Love, American Style (1969–1974)
User ReviewsReview this title
The episodes themselves are still pretty humorous, and often you'll see failed pilots end up as episodes of Love American Style. The most famous example was a 1972 episode that turned out to be the pilot for "Happy Days", one of ABC's most successful shows of the 1970's. If you're a boomer you're bound to enjoy this show. If you are younger, it's an interesting and humorous lesson in the journey TV has taken over the years.
Love, American Style was a delightfully entertaining show, that could be enjoyed by all ages. It's premise, was based on the ups and downs of love and romance, in America during the late 60s/early-70s. Each episode lasted an hour, with different mini-episodes within the hour time-frame. I thought it was especially clever that short, hilarious comedy sketches, were included between each mini-episode.
This show had marvelous comedy actors in each episode, such as Stuart Margolin, Alice Ghostly, Flip Wilson, Arte Johnson, etc. These and other actors appearing on the show, were some of the most superb comedians in show business. This factor was what made Love, American Style so much fun to watch, during the entire run of the series. If you like warm, light-hearted classic comedy shows, then you owe it to yourself to enjoy Love, American Style, on DVD.
And so I'd just like to mention the sketches that have stuck with for the last 40 years.
An impressionist (played by Rich Little) brings a girl back to his room. He continually speaks to her as other people. She finds that weird, and insists that he talk to her as himself. He turns out to be a nebbish, and at the end she says, "give me Kirk Douglas."
A scientist wants to find the perfect way to sleep with a girl. He invents a time machine, and he keeps screwing up and then going back in time. Finally he just says, after trying many elaborate ploys, would you like to go out? She says of course, and then the time machine breaks and she's caught in a perpetual loop of saying yes.
A guy gets a date with a nude model. He's very excited. It turns out she's totally okay with getting naked, except for one thing; she won't take her gloves off. So he becomes obsessed with seeing her hands. I think he might propose to get those gloves off.
And my favorite:
As a joke (or perhaps a test), a man on a honeymoon tells his new wife that he's bald, and he hopes she can deal with that. To make him feel better, she tells him every embarrassing secret she has. At the end, he decides to shave his head every day for the rest of his life so she doesn't feel like an idiot.
There was actually a great pilot for a revival in 1999. So sad it didn't make it.
Each show would have a love situation of 20 to 30 minutes. If there were any extra time there would be a 1 or 2 minute comedy blackout. Some of the shows parts were funny & some were not.
The series would vary in quality & sometimes during it's run, pilots for new shows would be put in. Some of them actually made it after into series of their own. Happy Days pilot aired on this program. It had Richie, & Howard, & Marion & the pilot was actually OK.
An animated series called "Wait Until Your Father Gets Home" first aired on Lover American Style too. The great thing about this anthology is you never quite knew where they were going, but you would almost always see well known actors & actresses on the way.
In a way, this series set up the later show "The Love Boat" which basically borrowed this format & moved it too a cruise ship & added a regular crew in addition to the celebrity guests every week. Both shows were ABC so nobody complained.
SELDOM did we see an Anthology Series strictly limited to making us laugh, to Comedy. One exception we can think of (and about the only one that comes to mind off hand is our honorary series of the day, LOVE, American STYLE (Parker-Margolin Productions/Paramount Television/ABC TV Network, 1969-74).
THE length of the shows varied between 30 and 60 minutes, as the earlier episodes started out at the hour mark, only to cut to a half hour, and still later back up to the hour mark. Each installment would consist of between 2 and 4 vignettes; featuring completely different casts, totally different stories and absolutely different settings; all bound together within the notion of each being, some how, "Love Related"
INASMUCH as the episode weren't really related to "Love", but rather to what would be phonetically spelled something like "Ess-Ee-Ecks", the humor is typically of the American tradition of titillation, double meaning and 'naughty' suggestiveness. Hence, we were able to receive all of 'them dirty', little jokes and stuff; while not offending either the ABC Censor or Newton Minnow.
BECAUSE each story was short of duration and featured non-continuing characters and story-lines, there was very little wasted time and no padding, whatsoever. It was the mission of the writers to get it all out in front; relating any and all about each character post haste, because basically, they are living out their entire fictional lives in a quarter hour.
WE have heard that we've heard is that those in Hollywood loved series like LOVE, American STYLE (and any other anthology) called for the use of m any different Actors and Actresses, Comedians and Comediennes to populate the length and breadth of the various and numerous mini-episodes.
ONE unusual episode appeared in the series. It featured a story about a family in the 1950's getting their first Television Set. Ron Howard was the Teen-Ager with Harold Gould as his father. It was set in Milwaukee and dang, if it didn't bear a strong resemblance to the later HAPPY DAYS series! We found out later that it was a failed HAPPY DAYS pilot. Well, they get our Frugal Utilitarian Award for creative use of what would probably be discarded.
WHEN we look back on this collection of funny business, it reminds us most of the old one and two reeler comedies that were produced by guys with names like Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, Sennett, Roach and Christie. Silent or sound, these short subjects featured comic players with whom their audiences were familiar. Although there was very little continuity of particular roles & names of characters, we instantly knew them and we reacted accordingly.
IN short, we believe the series is a sort throwback to those great "Old Time Movies" that we all seem to love so much. This is both a flattering comparison for the series; as well as a further proof that there is truly nothing new under the Sun.
NOTE: * Okay, Schultz, you're right. WAGON TRAIN does have recurring characters. But how else could we go West each week without the likes of Major Adams,Flint McCullough, Duke Shannon and Charlie Wooster? Each week's story was different and told new and varied stories along the Trail. Ergo, we feel that the classification as a Western Anthology Series is totally justified! Got it?