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Father Knows Best

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32
Betty's Graduation
1960-05-23
This flashback episode recalls Betty and her reluctance to graduate from high school.

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31
Not His Type
1960-05-16
Betty gets caught up in the middle of a lover's quarrel between two of her friends who plan to marry.

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30
Bud Lives It up
1960-05-09
In order to impress a girl, Bud starts spending money beyond his means.

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29
Betty's Career Problem
1960-04-25
Betty finds herself competing against (and losing to) a boy in several collegiate contests. Now they're competing against each other for a job.

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28
Blind Date
1960-04-18
Betty dates a boy whom her galpals regard as a loser.

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27
Love and Learn
1960-04-11
Needing help in English because he's not the brightest bulb in the box, Bud is assigned an attractive tutor and soon falls for her.

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26
Family Contest
1960-04-04
Hoping to win a free trip to Hawaii, the Andersons enter a family-photo contest.

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24
The 500 Letter
1960-03-21
When the Andersons receive a $500 check in the mail from a secret admirer, they try to discover the identity of the donor.

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23
Bud the Speculator
1960-03-14
Never the sharpest tool in the shed, Bud loses $50 in a phony stock scheme.

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22
Time to Retire
1960-03-07
Bud's actions reaffirm an old man's belief in life and lead to an employment opportunity.

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21
Jims Big Surprise
1960-02-29
Jim announces that he has a big surprise for the Anderson clan.

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20
The Big Test
1960-02-22
Betty tries her hand at matchmaking for family gardener Frank and a gal who works in a flower shop.

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19
Cupid Knows Best
1960-02-15
The Anderson gardener, Frank, is lonely but is interested in someone.

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18
Kathys Big Deception
1960-02-08
Kathy makes up an imaginary boyfriend so that her family will think she has a date for the community picnic.

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17
Second Best
1960-02-01
Betty decides to compete in the previously all-male college fencing tournament.

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16
Togetherness
1960-01-25
The Andersons are paid a visit by a newspaper reporter who's doing an article on family togetherness.

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15
Bud Hides Behind a Skirt
1960-01-18
Betty leads a campaign for safe driving only to have brother Bud accused of reckless driving.

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14
Father, the Naturalist
1960-01-11
Father and Margaret head outside to explore nature.

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13
Bettys Double
1960-01-04
Betty wins a lookalike contest due to her close resemblance to an actress. The prize is a trip to Hollywood.

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12
Good Joke On Mom
1959-12-28
Margaret tricks the family into believing that she's been selected chairperson of an important hospital building project.

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11
Turn the Other Cheek
1959-12-14
Jim and Kathy both feel like their friends doublecrossed them.

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10
Bud the Willing Worker
1959-12-07
In order to buy a boat, Bud takes a job pumping gas at a service station.

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9
Kathy Becomes a Girl
1959-11-30
The rest of the family tries to feminize tomboy Kathy.

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8
Margarets Old Flame
1959-11-23
Jim and Margaret recall the people they once dated as they prepare for their college reunion.

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7
First Disillusionment
1959-11-16
Bud recounts to Kathy about the time he lost a job due to an applicant's faked credentials.

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6
Bicycle Trip for Two
1959-11-09
Jim and Margaret get into an argument while taking a bicycle trip.

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5
Bud Plays It Safe
1959-11-02
In order to ensure himself of a spot on the football team roster, Bud begins dating the daughter of the head coach.

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4
The Imposter
1959-10-26
Betty gets involved with a young lawyer who's posing as the owner of a radio store.

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3
The Gardeners Big Day
1959-10-19
The Anderson's Hispanic gardener is chosen to represent Springfield at the opening of a park but a couple of town council members are less than thrilled with the prospect.

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2
Bud Branches Out
1959-10-12
Bud develops a crush on his attractive French professor.

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1
A Day in the Country
1959-10-05
The Andersons decide to take a weekend family drive in the country only to have their car break down.

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Father Knows Best, an iconic television sitcom, aired on CBS from 1954 to 1960. Renowned Hollywood stalwart Robert Young headlined the show, lending his personable warmth and sagacity to the character Jim Anderson. The series showcases a thoughtfully apt portrayal of post-war America, highlighting the journey of an everyday suburban family while illustrating the themes of domesticity, family values, and social morality.

Father Knows Best follows the Anderson family, residing in the quintessential Midwestern city of Springfield. Jim Anderson, played by Robert Young, dons the role of the patriarch and a general insurance agent. Nora Anderson, portrayed by Jane Wyatt, is his understanding and caring wife. Their three children, Betty, Bud, and Kathy, complete the quintessential American family. The Anderson domicile is an evident embodiment of mid-century Americana, a symbol of heartwarming nostalgia, conjuring up imagery of picket fences, home-cooked dinners, and neighborhood camaraderie.

The Anderson family presents a perfect model of the average American family in the '50s. The storyline's charm lies in its portrayal of timeless family situations, wherein each member learns valuable lessons on topics such as honesty, responsibility, and the importance of family. The primary magic of the show is seeing the situations resolved with warmth, humor, and gentle wisdom, often by Jim Anderson.

Jim Anderson, as the title suggests, is indeed the foundation of the series. He's a family man, deeply committed to his wife and children. Robert Young's portrayal of Jim is compelling, smart, and warm, often epitomizing the sage nature of the character. He's the moral compass and the source of wisdom and guidance, who, at the end of each episode, puts things in perspective, imparting a constructive moral lesson.

Alongside Robert Young, Jane Wyatt holds her own as Jim's wife, Margaret Anderson. Her character is an epitome of feminine grace and domesticity, embodying the ideal mother and wife of the era – nurturing and caring, yet quietly assertive when necessary. Wyatt delivers a nuanced portrayal, expertly capturing the essence of a post-war suburban woman with her patience, understanding, and love for her family.

The children are ordinary youngsters maturing in a world fraught with both everyday and complex teen problems. Elinor Donahue plays the elder daughter Betty, aptly transitioning from a bubbly teen into a mature young woman. Billy Gray portrays Bud, the middle child - an average American boy grappling with typical adolescent issues, and Lauren Chapin plays the youngest, Kathy, whose teething problems range from school issues to teenage crushes.

The charm of Father Knows Best lies in its simplistic storytelling, revolving around the trials and tribulations of suburban family life. The show's plotlines, often showcasing mundane family issues, transform into meaningful narrative explorations around growing up and the inevitable familial attachments. Unique in its approach, the show avoided farcical comedy and slapstick humor, often seen in sitcoms, instead opting for a mix of light humor and drama with a moral undercurrent.

Father Knows Best was a benchmark for depicting middle-class morality and the value system of an average American family during the mid-century era and maintained astonishingly consistent quality throughout its six-season run. The sitcom was a classic portrayal of '50s Americana, an idealized vision of a simpler time when parents were wise, children were respectful, and issues were benign. The series was lauded by audiences and critics alike for its realistic take on family life that is occasionally breakdown-prone but ultimately resolute and unbreakable.

However, while the show is nostalgic, it's essential to understand its product and reflection of its time - the post-war, mid-1950s to 1960 America. The idealized depiction of the patriarchal family structure, the clearly defined gender roles, and the suburban life vision is contextual to that period.

Despite these caveats, Father Knows Best was more than just scripted entertainment. It was a cherished part of many people's actual families, serving to teach and echo the significance of family and strong moral values. Being a slice of Americana, its appeal continues even today for anyone seeking a comforting dash of nostalgia and wholesome family entertainment.

Father Knows Best is a series categorized as a canceled. Spanning 6 seasons with a total of 202 episodes, the show debuted on 1954. The series has earned a moderate reviews from both critics and viewers. The IMDb score stands at 7.4.

Channel
CBS
Rating
7.4/10
Cast
Jane Wyatt, Elinor Donahue, Lauren Chapin, Robert Young, Billy Gray, Jimmy Bates, Paul Wallace, Roger Smith, Susan Whitney, Yvonne Lime
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