MovieChat Forums > The Dick Van Dyke Show Discussion > My only beef with the show...

My only beef with the show...


Really loved the show. I think it was one of the funniest, most believable sitcoms of all time. Having said that,young actor Larry Matthews, who played son Richie, has to be one of the least talented child actors I've ever seen. I know he wasn't supposed to be a major character, but jeez, couldn't they find someone who didn't act like he was just reading from cue cards? The only one that might be worse is Lilly from Modern Family.

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poor Larry Mazzeo---I think he was a neighbor to someone in the production of the DVD show and was suggested he try out. He was given the WASP-y name Matthews and the rest is history. Rob and Laura as parents was the weakest part of this otherwise wonderful show.

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[deleted]

My wife and I enjoyed Larry Mathews. I especially liked his performance in the episode 'Never Name a Duck'. When Larry sang 'Little Drummer Boy' in the Christmas special, tears rolled during the filming.

However...

Richie sometimes seems to be forgotten in the script. Sometimes, Rob and Laura go out without thinking that they should get a babysitter.


Smoke me a kipper. I'll be back for breakfast

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Hard to believe but the kid playing Richie on the original pilot was even worse!

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I'm always surprised to come across the hatred directed at Larry Matthews. While I wouldn't put him in the same league as Ronny Howard (who was doing such great work in "Music Man," "Courtship of Eddie's Father" and "Andy Griffith Show"), he was a breath of fresh air compared to some of the bratty show biz tykes popping up at the time who were constantly, almost relentlessly ON; in this regard, Jay North of "Dennis the Menace" was the worst offender. Next to him, Larry Matthews seemed like a real kid.

And I agree with the previous poster who singled out Matthews' work in "Never Name a Duck" - I don't think juvenile performances get much better than that.

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Richie was a totally unnecessary character, like Little Ricky in I LOVE LUCY.
Of course the character of Little Ricky was created because Lucille Ball was pregnant IRL, and it would have been awkward, to say the least, to only show head shots or back views of her.
And the producers didn't want the baby to just "disappear" as would later happen on McMILLAN AND WIFE.

But, that was no reason for the existence of Richie Petrie.
In fact, the whole "middle class suburban" scenario was beginning to get stale when DVD was on the air.
IMO, it would have been a better show with Rob and Laura child-free and living in an apartment in NYC.

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But, that was no reason for the existence of Richie Petrie.

Not according to Carl Reiner, who created the show. It was always Reiner's intention to present Rob not just as a television comedy writer, but also as a husband and father. So in that respect, the character of Richie was absolutely essential.



In fact, the whole "middle class suburban" scenario was beginning to get stale when DVD was on the air.

In fact? No, in your opinion only.

Actually, the show became a ratings success for many reasons; one is that many viewers could identify with Rob - they were also dividing their time between an urban life (where they worked) and a suburban life (where they lived). This is what Reiner wrote about because this is how he lived during his tenure on "Your Show of Shows" - he worked in Manhattan during the daytime & returned to his home in New Rochelle at night. The critics at the time certainly didn't find the concept "stale," nor did the television academy members who named the show "Best Comedy Series" four out of the five years it was on the air.

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I think a big part of it was - the era.

It was the middle of the Baby Boom. In any "average household" in America, there absolutely Had to be a kid.
(Certainly, in the minds of the folks who produced the show! - as well as most of the viewing audience.)

I think they figured they could get away with just One kid - in the same sense that they could get away with having an "Alan Brady Show" that consisted of Only 3 writers, a producer, an occasional guest star, and (eventually) Alan Brady himself. Our imagination was supposed to fill in the cameramen, etc., who were not part of the "story."

As for the main character and his wife, they had to be a Family - and that meant they had to have a kid -
just like Laura Had to be a "housewife." ... which also meant being a Mommy.
Because that is just "how it was" ... Back then...

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Y'know, I've been reading posts about the 1934 movie IMITATION OF LIFE, with many comments on its racism, and not a few posters said that's "how it was".

Doesn't mean it was right, though.

Trouble with Carl Reiner is that he was lacking in foresight.
What do you suppose would have happened to this show if Rob and Laura weren't suburban parents?
I think it would still be successful.

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Y'know, I've been reading posts about the 1934 movie IMITATION OF LIFE, with many comments on its racism, and not a few posters said that's "how it was".

Doesn't mean it was right, though.

Huh?

Racism was never "right." But what does that have to do with Rob and Laura living in New Rochelle with a son named Richie? You're not actually equating racism with a writer's decision to have Rob live in the suburbs, are you?





What do you suppose would have happened to this show if Rob and Laura weren't suburban parents?
I think it would still be successful.

And what do you suppose would have happened if "The Allen Brady Show" had four writers instead of three? And what if they were all men? And what if it was all set in Los Angeles and not New York City? We can speculate until the end of time, but the answer to each question would be the same: We have no way of knowing. The relevant point is, audiences and critics responded favorably to this show AS IT WAS - with Rob working in Manhattan & going home to New Rochelle.

But if you can actually produce a set of reviews from the 60s that said the concept of having Rob live in the suburbs was "stale," I'd love to read them. Because I never came across anything like that when the show was first broadcast.

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he has the most annoying voice ever , every time he talked I cringed.

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On the Alan Brady Christmas Special he was rather good singing The Little Drummer Boy.

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I don't really care about the kids. I get that it is not very realistic that their son is always in his room or next door or wherever but I watched this show (and others) for the adult interaction. I never watched shows like Full House, Family Ties, Growing Pains and all that ilk because children stories bore me. So whether or not DVD had an untalented actor playing their son was a moot point, IMO. Thankfully, his involvement in story lines was minimal.

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I'm always reminded of Little Ricky from I Love Lucy whenever Richie speaks. All his lines are usually shouted at the top of his lungs. He may have been directed to do this just so we could hear his little voice. He's not the worst kid actor in TV land. And he's so cute, he kinda grows on you.

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