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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > I Married Joan - Collection 1 (VCI)

I Married Joan – Collection One (VCI)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Episodes: C+



When I Love Lucy became a megahit for CBS, chief rival NBC reacted quickly and obviously with I Married Joan, a show desperate to head off Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.  Each episode boldly announced star Joan Davis as “America’s Queen of Comedy” with some confidence.  She would go down in history as mostly forgotten, though her husband was played by Jim Backus, the voice of the animated Mr. Magoo, who would later have a much bigger TV hit with the ever-silly Gilligan’s Island.  VCI has issued a double DVD set of 12 I Married Joan shows that demonstrates where the show succeeded and failed.


The set-up here was that Joan was the kind of wife that drove her husband (Backus) crazy, but he happened to be a Judge, not a band player with an accent.  It is that difference in empowerment that limited the show in being a true competitor to Lucy.  For one thing, Joan was more confident and was not childlike, looking for her husband’s approval.  She also was not trying to spend each episode literally or figuratively escaping the kitchen (read domestic female role).  With a judge’s income, this also lifted the couple into a higher tax bracket than the Ricardos or Mertzes, and there is no counter-couple or anyone else to bring out more comedy.  There is no foil.


This did not help Davis and certainly (and more evidentially) held back Backus’ comic talents, straight-jacketing them by comparison.  Davis is simply not outrageous or crazy enough and neither is the material.  The show is too serious about its domestic trappings, offering no true challenge to it.  There does not seem to be any true character development and the comedy never gets physical enough.  Though it is watchable and is professional, it feels more like a time capsule and is not very funny.  I wonder if this was that funny in its time.  Either way, I Married Joan will always be known as the show that most boldly carbon-copied I Love Lucy and was at the top of the many that failed.  The episodes form the 2 DVDs here include:


Prize Fighter

Wall Safe

Joan’s Haircut

Changing Houses

Talent Scout

Bad Boy


Home Movies

New House



Sister Pat


The full frame image is in black and white and varies in quality from show to show, but is above average overall.  At the worst, the grain is high and footage a couple generations down is not as clear, even dark in parts.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono also fares well enough, showing its age, but usually clear enough.  The only extras are a general VCI video preview and biographies of the two leads, who were nonetheless likable even when their show did not work.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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