• Webster – Season One

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: 1/25/2010
    Director: Various
    Cast: Emmanuel Lewis, Alex Karnas, Susan Clark
    Year: 1983
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Sereies:

    Ah, the good old days of miniature black actors! Though a show I recall watching, Webster is not one that was a huge part of my childhood. Still, being an 80s kid, I was excited at the prospect of revisiting this show even if merely for the cheesy predictability, anti-PCness and bad child acting present in so many sitcoms from the decade. After three discs worth of season one, I was surprisingly impressed by how much I actually enjoyed rewatching Webster and what an unexpectedly decent actor twelve-year-old Emmanuel Lewis really was. Sure, the script is corny and the topics are pretty much that of every other 80s sitcom, but Emmanuel Lewis, playing a younger character because of his small size, is quite believable. And what a great laugh!

    Webster, which ran from 1983 for six seasons through 1989, stars Lewis as seven-year-old Webster Long, whose parents died in an accident leaving him in the custody of ex-football star George Papadapolis, played by Alex Karras, and his new socialite businesswife Katherine Calder-Young, played by Susan Clark. Also part of the cast is Henry Pollic II as Katherine’s effeminate secretary turned fitness guru, Jerry Silver. Sprinkled throughout the series is a wide array of “what do I know them from?!” kid extras… Heather O’Rourke from Poltergeist, Tiffany Brissette from Small Wonder, Mayim Bialik from Blossom, etc, etc.

    Recurring character, Uncle Phillip, played by Ben Vereen, adds music, dancing and tension to the series with the season ending cliffhanger in which he is going to fight Katherine and George for custody of Webster. Part one of a two part episode… will Shout Factory release season two? Will we ever find out if Webster leaves the Papadapoli and goes to live with Uncle Phillip?

    Episodes included on this three disc set are:

    Another Ballgame
    A Question of Honor
    Happy Un-birthday
    Don’t Jump George
    Consulting Adults
    George the Patient in Spite of Himself
    Katherine’s Swan Song
    Maybe Baby
    Saying Goodbye
    The Green-Eyed Monster
    Secrets of the Night
    Second Time Around
    Special Friends
    Uncle Phillip
    That’s Entertainment
    More Than a Memory
    Educating Katherine
    Teddy Bear Scare
    Webster Long: Part 1

    Episode highlights include Webster’s song and dance television performance with Ben Vereen (playing himself… a joke is made when Katherine first meets Uncle Phillip (also played by Vereen) and says, “Has anyone ever told you you look just like Ben Vereen?), Webster going missing (oh no!... not the dreaded 80s don’t-talk-to-strangers episode!), a Special Olympics episode in which Web learns to treat people fairly and best of all a bed wetting episode!


    The only extra in this set is a Webster trivia game (approximately ten questions) based on the season one shows. Presented in its original fullframe format, audio and video quality are what you’d expect for a twenty-eight year old television program.

    The Final Word:

    This was a fun set to watch and actually isn’t as dated as you might think (except for the aerobics suits that pass by every once in a while…), definitely enjoyable for anyone who remembers it fondly.

    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      He looks like Bill Cosby in the Wiffle bat pic.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      my only real memory of that show was something my racist grandfather said about it.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Racist grandfathers are NOT down with little black kids.

      Alison, i like the review but you lose points for not mentioning Porkys.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      You lose more points for not remedying the Porkys thing.
    1. Alison Jane's Avatar
      Alison Jane -
      Someone read this review?
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      Not me. The reviews here suck.
    1. Gory's Avatar
      Gory -
      Great review Alison!!
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      No mention of Porky's, though.