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''Benson'' was a half-hour SitCom that aired on Creator/{{ABC}} from 197986.

A SpinOff of ''Series/{{Soap}}'', the series starred Robert Guillaume as Benson [=DuBois=], who took over as head of household affairs at [[WhereTheHellIsSpringfield the Governor's Mansion]] under Gov. Eugene Gatling (James Noble) -- cousin to Jessica and Mary of ''Soap''. This put him in immediate conflict with Gretchen Kraus (Inga Swenson), the head cook who coveted the position for herself. Other characters included Gatling's daughter, Katie (Missy Gold); his chief of staff, Clayton Endicott III (Rene Auberjonois); his press secretary and photographer, Pete Downey (Ethan Phillips); and his ditzy personal secretary, Denise Stevens Downey (Didi Conn).

As the show went on, Benson climbed up the political ladder, thanks to Gov. Gatling's trust in him, going from working in the mansion staff to state Budget Director, and then to Lt. Governor, before finally running for Governor himself in the final season.

Do ''not'' confuse this with the character Benson from ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow''.

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!!''Benson'' contains examples of following tropes:

* AnAstralProjectionNotAGhost: ''Soap'' ends with Jessica [[BolivianArmyEnding about to be shot by a firing squad in Central America]]. In the next season, she shows up on ''Benson'' as a ghost which only Benson can see. But then she finds out she's not really dead, she's just in a coma in a Central American hospital.
* BenevolentBoss: Governor Gatling
* BreakoutCharacter / EnsembleDarkhorse: A rare case of said character getting spun off into his own show as opposed to [[SpotlightStealingSquad the original show restructured completely around them.]]
* TheCastShowOff: At least one episode per season gave Robert Guillaume a chance to show his singing chops.
** The first {{Christmas episode}} gave us [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnBBgLEPJL8 this clip]] of Guillaume singing "O Holy Night".
** The second Christmas episode had him sing "O Little Town of Bethlehem" with the extra bonus of lighting the tree with his music.
** Season 5's "Too Pooped To Pip" let him do a duet with Gladys Knight.
** The Season 6 two-parter, "Made in Hong Kong," shows Rene Auberjonois speaking fluent Chinese and displaying an impressive amount of local knowledge about Hong Kong.
* ChessWithDeath: Or in this case, Trivial Pursuit with Death--for the fate of a busload of schoolkids. [[spoiler: "G.Reaper" ends up losing because he missed a question on Charles Bronson--the answer was "Death Wish."]]
* ChristmasEpisode: Two of them.
** Season 4's "Mary and Her Little Lambs" had Kraus sing a German version of "Silent Night," followed by the above bit of Benson singing "O Holy Night."
** Season 6's "Home for Christmas" had an ItsAWonderfulPlot where Benson had a serious car accident and the spirit of his late mother was trying to convince him to go back to Earth. Benson sang "O Little Town of Bethlehem."
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: John Taylor, the Governor's Season 1 Chief of Staff.
* CommutingOnABus: Katie, in later seasons
* DeadpanSnarker: Benson, Clayton, and (on occasion) Kraus.
* DudeWheresMyRespect: In a lot of episodes, folks don't even ''recognize'' members of the cast outside of a political event, which tends to lead to the typical sitcom situations. Although, there was one episode where Benson was pestered by a tough guy at a bar ''until'' the guy found out who he was, and that he had voted for him.
* ElectionDayEpisode: Being that it takes place in the Governor's mansion, naturally has one of these every four years or so.
** In the first season Taylor runs for office and loses quite badly.
** In the last season Benson is running for Governor because the current Governor is constitnutionally enjoined from seeking another term. But then a loophole appears and he decides to run as an independent. The last episode of the series ends on a cliffhanger as the Governor and Benson sit together watching the election results come in.
** The last three episodes of season three surround the Governor's reelection. The first of the three involves the Governor trying (and failing) to secure his party's nomination. The second has them take a trip to the Gatling family lumber mill and Benson convincing him to run as an independent. The third shows the election itself. (Considering the show lasts four more years, it's not hard to guess who wins.)
** The fourth and fifth episodes of season six revolve around an emergency election for lieutenant governor who was impeached in the season premiere. The two candidates are Benson and Senator Tyler. Needless to say, Benson wins.
* EpicFail: In season one, Taylor's attempt at a political seat.
-->'''Gov. Gatling''':How did Taylor do?
-->'''Marcy''':He lost. He came in sixth.
-->'''Benson''':How did he come in sixth? There were only five candidates.
-->'''Marcy''':There was a very large write-in for "none of the above".
* {{Expy}}: Gene Gatling is clearly based partly on UsefulNotes/JimmyCarter, with a kind but scatterbrained personality similar to his cousin Jessica.
** With a LampshadeHanging in a first season episode, when Benson and Gatling are alone in Gatling's office. Gatling: "If he could do it, why not me?"
* FunnyForeigner: Kraus.
* GeniusDitz: Denise, who could do complex math entirely in her head. Gov. Gatling, to a slightly lesser extent.
* HalloweenEpisode: "The Stranger"
* TheHeart: One episode had a young Katie as it, others showed it was Benson.
* InstrumentalThemeTune
* ItsAWonderfulPlot: One ChristmasEpisode had Benson be seriously hurt in an accident, and his mom's angel showed him [[LosingTheTeamSpirit how bad things would be]] if he died.
* LeftHanging: The show was cancelled at the end of its 7th season. The series finale ended on a freeze frame of Benson and Gatling watching the election returns just as a winner was about to be announced.
** Conflicting accounts exist for this -- one is that the producers shot [[MultipleEndings three different endings]] to cover three scenarios, but weren't satisfied with any of them and opted for the freeze frame instead. The other, from a staff member of the show, suggests [[ExecutiveMeddling the network insisted on the cliffhanger]] and planned to cancel the series anyway due to dissatisfaction with the storyline of a potential 8th season.
* LetsPutOnAShow: Season four's "Kraus Sings the Blues" has the gang having to take over an entire Jerry Lewis-style telethon, complete with having to fill in for the acts.
* LockedInARoom: Seemingly happened at least once a season.
* LoopholeAbuse: Gene uses a loophole in the state constitution to run for a third term, despite the fact that he'd already endorsed Benson in the race.
* LosingTheTeamSpirit: One episode has Gene's sister convince him to put Katie in a boarding school--and the whole cast is depressed afterwards without Katie. Benson and Gene later drive through the night to get Katie back to the mansion the next day. Everyone's happy, with Katie asking Kraus for "a big bowl of her oatmeal."
** Also, the second Christmas episode, where a BadFuture happened when Benson didn't survive a car accident.
* MissingMom: Gatling is a widower.
* NoPartyGiven: It was never disclosed which party Gene was a part of - though it was "None of the above" by the final season.
* [[OurPresidentsAreDifferent Our Governors Are Different]] Gene Gatling, Gov. GeniusDitz.
* PointlessCivicProject: In one instance, federal auditors discover an unexpected budget surplus of $8 million and insist that the state spend that money or their federal distribution will be reduced by twice that much the next fiscal year (which starts tomorrow). Benson & Clayton try to find a way to spend it before the end of the day. In the end Benson decides that's stupid, and just announces that they have a surplus.
* PointyHairedBoss: Gov. Gatling, to the point where you wonder how he ever got elected in the first place.
* PutOnABus:
** Marcy Hill, Gov. Gatling's first secretary. Got married and moved because of her husband's job. She got a farewell party early in Season Three.
** Pete and Denise in the sixth season. Denise took a job with NASA and Pete went with her.
* RequiredSpinoffCrossover: [[Series/{{Soap}} Jessica Tate]] showed up in a couple of episodes.
* RunningGag: Gov. Gatling frequently told stories about his past, which Benson and the other staffers hated listening to. They couldn't usually say so, though, not only because Gatling was their friend, but also their boss. His story usually had a point connected to the plot of the day, but he took the scenic route in getting to it.
** Lampshaded and parodied in a two-parter on the Governor's ranch. The ranch foreman tells Benson a long, rambling story that ended with no connection to any current events. When Benson asks what the point was:
--> Foreman: [Gov. Gatling]'s stories have points. Mine are pure entertainment!
* ServileSnarker: Benson, initially. And Kraus.
* ShootTheMoney: A two-part episode in Hong Kong in season 6.
* SimpleMindedWisdom: Benson still had this even when he went up the job ladder.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Clayton and Denise to Taylor and Marcy (In the screenplay, Benson: A Family Reunion, Clayton and Denise have their own Suspiciously Similar Substitutes, their children, Clayton IV and Anne. Also, Marcy has her own SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitutes, her daughters, Jenny and Molly, and Benson has his daughter, Rachel as this, too.)
* TrashTalk: A duel between Benson and Clayton is decided when Benson opts to have them "playing the dozens" and use insults at the weapon of choice. [[spoiler: By the end Clayton is punch-drunk from being on the receiving end while Benson shows why he's the Master.]]
* VitriolicBestBuds: Benson and Kraus evolve into this by the end of the series.
* VivaLasVegas: A sixth-season episode had them going there for a lieutenant governor's convention.
* WhatMightHaveBeen: A show runner revealed that if the show hadn't been cancelled, the eighth season would've featured Gene winning re-election and Benson becoming a Senator.
* WhereTheHellIsSpringfield: The state ''Benson'' was set in was never revealed (other than it was a Southern state), nor was the name of the city the mansion was located in.
** The capital city is always referred to as... Capital City. That might be its proper name, which would theoretically put it in the same state as [[TheSimpsons the Trope Namer]]. In fact, a "Springfield" is mentioned in one season 3 episode.
* YouLookFamiliar: Both from the parent show, ''Series/{{Soap}}''. Inga Swenson (Kraus) played Corrine's birth mother Ingrid Svenson. Caroline [=McWilliams=] (Marcy) played Burt's secretary, who claimed to have had an affair with him at the behest of Svenson. It was never mentioned on ''Benson''.
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