U.S. Situation comedies in the late 50's tended to be the W.A.S.P.(White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant) family like Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver (June says to Ward Cleaver in bed, "Dear, I think you were a bit hard on the Beaver last night" .... ooo, er, Nurse! but I digress, it's still a classic joke though, not mine).
Then some bright spark in the early 60's came up with the idea of the dysfunctional family or the unconventional home situation - 'fish out of water' premise. And all the networks jumped on the bandwagon. Here are the variations on the same theme, in no particular order:
- My Favourite Martian (I think it was a rip off of Gore Vidal's play A Visit to a Small Planet, also Jerry Lewis movie)
- My Living Doll (I think my first TV crush was Julie Newmar, this over 10 years before Westworld did the robot gimmick)
- The Munsters (not based on a cartoon like next show, Universal had all those 30's horror movies to reference)
- The Addams Family (it is line ball which of the last two shows came first)
- Bewitched (loved Edora, as soon as Tabitha came into it you knew 'jumping the shark' was nigh)
- The Beverly Hillbillies (typical 'fish out of water' premise like Tarzan in New York, Crocodile Dundee, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, numerous Brendan Fraser movies: Blast from the Past, Encino Man, George of the Jungle - he specialises in looking cute but bemused). Shit, this blog post should have been entitled "How to get off the subject"
- Green Acres (another 'fish out of water')
- I Dream of Jeannie (setting it in Cape Canaveral was topical and a winner)
- My Mother, the Car (this was short-lived for good reason, a variation on Mr Ed, the joke was all in the title)
But that's another story....