Retro TV Times: “Riley’s Firstborn” – Life of Riley 1.16 (1950)

Riley invites a fellow worker from the plant, Hal, who has been absent- minded at work to his home. Hal admits he is nervous about becoming a father. He is impressed by Riley’s confidence and attitude to children till Peg tells him how Riley reacted to the news and what happened when Riley tried to get a raise from his boss. – From IMDB

Not as outright funny as other episodes, but what it lacks in humour it more than makes up for in heartwarming and cute moments. It’s no laughing matter, expecting your first child is a terrifying experience, so it’s nice that they don’t make a massive joke out of the whole thing for the father in question. Instead we see the cute, if a little bumbling, efforts that Riley went through when his first child was born. And while I am sure that no man is quite that clueless about pregnancy it still brings a smile to your face to see his reactions.

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The flashback set up was a nice change as well, giving us a new background for the episode that wasn’t the inside of the Rile’s apartment, the first time I think we have seen this? Or at least the first time I have seen it anyways. And while the characters don’t look quite convincingly sixteen years younger like they should, it was still a nice way to tell the story, rather than just having it recounted in the present.

The timeline is pretty glossed over though. We see Riley find out he’s going to be a father, bungle getting Peg to the hospital for the birth and then he is sedated after the child is born. I would have loved to see more than just these small snippets, but I suppose the half an hour runtime doesn’t really allow for it, though there are some scenes that could easily have been cut to make way for these, which, in my opinion, would have made the episode funnier.

Either way this is a pretty decent episode, and one that I would watch again, this is turning into one of my favourite old school sitcoms.

Final Rating: 3 Stars


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