6. Angus MacGyver: Always prepared…for a lame storyline

Dear Weblog Superfans,

For a very long time, my favorite crappy/awesome ’80s TV show has been MacGyver. I don’t know why; it might have been the amazing hair. In any case, I loved it. Once, when I was fourteen and was on a school trip in Kuala Lumpur, I watched an episode of MacGyver dubbed over in Malaysian. True story.

So imagine my ecstasy when, after years of Angus-less-ness, I was wandering around the TV section of Best Buy and came across the first season of MacGyver for only like $30! That’s, like, a dollar and some cents for every episode! How could such a devoted fan say no?

I think I maybe should have said no.

I mean, don’t get me wrong–MacGyver really is the greatest of the crappy/awesome ’80s TV shows. Knight Rider? C’mon, it gave us decades of David Hasselhoff. Only the Germans should be pleased about that. The A-Team? Whatever. We’ve seen the motley-crew vigilante bit before, and better done. Twenty-One Jump Street? Seriously…cops impersonating high-school students? How is that not too creepy to be good?

But anyway, MacGyver did not hold up well over time. It has become preposterously cheesy. TV nowadays has much higher standards, and so anybody interested in watching old shows with any kind of entertainment in mind other than nostalgia had better look elsewhere.

For instance, nobody (probably) would tolerate an actress playing an Eastern European in one episode, and then in the very next episode, using that same actress to play a brand-new (non-Eastern European) sidekick for the hero. Which is what happened to Elyssa Davalos, who played MacGyver’s opposites-attract partner, Nikki Carpenter. But even those people who might let that casting slip-up go would be a bit perturbed, I think, when that sidekick character, whom we have grown to accept lukewarmly, suddenly disappears. Which is what also happened to Elyssa Davalos/Nikki Carpenter.

But that’s just the beginning. Soon after Nikki leaves (might there be a connection?) the show suddenly turns crappy. (Again, though–not to beat the dead horse too much–it was still a crappy/awesome show to begin with.) Instead of taking his assignments from Pete Thornton and the Phoenix Foundation for Research, he takes them from the freakin’ Challenger’s Club, a place that turns Cuba Gooding, Jr. away from his crack-dealing gang and keeps teenage hookers off the streets. WTF? What happened to spies and explosions and near-death experiences? Shouldn’t a former Special-Forces agent be a bit more involved in, say, government-classified stuff? Military intelligence? Top-secret overseas missions? We don’t need another friggin after-school special!

Anyway. My #6 is to finish watching all the MacGyvers. (I think I forgot to mention that I kind of bought the entire series.) It might be a bit tough, at times, especially those episodes in which MacGyver travels to the Old West or Arthurian England. (Seriously.) But I will do it, and I will survive, and it will be crappy/awesome.

Keep you posted.

Love,
msb

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