The Ten Best GREEN ACRES Episodes of Season Six

Welcome to a new Sitcom Tuesday! Today we’re finishing our series on the best episodes from another fondly remembered single-camera show of the ’60s, Green Acres (1965-1971, CBS). Note that, while the first three seasons have been released on DVD, the last three — as of this writing — have not. The episodes in today’s list can be purchased on iTunes, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

Oliver Wendall Douglas, a New York lawyer, gives up his law practice to follow his lifelong ambition of becoming a farmer. He and his reluctant wife, the Hungarian Lisa, move to the tiny town of Hooterville, where they try to assimilate to country living. Given the kookiness of the town’s residents, that may be difficult — for Oliver, that is.

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Green Acres stars EDDIE ALBERT as Oliver Wendall Douglas, EVA GABOR as Lisa Douglas, TOM LESTER as Eb Dawson, PAT BUTTRAM as Mr. Haney, FRANK CADY as Sam Drucker, ALVY MOORE as Hank Kimball, HANK PATTERSON as Fred Ziffel, and MARY GRACE CANFIELD as Ralph Monroe.

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Much like the final season of Bewitched, the sixth year of Green Acres is an unfortunate addendum — not because the episodes are horrendous, but because the series is (generally speaking) drastically inferior to the consistent level of high quality with which viewers were accustomed. (The same can be said for The Beverly Hillbillies, which was also canceled at the end of the ’70-’71 season.) The year starts out with a miserable arc in which the Douglases have a house guest, the obnoxious little Lori. Fortunately, she’s gone by episode six, and though the first half of the season is largely mediocre, the second string of episodes — beginning in early 1971 — features a slight upturn in both creativity and the laugh quotient. Most infamously, however, the final two episodes of Green Acres were awful backdoor pilots for two series that never got picked up. It’s an unfortunate end to a once great show. I was surprised that I was able to pick ten great installments, but it’s a testament to this series that even in the weakest of years, there were still ten episodes that I TRULY considered worthy of inclusion. These selections exemplify the season’s strongest installments. For new fans, this list will give you a place to start. For seasoned fans, there might be a few surprises.

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Here are my picks for the ten best episodes of Season Six. (They are in AIRING ORDER.) Note that every episode of this series is directed by Richard L. Bare, unless otherwise noted, and every episode of this series is written by Jay Sommers and Dick Chevillat, unless otherwise noted.

UPDATE – 09/27/17 – Now that Shout! Factory has released the entire series on DVD in one beautiful package of all single-sided discs, I’ve gone through and updated the screen captures below. If you’re a Green Acres fan, be sure to purchase this new set! 

 

01) Episode 150: “The Great Mayoralty Campaign” (Aired: 10/27/70)

Oliver and Lisa run against in each other in the upcoming mayoral election.

Characters running against each other for political office is a tired sitcom storyline. Usually what makes this type of episode work is the originality that a series can bring to the premise. Fortunately for Green Acres, the greatest tool in their shed in the delightful ensemble of Hootervillians. This is the first episode of the season that I can honestly find myself laughing while watching.

02) Episode 152: “Apple-Picking Time” (Aired: 11/17/70)

Lisa is learning to drive while Oliver must harvest his apple crop.

This is a rather simple episode, with not a terribly high number of laughs. However, it’s one of the more coherent installments from the first half of the season, and the unoriginal premise — Lisa learning to drive — does provide the requisite laughs that one would expect when she runs into the sheriff’s car. The attempt to merge the stories, however, is a little too… trite.

03) Episode 158: “The Engagement Ring” (Aired: 12/29/70)

Lisa gives her engagement ring to Eb so that he can marry Darlene.

Written by DC & Dan Beaumont

Episodes centered around Eb are always either hit or miss for my tastes. However, it is generally amusing to see Oliver get roped into whatever his weekly shenanigans happen to be. Thus, what makes the Eb character work (and this episode, in particular) is the continued performance of Eddie Albert, who milks the relationship for all its comedic worth.

04) Episode 159: “The Free Paint Job” (Aired: 01/05/71)

Oliver and Lisa’s attempts to have the house painted are anything but ordinary.

This is a famous episode and probably the only installment that could be labeled a fan-favorite from the sixth season. The iconic bit has the painters attempting to paint the Douglas’ garish house, only to have the paint sucked up by the wood each time they try to coat it on. It’s incredibly bizarre, but, admittedly, quite funny. Finally — some creativity in this season!

05) Episode 162: “Star Witness” (Aired: 01/26/71)

Arnold is the only key witness to a daring robbery.

Written by DC & Dan Beaumont

This is another “Arnold is Lassie” type of episodes, with the pig witnessing a robbery. Unfortunately, he’s gone hoarse and is unable to “squeal.” The crooks (one of whom is Grandpa Munster) learn about the witness and kidnap Eb (thinking he is Arnold). What makes this episode work are the details — lots of humor in individual moments, even while the story is only subpar.

06) Episode 163: “The Spot Remover” (Aired: 02/02/71)

Lisa’s uncle’s miracle cleaning fluid sends the town in an uproar.

Written by Dan Beaumont

This is actually a very good episode that once again gives Eva a lot to do. As one of the series’ most consistently funny performers, episodes like these — especially when the premise is as original as it is here — are a treat. The funniest stuff (in my opinion) occurs in the general store with the repeated dyeing of Sam Drucker’s toupee. Very, very funny — almost out-of-place in this poor season.

07) Episode 164: “King Oliver I” (Aired: 02/09/71)

Hooterville secedes from the state and proclaims Oliver their king.

I love this episode! Not only is the story incredibly original, but the execution — with wonderful performances by each cast member — is sublime. The blowing up of the Hooterville bridge is an absolute riot, and it’s comedically rich to once again have the Hootervillians outraged and in direct conflict with their government — since they’ve raised the taxes 52%! You won’t find this episode in any other series — Green Acres at its most unique.

08) Episode 166: “The Carpenter’s Ball” (Aired: 02/23/71)

Oliver regrets declining to take Lisa to the carpenter’s ball when she decides to go with Hank.

Written by DC & Dan Beaumont

Romantic entanglements: Green Acres style! As one of the few episodes to feature plenty of Ralph Monroe (though not Alf, who does not appear in Season Six), this episode doesn’t disappoint. Ralph is angling for Hank to take her to the carpenters ball, while Oliver refuses to take Lisa. So Lisa does the naturally sitcom thing and asks Hank. Ordinary premise, good performances.

09) Episode 167: “The Hole In The Porch” (Aired: 03/02/71)

Hank Kimball injures his ankle when he falls through the Douglas’ porch.

Written by DC & Dan Beaumont

As you can see, the series has now resorted to producing scripts with unoriginal sitcom premises. This one, though used on many sitcoms, was used most notably and effectively in the stage play and eventual film, The Man Who Came To Dinner. However, there are some funny moments here, and (as usual), I enjoy the stuff involving Hank and the bossy nurse Ralph!

10) Episode 168: “Lisa The Psychologist” (Aired: 03/09/71)

Lisa and Oliver decide to each take a college course; she chooses psychology.

Written by DC & Dan Beaumont

Since the last two episodes of Green Acres were miserable back door pilots for other series, this episode, for all intents and purposes, is the last official episode of the series. It’s actually quite funny, with the scene in which Lisa aggrevates her psychology teacher as the comedic highlight. But there’s plenty of consistent humor throughout, and not surprisingly, strong performances.

 

Other episodes that almost made the list above include: “Oliver Goes Broke,” which is most enjoyable for the dumping of the pointless Lori, “Oliver’s Double,” in which Oliver gets an ‘evil’ twin, “The High Cost Of Loving,” in which Eb accidentally enrolls in acting school, and “The Liberation Movement,” in which the series touches its toes on the line of 1970s relevance.

 

*** The MVE Award for the Best Episode from Season Six of Green Acres goes to…..

“King Oliver I”

 

 

Come back next Tuesday when we start our coverage on the best episodes of That Girl (1966-1971, ABC)! And tune in tomorrow for another Wildcard Wednesday post!

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9 thoughts on “The Ten Best GREEN ACRES Episodes of Season Six

    • Hi, Matt! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      PETTICOAT JUNCTION is not yet in my collection, so I have no plans to cover the series in the near future.

      However, I did intend to cover THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES back in October, but when I learned that CBS had begun remastering the remaining color seasons, I decided to shelve my thoughts on the show in the hope that the complete series would soon be available in pristine quality. Season Four has been released, but there’s no word yet on Season Five. If there is no more news from the company in about a year and a half’s time (when I’m done covering sitcoms from the ’70s), I will go back and do THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES.

      At that time, I may consider doing PETTICOAT JUNCTION as well, especially since it is also being remastered by CBS.

      Thanks for your question, Matt!

    • Hi, Matt!

      No plans to cover LOST IN SPACE or FRESH PRINCE at this time.

      However, THE GOLDEN GIRLS and ROSEANNE could likely be here on Sitcom Tuesdays. Of course, they’re both probably a year and a half away… at least. We’ve got about twenty more years of classic television comedy to get through first!

  1. I see Oliver wearing a crown in “King Oliver I”. Was this the same show where the crown popped up on his head after he bit into a piece of toast w/ margarine on it? I thought that was hilarious, and it was a great callback to the old Imperial Margarine commercials, which no one under the age of 45 can seem to remember. ;)

    • I think the film offers nostalgia, but nothing else of incidental worth.

      I DREAM OF JEANNIE is in my collection and has always been a possibility. However, I like it far less than BEWITCHED and find it difficult to temper my criticism with an unadulterated enjoyment of the latter’s creativity, because I think that was, from inception, touch-and-go. It didn’t make sense to cover the series two years ago on this blog, but I will re-evaluate when the time is right!

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