21 June 2007 | GMJames
Still slight after all these years.
As an impressionable 10 year old, I liked the "love conquers all" philosophy of the 70s sitcom "Bridget Loves Bernie." I did understand the controversy, which was about the romantic complications between a Jewish cab driver (David Birney) and an Irish Catholic school teacher (Meredith Baxter) and both sets of parents (Harold J. Stone and Bibi Osterwald as Bernie's parents; Audra Lindley and David Doyle as Bridget's parents) who have issues with the young couple's interfaith marriage.
Looking at the show now with years of personal life experiences, I am amazed that the show was even a success for one, albeit, highly-rated season. Created by veteran TV writer Bernard Slade, who a few years after the show's cancellation would write the successful play "Same Time, Next Year", "Bridget Loves Bernie" was a very light, superficial comedy that collapsed under its own airy weight.
There was no denying the real-life chemistry between Birney and Baxter. But, in later years, both actors have shown that they are better actors in other projects (Birney in his short-lived role in "St. Elsewhere" and Baxter in "Family" and "Family Ties"). Here, they were trying to breathe life in a show that needed a much gritter comic edge, which might have given the complications more depth to a very controversial subject.
The show aired Saturday nights between two CBS powerhouses: "All in the Family" and "Mary Tyler Moore". Both of those shows were smart, funny and had enough of an edge (more so on the former that the latter) that kept my interest in the situation and the characters. "Bridget Loves Bernie" was not very smart and only had some occasional chuckles.
This was another example of a show that really was not as good as I remembered.