Episode Title: The Night the Roof Fell In (Season 2 Episode 9)
Original Air Date: Wednesday November 21, 1962
Writer: John Whedon
Director: Hal Cooper
We have all had bad days. We go to work and the coffee machine is spitting out decaf instead of regular coffee, or even worse, someone has replaced the coffee maker with a juicer and your office supplies no more free coffee. Maybe you missed a big meeting with a client because while out at lunch, you got stuck behind a terrible driver that wouldn’t turn right on red and in an effort to get around them, you pull around them and turn right on red for them. Well, Mr. Policeman didn’t like your action and that made you late for your meeting. Poor you. On top of everything, that lazy co-worker of yours is going to get the promotion you deserve. That’s a bad day, but have you ever gone home after a bad day of work and find out your unruly child has broken your bottle of aftershave, not just any aftershave, but your Stirrup and Saddle aftershave? You know, that stuff that made you smell like a real root ’em toot ’em cowboy. Well, that’s what happened to Robert Petrie after having a hard day of work at The Alan Brady Show offices.
But what about Laura? Was her day all wine and roses? Heck no.
This is one hilarious Dick Van Dyke Show episode. The comedy writing here is always amazing. Rarely will you watch a bad episode. In The Night the Roof Fell In, the episode begins with Rob and Laura arguing and Rob storming out the front door warning his wife he may never return. That’s sort of a gruesome beginning to a comedy and a couple we’ve all come to love and adore. The first thought of the viewer may be, “Who put a burr in his saddle?” The camera descends upon the fish tank where one fish asked the other what the big hullabaloo was about. As one fish states, “I was minding my own business, floating about and watching…” Then the flashback begins.
The first flashback of the fight is from the point of view of a very neutral party, the fish. It tells the truth about what really happened. In this flash back of the all too real argument, one of the funniest lines is when Rob sits down on the couch and opens the paper to read it. Laura promptly asks him what he is doing and he replies smugly, “I’m going to sit here and make some paper hats for this gay party we seem to be having.” Sheer comic genius and the reality of his smug bitterness is spot on.
The same story is told in two additional flashbacks, one when Laura tells Millie about the fight the next morning and one when Rob tells Buddy and Sally the same story, well, not exactly the same story. Each tells the story in a way that puts themselves in a sparkling light with the other looking less than admirable.
One of the best things about the comedy found here in The Night the Roof Fell In is how true to life it is…ooops, maybe it’s just my life. What about you? Have you ever told a friend about an argument you participated in and left out anything that put you in a bad light?