Reiner mastered the modern sitcom
Carl Reiner packed a lot of lives into 98 years.
He was the perfect straight man for Sid Caesar and Mel Brooks, the ideal mentor for Steve Martin. He wrote seven movies, directed 15 of them (including “Oh, God” and four of Martin’s films), acted in tons more. He wrote a novel and memoirs.
But TV viewers will mainly remember Reiner, who died Monday, for one thing: He created the predecessor for sharp situation comedies rooted in real life.
That was “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (shown here in a colorized episode). It “was one of the few smart sitcoms of the 1960s,” David Bianculli wrote in “The Platinum Age of Television” (Doubleday, 2016), “a decade in which the genre was awash with flying nuns, talking cars and subservient witches and genies.” Read more…