The Retro TV Times: The Life of Riley (1948) S1 Ep 15 – Junior Drops Out

The Rileys are concerned that the icebox has broken down and the landlord is refusing to replace it. Junior announces he wants to quit school. Riley allows it thinking the boy will be sick of work pretty fast want to return to school. Babs discovers the real reason for Junior’s changing opinion, can Riley use the information to get the boy back to school? – From IMDB

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Early sitcoms are just one of the most wholesome forms of entertainment there is. Nothing problem is too big to be solved by the end of the episode, none of the conflicts are really life threatening or life-changing, and everyone is always happy and home in time for supper. Life of Riley is another example of this kind of entertainment. And I can see how it would appeal to everyone, simply because it is so short on actual plot, and the whole story takes place in pretty much one room. But I find there is something so pure and enjoyable about them.

In this episode, Riley’s son decides he wants to drop out of school, and his family does everything they can to convince him to change his mind. It isn’t the funniest episode I have seen from this show, in fact, I got through it with barely more than a slight smile every now and then. I don’t know if it is because the idea of it being that easy to just leave education and get a job is so foreign to me. Was it really that simple in the fifties?

The general plot for the episode is pretty predictable, it is obvious that Junior will return to school, and that the Riley’s would receive their new Ice-Box (Refrigerator to us outside the U.S), but the way in which it happened was unexpected, and probably the funniest moment of the whole episode. Riley’s humour mostly comes from his frustration that he can’t get Junior to go back to school, but instead of funny it kind of comes across like he is sulking because Junior is doing well, and making more money than him. So there is very little humour in that.

Not my favourite episode by far, but every series has a dud episode or two right?

Final Rating: 2.5 Stars

  • Director
    • Herbert I. Leeds
  • Writers
    • Irving Brecher
    • Reuben Ship
    • Alan Lipscott
  • Stars
    • Jackie Gleason
    • Rosemary DeCamp
    • Gloria Winters

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