Growing up, I remember watching reruns of "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" on Saturday mornings, just a few years after it finished its network run. I was always fascinated by the young man standing in front of the replica of Rodin's "The Thinker" telling us about the ups and downs of his teenage life. Then years went by before I saw the show again, and when I began watching the shows as they went along from high school life to (briefly) military life and finally to college life, I saw an interesting transformation of the show.
The early episodes of the program were sharp and wrily observant, more imaginative than your average teen comedy, partly because of the edge brought to it by the "far-out" character of Maynard G. Krebs, brilliantly played by Bob Denver, and partly because of Dobie's less than stereotypically benign parents--on what other show would a father express a wish to murder his own son?
Then at some point the show became much more of a stereotype of its age, always ending with a little moral lesson, and not as funny as the show had previously been. I can't at the moment remember if this coincided with the military episodes, of which there were mercifully few, but it seems that those episodes were a part of that.
Then in around its last season, there was another change: the morals were dropped, and the show became even sharper than it was to start. The pacing reached breakneck speed, faster than almost any other show I've ever seen, and it attained a level of hilarity unlike the other sitcoms that were prevalent in the early 60s. Those last episodes are my favorite, and they alone would make The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" a classic.