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Our reviews of The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray) (published April 20th, 2013), The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray) (published July 1st, 2013), The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray) (published August 28th, 2013), The Dick Van Dyke Show: Season 5 (Blu-ray) (published September 12th, 2013), and The Dick Van Dyke Show (published May 17th, 2001) are also available.
"At least I'll prove one thing tonight: television writers marry the prettiest girls."—Rob Petrie
By Season Two, The Dick Van Dyke Show was a bona fide hit. Families loved watching the exploits of TV variety show comedy writer Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke, Diagnosis Murder), his lovely wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore, The Mary Tyler Moore Show), their adorable son Ritchie (Larry Mathews), and Rob's fellow co-workers who toil away on the hit variety program "The Alan Brady Show". Created by Carl Reiner (who based the main character on himself), the show is now considered a classic sitcom from the golden age of television.
The second season finds Rob and his lovely wife Laura juggling the same things as the rest of us; work, home life, and friendships. The The Dick Van Dyke Show is rooted in the everyday; the episodes, while never complex, are amusing and filled with heart-tugging moments, as when Rob brings home a couple of ducklings that they used on "The Alan Brady Show" but now don't have a home. At first Laura is refuses to have them in her house, but once their son gets wind of them, they're suddenly part of the family (fittingly named "Stan" and "Oliver"). When one duck dies and the other gets sick, it's obvious he needs to be released back into the wild, which results in a heart-to-heart talk between Rob and Ritchie about why the ducks can't stay. It's moments like these that ground the show in both the funny and the heartwarming.
Other episodes are just as warm and fuzzy, if not always very substantial. In one, Laura thinks that Rob may be allergic to her because he starts sneezing around her (yes, this was apparently a big concern for couples in the early 1960s). Another finds Rob and Laura having a fight, and three versions being recounted: Rob's version, Laura's version, and the truth (ala Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon). The bulk of The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Second Season is filled with these kinds of episodes, which may be why audiences continue to love this show (and shows of the same ilk and time period); the stories are light and fun and the characters are never mean to each other (and if they are, it's all ironed out before the credits roll). Family values are firmly in place but never a substitute for good writing (mostly by Reiner) and direction.
All of the major players do a splendid job with their roles. Dick Van Dyke has such a great "everyman" quality to him; although he works in show business, Rob doesn't come off as a pompous, self-important guy. He loves his wife, and in Mary Tyler Moore, Van Dyke finds both great chemistry and a wonderful foil for some of his goofier moments. Also in need of special mention are Rob's co-workers Sally and Buddy, played by Rose Marie (The Doris Day Show) and Morey Amsterdam (Muscle Beach Party). Both Marie and Amsterdam bring a biting, funny quick wit to their characters, making Rob's workplace a veritable circus of comedic timing. Also of note is Richard Deacon (The Birds) as the long suffering Mel Cooley, Rob's exasperated producer and the butt of most of Buddy's jokes. For my money, Mel is the best character on the show; his dry wit never failing to garner big belly laughs.
Each episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Second Season is presented in 1.33:1 full frame in 1080p high definition. The transfers on this three disc set are excellent; the black and white image is very clear without a lot of imperfections (some light film grain and a few blemishes are all that viewers will spot). Overall, for a show well over half a century old, The Dick Van Dyke Show's second season looks very good. The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD 1.0 Mono in English. Each episode's soundtrack comes through loud and clear; although sonically these aren't impressive tracks, they work for the episodes they're supporting.
Extra features exclusive to this set include a short anti-smoking PSA (Lorillard Tobacco, the maker of Kent cigarettes, was the show's sponsor), a colorized trial portion of the show ("It May Look Like a Walnut Color Test), and some PSAs for the National Safety Council by Dick Van Dyke, and a snippet from Van Dyke acting on The Danny Kaye Show ("Dick on The Danny Kaye Show"). Also included are ports from previous DVD versions, including four commentary tracks (episodes 34, 37, 41, and 53), some photos from various episodes, some promo ads for Kent cigarettes, and various short 'remembrances' ("Remembering the Ottoman", "Remembering Rob and Laura", "Remembering Buddy and Sally", "Remembering the Bank Book", "Remembering the Woodpecker", "Remembering Dick's Sneezing", "Remembering Jerry Paris", "Remembering 'Oh, Rob'") and featurettes ("Emmy Awards 1962-63 Outstanding Directional and Program Achievements in Comedy", "Emmy Awards 1962-63 Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy", "Making it Look Like a Walnut"), and a CBS promo.
Fans of The Dick Van Dyke Show may already own the second season on Blu-ray if they picked up the complete series. Those who checked out the first season and fully enjoyed it would be remiss if they didn't pick up the second—and third, and fourth, and fifth—season as well. The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Second Season is filled with a lot of fun, a lot of heart, and most importantly, a lot of laughs.
Recommended for any classic TV fan.
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