Season 1 Episode 13

Becker the Elder

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Feb 15, 1999 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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out of 10
36 votes
  • A look into Doctor Becker's past and heart. His father arrives with baggage in tow to try and win his son's forgiveness. Awkward, touching, and as always, darn funny.

    It's probably no real surprise to fans on the show that John Becker comes from a broken family. He definitely has some social issues. So, the revelation that his father seemingly abandoned him and his mother when he's young isn't a shocker.

    However, I greatly enjoyed Dick Van Dyke as Fred Becker. Ted Danson and he had great chemistry and Mr Van Dyke easily slid into the cast for the episode, playing charming and dapper salesman foil to Ted Danson's snarly and cranky doctor.

    The ending is a bit bittersweet.. Dad is gone once again, but he's leaving a gift behind to say he regrets the lost time, the lost chances and leaves a hope of bridges to be further mended.

    Overall, a great episode that makes many revealing insights into the character.
  • John's father stops by to see him.

    At the diner, John tells Reggie that "midgets" are bad luck. Reggie acted somewhat surprised and offended, so John went on to detail several instances in which a little person was seen just before something bad happened. After John left the diner, Reggie walks over to a table to fill the cup of coffee for an older gentlemen, who can't help but comment on John's rudeness.

    At the office, John is with a patient who is annoying the heck out of him. Margaret walks in to work, late, according to Linda. Margaret then tells her that has been there taking care of things and did homecare, so Linda is actually late. John walks in through the office, and a little person carrying an empty water bottle. John looks around quickly, waiting for something bad to happen. Linda then tells him that there's a man in his office.

    John walks into his office to meet the man, who turns out to be the man from the diner. He's John's father. John isn't interested in seeing him. John reluctantly agrees to have lunch with him. Linda and Margaret give him three new patients to see, no matter which one he deals with, he has to look at something disgusting. "Damn midget," John exclaims.

    At the diner, Fred, John's father, is visiting with Jake and Reggie. John drops by to see his father. Fred doesn't have anything important to discuss, he just wants to visit and catch up, but John really isn't interested and walks out.

    At the office, Linda asks Margaret if they can come up with a way so one can sleep in while the other opens up. John deals with a homeless man who cut his hand on the side of a dumpster.

    Reggie drops by the office to see John about his father. Fred didn't tell Reggie that he left John and his mother. Reggie reveals that she and her father had a conversation that she wishes she could do all over.

    At John's apartment, Fred convinces John's neighbor to let him in. John shows up and isn't too happy to see his father. After a while, John comes right out with it, saying "why did you leave?" He reveals to John that he and his mother weren't right for one another, and that his mother suggested that he not come back, which John wasn't aware of.

    At the office, John escorts a woman out who had a problem with a toenail. John complains to Margaret that she revealed far too about her sex life to him. He then asks Margaret is his father stopped by, but he didn't.

    As John arrived home, he noticed a train set, already set up in his on his floor. It was something he had wanted since he was a kid. He turned it on and there was a "Merry Christmas" note left on one of the cars of the train.

    This was one of my top 20 favorite episodes for the series. There's certainly some character development here. Although there was obviously the dramatic part of the show, they did a good job with making it a comedy.
  • When John's father comes to town for a visit everyone is surprised to learn their relation. Things are bitter between them due to Fred's leaving the family when John was only 11.

    We hardly ever get references to Becker\'s parents so this episode was great. Fred, his father walked out on the family when he was 11 and was and still is a salesman. He drops by for a visit and everybody is stunned when he reveals he is related to John because of their polar opposites. Becker is a highly opinionated not-so-nice and his father appears to be a genial and easygoing man. Becker refuses to sever ties with Fred. Reggie makes a special visit to visit the disagreeable doc and tells him a story of how she argued with her father the previous owner of the diner, and it was over something silly and that was the last she ever heard from him before he died. Becker shakes off this story. Becker has hard feelings for him still, but near the end he realizes that he never did get the full truth of why his father left: it turns out that his mother told him to leave and his father took the easy way out and never bothered to come in contact with his son except once when John graduated from Harvard.

    Becker is disappointed after he makes things up with his dad that Fred doesn\'t seem to try to see him anymore. And then he comes back home from a day at the office and there is, the train set he wanted when he was a child. (There was a reference about this in the episode when Becker said SOMETHING like this, \"And what about the train set I wanted when I was eight for Christmas?\") I thought it was a really good almost touching way to end it. And there was a note with the gift: Merry Christmas even though it wasn\'t Christmas in that episode.
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