frustrated Laura plays hostess to the dinner party. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

SEASON 1, EPISODE 13: “SALLY IS A GIRL”
DIR. JOHN RICH
WRITTEN BY DAVID ADLER
ORIGINALLY AIRED DECEMBER 19, 1961
Recap: At the office, Rob and his colleagues treat Sally as “one of the guys.” One night, Laura invites Rob’s co-workers over for dinner and also invites a blind date for Sally. Laura becomes upset when the blind date sees Sally as “one of the boys,” too, rather than as a date. She tries to convince Rob to treat Sally differently at the office.
Reaction: Laura, girl, you need to mind your own business sometimes! I love the character of Sally. Her outspokenness and sense of humor are what makes her so lovable. Oddly, tough, the subject matter of this episode is still relevant today. As much as we’d like to believe we’ve progressed, women are still conditioned by society to strive for beauty and femininity. Being “one of the guys” is still considered a negative thing by many people.
Favorite moment: Sally’s quip about her date, “In his rush to get out, he almost broke the hinges on my car door.”

Buddy is baffled to learn that it may be more difficult than expected to get out of his contract. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Buddy is baffled to learn that it may be more difficult than expected to get out of his contract. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

SEASON 1, EPISODE 14: “BUDDY, CAN YOU SPARE A JOB?”
DIR. JAMES KOMACK
WRITTEN BY WALTER KEMPLEY
ORIGINALLY AIRED DECEMBER 26, 1961
Recap: When Rob is offered a job as head writer on a competing show, he turns it down. The position is then offered to Buddy, who readily accepts. Sally and Rob worry for Buddy’s sanity due to his new boss’s tyrannical nature, but they decide to support him and help him get out of his current contract. All of their scheming inevitably backfires.
Reaction: This episode isn’t quite as high on laughs at the others, but it does have its moments, and it gives us more of a peek into the goings on behind the scenes of The Alan Brady Show. Though we’re already fourteen episodes into the season we’ve barely scratched the surface of the series, and this episode helps us better understand the environment of Rob’s work life.
Favorite moment: Mel’s expression when he hears that Buddy wants to leave the show, + Buddy’s snarky final remarks to Mel on what is supposed to be his last day at the office

A flashback shows pregnant Laura trying to read and relax, while tense Rob worries that the baby might arrive any second. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
A flashback shows pregnant Laura trying to read and relax, while tense Rob worries that the baby might arrive any second. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

SEASON 1, EPISODE 15: “WHERE DID I COME FROM?”
DIR. JOHN RICH
WRITTEN BY CARL REINER
ORIGINALLY AIRED JANUARY 3, 1962
Recap: Young Ritchie begins asking the question all parents dread answering — “Where did I come from?”
Reaction: As an episode that is a fraction of a larger series, this one serves to give us more backstory on the central family, similar to the episode that explained how Rob and Laura met (which is one of my favorite episodes). It’s also another episode that capitalizes on a common experience that all of us encounter, either in the parental role or as children asking the question. As usual, the matter is handled in a sweet, sentimental and funny way.
Favorite moment: Rob’s “You may become a mother any minute!” worries as he and a very pregnant Laura try to fall asleep.

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