Thursday, July 7, 2011

Trading Places With The Cleavers

                                                                                                 Julie Kemp Pick

The other day I was watching a classic Leave It To Beaver episode. After Beaver took an IQ test, his parents were notified that he scored the highest in the class. His teacher suggested that he enroll in a special elementary school  for gifted children. During the interview young Theodore (Beaver) was asked what he'd like to be when he grows up. He thought for a moment and answered, " I'd like to be a garbage man. You don't have to wash your hands all the time, and nobody cares about how you smell."

Growing up my brother and I loved watching reruns of Leave It To Beaver. I tried to get my boys to appreciate the series, but it took a while for them to get used to viewing episodes filmed in black-and-white.

The series ran from 1957-1963, ending the year that Beaver was about to enter high school, while his older brother Wally was graduating. I wish we could go back to those innocent days set in the fictional town of Mayfield, but of course today things would have to be slightly different.

Saturdays in the Cleaver household were all about playing outside, helping with the chores, and sharing a lovely family lunch with Ward, June, Wally and The Beaver. Sometimes they would set off on a picnic, but they always spent quality time together and June was never seen without her pearl necklace. This scene takes place in front of  the Cleaver's garage.

Ward:  Boys, let's clean out the garage and after lunch we'll throw the ball around.
Wally:  Gee Dad I sorta had plans with the guys today.
Beaver:  Can I come too Wally?

In walks Eddie Haskell, Lumpy Rutherford and a new character who has a lot more stubble than Wally's other high school friends. He is sporting tattoos down his arms in place of shirt sleeves.

Wally:  Uh Dad, this is our new friend The Situation. He just moved here from New Jersey.
Ward:  (shaking hands)  Nice to meet you. What do you fellas have planned for today?
Situation:  GTL.
Ward:  Is that some new soda shop?
Situation: Gym, tan, laundry.
Ward:  Oh well I see that you already have a nice tan. Don't worry about the laundry part though, Mrs. Cleaver will be happy to do it for you. As a matter of fact, she's been spending a lot of time humming in front of the washing machine lately. She'd love to meet you. Oh June!

June enters flushed and out of breath looking perfectly lovely in a summer dress and pearls.

Eddie:   Hello Mrs. Cleaver! Did you just come from the dentist? Your teeth are as white as your dress!
June:  (while rolling her eyes) Thanks Eddie.
Situation:  Why didn't anyone tell me Wally's mother is a MILF?
Lumpy:  I told you that Mr. Cleaver is a DILF! 
June:  Would you boys like to stay for lunch?
Beaver:  No we're going to lift and look for hoes. Right Wally?
Wally:   Beaver!
Ward: Well I won't hear of  it! You fellas aren't doing anything on an empty stomach!  You can all go after lunch.

As they're all walking into the dining room, June grabs The Situation's arm and whispers in his ear, "Do you know where I could score some Xanax?"  The Situation smiles.

Then The Beaver asks, "Hey Wally, where's Lumpy?" 

Cut to Lumpy trying on June's shoes in her closet. 


  1. Well that is a new look to an old favourite. Not to appear too too dense, but, what does MILF and DILF mean? Don't tell me if it's rude...I just couldn't bear it.

  2. Wow. Well that is true. And the reason I just don't watch much tv anymore. Plus *gasp* we got rid of cable a couple of years ago. had to ask my daughter what MILF and DILF means. And since she's so old (almost 31) she had to google it. And now I know.
    Great post. When we had cable, we were slightly addicted to TVLand.

  3. We don't get programme here, but I did enjoy your post about it.

    Have a good day.

  4. Gives the show a whole new feel, doesn't it?

  5. You totally crack me up! I'll betcha My Little Margie wouldn't be nearly as naive these days, either.

  6. lol, this was too cute. Next week, I'd like you to write a post on the modern day Bewitched, and show us how Snooki will deal with Tabitha, Darrin and Sam. I'm sensing there might be a cat fight.

  7. @mbj/Delores - Are you sitting down? MILF means Mom I'd Like To Fool around with. Change it to D for Dad. The kids prefer another word for F.

    @Laura - Sorry you had to go through all that! I hope the experience brought you closer together!

    @Yvonne - Thanks for being such a good sport!

    @Alex - Feels like we need some good role models.

    @Susan - She'd at least have several piercings!

    @Joanne - Great idea, but I'd rather have Endora put Snooki in her place!

  8. Hi Julie .. those simple pleasures of those times .. we were just grateful to be alive and have happy time - no 'wants'!

    TV .. we can't have watched much as kids .. and we didn't get it for ages. I still don't watch much .. I loved Bewitched though .. when we had it here .. cheers Hilary

  9. lol. Not too sure that the updated version would be viewed on day time TV but I know what you mean about old programmes. The only problem I've found is that if I ever do watch reruns I'm disappointed at how wet and amateurish they are.

  10. I remember seeing that TV show. I enjoyed it then. I am not sure I would enjoy it now. The premise of the show is so different from the reality of the times for many.

    I never lived in a house like theirs. We didn't have a traditionally happy family as pictured on TV. Yes, I agree it was a naive time, but it was also a time when traditional roles ruled and women had very few choices. The 50s in many ways reflected the desires of our times, but the reality was sometimes very different.

  11. @Hilary - Those were simpler times. Bewitched was also a good show, but it's success was aided by special effects. Leave It To Beaver was one of the first shows that cast children who weren't actors, and actually wrote dialogue that sounded natural not scripted.

    @Rosalind - Many shows especially from the 70's seem almost satirical now, but the lessons from Leave It To Beaver are timeless. I'm not sure if you've ever seen reruns of The Andy Griffith Show as this 60's sitcom also represented old fashioned family values that still hold true today.

    @Elaine - The best TV shows are a means of escape. If you just focus on the family dynamic and how they're just trying to raise their boys to be good, hard working human beings, it never becomes outdated. I agree that women had less choices back then, and things are much better for us now. Though part of me would love to trade places with the Cleavers for just one day where children could run safe and free all over the world.

  12. LOL - I love it through your eyes. The show is on here, but if it did they would probably show your version. The shows are often a bit racey.
    I am not sure how I wasn't following you on this page, as your blog appears on my reader, but I did the follow button today.

  13. Thanks Rhonda! I just thought about how some of your science projects with your daughters would make for great sitcom fodder! Julie

  14. LOL! I loved this. Now I want to see your take on "Green Acres." Or maybe "Petticoat Junction." Or maybe "Mr. Ed." or maybe......

    Good stuff!

  15. Hahaha! I LOVE this! You did such a great job updating the series. Seriously, someone should do a remake of the Cleavers today.

  16. I grew up on the first runs of the Beaver series. It was one of my favorite shows. I don't think I would care much for the updated version.

    Tossing It Out

  17. @Bryce - Sadly I know most of the words to the theme songs of those shows. I see real possibilities with Mr. Ed and Green Acres, but Uncle Joe would have to speed up his act at The Junction! Thanks Bryce!

    @Talli - I think you could play a very young and hip June who is addicted to designer shoes!

    @Lee - I agree that it just wouldn't be the same. It would be nice though if something else came along that provided good family entertainment with a message. Julie

  18. Thanks Brianna! I enjoyed your poem in the Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest! Julie

  19. I sing while I do the laundry. It is one of my greatest pleasures in life!