Thirty-five years after The Carol Burnett Show ended, Carol Burnett is still a legend among legends in terms of hilarious comic performance. Her wonderful timing, pure outrageousness, and real class make her shows a joy to revisit all these years later — and I can’t say the same about most of the early seasons of SNL, which come from the same era.
Today, Burnett turns 80 years old. What’s her most underrated moment?
My answer: In general, I wish Burnett received more credit for being a great actress. She has a no-nonsense approach to acting, and her comfort with dialogue makes her characters as relatable as she is. As for a specific movie? Look no further than this meditation on marriage, fulfillment, and honesty.
In this unassuming 1981 gem, Burnett and Alan Alda (who wrote and directed the movie) play a functional couple who vacation with their pals once a season. One spring cabin adventure leads seamlessly into a summer boat trip from hell, then a meet-up at a college campus in fall and a snowy rendezvous in winter. Their friends include a self-proclaimed Iiii-talian woman (Rita Moreno), her paranoid husband (Jack Weston), and a sweet, but dull woman whose husband wants to end their 21-year-marriage (Sandy Dennis, one of my all-time favorite actresses, who would’ve been 75 today!)
The movie’s best moment is a fight between Alda and Burnett, a very believable back-and-forth where Burnett tells Alda he’s jealous of his pal, who just secured a young bride. They resolve their dust-up in a convincingly adult fashion, even after Burnett drops the killer line, “Oh, I’m not irrational. Rational people get angry. Irrational people pretend they don’t.” Love it, love her, and love that she snagged a Golden Globe nom for her work.
What’s your favorite Carol Burnett moment? Happy 80th to the queen herself!