In honor of our debut (and the upcoming marathon), let’s count down our favorite episodes of The Honeymooners.
“Young Man with a Horn”
Ralph sets off on a course of self-improvement, inspired by a cornet from his youth. Unlike his many get-rich-quick schemes, this is Ralph really trying to do the work that will bring him a different kind of fulfillment. As always, he’s left disappointed, but he can’t be sad for long with a wife like Alice and the admission that he hit that high note on the day they were married. Brings a tear to my eye every time.
“Young at Heart”
“The Hucklebuck.” Enough said. But seriously, this study of Alice trying to recapture the days of her youth (and when Ralph and Norton cruelly mock her, Alice skillfully shames them), is highlighted by Norton teaching Ralph a a wild dance and a disastrous trip to the roller rink. In the end, Ralph realizes that youth is wasted on young people and that the best days are still ahead if the Kramdens and the Nortons are in the right frame of mind. It’s as rewarding a conclusion as the show ever produced (despite a very vocal and annoying studio audience).
“Better Living Through TV”
Here we have Ralph and Norton trying to sell “Handy Housewife Helpers” over the airwaves. After a particularly tense confrontation between the Kramdens, Ralph and Norton rehearse their commercial (not without incident; a part of the tool comes flying off causing Jackie Gleason to ad-lib a line about using the utensil for spear fishing). Then comes the actual performance with Norton so focused on staying on script that he fails to notice Ralph’s sheer terror and cores the apple too quickly. It’s a hilarious mess topped off by Gleason knocking down the set (not planned) and leaving him and the audience in stitches.
“The Man from Space”
It’s all about Ralph trying to get a loan to rent a costume for a Raccoon party. Alice is no help, neither is Norton who’s renting his own outfit (he plans to go as Pierre Francois de la Brioche, the man who designed the sewers of Paris… maybe). What follows is Ralph essentially ransacking his kitchen to construct the titular costume (love him taking the knobs of the drawer he won’t need to get in to, then having to retrieve something from the very same drawer). In the end, Ralph is foiled by Norton’s appearance in the costume Ralph was going for, but a good time is still had by all (and who doesn’t love watching Gleason dance?).
“The $99,000 Answer”
Going back to our very first post, it’s just the best constructed episode of the series. Ralph goes on a game show, spends a week engaged in popular music, and ultimately loses because he fails to ask Norton the name of his warmup tune. Everyone gets a moment, and the episode is more than deserving of its classic status.
Did we miss your favorites? Let us know. And enjoy watching!