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Old 03-06-2010, 02:42 PM   #1
LittleRickyII
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Default Was Unhappy Hope Lange the First Shoe to Drop?

It's well known that Carl Reiner refused to continue with The New Dick Van Dyke Show when CBS refused to air the slightly adult-themed episode "Lt. Preston of the 4th Calvary," and that Dick Van Dyke refused to continue starring on the series without Carl Reiner on board. But what seems less known is that Hope Lange, feeling very underutilized on the show, had much earlier already made up her mind that she would not continue for a fourth season, even if asked. Her contract with the series was to do three seasons. The moment she completed filming the last episode, which was apparently was in November 1973, she was done. And she had made it known months before that that the third season would be her last. As these articles from the time reveal, she was very, very unhappy and disappointed with the series and the way her character had been written. She felt the way the characters were "all one dimensional." She complained that, in the original show, Rob and Laura were allowed to behave as real people, and have arguments like real couples do, while her character was relegated to do nothing but be pleasant and "pour coffee."

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...yke+show&hl=en

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...yke+show&hl=en

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...yke+show&hl=en

This raises an interesting question. Given that Hope Lange had already bailed from the show, if the whole Carl Reiner/CBS blow-up had not happened and CBS wanted to renew the show for a fourth season, would they have done it without Hope Lange? Would she have been replaced with another actress playing Jenny? Or would her character have been written out of the show? And could the show have sustained yet another big change?
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Old 03-11-2010, 02:10 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleRickyII
It's well known that Carl Reiner refused to continue with The New Dick Van Dyke Show when CBS refused to air the slightly adult-themed episode "Lt. Preston of the 4th Calvary," and that Dick Van Dyke refused to continue starring on the series without Carl Reiner on board. But what seems less known is that Hope Lange, feeling very underutilized on the show, had much earlier already made up her mind that she would not continue for a fourth season, even if asked. Her contract with the series was to do three seasons. The moment she completed filming the last episode, which was apparently was in November 1973, she was done. And she had made it known months before that that the third season would be her last. As these articles from the time reveal, she was very, very unhappy and disappointed with the series and the way her character had been written. She felt the way the characters were "all one dimensional." She complained that, in the original show, Rob and Laura were allowed to behave as real people, and have arguments like real couples do, while her character was relegated to do nothing but be pleasant and "pour coffee."

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...yke+show&hl=en

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...yke+show&hl=en

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...yke+show&hl=en

This raises an interesting question. Given that Hope Lange had already bailed from the show, if the whole Carl Reiner/CBS blow-up had not happened and CBS wanted to renew the show for a fourth season, would they have done it without Hope Lange? Would she have been replaced with another actress playing Jenny? Or would her character have been written out of the show? And could the show have sustained yet another big change?
The show was good but here was the big problem: a remake of the original show. The show would had been good if the premise was something other than show business. When Bob Newhart did Newhart it was not a duplicate of The Bob Newhart Show with Suzanne Pleshette. The feel was very different and it was embraced by audiences.

The problem with Hope Lange's part was they were trying to make another Laura Petrie out of her and it was not happening so she became a how is your day honey tv wife. The funny thing that was Mary Tyler Moore's role was originally in the original show but Carl Reiner saw how she can do comedy and became the unofficial leading actress.

The Arizona episodes were very good and the cast was great but underutilized as well as Hope Lange was. I don't blame her for wanting to leave.

The New Dick Van Dyke Show was ahead of its time. It dealt with interracial dating without being heavy handed about, pot smoking and the first sitcom that had a child late in life like Jenny did.
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Old 03-16-2010, 06:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mstewart
The show was good but here was the big problem: a remake of the original show. The show would had been good if the premise was something other than show business. When Bob Newhart did Newhart it was not a duplicate of The Bob Newhart Show with Suzanne Pleshette. The feel was very different and it was embraced by audiences.

The problem with Hope Lange's part was they were trying to make another Laura Petrie out of her and it was not happening so she became a how is your day honey tv wife. The funny thing that was Mary Tyler Moore's role was originally in the original show but Carl Reiner saw how she can do comedy and became the unofficial leading actress.

The Arizona episodes were very good and the cast was great but underutilized as well as Hope Lange was. I don't blame her for wanting to leave.

The New Dick Van Dyke Show was ahead of its time. It dealt with interracial dating without being heavy handed about, pot smoking and the first sitcom that had a child late in life like Jenny did.
I agree with your point about this show being too much a copy of the original: there was a new version of Buddy and Sally in the office, there was a new version of the Helpers next door, and a wife and young child a home. As for Hope Lange, I'm not familiar with all the episodes, but I really can't think of any I've seen where they really allowed her to let loose and do full-blown comedy scenes the way they did for Mary Tyler Moore. She was a most competent actress. Before going into this show, she was already an Oscar nominated and two-time Emmy winning actress, so I'm sure she was offended by not being given the opportunities to be used to full advantage.
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Old 10-31-2013, 06:31 AM   #4
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The show would've been better without her and she never should've been hired in the first place. She was a dramatic actress and didn't belong in a sitcom. She was obviously downgraded because she clearly couldn't handle the larger role she had in the first two seasons. She was hurting the show and they had to all know it (except her), but couldn't say it. And she was too big an actress -- and they were too kind -- to fire her. I also think Carl used the censoring of that one episode as an excuse to get off the show. He wouldn't have done that with the first DVD show. His directing career was going well in the '70s and he probably only got involved in this show because of his deep friendship with DVD, whom he couldn't refuse. He was probably happy to get out and possibly even forced the issue with an episode he knew that CBS might object to.

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Old 12-05-2013, 12:28 AM   #5
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That's a whole lot of shade. Too polite to fire Hope Lange? You must be joking. There is no one who they wouldn't fire if that person was pulling down the show. It was an average show in many ways, despite some daring aspects now and then, that was a weak copy of a great show. What made the show was the cast, who indeed, were in underutilized. Hope Lange was NOT the problem.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:15 AM   #6
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Yeah, I say Carl Reiner was too polite to fire the well-known actress he chose as the second lead on the show, especially when the whole supporting cast turned out to be just as lousy. Dick Van Dyke was the only funny actor on the show during the first two seasons, everyone else was weak and had no chemistry with him or each other. During the third season they revamped the show, but kept her and the daughter and just reduced their time on the show. And it was much better show, and began to work beyond just DVD.
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Samme
The show would've been better without her and she never should've been hired in the first place. She was a dramatic actress and didn't belong in a sitcom.
Didn't belong in a sitcom? The Ghost and Mrs. Muir was a sitcom and she won two Emmys for it. I also disagree that she shouldn't have been hired for the show. I loved her on this show.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisothebigc
That's a whole lot of shade. Too polite to fire Hope Lange? You must be joking. There is no one who they wouldn't fire if that person was pulling down the show. It was an average show in many ways, despite some daring aspects now and then, that was a weak copy of a great show. What made the show was the cast, who indeed, were in underutilized. Hope Lange was NOT the problem.
I totally agree, Chrisothebigc. I liked the whole cast, particularly the first two seasons. There were some weak scripts, but sometimes it was quite funny and it was the cast that made it work.

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Dick Van Dyke was the only funny actor on the show during the first two seasons, everyone else was weak and had no chemistry with him or each other.
I totally disagree. For one, I think Fannie Flagg was great, and also Hope Lange.

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Originally Posted by Samme
During the third season they revamped the show, but kept her and the daughter and just reduced their time on the show. And it was much better show, and began to work beyond just DVD.
I think the first two seasons were much better. It was this second cast, and the whole Those Who Care premise that dominated the new format, that I didn't care much for.
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