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Old 07-08-2020, 02:54 PM   #1
A.C.
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Default Green Acres is really a dark tragedy about Oliver Wendall Douglas

...from a certain point of view.

I have been rewatching Season One (which by the way I feel is the true Green Acres set in the real universe with Petticoat Junction before all the surreal junk kicked in-but that's a whole other post) and its fascinating how good it is watching the Douglas family settling in and how likable Oliver is.

We see him live his dream and he is so happy and positive to be in Hooterville. He can counter anything Lisa throws at him about the delabidated farm house.

But by the end of the series its all ruined for him by the insane people of Hooterville such as the worst of them all Hank Kimball that I detest. Arnold was more believable than this barely functioning human being who could never have carried out his County Agent duties with his scrambled brain...but at least he drove a nice Bronco!

Its like Oliver can never know another moment of peace and sanity because these people won't let him. They are rude and condescending when they talk to him and frequently cut him off or ignore him.

To think his lifelong dream of farming had to end so darkly is kind of sad. But at least Lisa seemed to accept and like being in Hooterville instead of constantly trying to get back to New York so that was a plus.
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Old 07-08-2020, 03:30 PM   #2
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...from a certain point of view.


But by the end of the series its all ruined for him by the insane people of Hooterville such as the worst of them all Hank Kimball that I detest. Arnold was more believable than this barely functioning human being who could never have carried out his County Agent duties with his scrambled brain...but at least he drove a nice Bronco!

Its like Oliver can never know another moment of peace and sanity because these people won't let him. They are rude and condescending when they talk to him and frequently cut him off or ignore him.
.
Here is my take. I enjoyed the series. I now feel that the whole "Monroe brothers" bit detracted from an otherwise well done show. The entire level of dysfunction that their contributions to the show presented, was IMO a waste.

I was a child at the time, and since they were nice people, and were funny, I enjoyed them back in the day, but looking back now I see their bit as overly stretched.

Also as a child, I really hated Mr Haney. I saw him much in the same light as Snidely Whiplash, and felt that a burning stake through his heart, was too lenient a punishment for his bad acts. But now as an adult, he is one of my favorite characters.

Overall, I believe the series is a great parody upon the sense of elitism that pervades much of our society, were many of us seem to exist just to judge our neighbors as somehow "deficient" from the way "sensible people out to be".

The rubes think Douglass is just as misguided as he believes them to be. That is the beauty in the series, as far as I'm concerned.

There were also several plot devices that I thought were clever satire for absurdities in our system. The telephone at the top of the utility pole being just one example. If you've ever built a house out in the middle of no where, and I mean really nowhere, and had to negotiate with utilities for pioneer service, then you know what I am talking about.

I suspect that the writers had to deal with many numbskull absurdities in our real world, and just found subtle ways to lampoon them in the script.

And the Monroe brothers were no doubt part of that, I just thought they (the writers) milked the "zero progress" aspect to death.
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:06 PM   #3
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Cool Changes In Attitudes

Well, for me watching Green Acres now as an adult, not having seen it in a while, my opinion of it has changed a bit. I still like it, but now a lot about it bothers me that I didn't think twice about before.

Yes, I agree the 1st season was the least insane and made some sense. Things seemed reasonably possible, in a way. Characters were exaggerated a bit but not to the point of total lunacy the way the series became.

I disagree though about Lisa. In the beginning she acted in a realistic fashion for a person who didn't want to move to the country. But soon in succeeding seasons she became just as totally idiotic as EVERYONE in the Hootersville and worse was constantly siding against Oliver.

There were 2 exceptions to everyone and I mean everyone going total incoherent lunatic, those were Mr.s Drucker and Haney. Drucker was sort of the one who was somewhat the most sensible thru-out, tho less so as the series went on. But Mr. Haney, who like Gentleman Jim, I used to not like but now, next to Oliver, I like best. Haney stayed even more grounded in reality than Drucker. Haney was a sneaky, underhanded, lying crook, but he was not insane like everyone else. He was a sensible crook who you knew was always trying to cheat you but not drive you into the booby hatch like everyone else in town INCLUDING Lisa.

Yes, this is what I most object to, aside from everyone acting like certifiable loons, but Lisa became after the first season just as insane and illogical as everyone else. Even worse she was now constantly siding against Oliver who was the only one not insane. That first season she somewhat supported Oliver and I don't remember her ever joining the other loons in their crazy talk against Oliver.

And while I still like Kimbal, just because he seems to be nice overall, but he is the worst when it comes to acting total impossibly loony. In fact he seems to be totally senile or as they say today suffering from Alzheimer's even at his age. He really seems scarily out there. Literally the men with nets should have carted him off. Though in that first season he just seemed a bit eccentric and incompetent, not like an escaped mental patient the way he became.

The most frustrating part of watching the show now is suffering along with Oliver as he tries constantly to reasonably explain sense to these nut jobs who refuse to listen and just talk over him. Putting yourself in Oliver's place can really make you hate this show. I haven't gotten to that point but it is more often than not a frustrating experience watching Oliver constantly in pain surrounded by nut cases including even his once loyal and loving wife who is never on his side anymore. The deepest betrayal of all and why if Oliver really hadn't gone just as crazy as everyone else he should have taken off in his Lincoln and headed straight to Pixley and changed his name.
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Old 07-08-2020, 11:11 PM   #4
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Well, for me watching Green Acres now as an adult, not having seen it in a while, my opinion of it has changed a bit. I still like it, but now a lot about it bothers me that I didn't think twice about before.

Yes, I agree the 1st season was the least insane and made some sense. Things seemed reasonably possible, in a way. Characters were exaggerated a bit but not to the point of total lunacy the way the series became.

I disagree though about Lisa. In the beginning she acted in a realistic fashion for a person who didn't want to move to the country. But soon in succeeding seasons she became just as totally idiotic as EVERYONE in the Hootersville and worse was constantly siding against Oliver.

There were 2 exceptions to everyone and I mean everyone going total incoherent lunatic, those were Mr.s Drucker and Haney. Drucker was sort of the one who was somewhat the most sensible thru-out, tho less so as the series went on. But Mr. Haney, who like Gentleman Jim, I used to not like but now, next to Oliver, I like best. Haney stayed even more grounded in reality than Drucker. Haney was a sneaky, underhanded, lying crook, but he was not insane like everyone else. He was a sensible crook who you knew was always trying to cheat you but not drive you into the booby hatch like everyone else in town INCLUDING Lisa.

Yes, this is what I most object to, aside from everyone acting like certifiable loons, but Lisa became after the first season just as insane and illogical as everyone else. Even worse she was now constantly siding against Oliver who was the only one not insane. That first season she somewhat supported Oliver and I don't remember her ever joining the other loons in their crazy talk against Oliver.

And while I still like Kimbal, just because he seems to be nice overall, but he is the worst when it comes to acting total impossibly loony. In fact he seems to be totally senile or as they say today suffering from Alzheimer's even at his age. He really seems scarily out there. Literally the men with nets should have carted him off. Though in that first season he just seemed a bit eccentric and incompetent, not like an escaped mental patient the way he became.

The most frustrating part of watching the show now is suffering along with Oliver as he tries constantly to reasonably explain sense to these nut jobs who refuse to listen and just talk over him. Putting yourself in Oliver's place can really make you hate this show. I haven't gotten to that point but it is more often than not a frustrating experience watching Oliver constantly in pain surrounded by nut cases including even his once loyal and loving wife who is never on his side anymore. The deepest betrayal of all and why if Oliver really hadn't gone just as crazy as everyone else he should have taken off in his Lincoln and headed straight to Pixley and changed his name.
Great post and excellent analysis! You know there was actually one episode where the shoe was on the other foot when the Hootervillians booked passage on an airplane that never heard of jets, pressurization or television. For once THEY were the sane ones and the stewardess thought they were high on drugs for talking about these things she had never heard of. Too bad Oliver didn't get to see that but I loved seeing them get a taste of their own medicine!
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Old 07-11-2020, 01:10 PM   #5
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...from a certain point of view.

I have been rewatching Season One (which by the way I feel is the true Green Acres set in the real universe with Petticoat Junction before all the surreal junk kicked in-but that's a whole other post) and its fascinating how good it is watching the Douglas family settling in and how likable Oliver is.

We see him live his dream and he is so happy and positive to be in Hooterville. He can counter anything Lisa throws at him about the delabidated farm house.

But by the end of the series its all ruined for him by the insane people of Hooterville such as the worst of them all Hank Kimball that I detest. Arnold was more believable than this barely functioning human being who could never have carried out his County Agent duties with his scrambled brain...but at least he drove a nice Bronco!

Its like Oliver can never know another moment of peace and sanity because these people won't let him. They are rude and condescending when they talk to him and frequently cut him off or ignore him.

To think his lifelong dream of farming had to end so darkly is kind of sad. But at least Lisa seemed to accept and like being in Hooterville instead of constantly trying to get back to New York so that was a plus.
I'm not sure analyzing the Green Acres universe is anything more than an exercise in futility, but let's indulge it for a few minutes. To begin with, I think your analysis misses the mark completely, the show is a parable, Saint Teresa of Avila once wrote, "more tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones". This happens because what we want is our perception of what things are not what they actually are. The Hooterville community wasn't looking to move into Oliver's world, Oliver was looking to move into their world. And how did he handle that, he social distanced right off the bat by refusing to refer to his neighbors by their first names instead using the more formal surnames. He refused to dress in appropriate attire for a farmer instead choosing to dress in ridiculous three piece suits as if he was going into his law office. Lisa didn't have the problems Oliver had because she accepted the citizenry as they were instead of how she wanted them to be. The biggest problem Oliver had was as Yoda might have advised "you must unlearn what you have learned", this was what Oliver refused to do.

A final point what was more insane, Haney, the Monroe Brothers, Kimball and the rest, or a Harvard educated lawyer who fails to follow the lessons any first year law student knows, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware), and due diligence. He failed to read the purchase agreement, buying a dilapidated farm house and property ill-suited for farming. Did he review Haney's business records, did he inspect the house, did he do any soil analysis, apparently not. Did he at least consult with his wife prior to signing the papers, he might have considered her feelings since this upheaval was going to effect her life, at least allow her the courtesy of having some input into the dwelling. But of course this is all explained away by the fact that Oliver didn't want to miss the opportunity, well how rare was it that a farm would be up for sale in the mid-sixties, not rare at all as it turns out, between 1950 and 1970 the number of farms in the United States dropped from 20 million to 10 million, the greatest sell off in the history of farming. Are you sure Oliver isn't the real crazy one?
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Old 07-22-2020, 11:08 AM   #6
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Yes, I agree the 1st season was the least insane and made some sense. Things seemed reasonably possible, in a way. Characters were exaggerated a bit but not to the point of total lunacy the way the series became.

I disagree though about Lisa. In the beginning she acted in a realistic fashion for a person who didn't want to move to the country. But soon in succeeding seasons she became just as totally idiotic as EVERYONE in the Hootersville and worse was constantly siding against Oliver.

There were 2 exceptions to everyone and I mean everyone going total incoherent lunatic, those were Mr.s Drucker and Haney. Drucker was sort of the one who was somewhat the most sensible thru-out, tho less so as the series went on. But Mr. Haney, who like Gentleman Jim, I used to not like but now, next to Oliver, I like best. Haney stayed even more grounded in reality than Drucker. Haney was a sneaky, underhanded, lying crook, but he was not insane like everyone else. He was a sensible crook who you knew was always trying to cheat you but not drive you into the booby hatch like everyone else in town INCLUDING Lisa.

Yes, this is what I most object to, aside from everyone acting like certifiable loons, but Lisa became after the first season just as insane and illogical as everyone else. Even worse she was now constantly siding against Oliver who was the only one not insane. That first season she somewhat supported Oliver and I don't remember her ever joining the other loons in their crazy talk against Oliver.

And while I still like Kimbal, just because he seems to be nice overall, but he is the worst when it comes to acting total impossibly loony. In fact he seems to be totally senile or as they say today suffering from Alzheimer's even at his age. He really seems scarily out there. Literally the men with nets should have carted him off. Though in that first season he just seemed a bit eccentric and incompetent, not like an escaped mental patient the way he became.

Seasons 1 and 2 are my favorite seasons for the reasons you described. The writing was hilarious and the characters were silly but the show was still believable. Lisa had some street smarts in the early years and actually called Haney out on his schemes a few times. Oliver got understandably frustrated by the Monroe brothers and Mr. Haney but at the end of the day he still had a positive attitude about the farm. Eb made smart aleck comments but he still was respectful to Oliver and Lisa. Hank Kimball was forgetful and easily confused but could still have a conversation.

The quality slipped around Seasons 4-5 when the characters became derailed, like you mentioned. I don't blame Oliver at all for being angry all the time. It drove me crazy that Lisa constantly sided against Oliver and became so naive/gullible. Eb regressed and acted like a spoiled teenager. Hank Kimball just slowed the scenes down when he got so confused. Sam Drucker was written inconsistently (sometimes he was the voice of reason and stood up for Oliver; other times he was just as silly as the others). These changes made the later seasons not as enjoyable.
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:50 PM   #7
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I'm not sure analyzing the Green Acres universe is anything more than an exercise in futility, but let's indulge it for a few minutes. To begin with, I think your analysis misses the mark completely, the show is a parable, Saint Teresa of Avila once wrote, "more tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones". This happens because what we want is our perception of what things are not what they actually are. The Hooterville community wasn't looking to move into Oliver's world, Oliver was looking to move into their world. And how did he handle that, he social distanced right off the bat by refusing to refer to his neighbors by their first names instead using the more formal surnames. He refused to dress in appropriate attire for a farmer instead choosing to dress in ridiculous three piece suits as if he was going into his law office. Lisa didn't have the problems Oliver had because she accepted the citizenry as they were instead of how she wanted them to be. The biggest problem Oliver had was as Yoda might have advised "you must unlearn what you have learned", this was what Oliver refused to do.

A final point what was more insane, Haney, the Monroe Brothers, Kimball and the rest, or a Harvard educated lawyer who fails to follow the lessons any first year law student knows, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware), and due diligence. He failed to read the purchase agreement, buying a dilapidated farm house and property ill-suited for farming. Did he review Haney's business records, did he inspect the house, did he do any soil analysis, apparently not. Did he at least consult with his wife prior to signing the papers, he might have considered her feelings since this upheaval was going to effect her life, at least allow her the courtesy of having some input into the dwelling. But of course this is all explained away by the fact that Oliver didn't want to miss the opportunity, well how rare was it that a farm would be up for sale in the mid-sixties, not rare at all as it turns out, between 1950 and 1970 the number of farms in the United States dropped from 20 million to 10 million, the greatest sell off in the history of farming. Are you sure Oliver isn't the real crazy one?
Thank you for the well thought out response. While I still don't believe Oliver's actions warranted the attempts to drive him insane you do make some valid points about his OWN behaviour that I had not considered.
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:55 PM   #8
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Seasons 1 and 2 are my favorite seasons for the reasons you described. The writing was hilarious and the characters were silly but the show was still believable. Lisa had some street smarts in the early years and actually called Haney out on his schemes a few times. Oliver got understandably frustrated by the Monroe brothers and Mr. Haney but at the end of the day he still had a positive attitude about the farm. Eb made smart aleck comments but he still was respectful to Oliver and Lisa. Hank Kimball was forgetful and easily confused but could still have a conversation.

The quality slipped around Seasons 4-5 when the characters became derailed, like you mentioned. I don't blame Oliver at all for being angry all the time. It drove me crazy that Lisa constantly sided against Oliver and became so naive/gullible. Eb regressed and acted like a spoiled teenager. Hank Kimball just slowed the scenes down when he got so confused. Sam Drucker was written inconsistently (sometimes he was the voice of reason and stood up for Oliver; other times he was just as silly as the others). These changes made the later seasons not as enjoyable.
Thumbs up on everything you wrote. I am very happy with my purchase of season 1. I consider this the TRUE Green Acres that was pitched to the network before all the surreal silliness took over the show. On a side note the episode I watched tonight was another appearance by Kate Bradley as Joe prepares to romance Olivers mother...I will always regret Paul Henning took away Cousin Pearl (arguably the funniest character on BH) to make her the straight man! What a waste of Bea's comedic talents. HIs heart was in the right place but Bea really should have been left on the Hillbillies.
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:58 PM   #9
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Green Acres was all an elaborate dream that only existed in the mind of Arnold Ziffel the pig.
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