Friday, December 21, 2018

Walter Olkewicz in "Working At It"

Walter Olkewicz is a great character actor who made appearances on a ton of tv shows throughout the 1980s such a s Married With Children, Who's the Boss, Mr. Belvedere, Designing Women, The Love Boat, Night Court and Family Ties.  The list goes on...

His first appearance on Family Ties (1984) is one of my favorites.  This episode from Season 2 entitled "Working At It" is unusual because it focuses on the mother character of Elyse as opposed to the star character Alex (played by Michael J. Fox).  It is always a treat on sitcoms like these when large parts of the episode take place on a new set outside of the usual staged home environment.  In this case it is a modern art department of an architecture office where Elyse is trying to get a new job.  Olkewicz plays a supportive co-worker with an offbeat sense of humor.  It was this very unusual, but funny, acting job that makes me want to seek out more roles this actor has played.  He is a unique talent.

Another thing I love about this episode is the set. The office has a very typical 1980's feel to it and one of the dilemmas in this story is that Elyse doesn't know how to use the brand new computer equipment to construct her schematic drawings.  When she tries, she get tangled up in the printer's paper and panics!  The computer itself looks very strange in retrospect, like something seen in Epcot's World of Tomorrow. Olkewicz's casual costume with his Hawaiian shirt and sneakers in contract to Elyse's business attire suit just adds to the fun.

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