Thursday, March 3, 2011

Eve Arden & Kaye Ballard in The Mothers-In-Law (1967 - 1969)

Obscurity factor: 7

I don't usually cover series television on this blog, but I'm currently wading through the complete series of The Mothers-In-Law on DVD and thought I'd write it up.

Eve Hubbard (Eve Arden) and Kaye Buell (Kaye Ballard) are neighbors and the mothers of Jerry and Suzi, who are married. Their relationship is sort of a love/hate one. Kaye and her husband Roger (Roger C. Carmel in season 1 and Richard Deacon in season 2) are easy going and earthy, while Eve and her husband Herbert (Herbert Rudley) are more formal. They have one thing in common though - they love to meddle in their children's lives, which is easy, because the kids live in a converted garage apartment behind the Hubbard's house.
Photo courtesy:

This series has the distinction of having been produced by Desi Arnaz and having been written by the primary writers for I Love Lucy - Bob Caroll Jr. and Madeline Pugh Davis. It has a lot of the same zany qualities and plot points of the more famous fore-bearer, and though much of the more outlandish moments don't hold up that well, there's still a lot to enjoy.
Above is an edited down minisode of the show featuring a fun little show-within-a-show. The entire series is available on a DVD collection that was released last summer. The series has faded into obscurity, though is still remembered by a cadre of hard core fans.

Obscurity factor: 7 (available on DVD, largely forgotten, never screened on TV)


  1. Please let us know if you make it all the way through both seasons. I found that watching it felt more and more like work sometime during the second DVD and I gave up.

    Remembering the line from Hamlet, "brevity is the soul of wit," I wonder if this series suffers from being a 30-minute show back when 30-minute shows were really almost 30 minutes. Today, a similar show lasts only 21 minutes with nine minutes of commercials. That change affected both plots and pacing, and perhaps that way this show now seems like slow-going.

  2. It certainly isn't as good and watchable as The Dick Van Dyke show or Mary Tyler Moore, but there's a certain comfort in sitcoms from that era. I tend to leave episodes on in the background...

  3. I have watched the first 13 episodes, and am enjoying them. To be sure, there is a nostalgia factor. I remember this show from when I was a kid and it brings back fond memories. Some of the episodes were pretty good, such as the one with Larry Storch as a bank robber who hides out in the Hubbard's house, and the one where they take up exercise. However, a few were really subpar, with uninteresting plots and truly unbelievable situations. It is not a great sitcom, but it is fun and I have always liked both Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard.

  4. I agree. Many of the plots are simplistic and silly. The real reason to watch is those two actresses. Glad you're enjoying it though!