Watch This: Dueling proposals show Gunsmoke at its best

Every day, Watch This offers staff recommendations inspired by the week’s new releases or premieres. This week: In honor of Love Week, we’re revisiting our favorite television episodes featuring a marriage proposal.

Gunsmoke, “Poor Pearl” (season two, episode 13; originally aired 12/22/56)

“Poor Pearl” is right. The title saloon girl receives two marriage proposals in one day, the first from a nice loner she’s only known a few weeks and the second from a domineering ex who abandoned her without warning one day and just got back to town expecting to pick up where he left off. How’s a girl to choose?

The melancholy 1956 Christmas week episode of Gunsmoke is deceptively low-key at first, the better to zero in on the characters’ psychologies. There’s Pearl (Constance Ford), shell-shocked even before either of the men arrive. There’s Willie Calhoun (Denver Pyle, The …

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