Recap and React: The Dick Van Dyke Show, Season 3, Episodes 16 – 20

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Donna and Arthur bond over their love of wine, foreign films without subtitles and museums. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Donna and Arthur bond over their love of wine, rocks, foreign films without subtitles, convertible sleeves and museums. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 3, Episode 16: “The Lady and the Tiger and the Lawyer”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson
Originally aired January 15, 1964
Recap: Arthur Stanwyck, a very handsome and very single lawyer, has just moved in next door to the Petries. He tells Rob and Laura that he has moved to the suburbs because he’s seeking a more relaxed pace of life than he had in the city. Laura suspects that Arthur actually moved to the suburbs in order to find a wife, and decides to set her cousin Donna up with him. Rob thinks this is a terrible idea, and wants to set Arthur up with Sally.
Reaction: Anthony Eisley (The Naked Kiss, The Wasp Woman) guest-stars as Arthur, and Lyla Graham guest-stars as Laura’s cousin, Donna. Eisley and Graham make a great pair, and Rob and Laura’s competitive bantering is hilarious, too. The twist as to why Arthur doesn’t seem willing to choose between Donna and Sally is a bit disturbing, but is used as comedy, which didn’t sit well with me… but otherwise, the episode is solid.
Favorite moment(s): “Isn’t that marvelous. They both have the same prescription!”

Millie and Laura go to the golf club so Laura can "accidentally" run into Joe. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Millie and Laura go to the golf club so Laura can “accidentally” run into Joe. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 3, Episode 17: “The Life and Love of Joe Coogan”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Carl Reiner
Originally aired January 22, 1964
Recap: Rob, Buddy and Mel are out golfing one day when they meet and play a round with a man named Joe Coogan. Over coffee after the round of golf, Joe tells Rob that he’s single, has never been married and has only been in love once — with a girl named Laura, while he was in college. Rob begins to suspect that he and Joe have loved the same Laura, and he confronts Laura about why she’s never mentioned Joe.
Reaction: I like this episode because we get to see more of the dynamic of Laura and Millie’s friendship in the first half. Their scheming and bantering when Laura tells Millie that Rob met Joe is great. The episode on the whole has a good pace and a lot of funny moments. The ending is a little corny (but that’s a plus, for me).
Favorite moment(s): Laura saying she didn’t burn any of Joe’s sonnets because she doesn’t support book-burning + Sally refusing to take off her coat when she realizes that Joe is a priest, because she wore a low-cut dress

Rob's card tricks get him in big trouble. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Rob’s card tricks get him in big trouble. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 3, Episode 18: “A Nice, Friendly Game of Cards”
Directed by Howard Morris
Written by Ernest Chambers
Originally aired January 29, 1964
Recap: Rob and Laura are hosting a poker game. They invite the Helpers, Buddy Sorrell and two new friends, the Gregorys to the party. The Gregorys are new to the neighborhood, and Mr. Gregory happens a former District Attorney. When Laura damages one of the cards during the game, she gets a replacement deck, not realizing that it’s the marked deck Rob was using to show Ritchie a card trick earlier in the evening.
Reaction:
Edward Platt is a great guest star — very intimidating at first as Mr. Gregory, but in the end he’s not quite as hard-edged as he seems. The Millie/Laura friendship fun-time in the last episode is balanced here by some wonderful Jerry/Rob moments. Jerry is one of my favorite side-characters of the series so of course, I enjoyed the episode for that reason. Overall, a pretty good installment in the series.
Favorite moment(s):
Rob and Jerry frantically trying to figure out how to get the Gregorys out without them realizing that the cards are marked + Mr. Gregory’s exclamation of “CHEATING… IN THE SUBURBS!”

The youngest Petrie's party guests wreak havoc on the house. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
The youngest Petrie’s party guests wreak havoc on the house. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 3, Episode 19: “Happy Birthday and Too Many More”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Bill Persky and Sam Denoff
Originally aired February 5, 1964
Recap: Laura wants to plan a birthday party for Ritchie, but the social calendar in the suburban community that the Petries live in is so packed that it has to be held three weeks before or after his actual birthday. Additionally, children’s birthday parties in the community are seen as status symbols, so Laura wants the party to be extravagant. Rob isn’t crazy about the idea, and instead wants to have a simple party at the house.
Reaction: This episode is really interesting for its social commentary, which is even more relevant in today’s culture of excess. The episode is also plenty of fun, from Buddy and Sally trying (and failing) to entertain the kids with songs to Rob’s last-minute clown act. (I was half-expecting him to break out with the song “Be a Clown” from The Pirate.) Factoid: it’s also one of only two episodes that was filmed without a live audience — it was filmed just after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. (The other was season 1’s “The Bad Old Days,” which was filmed without an audience for technological reasons.)
Favorite moment(s): “I want no part of juvenile decadence!”

When Rob throws his back out, he can't even sit on the couch -- the doctor has to help him lay down! (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
When Rob throws his back out, he can’t even sit on the couch — the doctor has to help him lay down! (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 3, Episode 20: “The Brave and the Backache”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Sheldon Keller and Sam Denoff
Originally aired February 12, 1964
Recap: Jerry and Millie were supposed to go to Millie’s sister’s cottage for a romantic weekend, but Jerry has to go away to a convention for work. Millie tells Laura that she would like to offer the cottage to Rob and Laura, but Jerry’s convinced that Rob would never take it because he has a psychological block against being alone with Laura. Every time the Helpers have offered Rob and Laura the cottage, Rob has gotten sick. Rob wants to prove Jerry and Millie wrong, so he agrees to get the time off work and go on the trip… until sickness gets in the way once again, in the form of a backache.
Reaction:
Some pretty great physical comedy from Dick Van Dyke in this episode, when Rob hurts his back. I also love the scene where Rob visits the psychiatrist and all of the psychiatrist does most of the time is ask, “Is that what you think?” I always have a little bit of a hard time believing these “Rob and Laura marriage trouble” episodes because they’ve been together so long and clearly love each other. Their insecurities and worries are all a little bit ridiculous, but the episodes are still good viewing.
Favorite moment(s):
See the above screen capture!

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