If you’re searching for sophisticated television viewing, no need to continue reading. However, if you’re looking for mindless entertainment that will make you laugh in spite of yourself, you’re in luck. The sixties were a great decade for silliness and laugh out loud tv programming, and I’m a big fan of so many sixties shows. My biggest problem was narrowing down the list to just six classic comedies from the decade.
Mr. Ed is the story of an architect (Wilbur) and his wife (Carol) who move into a new house only to discover a talking horse in the barn. I can only imagine the original pitch sessions involved in trying to sell the concept to the networks, but despite the craziness of the idea, the show itself is entertaining. They have set rules – Mister Ed talks to Wilbur and no one else, and Wilbur spends every episode trying to make Mr. Ed happy. Mr. Ed tends to act like a spoiled child, but by the end of each episode, he’s learned his lesson (at least until the next episode rolls around.)
Like many of the sixties sitcoms, Green Acres is a fish out of water story. When big city lawyer Oliver Wendall Douglas and his wife Lisa buy a farm in the tiny town of Hooterville, they’re bombarded with the contrast between city life and country living as they get to know their neighbors and adopt to their way of life. Each of the zany characters has a distinctive personality, and the interaction between the characters is gold. Mr. Douglas spends much of his time feeling like he’s the only sane person in his world, a feeling that everyone experiences at some point, but with him it’s constant.
Get Smart is a spy show spoof that is filled with every imaginable technology invention to help fight against KAOS, the top secret counterintelligence agency. While men can enjoy the cool toys, we women can appreciate the mod wardrobe worn by Maxwell Smart’s beautiful partner Agent 99 and all the funky period decor.
From a production point of view, Gilligan’s Island is pretty simple. You have a small cast secluded on an island, and the plot of every single episode is the same. The seven castaways attempt to rescue themselves and return to the mainland. What’s amazing is that they were able to create a full three seasons of stories. Nothing deep or life changing here, but it’s good clean fun and a perfect anecdote to offset stress.
The Munsters and Adams Family came out the same year, and are often confused, but they’re really quite different. Personally, I prefer The Munsters due to its family values. As crazy as that sounds, and as off the wall as the Munsters appear, when all is said and done, they’re a family who loves each other and only wants to do the right thing. You can’t help but fall in love with their gentle spirits and feel sorry for them when the rest of the world misunderstands them.
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
This is a lesser known sitcom, but my favorite of the six. Dobie Gillis is a girl-crazy teen boy who is always in search of the perfect girlfriend. He spends much of his time chasing after the girl of his dreams, Thalia Menninger, but all Thalia cares about is money, which Dobie never has. It’s sweet and silly and old fashioned, and each episode will make you feel good inside.