Recap and React: The Dick Van Dyke Show, season 2, episodes 16 – 20

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(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Guest star Jane O’Brein causes jealousy in the Petrie home. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 2, Episode 16: “The Foul Weather Girl”
Directed by John Rich
Written by Carl Reiner
Originally aired January 9, 1963
Recap: Jane Leighton, an old flame of Rob’s from high school, pays a visit to the Petrie home, telling Laura that Rob has encouraged her to come to New York to pursue a career in show business.
Reaction: Joan O’Brien guest stars as Jane, but she doesn’t steal the episode. She has a lot of charm, but her character only serves as a vehicle to bring jealousy out of Laura. Mary Tyler Moore always does a great job of exaggerating Laura’s anger and jealousy just enough to make it funny without going too over-the-top.
Favorite moment(s): “You sound exactly like one of those wives in a situation comedy!”

Buddy and Sally go snooping in Rob's desk. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Buddy and Sally go snooping in Rob’s desk. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 2, Episode 17: “Will You Two Be My Wife?”
Directed by John Rich
Written by Carl Reiner
Originally aired January 16, 1963
Recap: Buddy and Sally find what they believe to be Rob’s memoirs hidden in a drawer in their office. When they begin reading, they find a story about Rob having to break off an engagement with a fiance in his hometown before marrying Laura.
Reaction: One of my ever-favorite flashback episodes, but with a twist! Rather than Rob and Laura themselves telling the story, it’s told by Rob, but through Sally and Buddy. Multiple lenses of interpretation always leave room for error, so the audience has trouble separating fact from fiction here. Is Rob exaggerating his memoir, and furthermore, are Sally and Buddy misinterpreting as they read it? One of my English classes this semester is causing me to think way too much into the framework of every story I watch or read, haha. Anyway, this episode is cute, once again focusing on Rob’s tendency to have a guilty conscience even when he hasn’t done anything very bad… or so we think, until it is revealed (predictably) that Rob’s “memoir” is actually a novelization, indirectly inspired by his experiences.
Favorite moment(s): Buddy and Sally finding excuses to look through Rob’s desk. “I need a match!”, “He said he wanted me to read something!”, etc.

Rob goes in front of the camera for once, instead of working behind-the-scenes. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Rob goes in front of the camera for a personal interview. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 2, Episode 18: “Ray Murdock’s X-Ray”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Carl Reiner
Originally aired January 23, 1963
Recap: Rob gets a call asking him to appear on a show called “Ray Murdock’s X-Ray,” where the host has a reputation for asking too-personal questions and grilling his guests. Rob agrees to go, against the advice of his co-workers. He falls victim to Ray’s intense questioning, accidentally making Laura sound crazy.
Reaction: Gene Lyons guest-stars as brash TV host Ray Murdock, and he’s a great asset to the episode. The “X-Ray” portion of the episode is very amusing. The best part, though, comes after the interview, as Rob tries to prevent Laura from watching TV so she won’t see what he said about her. He pretends to “fix” the TV, dances with her, asks Sally to call her and keep her on the phone. He’s desperate to avoid confrontation, and the lengths he goes to are incredibly funny to watch.
Favorite moment(s): Buddy saying after the interview that Rob can stay at his house for a couple of years (assuming Laura will be very angry)

Rob enters the office on his first day as head writer. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Rob enters the office on his first day as head writer. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 2, Episode 19: “I Was a Teenage Head Writer”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Sheldon Keller and Howard Merrill
Originally aired January 30, 1963
Recap: The writers get in an argument with Mel over the 17-minute long middle sketch of an upcoming show, a sketch that took the team five days to write. Mel hates the sketch because he thinks it was inspired by him. Rob feels that Buddy and Sally betrayed him in the argument since they refused to stage a walk-out with him, and in his anger he recalls the day he began his job as head writer of The Alan Brady Show.
Reaction: I sometimes wish that The Alan Brady Show had really been produced as an accompaniment to The Dick Van Dyke show, so we could see the sketches (which we often see Buddy, Sally and Rob partially act out in the office) in full. This episode made me wish for that even more, so we could see what the sketches were like when only Buddy and Sally worked on the show! Though this episode doesn’t have as many huge laughs as some of the others, it’s still a good one and does squeeze many smaller laughs out of the audience.
Favorite moment(s): Rob repeatedly walking in and out of the room to try to get Buddy and Sally to come to the elevator with him + the scene were Sally, Buddy and Rob meet for the first time + Rob’s car sketch

Rob imitates the sci-fi monster. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Rob imitates the sci-fi monster. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 2, Episode 20: “It May Look Like a Walnut”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Carl Reiner
Originally aired February 6, 1963
Recap: Rob watches a sci-fi film on TV before bed. The next day he begins to believe that the movie monster (Kolak, from a planet called Twilo) is truly plotting to steal his imagination, sense of humor and fingers… using walnuts as a weapon!
Reaction: As a fan of classic sci-fi, this episode was really fun for me to watch, between Laura’s terrified reaction to the cornballer of a film and Rob’s enthusiasm over it. I love the nods to mid-century sci-fi in this episode, like everyone acting strange (Buddy calls Mel “pal” and walks arm-over-should with him!) and walnuts popping up everywhere Rob goes. This was one of the episodes I somehow missed in my previous viewings of re-runs. I’m very glad to have decided to do an R&R series for The Dick Van Dyke Show, because now that I have seen this episode I consider it a favorite from the series! Bonus: Danny Thomas guest stars.
Favorite moment(s): Laura being terrified of the movie even when she can only hear the music + Rob imitating sci-fi sound effects

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