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Oliver Beene (TV Series)

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Original title
Oliver Beene
Running time
30 min.
United States United States
TV Series. Comedy | Family Sitcom
TV Series (2003-2004). Oliver Beene is a half-hour comedy series about another time. That time is 1962. It's the worst of times, but also the best of times for Oliver Beene (Grant Rosenmeyer), a 12-year-old whose world is full of comedic chaos. Oliver's eccentric family is headed by his father, Jerry (Grant Shaud), a dentist whose idea of a fun and relaxing Sunday is drilling his kids' molars. Then there's Oliver's mother, Charlotte (Wendy Makkena), a homemaker who idolizes Jackie Kennedy and fantasizes about being her. The Beene household is rounded out by older brother Ted (Andrew Lawrence), a sports fanatic who lives by one simple rule: "If it ain't about sports, it ain't worth talking about." This is exactly why he and Oliver haven't spoken in four years.

Like every kid, Oliver longs for a modicum of family normalcy and peer acceptance at a time when nothing seems to make any sense -- especially while his family practices "end of civilization" drills in a fallout shelter during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Making life a bit more bearable are Oliver's friends at school, including heavyweight Neal, a hypochondriac who already appears to have hit middle age, and lightweight Michael, the most fabulous kid in school who has an impeccable sense of style and a penchant for Judy Garland musicals. You do the math.

Along the way, Oliver also must contend with Mrs. Heller, a hatchet-faced teacher who hates him just as much as she hates things like joy and laughter. There's also Joyce (Daveigh Chase), the girl with whom Oliver has shared a desk since third grade and who nags him like a wife in a marriage that's getting stale. And then there's Bonnie (Amy Castle) -- beautiful, perfect Bonnie -- the unattainable blonde whose parents slapped Oliver with a restraining order after a Valentine's Day misunderstanding when he was six years old. He still has it bad for Bonnie; if only she was a foot shorter, they might start to see eye to eye.

Set against the backdrop of Rego Parks, Queens, Oliver Beene uses a unique combination of flashbacks and flash-forwards to vividly re-create the Kennedy-era sixties. Narrated by a wickedly wry adult Oliver (David Cross), the series depicts the often hilarious trials and sometimes outrageous tribulations of a kid growing up during the Cold War.
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User history
Oliver Beene (TV Series)
Howard Gewirtz (Creator) ...