The Dick Van Dyke Show

Season 1 Episode 0

Head of the Family

Aired Unknown Jul 19, 1960 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
26 votes
  • Introducing the Petries (pronounced "Peetree"), a family not worth knowing in this guise, and Mr. Petrie's workmates, just as forgettable.

    Listening to Carl Reiner talk about this pilot for what ultimately became The Dick Van Dyke Show can in no way prepare you for how unattractive a piece of television history it was.

    As actors and actresses these folks may have had some talent, but as an ensemble they were about as lifeless and off-putting a group as you can imagine. And, leading the pack was Reiner himself as a character you wouldn't have wanted as a neighbor let alone a friend to spend a half hour with every week.

    Never has such a phoenix ever risen from such an unpromising heap of ashes.
  • A fine example of how important the casting process is

    This was painful for me to watch. The pilot “Head of the Family” is a perfect example of how the casting could make or break a show. There is no member of the beloved “Dick Van Dyke Show” to be found, except for the show’s Carl Reiner in the role that later went Dick Van Dyke. He was funny, although better behind the scenes. But the rest of the cast?

    I’m not saying that these weren’t talented actors, because I’m sure they are, but they are all horribly miscast. The woman who played Reiner’s wife was a far cry from what Laura became, and closer to June Cleaver, complete with the blonde hair and pearls. Their son, well, I thought Larry Matthews was bad, but now I’m thankful they found him. The coworkers were just not Buddy and Sally. There was no vaudeville style chemistry Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam had going. In fact, there was no chemistry there at all.

    There wasn’t really much of a plot, but that wasn’t a huge problem, seeing as it’s simply the pilot. But I had to restrain myself from turning the DVD player off (the pilot comes with the first season box set of the show). All I have to say is we should all be thankful that they came to their senses and recast the entire company.