Jul 11, 2017

My Mother the Car

I don't know why people think of Jerry Van Dyke as a failure.  Sure, he never reached the Emmy-winning tv-classic status of his older brother Dick, but he's had a 50 year-long career, starting with beach movies in the 1960s (Palm Springs Weekend) and going on to starring roles in at least a dozen tv series, including eight years on Coach (1989-1997) and five years on The Middle (2010-2015).

Besides, he was considerably more attractive than his gawky older brother.

Plus, in spite of his two long-term marriages to women, there's a.bigger gay subtext in his work than you can find in Dick's, such as a starring role on The Judy Garland Show, and the big brother-little brother acts

Maybe because of a few poor decisions, like rejecting the roles of Gilligan on Gilligan's Island and Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith Show.

The program he chose instead, My Mother the Car, is universally lambasted as ridiculous, although really, was the premise any more far out than Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Mr. Ed, or for that matter, Gilligan's Island.

A man discovers that a car is a reincarnation of his mother (or maybe her ghost is trapped in the car -- it's really not explained in any detail).

Men obsessed with their mothers: 1960s code for gay.

Watching it today, it doesn't seem particularly terrible, for a 1960s sitcom.  The mother thing is kind of creepy, but the main problem is, it's just dull.  Mom doesn't provide the comedic foil that Mr. Ed did, and the main antagonist, an obsessed car collector, isn't chummy enough to provide a gay subtext or evil enough to provide any conflict.

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