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Series / Hazel

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Hazel was an American Dom Com which aired for four seasons (1961–65) on NBC and a fifth season (1965–66) on CBS. It was based on the single-panel comic strip of the same name created by Ted Key, which was published in The Saturday Evening Post and later as a syndicated newspaper comic.

It centered around a live-in maid named Hazel Burke (Shirley Booth) and the suburban family for whom she worked: lawyer George Baxter (Don DeFore), his interior-decorator wife Dorothy (Whitney Blake), and their son Harold (Bobby Buntrock). At the end of the fourth season NBC canceled Hazel, but it made a Channel Hop to CBS, which retooled the premise by replacing George and Dorothy with George's brother Steve (Ray Fulmer), his wife Barbara (Lynn Borden), and their daughter Susie (Julia Benjamin). Harold was kept as well as Hazel of course.

Hazel provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Since it was based on a single-panel comic strip, this was pretty much a given.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In the comics, Hazel was kind of a bossy nag who tormented the family she worked for. Booth's Hazel is a well-intentioned busybody at worst and a Cool Old Lady the rest of the time.
  • Big Eater: Both George and his client Harvey Griffin.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Herbert Johnson in "Herbert for Hire", who holds a college degree in dead languages, and has invested in such outdated products as harnesses and saddles, shoe buttonhooks, kerosene lantern, stereopticon slide viewers (the 19th century ancestor of the View-Master), and has 485 tons of whalebone stored in a warehouse, only to discover that modern corsets are made of elastic.
  • Christmas Episode: "Hazel's Christmas Shopping" (Season 1), "Just 86 Shopping Minutes to Christmas" (Season 4)
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • In the first-season Thanksgiving episode, the family is visited by another sister of George's named Phyllis along with her husband Bob, neither of whom is ever seen or mentioned again.
    • Mitch Brady the taxi driver, after several Season 2 episodes.
    • Along with George Baxter, his client Harvey Griffen vanishes from the show in Season 5.
  • Cool Old Lady: Hazel herself, as well as George's mother.
  • Cousin Oliver: While this is a bit of an older example, Steve and Barbara, George's brother and sister in law, and their daughter Susie, Harold's cousin. One of the reasons that Steve and Barbara Baxter were brought in was to appeal to younger demographics. They, also, fit in with the trope by being relatives who were never mentioned before.
  • Dramatic Irony: One Season 2 episode has a Scottish man (played by a younger James Doohan) reunite with his estranged girlfriend in the United States. He goes on to tell the Baxters how much he loves her simple style of dress, her facial flaws, and how hard she works—all while Hazel is fixing her up at the beauty salon so she can look gorgeous for the reunion.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first season was filmed in black and white, except for the "What'll We Watch Tonight?" episode, which was filmed in color, with Hazel buying a color TV set.
  • Halloween Episode: "A-Haunting We Will Go" (Season 5).
  • Kindly House Keeper: Hazel clearly loves the Baxter family.
  • The Nicknamer: Hazel gives everyone in the Baxter family a nickname; George is "Mr. B", Dorothy is "Missy", and Harold is "Sport".
  • Old Retainer: Hazel actually worked for Dorothy's family but stayed with Dorothy when she married George.
    • In Season 5, Hazel is quietly retconned into having been this for the Baxters, as Steve remembers her as a kid. Given that Steve has a kid close to Harold's age, we're probably not supposed to assume he was a kid when Dorothy married George.
  • Product Placement: The Ford Motor Company was the sponsor, and every character seemed to drive a Ford. Many of the opening credits show the family getting ready to take a trip in a Ford car. In one of the closing credits, a Ford Galaxie was featured speeding along the road.
  • Put on a Bus: George and Dorothy after the Channel Hop; the in universe explanation was that George had been assigned by his firm to go to Iraq (!) and Dorothy went with him. Harold stayed so he wouldn't have to be pulled out of school.
  • Remember the New Guy?: When Hazel made the Channel Hop to CBS, George Baxter's younger brother Steve is introduced despite the fact he'd never been mentioned before.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: At the start of Season 5, George and Dorothy move to Baghdad, while Harold moves in with his Uncle Steve, Aunt Barbara, and cousin Susie.
  • Retool: For the fifth and final season, they replaced George and Dorothy Baxter with George's brother Steve and his wife Barbara.
  • Rich Bitch: George and Steve's sister Deidre has shades of this.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Herbert and Harriet Johnson, who have trouble with the simplest cooking tasks, and find themselves nearly broke after Herbert learns that he's invested in such obsolete companies as harnesses and saddles, button hooks, kerosene lanterns, stereopticon slide viewers, and his 485 tons of whalebone are sitting unused in a warehouse because corsets are now made of elastic.
  • Rotten Robotic Replacement: In "Rosie's Contract", Hazel has a nightmare where she is replaced by a robot (played by Robby the Robot).
  • Thanksgiving Episode: "Everybody's Thankful But Us Turkeys" (Season 1), "A Lesson in Diplomacy" (Season 4).
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Harvey Griffin frequently shows up for dinner, often uninvited, because of his love of Hazel's cooking, and he has known to stay well past dinner.