Larry Gelbart Harry F. Waters - Essay

Harry F. Waters

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Attempting to categorize NBC's "United States" is like trying to imagine Ingmar Bergman's "Scenes From a Marriage" rewritten by Neil Simon and staged as a prime-time soap opera. Suffice it to say that this half-hour series … is unlike anything ever presented on TV…. "United States" sets out to examine contemporary wedlock—the state of being united—without resort to standard sitcom conventions. No audience attended the tapings, no laugh track was inserted to punch home the lines. The small screen becomes, in effect, a microscope slide on which Gelbart smears the psyches of his subjects. Their problems range from the dyslexia of a young son to a dinner party guest list, and not a single one of them gets solved...

(The entire section is 431 words.)