Written by Evan Braun
If I had to find one single word to completely encapsulate this show, and particularly its first season, it would be: Cute. No, wait … scratch that. Make it: Nauseauting.
Silver Spoons came a little before my time, which possibly explains why I have no real affection for it. Certainly I’m guilty of having fallen for a few nauseatingly cute shows of my own (say, Full House, to name but one). If I was 5-10 years older, I could have fallen for this, too.
Ricky Schroder is a good actor. I know this because I’ve seen him on NYPD Blue and, more recently, on 24. Which is why I couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed for him here. I mean, each and every one of us had our cute years, our awkward years, our rebellious years … unfortunately, Ricky had to live them on television for all the world to see.
I swear, if I had to watch Ricky bat those little preteen eyes to get his way one more time, God help me, I would have had to do something about it.
The supporting cast is pretty dreadful. Joel Higgins plays the ridiculously misconceived father figure, Edward Stratton III. Now, I realize we’re not supposed to turn to sitcoms for any modicum of realism, but to accept the fact that this half-wit is a millionaire and hasn’t yet found a way to completely screw himself out of his inheritance — it’s the stretch to beat all stretches. His love interest, Erin Gray’s Kate, is almost as nauseating as Ricky himself. Scenes in which all three of these characters share screentime is so hard to watch it’s truly scary.
The one compelling character is one that sadly appears only occasionally: Edward Stratton II (Ricky’s fictional grandfather). The reason he’s compelling is that he seems to be the only person who correctly understands the inherent ridiculousness of the show’s premise.
A full-screen, grainy, accidentally blurry presentation that probably passed for high-quality 25 years ago. It’s so far below our current standard, that I can’t help but wish the DVD producers of this atrocity hadn’t gone to the trouble. My DVD player has the ability to zoom in to 5x magnification, by which time I’m left with a pixelated soup that even Mary Ingalls would find unpallatable (and she was blind).
There’s nothing special about this rather lackluster stereo mix. I suppose I might be grateful they didn’t want to capture the show’s laugh track in full surround. The music is uninspiring — especially the theme song, which made me want to throw up more than once.
There are no extras on this set. Maybe the grown-up Ricky Schroder was too humiliated to offer a mature perspective on this nightmare.
I deeply apologize to anyone who has fond memories of this show. I’m sure such a fan base does exist, in the same way that I probably wouldn’t be so harsh to Full House. I guess that’s just the way these things work. As for Silver Spoons, some things are better left in the past.