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Partridge Family: Complete Fourth Season [DVD] [Import]
Danny Bonaduce was always The Partridge Family's not-so-secret weapon. His cheerful money-grubbing ways provided an antidote to the smug homilies and treacly heartwarmingness that afflicted so many sitcoms of the early 1970s. His prepubescent cynicism was never more needed than in The Partridge Family's fourth and final season, when recycled plots and forced gaiety began to seep in. The biggest red flag was, of course, the addition of an adorable precocious tot: Ricky Segall, a four-year-old neighbor who brought too many episodes to a screeching halt with his cloying children's songs. The rest of the cast had to sit and beam adoringly at this festering harbinger of a Partridge apocalypse. Fortunately, Segall was soon reduced to appearing at the tail end of episodes and the show's dependable virtues rallied: David Cassidy's teen idol charisma, Shirley Jones' improbably wholesome sex appeal, Susan Dey's feisty feminism, the goofy mix of bubblegum music and borscht belt comedy, and Bonaduce's froggy sarcasm. Odd patterns dominate the fashion trends, Jones wears maxi-dresses and some bizarre brightly-colored wimples--and everyone's hair has become startlingly ornate (Keith's puffy mullet is a force to be reckoned with). Guest stars include an abundance of future TV stars--like Pat Harrington (One Day at a Time), Robert Mulligan (Soap), and Cheryl Ladd (Charlie's Angels)--as well as movie stars old (Margaret Hamilton, The Wizard of Oz) and new (Jackie Earle Haley, a few years away from stardom with The Bad News Bears). So despite some signs of age and impending cancellation, the fourth season still holds many pleasures and should not be missed by fans. --Bret Fetzer
More musical adventures with TV's favorite rock 'n roll family! The family tries (unsuccessfully) to conserve energy. Laurie poses as Keith's date to make other girls jealous, but the plan backfires. Danny wants to impress a girl by telling her rabbi father that the Partridges are Jewish - and the whole family is invited to dinner. Shirley tries to hire a maid, but it's all in the family when her mother shows up to apply.
Recommended for the great writing and excellent picture/sound
Just wanted to warn anyone considering buying this to double check for compatibility.
Update.... I was able to play the discs on my laptop and have watched enough episodes to give a proper review. So far,this season is on a par with the first three,with one big(or should that be small?) exception. Who was responsible for the introduction of the unbearable Ricky Segall, as the four year old neighbour who is never away from the Partridge house and gets to sing a toe curling,vomit inducing ditty on every episode he appears in? I've had to resort to fast forwarding the disc everytime he appears on screen. Totally spoils the show for me, hence the deduction of one *.
The Brady Bunch (1969-1974) taught me (the only child of a single parent) what life in a large blended happy family would theoretically look like. Without siblings of my own, I was glued to the comings and goings of life in the Brady household. With hindsight, the show is very much a product of its times, ergo at times surprisingly sexist. The very set up of Carol Brady moving back in with her parents until she could find a man to marry her and support her again is sexist. And yet the show maintains a friendly family vibe, a household within which every problem could be solved within half an hour. It was worth watching then. It’s worth watching now. (My kids’ take: Fun but too sexist. Still, they’ve watched most of the episodes.)
The Partridge Family (1970-1974) gave me (and every other girl my age) my first crush: David Cassidy. Dreamy. A fun family drama with music, this show catapulted young David Cassidy to international superstardom. (My kids’ take: Not only worth watching, but excited to see David Cassidy live the twice we had the opportunity.)
I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970) was a fun show which taught what happens when a man doesn’t treat the woman he lives with as an equal.
- Tony thought he was in charge.
- Tony issued orders.
- Jeannie said, “Yes, master!”
- Jeannie did whatever she wanted.
Use of magic was forbidden. Use of magic was constant. Sidekick Roger Healy, who understood the value of having a personal genie and was forever trying to benefit from Tony’s genie, was a standout. (My kids’ take: Amused by it but not enough to watch all of the episodes.)
Bewitched (1964-1972), like I Dream of Jeannie, challenged the whole Father Knows Best assumption that a man was ultimately in charge of the household his wife was running. Again, magic was forbidden, yet it was constant. Samantha’s relatives dropped by unannounced with alarming frequency. Darrin was frequently the butt of some magic incantation or other. And to top everything off, most episodes ended with Samantha saving her husband’s advertising job by coming up with the perfect slogan. The only real question was why a cool woman like Samantha would confine her limitless possibilities to live life with the very mortal exceedingly dreary Darrin Stevens. Still, I loved the endless cast of characters. I also learned some history from Bewitched, which introduced me to Napoleon, among others. (My kids’ take: Amused by it but not enough to watch all of the episodes.)
Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967) is the most hilarious of the bunch and the only one to have successfully withstood the test of time. It is every bit as funny now as it was back then. (My kids’ take: Absolutely loved it. Watched every episode multiple times.)
These five sitcoms are the best of their era, and I can highly recommend them all. 5 stars all around!