carose59: TV (but he doesn't know what he likes)
[personal profile] carose59
"You Consider 'I Love You' A Punchline?"*

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So, I'm doing my semi-annual rewatch of The Dick Van Dyke Show, this time on Netflix. The last time it was on Hulu. Netflix is better because there are pieces included that have been cut for so long, some of them I wonder if I've ever seen before. It's comforting and exciting and it makes me sad. I want Pat to be here. I found the rented children!**

Last night I watched The Curse of the Petrie People. It's the one where Rob's parents give Laura a big, gaudy pin that's a Petrie family heirloom. Laura is less than thrilled by this and Rob's apologetic. And all I keep thinking is, "But you'd only have to wear it is when his parents come over, how terrible is that, really?" I do that all the time, with pretty much every fictional situation I encounter, try to come up with solutions to their problems.

This morning I watched The Bottom of Mel Cooley's Heart. In that one, Mel makes a mistake and Alan Brady screams at and humiliates him in front of everybody. They try to help the demoralized Mel, and part of that is getting Buddy to stop insulting Mel. Pat and I actually talked about that one, about Rob's rationalization of never tryint to stop Buddy, and we agreed that Rob was partly right. Buddy insulting Mel allowed Mel to be nasty to him, to take his hostilities out on him. He couldn't have done that if Buddy had been nice to him.

Although it was the kind of thing that happened on pretty much ever sitcom that lasted long enough, it was The Dick Van Dyke Show that brought about our arrangement regarding secrets. We agreed that if a friend told us a secret, neither of us would share it with the other without permission from the friend. That was not considered keeping a secret because it wasn't our secret. (We actually used this rule a couple of times. No hilarity ensued. No arguments, either.)

I think the tendency to try to solve the problems of fictional people is both the beginning of how a person starts writing fan fiction, and something that takes over your mind if you keep writing. Besides an internal editor that never shuts you, you also default to trying to work out inconsistencies. (Pat and I also discussed the whole is-Alan-married-to-Mel's-sister or vice versa question, but I can't remember what conclusion we came to.)

I also wonder about the real life stuff. There are a couple of episodes where Rob's brother is trying to resolve a "speak for yourself, John" problem he has. It's compounded by the friend he wrote the letters for having the name of James Garner. So every time he tells someone he's been signing the letters James Garner, he has to explan that no, James Garner is a drummer friend of his. This episode was written after Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner made The Art of Love with James Garner. I want to know whose idea it was to use his name. I want to know what he thought of it.

I know this all sounds stupid, but The Dick Van Dyke Show was part of our common language and it was important to us. If Pat was alive, I wouldn't be writing this because I'd have been talking about it with her while we watched.

But I would still be wondering about James Garner.


*Donald Hollinger
**There's an episode where Alan Brady is going to do an episode that's warm, so he's rented some children to sing with around a campfire. I could not for the life of me remember which episode it was and I didn't see that scene the last time I watched it all.
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