November 06, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it a B+

Reviled by critics who had yet to see the likes of Hello, Larry and Three’s Company, The Beverly Hillbillies feels alarmingly relevant to our post-1980s hangover. A genial sitcom about a backwoodsman who stumbles onto oil riches and moves his kinfolk to Californy, the show transcended its hokey premise by spinning fairy tales about honesty and virtue winning out over greed and calculation. Avoiding mawkishness and preachiness, the show eschewed Capra-esque sentimentality for toned-down farce, with comic misunderstandings, occasionally over-cute visual gags, and genuinely inspired verbal exchanges. The choice of episodes in this collection could be better, however — half of the volumes take the Clampett family out of Beverly Hills and into Washington, D.C. (Volume 2), and New York City (Volume 3). But even in these fish-out-of-water-once-removed half hours, the family’s guilelessness can still shame a con artist (guest star Phil Silvers in Volume 2) into doing the right thing. The Clampetts come across as the noble fools of comedy archetype — neither they nor their show are as simple as they seem. B+

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