Recap and React: The Dick Van Dyke Show, season 4, episodes 27 – 32

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The hotel's elderly handyman tries to help Laura free her toe from the faucet. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

The hotel’s elderly handyman tries to help Laura free her toe from the faucet. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 4, Episode 27: “Never Bathe on Saturday”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Carl Reiner
Originally aired March 31, 1965
Recap:
Rob and Laura return unexpectedly early from a romantic second honeymoon. With Millie confused as to why the vacation was cut short, the Petries explain that it has to do with Laura getting stuck in a bathtub.
Reaction:
I was really looking forward to re-watching this episode after reading about the production of it in Mary Tyler Moore’s autobiography. It has always been a favorite of mine (and, I think, a favorite of many Dick Van Dyke Show fans). The guest stars portraying the hotel staff (including Bernard Fox, who portrayed Mr. Darwell in 4×23 and here plays the house detective) are hilarious, and all of the episode’s gags land perfectly. It’s a fast-paced episode with lots of laughs.
Favorite quote/moment:
The maid catching Rob drawing on a mustache + “Don’t toy with me, you saucy wench!”

Alan Brady is given an award by the Committee for Interracial Understanding. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Alan Brady is given an award by the Committee for Interracial Understanding, which Rob and Laura accept when Alan can’t make it to the benefit. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 4, Episode 28: “Show of Hands”
Directed by Theodore Flicker
Written by Joseph C. Cavella
Originally aired April 14, 1965
Recap:
Rob and Laura are scheduled to attend a benefit for the cause of improving race relations, where they’ll accept an award on Alan Brady’s behalf. Trouble strikes when they accidentally dye their hands a few shades darker before the benefit.
Reaction:
I had never seen this episode previously, and the synopsis had me a little hesitant to watch it. The subject matter is handled much better than I expected it to be — Millie suggests that Rob plays the dyed hands off as a gag, and Rob points out that it would be in very bad taste to do so. They try to resolve the issue by wearing gloves, but after Rob hears the presenter say that “Truth is the doorway to understanding,” he decides to be honest about it, and everyone laughs over the mishap. Rob delivers a few very poignant lines, as well, after the gloves come off: “As I look around the room now, I see that all my fears and all my embarrassments were self-imposed. I can’t wait ’til a day when understanding is, between everybody, such a commonplace thing that they don’t have to hand out awards for it.”
Favorite quote/moment:
Rob’s glove trouble — First he looks like Mickey Mouse, then he looks like a strangler + Millie saying that Jerry’s mom is “built like Wyatt Earp”

Alan pressures Rob to ghostwrite the play. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Alan pressures Rob to ghostwrite the play. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 4, Episode 29: “Baby Fat”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson
Originally aired April 21, 1965
Recap:
Alan Brady has always been a man of big ideas, and he’s also the boss, whose instructions must be followed by Rob. But when he asks Rob to doctor a play by a famous writer to make it better, Rob doesn’t know how to handle the situation.
Reaction:
Carl Reiner makes this episode. His begging and pleading to Rob, to fix the play and save Alan Brady’s Broadway debut, is hilarious. The episode is a little bit inconsistent in terms of pace, but it does have a few great scenes involving Reiner and Van Dyke, and the face-off between “Vito Schneider” and the Broadway costume designer is also very funny.
Favorite quote/moment:
“That is Rob. I am Alan. You are Mel. This is a door. Use it!” + “I’m not gonna take my hair off for this play!”

A reporter takes down notes on the crazy story of how Rob got his job. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

A reporter takes down notes on the crazy story of how Rob got his job. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 4, Episode 30: “One Hundred Terrible Hours”
Directed by Theodore Flicker
Written by Bill Persky and Sam Denoff
Originally aired May 5, 1965
Recap:
Another day, another feature about Rob in a fancy entertainment magazine. During the interview, Rob and Laura tell the reporter the story of how Rob got his job as head writer… which happened when he’d been awake for 100 hours!
Reaction:
By this point in the series, we’ve seen a bit about Rob’s origins as a comedy writer. This episode flashes back to the time between his military service and his start in television, when he worked as a disc jockey. Radio Rob is pretty cheesy. A drinking game could be made with the number of times he refers to his listeners as “gang” on air — “I’m just kidding, gang!” “How about that, gang?” Cheese aside, the episode is quite good. It’s one of those installments where Dick Van Dyke gets the chance to put his comedic talents on full display, as the sole focus of the episode.
Favorite quote/moment:
“Plug your ears up ’til tomorrow at two, ’cause there’s nothing worth hearing ’til I come back to you!” + “Let’s turn to the news!” *Spins around in chair* + Mel crying

Rob and Laura get into an argument after he brings home a motorcycle. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Rob and Laura get into an argument after he brings home a motorcycle. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 4, Episode 31: “Br-rooom, Br-rooom”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Dale McRaven and Carl Kleinschmitt
Originally aired May 12, 1965
Recap:
First it was a car, now it’s a bike. After getting sentimentally attached to a car in season three (3×26, “Scratch My Car and Die”), Rob decides to buy a motorcycle, which leads to an argument with Laura over whether it is safe.
Reaction:
Probably my least favorite episode of this set of six, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad one. The conflict is standard and has been seen a million times, which kind of puts a damper on things. The plot follows the trajectory you’d expect it to, with a husband and wife fighting over some sort of dangerous hobby/toy — husband buys motorcycle, wife gets mad, they argue, husband gets himself in trouble and realizes his wife was right. Still enjoyable to watch since the viewer is attached to the characters and cast, and it does bring a few good laughs, but it just isn’t up to par with some of the much-better episodes that appear near the end of season four.
Favorite quote/moment:
Sally and Buddy presenting Rob with a “Robby Baby” leather jacket

Rob uses Buddy's wholesale connections to find a new coat for Laura. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Rob uses Buddy’s wholesale connections to find a new coat for Laura. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Season 4, Episode 32: “There’s No Sale Like Wholesale”
Directed by Jerry Paris
Written by Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson
Originally aired May 26, 1965
Recap:
Rob wants to buy a new fur coat for Laura, but he doesn’t want to pay full price… so he and Laura wind up in a stunt that will allow him to buy the coat at wholesale price, if she pretends to be a member of the merchant’s family.
Reaction:
A nice episode. Fun scenes with Buddy and Rob visiting the warehouse, and then Laura and Millie visiting the store — all using assumed code names. Laura and Millie’s visit to the store is particularly funny, as is the scene in which Sally tries her best to bite her tongue, not revealing to Buddy that his bargain was no bargain at all, but a total waste of money. Finally, she loses it and shows Buddy the coat that’s “perfect — for Smoky the Bear!”
Favorite quote/moment: “I gave him a cheap leather collar, and he gave me a beautiful, dead mouse.” + Rob posing in the mirror as he tries on the coat

This ends TMP’s coverage of season four of The Dick Van Dyke Show! Just one more season and we’ll have covered the whole series. Stay tuned for season five’s R&R posts in early 2015!

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