tek's rating: ½

The Torkelsons, on NBC
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This was about a rather poor family named... the Torkelsons, who lived in Pyramid Corners, Oklahoma. Millicent Torkelson had to raise her kids alone, after her husband left. Her eldest child was 14-year-old Dorothy Jane (Olivia Burnette), who was smart and funny and awfully cute. She had to deal with the usual problems of growing up, and having a family that she found a bit embarrassing. And she wanted to move away and live a more sophisticated life than was possible in Pyramid Corners. She would often sit at her window and talk to the man in the moon, to vent her feelings about life (it was kind of her version of writing in a diary, I guess, and one of the things that made her one of the most genuinely human characters I've ever seen on television). She was definitely my favorite character on the show, and virtually the only reason I liked the show as much as I did. In fact, I'm not sure how much I actually liked the show, but... it was alright. It could be kind of silly and corny, but it had a certain sweetness and charm, I suppose (albeit almost cloyingly sweet). And I suppose without having the whole situation to contrast with Dorothy Jane herself, she probably wouldn't have been as likable or interesting, or at least not as sympathetic. Though I should say that in spite of their oddness and normal sibling squabbles, they were basically a loving family. Millicent was definitely a great mom. And in spite of her embarrassment over them, Dorothy Jane loved them all, too.

Anyway, the family also included 12-year-old Steven Floyd, 10-year-old Ruth Ann, 8-year-old Chuckie Lee (Lee Norris, who'd later be in the first season of Boy Meets World), and 6-year-old Mary Sue. And to help support the family financially, Millicent took in a boarder named Wesley Hodges (who was probably my second favorite character). Other characters included 18-year-old Riley Roberts (on whom Dorothy Jane had an unrequited crush) and a neighbor boy named Kirby Scroggins (who had an unrequited crush on Dorothy Jane).

Almost Home
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In the second season, the show was retooled and renamed "Almost Home". Millicent, Dorothy Jane, Chuckie Lee, and Mary Sue moved to Seattle, where Millicent was hired by a rich guy named Brian Morgan, to work as a nanny for his kids, Gregory (Jason Marsden) and Molly (Brittany Murphy). They were both rather spoiled and stuff. I suppose they may have been funny, but I think I mainly found them annoying. Oh, I should mention that Steven Floyd and Ruth Ann were basically retconned out of existence, so in "Almost Home," Millicent only had three kids. Anyway, I never liked this show as much as I did "The Torkelsons," but it was okay. I mean, at least it allowed Dorothy Jane to remain on TV for another season. And while I don't recall exactly, I suppose it was ironic that she finally got out of Pyramid Corners and got to live in a more sophisticated city, as she always wanted, but it wasn't quite like she hoped.

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