Bridget Loves Bernie

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Bridget Loves Bernie
Meredith Baxter David Birney Bridget Loves Bernie 1972.JPG
The wedding photo.
Created by Bernard Slade
Starring Meredith Baxter
David Birney
Audra Lindley
David Doyle
Harold J. Stone
Ned Glass
William Elliott
Bibi Osterwald
Robert Sampson
Theme music composer Jerry Fielding
Opening theme "Love Is Crazy"
Country of origin USA
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 24
Production
Executive producer(s) Douglas S. Cramer
Producer(s) Don Nelson
Arthur Alsberg
Running time 26 minutes
Production company(s) The Douglas S. Cramer Company
Thornhill Productions
Screen Gems
Distributor Sony Pictures Television
Release
Original network CBS
Original release September 16, 1972 – March 3, 1973

Bridget Loves Bernie is an American television comedy program created by Bernard Slade, the creator of the 1970–74 ABC sitcom The Partridge Family and the 1967-70 sitcom The Flying Nun. Depicting an interfaith marriage between a Catholic woman and a Jewish man, Bridget Loves Bernie was based loosely on the premise of the 1920s Broadway play and 1940s radio show Abie's Irish Rose. It stars Meredith Baxter and David Birney as the title characters. It was cancelled by CBS after only one season, despite high ratings.

Baxter and Birney married in real life after the program went off the air.

Overview[edit]

Father Mike picking up the Archbishop's weekly bagel supply.

The series depicted an interfaith marriage between a wealthy Irish Catholic teacher (Bridget) and a Jewish cab driver (Bernie), whom she had met at a bus stop. With a primetime slot between All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show on Saturday nights, the situation comedy was #5 in the ratings among all shows for that television season and obtained a 24.2 rating, tying with The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie. However CBS executives canceled the show in response to negative reactions to the characters' marriage, making it the highest-rated television program to be canceled after only one season.[1]

Supporting cast members included Audra Lindley, David Doyle, Harold J. Stone, Ned Glass, and Bibi Osterwald. Lindley and Doyle played Bridget's wealthy parents, Walter and Amy Fitzgerald, and Stone and Osterwald played Bernie's more down-to-earth parents, Sam and Sophie Steinberg. The Steinbergs owned a delicatessen above which Bridget and Bernie lived. Glass played Bernie's uncle, Moe Plotnik. Actor Robert Sampson played Father Michael Fitzgerald, a Catholic priest, who was Bridget's brother, and was more sympathetic to his sister's marriage. Bill Elliott played Otis, Bernie's best friend and fellow cab driver. Nora Marlowe was cast as Aunt Agnes in the 1972 episode "The Little White Lie That Grew and Grew".

Controversy over content[edit]

The series was controversial due to the differing faiths of the married characters. Some Jewish groups charged that the series "mocked the teachings of Judaism."[2][3] Rabbi Wolfe Kelman, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Assembly of America, called the show “an insult to some of the most sacred values of both the Jewish and Catholic religions."[4] Rabbi Meir Kahane dedicated full columns to the episode.[5] Orthodox rabbis met with CBS officials several times. A conservative rabbi organized a boycott by advertisers, and reform rabbis met with CBS staff in secret to have the show cancelled. Rabbi Abraham Gross, president of the Rabbinical Alliance of Orthodox Rabbis and Educators, described the show as a "flagrant insult" to Jews, protesting that intermarriage was strictly forbidden under Jewish law. Threats followed. Meredith Baxter said, "We had bomb threats on the show. Some guys from the Jewish Defense League came to my house to say they wanted to talk with me about changing the show." Threatening phone calls made to the home of producer Ralph Riskin resulted in the arrest of Robert S. Manning,[6] described as a member of the Jewish Defense League.[7] Manning was later indicted on murder charges, and fought extradition to the U.S. from Israel, where he had moved.[8]

Episode list[edit]

Episode # Episode title Original airdate Episode summary
1-1 "Bridget Loves Bernie" (pilot) September 16, 1972 It's love at first sight when cab driver (and struggling writer) Bernie Steinberg picks up his fare, Bridget Fitzgerald, on a rainy New York day.
1-2 "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Vatican" September 23, 1972 Bernie's parents, Sam and Sophie, win a raffle ticket for a private audience with Pope Paul VI that was sold by Bridget's mother, Amy. Her father, Walt, fears that the Steinbergs may end up causing him major embarrassment.
1-3 "Wake Up, We're Getting Married Today" September 30, 1972 After being married in a civil ceremony, Bridget and Bernie agree to their parents' wishes to have a religious ceremony, but the conflict of religions causes havoc.
1-4 "The Last of the Red Hot Playwrights" October 7, 1972 Despite several rejections, a reluctant Bernie decides to write a play drawn from his own experiences and personal acquaintances.
1-5 "Who's Watching the Store?" October 14, 1972 Confusion and chaos reign when Catholic Bridget runs a Jewish delicatessen, aided by her socialite mother and brother who's a priest.
1-6 "The Newlybeds" October 21, 1972 Trying to replace a perennially-breaking bed results not only in sleeping trouble for Bridget and Bernie, but also causes an inter-family squabble.
1-7 "Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Moe" October 28, 1972 Bernie's Uncle Moe falls in love with Bridget's aunt, which leads to all sorts of trouble.
1-8 "Bernie's Last Stand" November 4, 1972 Despite a generous (and belated) wedding gift of one year's free rent on a plush apartment from Walt and Amy, she and Bernie are reluctant to accept the offer.
1-9 "How to Be a Jewish Mother" November 11, 1972 After Bernie rejects Bridget's breakfast of ham and eggs, she decides to take a crash course in Jewish cooking, which leads to disaster.
1-10 "The Little White Lie that Grew and Grew" November 18, 1972 Bridget and her parents become Jewish for the weekend when Bernie's devout aunt stops in New York on her way back from Israel.
1-11 "The In-Laws Who Came to Dinner" November 25, 1972 Walt and Amy fear that their ability to influence an important art collector will be compromised by the smoke damage that currently has their apartment under repair.
1-12 "The Homecoming" December 2, 1972 Bridget and Bernie spend the weekend at the Fitzgerald country estate and after Bernie meets some of Bridget's friends, he becomes aware of the style to which she was previously accustomed.
1-13 "You Are Cordially Not Invited" December 9, 1972 Sam and Sophie aren't invited to a party that Walt and Amy are holding for United Nations delegates. However, his mother is determined to attend after discovering Moshe Dayan will be the guest of honor.
1-14 "'Tis the Season" December 16, 1972 Bridget and Bernie reach the holiday season unsure of whether to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah.
1-15 "Belated Honeymoon" December 23, 1972 Increasing tensions between Bridget and Bernie lead both sets of parents to send them on the honeymoon they never had.
1-16 "Honesty Is the Worst Policy" January 6, 1973 Bernie is distressed when he discovers that Bridget was engaged when they met and never once mentioned there being another man in her life.
1-17 "Life Begins at 65" January 13, 1973 After Uncle Moe turns 65, he runs away from home after Sam and Sophie decide he should retire from the deli.
1-18 "With this Ring" January 20, 1973 Bernie is finally able to buy Bridget an engagement ring, but she quickly loses it.
1-19 "Into Every Life, a Little Snow Must Fall" January 27, 1973 Bridget and Bernie talk their fathers into spending a weekend at Walt's hunting lodge.
1-20 "To Teach or Not to Teach" February 3, 1973 Bridget announces that she's going to teach a sex education class to her fourth graders.
1-21 "Painting, Painting- Who's Got the Painting?" February 10, 1973 Bridget has a hard time finding a home for a painting that once hung in her nursery until she discovers a potentially rare painting is found hidden under the surface of the canvas.
1-22 "Steinberg and Son" February 17, 1973 Sam and Walt each get the chance to realize their dream of having Bernie work for them.
1-23 "The Information Gap" February 24, 1973 In an effort to get some measure of privacy, Bridget and Bernie decide to ignore all questions and phone calls from their parents.
1-24 "Greener Pastures" March 3, 1973 Bernie is offered the opportunity to work for a newspaper in Providence.

DVD release[edit]

On December 4, 2012, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 1.[9] This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Amazon.com & WBShop.com and only in the US.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'Live From Baghdad': The Cameras of War", by Tom Shales, Washington Post, December 7, 2002, citing Brilliant But Canceled documentary on Trio (TV network) cable network. Retrieved 2007-11-12.[dead link]
  2. ^ "'Bridget Loves Bernie' Attacked by Jewish Groups' The New York Times, Feb 7, 1973
  3. ^ "Some Jews Are Mad At Bernie; Intermarriage Religion, New York Times, Feb 11, 1973
  4. ^ Jewish Groups Score New Tv Show for Intermarriage Theme The Jewish Daily Forward, Oct 24, 1972
  5. ^ Kahane, Meir (1975). "What Makes Bernie Run?". mkwords.com. Manhattan, NY. 
  6. ^ "Producer Gets Threat Call, Milwaukee Sentinel, January 19, 1973
  7. ^ "David Zurawik, The Jews of Prime Time, Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life, 2003, p. 94
  8. ^ [Murder Suspect Overdoses, Delaying Extradition to U.S. LA Times, July 14, 1993]
  9. ^ "Bridget Loves Bernie DVD news: Update about Bridget Loves Bernie - The Complete Series". TVShowsOnDVD.com. May 25, 2007. Retrieved May 27, 2013. 

External links[edit]