Leave It to Beaver

Season 4 Episode 2

Beaver's House Guest

Aired Unknown Oct 08, 1960 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
18 votes

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Episode Summary

Beaver's House Guest
A friend Beaver made at summer camp, Chopper, stays with the Cleavers for the weekend. Beaver is quickly introduced to Chopper's unusual life since he is the son of parents who have been married and divorced many times.

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  • Ahead of its time.

    Beaver's House Guest features a very young Barry Gordon, who would go on to become a familiar face on 1970s-80s television in various roles, as well as a political candidate (not surprisingly as a liberal Democrat) and radio talk show host, as Chopper, Beaver's pal he met at summer camp. Beaver is envious of Chopper, whose parents trade spouses like baseball cards, but his envy soon turns to sympathy when he sees, with help from June and Ward, how sad and lonely Chopper really is. All the material goodies Chopper's parents and step-parents furnish him with are no match for the stability of a normal loving family, such as Beaver's.

    One thing that impressed me about this episode was how sensitively it dealt with the topic of divorce and remarriage, and the effect they have on children. Unlike something you might see today, the message conveyed, at least to this reviewer, was that a traditional two parent (mother and father) family is superior to all others when it comes to raising children. If it were made today, Beaver's House Guest might be considered controversial for that very reason.moreless
  • Kudos for tackling a controversial topic

    In this atypical episode, Beaver learns first hand about the upheaval and heartache that divorce can bring to family life. He invites his camp buddy, Chopper, to spend the weekend. Chopper's parents are divorced. The first inkling of awkwardness intruding onto the idyllic setting of the Cleaver household is when Chopper is "delivered' to the Beaver's house by a man described as his "uncle". Apparently, Chopper’s parents have had a number of liaisons, and there is a constant parade of substitute parents in Chopper’s life. As the weekend progresses, Beaver gets the sense that having multiple guardians and being showered with presents by parents who are vying for Chopper's attention is not all it's cracked up to be, and, in fact, belies a hidden heartache of loneliness in Chopper's life. At one point, Beaver gets concerned when he notices his own parents arguing over trivialities ( did June put too much starch in Ward's shirts, and where did she hide his briefcase??), but in the end, Ward assures Beaver that he loves June even though they may have disagreements occasionally. In that incomparable way that only Beaver has of finally realizing the truth of something (expressed as usual in his constant exploratory questioning and furrowed brow), he begins to realize that any problems in his family pale in comparison to the issues that Chopper is dealing with. Ward sums it all up when he suggests to June that Chopper is going to have a hard time of it. For its day, I suspect that this episode with its topic and social commentary on the effects of divorce on children was a groundbreaker. There is not even a suggestion of the controversial topic in the episode's title.moreless

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