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STUDIO: Shout Factory
MSRP: $44.99
RATED: G
RUNNING TIME: 690 min
SPECIAL FEATURES:
 

  • Featurette
  • SNL “Belvedere Fan Club” sketch




The Pitch

Manservant moves to Pittsburgh.

The Humans

Christopher Hewett, Ilene Graff, Brice Beckham, Bob Uecker and Rob Stone

The Nutshell

Christopher Hewett had starred in The Producers and a number of other flicks before Mr. Belvedere. But, it was this classic show on ABC that made Hewett a demi-god. According to Leon Redbone, he drop-kicked his jacket through the door and no one cared. No one cared about that jacket for the first time in prime-time television history. American taboos were being shattered by the British butler that couldn’t give a fuck about your Midwestern notions of ballet and hoity-toity bullshit. Belvedere was here to make you a better person.

The Lowdown

The American sitcom is such a delicate bastard. You take it too seriously and you’ve got a dramedy. Nobody watches a dramedy in prime-time, just ask Aaron Sorkin. But, if you go to slapsticky and dumb, it becomes a show that lasts for four seasons on TBS. What in the hell do you do? You create Mr. Belvedere.

Mr. Belvedere dared the World to look into itself and clamor for more. If your wife wants to go back to her day job and you’ve got three unruly kids. You hire a legal alien to do you parently duties. Fuck, if you’re lucky he might cook some Beef Wellington and fluff your pillows. Plus, they might not be Mexican. Learning even a little Spanish is too much to trouble any real American.

Trying to find a way to make your care about the first two seasons of the show is a fucking joke. Nobody wants to see a laundry list of episodes and then rack their brain to see if they remember watching it when they were ten. Unless, you suffer from Asperger’s and you shit yourself everytime you see a re-run on TV Land. I know that’s roughly one half of the readership. So, I’ll tread lightly from now on.

The best episode of the set would have to be from the first half of Season 2. Sure, the creative talent could’ve gone with an easy riff on The Challenger explosion. Little Wesley has a kid in his class that just got kicked out of school. It turns out he got AIDS from a blood transfusion. Faster than you can say Arthur Ashe, Wesley and Belvedere team up to make everyone accept the little immune deficient bastard. Tears will come to your hardened eyes, as Wesley makes the little AIDS baby light up the stage as Abraham Lincoln.

The rest of the season is a pratfull of bullshit and laugh tracks. It wouldn’t be until the third season, where Belvedere met his match with Robert Goulet. That was perfection and left me wondering why we didn’t get a dose of that in some sort of upcoming preview. I mean, it’s Goulet. Robert Goulet was like Sinatra sans the class. Playing him off Belvedere was the best comedic pairing since babies and blenders.

The show works on so many levels. You’ve got the antics of Bob Uecker, as he tries to make sense of his kids. One boy sews, while the other likes ballet. Then, there’s the daughter who’s only into herself. Plus, his wife wants to work outside of the home. Uecker only knows baseball. What the fuck were they expecting of the man? Luckily, he had the Major League franchise to keep him sane. 

But, what does the show mean nearly a quarter century after its inception. Nothing. That’s what all disposable pop culture should amount. A collection of frittering bits of entertainment slowly fading from your memory in time. If you put too much faith in nostalgia and spend too much cash on frivilous bits of entertainment, you deserved to get burned.

I will always love this show for introducing me to Leon Redbone. I never really bothered to listen to Redbone after this, but the theme song will forever be etched into my brain.

“Streaks on the china never mattered before…Who cares?
When
you drop-kicked your jacket as you came through the door…No one glared.
According to our new arrival, life is more than mere survival…

And we just might live the good life yet!”

The Package

SNL Sketch “Mr. Belvedere Fan Club” – The folks at SNL were kind enough to license out this older clip to Shout Factory. In it, you get to watch the Myers/Sandler/Farley era cast interact with guest host Tom Hanks, as they discuss their love of Mr. Belvedere. Large mason jars and basement adventures soon follow.

Featurette – We get to take a look at the creation of the show. Almost the entire living cast takes part in remembering Hewett and the majesty he brought to the show. Then, there’s Bob Uecker. He ages before your eyes, as you watch Mr. Baseball discuss the inner workings of the sitcom.


7.9 out of 10