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brass beds everywhere you look...,
This review is from: Love American Style - Season 1, Vol. 2 (DVD)
In the early 70's, the comedy anthology, Love American Style (1969-74) became part of ABC's classic Friday primetime lineup that also featured The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, and The Odd Couple. The first season of Love American Style (LAS) is broken up into two volumes, each with 12 episodes that are not presented in chronological order, but instead are kind of arranged randomly. Comparing the two, the material in Volume 2 is better written, clearly funnier, much more provocative, and with bigger name guest stars.
Risqué for the times , LAS aired latenight on Mondays during the inaugural 1969-70 season. The following year, Monday Night Football would debut in this time slot, causing LAS to switch to Fridays. Each one hour program would typically feature three or four stories that examine different facets of male/female relationships, usually in a playful manner. Some inventive and interesting themes are explored, including subjects like swinging, nudity, infidelity, and pregnancy. Most of the stories are quite entertaining and fun, and feature a bevy of terrific guest stars from the era. In between the stories, appear short comedic bits, performed by a troupe of actors, the "Love American Style Players".
In "Love And Those Poor Crusaders' Wives", Monte Markum and Dorothy Provine are newlyweds with a big problem, when on their wedding day, the groom accidentally dons an antique chastity belt and locks it in place.
Herb Edelman is hilarious as an humdrum executive whose life changes, when he gets a reputation as a swinger in "Love And The King". His boss expects big things from him, but things really get wild for "The King" when his wife (Kathie Browne) unexpectedly returns home during one of his escapades.
Brass beds are a recurring theme featured constantly in the series. "Love And The Bed" features Sue Lyon and Roger Perry as neighbors in an apartment, who both buy the same brass bed. Disputing ownership, they both wind up in bed in their underwear, with a sandwich vending machine panel, as a divider between them.
Adam West earned a squeaky clean reputation playing Batman on TV. That reputation takes a hit, as West plays himself in "Love And The Big Catch", where TV's caped crusader lusts after the teenage daughter of a friend (George Lindsay).
"Love And The Gangster" skirts around the then touchy subject of homosexuality. Jerry Van Dyke (My Mother The Car) is an interior decorator, that gangster Nehemiah Pershoff believes is gay. This is the only reason he permits the decorator near his gorgeous daughter (Marianna Hill).
Tony Randall (The Odd Couple) is simply delightful, as a husband about to stray with the lovely Julie Newmar (Catwoman), in "Love And The Big Night". Hilarity ensues as he tries to cover his tracks, and he begins to have second thoughts when he suspects his wife (Ann Elder) may also be cheating.
"Love And The Uncoupled Couple", handles the subject of pregnancy and abortion with class, in one of the few stories with a really serious tone. Greg Morris (Mission Impossible) is a medical student, and Janee Michelle is a nurse. The unmarried lovers' relationship reaches a crisis, when they believe that a child is on the way.
In "Love And The V.I.P. Restaurant", Shelley Berman is about to enjoy a meal, and the scenery in an eatery featuring topless waitresses, when his wife (Kay Ballard) and a friend arrive and join him for lunch.
Bob Denver (Gilligan's Island) and Joey Heatherton (Serta Perfect Sleeper commercials) star in "Love And The Hitchhiker" where Denver tries his best to get close to Heatherton, who plays a free spirited health nut, who reveals the wonders of meditation.
"Love And Mister Nice Guy" features rather insightful examination of a classic situation, where Wally Cox has a crush on a beautiful girl (Alexandra Hay), who only calls him when she has a problem. This time it's an abusive boyfriend (Ray Danton), who has a remarkably clear understanding of the kind of man he is.
On the verge of becoming a megastar in films, Burt Reynolds (B. L. Stryker) guests with Elizabeth Ashley in "Love And The Banned Book", where a husband suspects his wife of infidelity. The pair have great chemistry together, and Ashley and Reynolds would act together on several occasions, notably in the TV series Evening Shade.
Love American Style is a fun series with a lighthearted tone, that while often provocative, generally promotes moral behavior. With a wicked funny edge, those who appreciate comedies from the early 70's, might well enjoy the trip down memory lane that this series provides. Unfortunately, the set has no extra features, and the episodes are not subtitled. It is also a little disappointing that since this set was released in 2007, no further seasons have been forthcoming.