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April 29th, 2010

Mr. Belvedere, 25 Years Later

I’ve been working my way through the first two seasons of Mr. Belvedere over the last couple of weeks. Why? I was really curious to see how it stood up two-and-a-half decades after it debuted. I remembered enjoying the show well enough, but wasn’t sure if I’d revisit it and realize it was just another cheeseball 80s sitcom.

And while, yes, it definitely has its cheesy moments, I was surprised by a few things:

1. It’s actually a pretty good show. The writing was sharp (especially for Mr. Belvedere and Wesley’s characters), the acting wasn’t half bad (though Ilene Graff and Bob Eucker were a bit over the top), and the overall show was enjoyable. After watching the pilot, I wasn’t surprised at all that the show was picked up.

2. There were an awful lot of sex references. Mom and Dad talking about doing the nasty right in front of their butler and/or kids… Kevin talking about stripping his prom date’s dress off (but not really)… very odd. Felt “edgy” for a mid-80s family sitcom.

3. Their house had one of the oddest layouts of any sitcom house. Especially upstairs. Yet, it is another one of those houses I’d like to walk through in real life. Hey, someone, create a theme park of nothing but TV show houses.

4. That theme song is an ear worm (I almost called it an “ear potato”) if I’ve ever heard one. But I still couldn’t figure out the first line without looking it up (“Streaks on the china, never mattered before…”).

My favorite non-pilot episode: “Tornado.” Any episode of a sitcom where a disaster strikes is always fun (big exception: the episode of Valerie’s Family–or was it The Hogan Family by then?–where they had the big fire).

So, yeah. Mr. Belvedere: unheralded great sitcom of the 80s.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

Paul April 29, 2010, 11:14 am

Bob Eucker over the top? Never!

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