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Old 09-28-2017, 07:25 PM   #2
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I disagree actually. With few exceptions, the characters are who they are regardless of if Oliver is in the scene. His presence, and futile attempts to rationalize things, may simply highlight the absurdity of the situation. But I think when they are left by themselves, they are still able to operate on the same logic, albeit without straight man Oliver to react. In "The Agricultural Student", there are scenes in Mr. Kimball's office where a lot of the characters interact, with Oliver nowhere to be seen, and they act just as zany and weird. Also, anytime there's a visitor to the farm (especially the deputy sheriff/detective played by Bob Hastings), and Lisa answers the door for example, she is absolutely in character. These scenes were effective I think, but it was unusual for Oliver's absence to be so prominent.

It's also worth noting that all the characters were likely insane to some degree, but none of them were "stupid", with the sole exception of Mr. Kimball. Lisa and Eb came close, especially as the years progressed, but you have to wonder how much of that was play-acting to amuse/frustrate Oliver. Eb once said (in one of the later seasons), "I get so used to playing the court jester for Mr. Douglas, I almost forgot I have a serious side."

So yes, their behavior is probably influenced to some extent by Oliver's presence, but generally the characters on the show are very consistently written.
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