Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.
This week, we review another show I’d never actually seen.
Mr. Belvedere is the third TGIF show which means that this month long special is almost at an end. This makes me sad. Thank God It’d February was something I’d planned since the Black Box’s inception and it was quite nice to watch some good tv. But we’re not done yet. This week we watch the only home invasion movie to decide it’s supposed to be a sitcom.
Mr. Belvedere was a sitcom airing on ABC based on the book Belvedere by Gwen Davenport whose name sounds like it was given to her back when we still referred to WWI as “The Great War”. The book was also adapted into the 1948 film Sitting Pretty. The sitcom premiered on March 15th, 1985 and ran six seasons and one hundred and seventeen episodes. The series once again did not premiere as part of the TGIF lineup, but was instead added to the starting lineup since it was one of the network’s stronger shows.
What they did wrong: The child actors are annoying but I’m not going to spend two weeks in a row shouting about children.
What they did right: The show is fine overall. Quality-wise, it stands between Perfect Strangers and Full House. Although as a fucked up home invasion movie? It coulda been great.
The pilot opens with all the Owens children being stupid and annoying. Heather won’t get off the phone, Kevin is bad at things, and Wesley is a shitty child. Then, a middle-aged british man just walks into their home and tells them he is to be their new housekeeper. That is the best opening to a home invasion flick I’ve ever seen. Way better than The Purge. I wanna see the gritty reimagining of Mr. Belvedere SO BAD.
“Tell me you deepest secrets. For each one you speak aloud, you may keep a finger.”
Belvedere shows up and starts changing lives for the better. He convinces Heather to something something I was NOT paying attention. Didn’t pay attention to the Wesley thing either. I watched the Kevin segment, in which he convinces Kevin to stop forging lower grades on his report card.
I COULD explain that, but it is infinitely funnier if I don’t. Then Mr. Owens comes home. And Mr. Owens is what we refer to in this line of work as “a dickbiscut”. Also, this is when I discovered my phone’s autocorrect now recognizes the term dickbiscut. I truly am a wordsmith.
The greatest writer of my generation
So Belvedere fixes all the children’s problems and the family hires him on full time. And at the end of the ep, we find out Belvedere (whose first name is Lynn by the way) is writing a book about his time housekeeping for the family. Without the knowledge of the family.
That seems problematic.
Next week, we wrap up the month with another show that also exists.