20 September 2004 | grahamclarke
A real dream of a series
Despite having a deservedly strong cult following, "Dream On" seems to have been overall under-appreciated. While mega hits like "Seinfeld", "Frasier" and "Friends" have been lavishly praised, one hears very little about "Dream On" despite its long 120 episode run.
Watching it after some 10 years after its original airing, it still works and extremely well. For any sitcom to work the characters have to be completely nailed down with their own personal idiosyncrasies in place. Then smart dialog has to be given to them, week after week after week. "Dream On" accomplished this and managed to maintain its level of comedic excellence thoughout its six seasons.
The main characters of Martin Tupper (Brian Benben), his ex-wife Judith (Wendie Mallick), best friend Eddie (Dorien Wilson) and secretary from hell Toby (Denny Dillon) form the core of the series. We become truly fond of this motley bunch, warts and all. Benben at the very heart of the series is wonderful. A comedy actor with perfect timing and physicality too, he also had his emotional moments. He became Martin Tupper for so long, and so well, that it's been tough moving on to other projects, a fate suffered by most of the Seinfeld gang.
Then there are the occasional secondary characters of crude boss Gibby (Michael Mckean), son Jeremy (Chris Demetral), overbearing mother (Renee Taylor) and recently turned gay father (Paul Dooley), all making welcome appearances. Many one time characters are played by well known stage and television actors.
"Dream On" addressed many sexual issues with the kind of unbridled candor sadly lacking on today's television screens. This it did with much chutzpah and a lot of humor. It's unique usage of old movie footage could have been intrusive and downright irritating in lesser hands. This gimmick however was so cleverly handled that one soon takes it for granted and almost waits for the appropriate clip. It's all part of the "Dream On" language.
120 episodes is a long run. Thankfully "Dream On" didn't peter out from becoming tired of itself as so often is the case. Until the very end, it was always a guaranteed half hour of really top class television entertainment.