Richard Lewis and Don Rickles as Steven Mitchell and father Al Mitchell might have looked OK in the blueprint, but the initial full-blown script is broad and full of woe. It’s sometimes rich, thanks to Rickles’ caustic cracks, as dad moves into his son’s house. The desperate humor soon wears thin.
Premise sets Steven up as a divorced psychologist with young son Danny and a barbed-mouth dad who’s been thrown out of his own home by equally rasping wife Helen (Renee Taylor in a prize perf) because he lost their life savings. Their other son, bland Larry (Carey Eidel), gets lost amid Al’s bombast and Steven’s protest.
Larry inherits Helen; ex-car salesman Al stays with Steven, who waves his hands a great deal.
The boy Danny (Jonathan Gibby in this episode, but to be played from now on by Jeffrey Bomberger) is an interesting child, and Taylor knows how to lash out a vicious line with Rickles’ best.
Rickles’ Al is smarter than Archie Bunker, and louder. Director Linda Day keeps the action popping, but secondary characters have little chance.
Program’s core is a frenzied Steven coping with a mean-spirited father and his spiteful gags; Steven’s lot is not amusing, and even Rickles’ trademark put-downs soon grate. A weekly half-hour with these folks could boost the sale of Mylanta.