Recap and React: The Dick Van Dyke Show, season 2, episodes 11 – 15

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Ritchie takes to wearing a disguise in order to protect himself from the woodpecker. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Ritchie takes to wearing a disguise in order to protect himself from the bird. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

SEASON 2, EPISODE 11: “A Bird in the Head Hurts”
DIR. John Rich
WRITTEN BY Carl Reiner
ORIGINALLY AIRED December 5, 1962
Recap: When Richie runs into the house screaming about being bit on the head one day, Laura and Rob assume he’s making it up. They see no wounds on his head, and he claims a giant woodpecker was the culprit, which makes his story seem even more suspicious to his parents. They think Ritchie is just trying to get attention… until they talk to Millie about it.
Reaction: Rob gets a taste of his own medicine when none of the officials he calls about the bird believe the story, just as he didn’t believe it when Ritchie told it. This episode isn’t quite as funny as usual, but it has a couple of great moments. There’s a really funny side-character of a game warden who gets very angry at the Petries when they suggest that the evil bird should be killed, and he throws out a couple of great puns.
Favorite moment(s): “If he lived in the city like any normal kid, he’d be attacked by a nice street gang!” – Buddy + Rob’s old woman impressions

Rob sneezes so much that he wakes Laura up in the middle of the night. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Rob sneezes so much that he wakes Laura up in the middle of the night. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

SEASON 2, EPISODE 12: “Gesundheit, Darling”
DIR. John Rich
WRITTEN BY Carl Reiner
ORIGINALLY AIRED December 12, 1962
Recap: When Rob can’t stop sneezing after returning home from work, Laura begins to buy into the outlandish theory that he’s become “allergic” to his family, sneezing whenever he gets angry at them. Soon enough, Rob begins to believe the theory himself, too.
Reaction: This episode is hilarious to me because the angry-sneeze theory sounds like something my sister and I would come up with. Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke are in top comedic form in the episode, too, taking a somewhat off-the-wall storyline and making it a whole lot of fun to watch. Van Dyke gets to pull a lot of funny faces what with his constant sneezing, and Moore seems truly offended by his “allergy” to her — but in a overzealous, hilarious way rather than being seriously offended.
Favorite moment(s): “He could’ve asked me to mow the ragweed, but nooo, he asked his mother!”

Rob tries to hide his newly-fixed teeth from Jerry. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Rob tries to hide his newly-fixed teeth from Jerry. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

SEASON 2, EPISODE 13: “A Man’s Teeth are Not His Own”
DIR. John Rich
WRITTEN BY Carl Reiner
ORIGINALLY AIRED December 19, 1962
Recap: Rob breaks a tooth on a chicken bone while his dentist is out of town at a convention and is forced to visit an unfamiliar dentist.
Reaction: I don’t know a single person who doesn’t hate going to the dentist’s office, and when this episode began I assumed it would be about Rob’s fear of visiting the dentist, amplified by the fact that it isn’t even his own dentist. Instead, the episode is really about friendship. Rob’s regular dentist is his friend Jerry, and when the new dentist does a better job than Jerry, Rob feels guilty for not seeing his friend as “the best.” This episode is funny and relatable, but most of all it serves to show Rob’s caring nature. He’s incredibly concerned that he’ll bruise Jerry’s pride, and he goes to great lengths not to do so.
Favorite moment(s): Rob acting out the skit where Alan Brady will have an itch in the middle of his back during a piano recital + Buddy saying “I don’t think he broke it on the mayonnaise” when Rob breaks his tooth + Rob telling Jerry to rip out all of his teeth as punishment

Rob leads a fundraising meeting as PTA chairman. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Rob leads a fundraising meeting as PTA chairman. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

SEASON 2, EPISODE 14: “Somebody Has to Play Cleopatra”
DIR. John Rich
WRITTEN BY Martin Ragaway
ORIGINALLY AIRED December 26, 1962
Recap: The PTA at Ritchie’s school is holding a fund-raising show featuring the parents, and Rob is dreading being asked to direct it once again. He recalls the show the previous year, when he had a whole lot of trouble casting the role of Cleopatra.
Reaction: This episode is a lot of fun, one of my favorites from season 2. There are a couple of great song and dance numbers and quite a bit of hilarious physical comedy. Things spiral out of control for director Rob as the episode moves along, with Jerry becoming angry over his wife’s performance in a Cleopatra skit, the skit having to be re-cast, and so on. Jealousy fills the air in this episode, and with very funny results.
Favorite moment(s): Millie’s James Cagney impression!

The Petries and their friends are terrified to read in the newspaper that a burglar has struck four homes in their neighborhood. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
The Petries and their friends are terrified to read in the newspaper that a burglar has struck four homes in their neighborhood. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

SEASON 2, EPISODE 15: “The Cat Burglar”
DIR. John Rich
WRITTEN BY Carl Reiner
ORIGINALLY AIRED January 2, 1963
Recap: A cat burglar has been striking homes in the Petrie family’s neighborhood, and they fear their own home may be next.
Reaction: This episode is interesting to watch as a 21st century viewer because Rob and Laura have a conversation about keeping a gun in the home. Laura becomes scared when they read of the burglar and thinks Rob should borrow one of Jerry’s rifles for protection, while Rob thinks that he shouldn’t have to resort to keeping “aggressive” weapons in the home. Gun control is a hot-button topic nowadays and the “personal protection” firearm industry is huge, so this issue is more relevant than ever to the modern viewer. Of course, the episode kind of makes light of the issue by playing on the neighborhood’s paranoia for comedic value.
Favorite moment(s): Rob taking handfuls of stuff out of the jewelry box, trying to quietly find the bullet even though the jewelry box plays music + Rob smashing the furance pipe with his hand, thinking it’s the burglar after bumping into it

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