The Dick Van Dyke Show

Season 1 Episode 14

Buddy, Can You Spare a Job?

Aired Unknown Dec 26, 1961 on CBS

Episode Recap

Rob comes home from work and greets Laura with a big kiss. He explains his exuberance on the news that he was offered a huge job as head writer for another show. The new job is twice his present salary, includes a staff of 5 and his own private secretary. But Rob also turned it down. Laura immediately knows why. The comedian Rob would have to work for is the infamous Dan Howard, so reviled as a slave driver that even Laura knows his reputation. Rob and Laura are both in agreement; anyone would have to be crazy to work for him.

The next day at the office, Sally and Rob are greeted by an exuberant Buddy, who promptly announces that they're looking at the new head writer for the Dan Howard Show! After trying to dissuade Buddy, who is adamant about leaving, even after learning that Rob turned down the very same job, they ask Mel to allow Buddy out of his contract. Surprisingly, after a few moments of euphoria Mel says no. Alan Brady needs and wants his talent as the king of the one liners. Mel leaves, after saying he wishes he could let Buddy go, but Alan wouldn't go for it.

Again Rob and Sally try to convince Buddy that he should stay, that even Mel can see that he's good for the show. Buddy comes up with a plan for Rob to write a memo to Alan with imaginary complaints, suggesting he fire Buddy. Rob says no, and that Mel won't fall for it. No sooner does he say that, when Mel walks back in saying he heard every word and quickly joins the plan to have Buddy fired. When Rob dictates a soft, weak memo, Mel takes over and dictates a nasty letter for Rob, calling Buddy a lay-about, a distraction and no longer a valuable contributor to the show. He ends the memo with the suggestion to fire Buddy. With Buddy egging him on, Rob very reluctantly signs the memo, sealing Buddy's fate.

The next evening, a dejected Rob is discussing the loss of Buddy with Laura, when Buddy appears at the door. Buddy reveals that he did not get the Dan Howard job after all. Apparently, Dan Howard phoned Alan Brady for a reference, and Alan read him the infamous memo, quickly putting the kibosh on the new job. A defeated and unemployed Buddy asks Rob if anyone's hiring. The memo will surely block anyone from hiring him in the business, and Mel certainly won't consider rehiring Buddy now that he's rid of him. A downcast Buddy reluctantly accepts his fate and leaves. Rob feels even worse than he did before.

The next day in the office, Rob and Sally are talking about Buddy, they realize that they must convince Mel they are now short staffed and need help writing the show. Mel agrees, and allows them to hire another writer, anyone that is, except Buddy. Defeated, Rob and Sally are at a loss at how to get Buddy back.

Rob comes up with a plan. They will hire someone worse than Buddy. They need someone who will be more malicious and nastier to Mel than even Buddy. Rob hires Jackie Brewster (Lennie Weinrib), a nightclub comedian and a friend of Buddy's. Using his skill in dealing with hecklers, they hope to drive Mel into submission and let them hire Buddy back.

The next morning in the office, Jackie Brewster is on hand and getting the background on what Rob and Sally want to accomplish. The plan is set in motion as soon as Mel enters the writer's room. Jackie Brewster hurls an unrelenting and savage barrage of insults and digs at Mel. After Jackie fires insult after insult at him, a very upset and addled Mel yells at Rob and Sally to hire anybody but Jackie, even Buddy.

The next day a contrite Buddy is in the office waiting for his new contract. from Mel. Rob and Sally both beg him to lay off Mel, as they all went to a lot of trouble to get his job back. Buddy reluctantly agrees.

When Mel comes in with his signed contract and Buddy realizes they can't fire him, he reverts to form and begins to insult Mel with gusto. Oddly enough, Mel does not react with his usual outrage, but actually smiles and laughs off Buddy's insults.

A confused and disappointed Buddy can't understand why his best insults have no effect on Mel. A laughing Mel calmly explains that Buddy's insults and digs will no longer bother him, and promptly removes his hat, revealing his normally bald head now crowned by a toupee. The dumbfounded writing staff watches the newly confident Mel strut out of the office.
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