The Dick Van Dyke show was legendary and it still influences how sitcoms are written today. Here are the 10 best episodes, according to IMDb.
Modern television has been greatly influenced by classic sitcoms of the 1950s and 60s, including I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, and more. However, one of the more popularly overlooked, yet influential, sitcoms of the 1960s was The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Some of the best TV episodes of all time are from The Dick Van Dyke Show. Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) finds himself in hilarious situations on a daily basis. His wife, Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), is quirky. It’s a timeless show that fans still love to watch today. Take a look at 10 of the best episodes, ranked according to IMDb.
One Hundred Terrible Hours (8.8)
Some of the show’s best episodes were “flashback” episodes. The season four episode “One Hundred Terrible Hours” recounts Rob’s experience when he was a disc jockey for a radio station in his hometown of Danville, Illinois (also Van Dyke’s hometown).
Rob is asked to stay on the air for 100 hours straight to beat a world record. Of course, he slowly becomes delusional, resulting in hilarious situations. Critics say this was Van Dyke’s finest performance on the show — in which he combined his impeccable physical comedy with brilliant monologues.
Obnoxious, Offensive, Egomaniac, Etc. (8.8)
The Dick Van Dyke Show might be about Rob and Laura Petrie, but at its core, it’s a show about a TV comedy writer. Rob is the head writer of The Alan Brady Show, and he works with the hilarious team members Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam) and Sally Rogers (Rose Marie). Their boss, Alan Brady (Carl Reiner), is a tyrant.
The show’s final workplace episode, “Obnoxious, Offensive, Egomaniac, Etc.,” is the ultimate conclusion of the writers’ experience. They mistakenly leave crude comments about Alan in a script. This sends the writers on a wild goose chase to find the script before they’re fired.
Pink Pills & Purple Parents (8.8)
If “One Hundred Terrible Hours” features Van Dyke’s comedy, the season four episode “Pink Pills and Purple Parents” features Moore. Another flashback episode, viewers watch as Laura is nervous about meeting Rob’s parents for the first time. She takes some anti-anxiety pills from her best friend, Millie Helper (Ann Morgan Guilbert).
There’s a lesson with this episode: Never take someone else’s prescription medicine. Laura is loopy, clumsy, and Rob’s mother assumes she has a drinking problem. This was one of the rare times where Moore’s physical comedy, not Van Dyke’s, shines.
Where Did I Come From? (8.8)
The season one episode “Where Did I Come From?” recalls everything that happened the day Richie was born. The night before, Rob is frantic as he makes sure he is ready for the big event. He sleeps in his clothes and he’s ready to leap out of bed.
The following morning, he’s exhausted. When he arrives at his office, he forgot he has an important meeting. He trades clothes with Buddy, but they get a phone call announcing that Laura is in labor. Rob rushes to her, wearing Buddy’s large trousers, and it results in a hilarious scene.
The Impractical Joke (8.9)
The season four episode “The Impractical Joke” brilliantly features Amsterdam’s clever, natural comedy. Buddy, assisted by guest star Lennie Weinrib, prank calls Rob. For the rest of the episode, Buddy is paranoid that Rob is going to seek revenge on him.
The episode ends with a hilarious scene in which it seems Buddy made a mistake on his taxes. Thinking it’s a prank, he jokes with the IRS official. Rob has nothing to do with this and Buddy is convinced he made a mistake. Of course, it’s revealed as a joke from Weinrib and everyone in the office is hysterical.
The Ghost Of A. Chantz (9.0)
Everyone loves a good spooky episode, right? The season four episode, “The Ghost of A. Chantz,” serves as a “Halloween-type” episode. Rob, Laura, Buddy, and Sally spend the night in a supposedly haunted cabin for The Alan Brady Show. Buddy is a coward, and the characters start disappearing one by one.
Finally, it’s revealed that this was a prank from Mel Cooley (Richard Deacon), the producer of The Alan Brady Show. They were testing out a new TV show called Sneaky Camera, a parody of the popular comedy show, Candid Camera. This episode proves comedy and horror can work together.
Coast To Coast Big Mouth (9.1)
Carl Reiner created, produced, and wrote The Dick Van Dyke Show. Occasionally, he stepped in front of the screen as Alan Brady. The show’s fifth season premiere, “Coast to Coast Big Mouth,” was his best performance on the sitcom.
Laura accidentally reveals on a TV game show that Alan Brady is bald. This results in a hilarious scene when Laura tries to apologize to Alan. The scene features Laura’s iconic “blubbering” hysteria where it’s close to impossible for her to speak. It’s one of Moore’s best performances on the show, and Reiner stole the spotlight on numerous occasions. This episode awarded screenwriters Bill Persky and Sam Denoff with an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy.
The Curious Thing About Women (9.1)
Laura is the focus in the season one episode “The Curious Thing About Women.” She repeatedly reads Rob’s mail, which annoys him. So, he decides to write this situation into a script for The Alan Brady Show. The episode includes a brilliant, hilarious scene at the office where Rob, Buddy, and Sally brainstorm ideas for this comedy sketch.
Everyone knows the sketch routine was written about Laura. She’s teased by her friends. They think she can’t resist opening Rob’s mail. The episode ends with Rob receiving a large package and, just like the script, Laura opens it — revealing a huge inflatable raft. It’s a classic.
It May Look Like A Walnut (9.2)
Science fiction became popular in the 1960s, so it makes sense that The Dick Van Dyke Show would feature a science fiction-related episode. In the season two episode “It May Look Like a Walnut,” Rob has a dream that he is living inside a horror movie starring Danny Thomas. Rob’s the “last remaining Earth person.”
The episode is wacky, and it ends with the iconic moment when Laura tumbles out of the closet on a bed of walnuts. In 2009, TV Guide ranked the episode #13 on the “100 Greatest Episodes” of all time. It will haunt you, but in a good way.