Saturday, August 27, 2011

Waltons 4.1: “The Sermon”

Airdate: 9/11/75

Rev. Fordwick and Miss Hunter (now Mrs. Fordwick) marry and are off on their week-long honeymoon, leaving two jobs to fill: teacher and pastor. Olivia takes over the teaching duties, while John-Boy is asked to deliver the Sunday sermon. Nervous and unsure what approach to take, he gets much advice, ranging from Grandma’s fire-and-brimstone suggestions to Grandpa’s folksy, natural spiritualism. Ultimately, he delivers a touching, true-to-himself sermon that incorporates everyone’s idea of God into his own, that of benevolent, receptive being not unlike his own father on earth.
Good season opener relies nearly entirely on what John-Boy finally comes up with  - and it’s beautiful. In keeping with the “write what you know” mantra, John-Boy remains true to his writer’s instincts – to observe, reflect, and impart meaning through art – not, ironically, preach. The Waltons does get treacly at times, but there are moments when it does approach the literary – this is one such time.

I love season openers that function as sort-of mini pilots, reintroducing us to all the characters again (after all, summer is long). This show does just that, and in a subtle, poetic way even.

Rerecorded opening theme seems to downplay the horns a bit.

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