Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Waltons 4.6: “The Breakdown”

Airdate: 10/16/75

Jason finds his candle burned at both ends when he juggles academics, family life and his job, playing for Bobby Bigelow’s band, which also has a 5:00 AM call time for its sunrise gospel radio show. Oh, and then there’s his new high-maintenance girlfriend, Betsy Morgan, who causes quite a stir when the family learns he had been out with her the whole night! (Don’t worry, there’s a chaste explanation.) Emotionally, he also searches for a self-identity, trying desperately to step out of his older brother’s shadow. Eventually, Jason collapses out of sheer exhaustion, and realizes that he must please himself instead of always pleasing all those around him.

Another great TV trope, being a workaholic never pays off, is given Waltons treatment here, although more recent, and daring, shows involve the use of uppers to teach their lessons (All in the Family: “Archie’s Bitter Pill”; Family Ties: “Speed Trap”). Subplot, involving John-Boy working as a school librarian but disappointing his employer, who hired him expecting that he’d make it a career, is also engaging (haven’t we all been there with at least one temporary job in our lifetimes?).

Actress Done Oatman reprises her role as Betsy (that’s Bette) Morgan from “The Song” episode.

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