Monday, September 23, 2013

Rant #1,047: My Three Sons (and several others) ...

As I said several Rants ago, I record the classic television sitcom "My Three Sons" during the week on MeTV. It is on at 5:30 a.m., and I record it and watch it in the evening.

Just in recent days, the sitcom--which was on an incredible dozen years, from 1960-1972--has entered one of its major story arcs, Katie's (Tina Cole) pregnancy, and eventual birth, of triplets (boys--what else could it have been?).

"My Three Sons" was the first TV show that I could ever remember that had story arcs, where a group of episodes within a season had the same theme running through them.

This is fairly commonplace today, but for the late 1960s--1968 in this case--it was all new.

These story arcs pretty much took hold when the show went to color from black and white and moved from ABC to CBS, and became a solid hit for the Tiffany Network in the mid-1960s and throughout its run.

The first one was toyed with in the black and white years, when oldest brother Mike (Tim Considine) was going to get married to his sweetheart (Meredith MacRae) and move away.

The next major story arc was when Ernie (Barry Livingston), once Chip's (Stanley Livingston) playmate, got adopted into the family, as did Uncle Charley (William Demarest), who took over for Bub (William Frawley) as the chief cook and bottle washer of the family.

This was followed by several other story arcs, including Robbie (Don Grady) getting married to Katie, her pregnancy, Robbie and Katie's independence from the rest of the family, Steve's (Fred MacMurray) courtship and marriage to Barbara (Beverly Garland) and Chip's eventual courtship and marriage to Polly (Ronne Troup).

The more I watch the show as an adult, the more I think the show was popular because people welcomed the Douglas family each week into their homes for a half hour as if they were part of their own family.

The shows move slowly, aren't filled with big guffaws or laughs--was this TV's first dramedy?--and the scripts are as clean as an unused baby wipe.

But the whole thing works just fine.

I can't imagine how a show like this would play out today, but you can bet that the Douglases would be part of a long line of dysfunctional families that litter the TV landscape today.

Actually, I don't want to even think about that, because I like the Douglases just fine the way they are, a typical 1960s sitcom family often put into incredible, but believable, circumstances.

They are welcome into my family anytime.

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