Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Having reached its peak popularity during its third season on the air, The Dick Van Dyke Show faltered a bit in the ratings during season four, dropping to seventh place in the overall ratings. This, however, had absolutely no effect on the excellent quality of the series' writing, nor the stellar performances of leading players Dick Van Dyke (as TV comedy writer Rob Petrie), Mary Tyler Moore (as Rob's wife, Laura), Larry Mathews (as the Petries' son, Ritchie), Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam (as Rob's coworkers at "The Alan Brady Show," Sally Rogers and Buddy Sorrell). Among other highlights, this is the season in which series creator Carl Reiner finally appears full-face in the role of Rob Petrie's paranoid, dictatorial boss, comedian Alan Brady. This occurs in the episode "Baby Fat," which also features Strother Martin as a Tennessee Williams-like playwright. The season gets off to its customary flying start with the episode "My Mother Can Beat Up My Father," in which petite Laura Petrie inadvertently humiliates her muscular husband Rob in public (twice) with her ju-jitsu skills. Other topnotch episodes include the wild and wooly horror spoof "The Ghost of A. Chantz;" "The Man From Emperor," in which Rob is offered a job by the publisher of a magazine that bears a very close resemblance to Playboy; "The Lady and the Babysitter," with Eddie Hodges as a moonstruck teenager who develops a crush on Laura; the two-part "4.5" and "The Alan Brady Show Goes to Jail," guest-starring Don Rickles as hilariously unrepentant petty crook Lyle Delp; another two-parter, "Stacey Petrie," with Dick Van Dyke's brother Jerry Van Dyke appropriately cast as Rob's brother Stacey; "Pink Pills and Purple Parents," a flashback episode in which Laura takes the wrong "nerve pills" just before meeting Rob's parents; "Brother, Can You Spare $2500," featuring Gene Baylos as a bum who holds a lost copy of "The Alan Brady Show"'s script for ransom; "The Redcoats are Coming," a lampoon of Beatlemania featuring rock stars Chad and Jeremy; and "Never Bathe on Saturday," the one in which Laura gets her toe stuck in the faucet of a hotel bathtub. (Initially, Mary Tyler Moore balked at appearing in this episode because she was off-screen for the most part, but was eventually convinced that the end result would be hilarious.) Season four of The Dick Van Dyke Show was capped by Dick Van Dyke's second Emmy Award win in a row.
family-dynamics, husband-and-wife, career, neighbor, writer