Wednesday, August 10, 2016

BJ and the Bear S2 E7: The Eyes of Texas

Originally aired on November 10, 1979
Directed by Bruce Bilson
Written by Glen A. Larson

Two things:
1) This is a gamy patch for episode quality. There are screenshots here but they're not always the best. They turned out kind of smudgy.
2) Follow this link to the episode on YouTube!

Carolyn and Heather, Private Detectives!

Two detectives are looking to get their Big Case, their big break. The agency they work for has assigned them to find a philanderer who may be smuggling jewels (if I'm remembering correctly -- I'll explain later). The two ladies hook up with B.J. McKay, who doesn't know what they're up to...  and chicanery ensues. Including one of the women falling off a balcony into a pool, a fight by another pool, a scene with a whole lot of bikers and a speedboat chase. Oh, and B.J. really isn't in it all that much. It's mainly about Carolyn (Lorrie Mahaffey) and Heather (Rebecca Reynolds). Carolyn is the Hot one. Heather is the one with the odd haircut who acts frumpy. (And, yes, Carolyn did go out with Potsie Weber in another life.)

Getting their next case

I know what you're thinking. "Dan, you SOB, where's my review of Run For The Money Part 3? You're a liar and a blackguard." To that, I respond, "Please stay calm and allow me to explain." Then, it gets nasty...  We're going in chronological order. Parts 2 and 3 of Run For The Money aired as Lobo episodes. So, that means there is an episode of BJ and the Bear in-between...  and it's this one.

 Hey. B.J.!

This guy...  Let's say he's a smuggler.
That works for me.

Brion! Always good to see you

Written by Glen A. Larson, oddly enough. Larson was known for shepherding his shows along and then going on to new ones after a time. So, if he's here, than this episode is important to him in some way. And, yes, it is a charmer. (Although lighter than a feather...  notes must be taken during this episode to remember any of it but an appearance by Brion James and Carolyn dancing on a diving board.) But, it also feels like a "soft backdoor pilot" for a series about Carolyn and Heather. Now, I just made up that term so I may have to explain...(I know you're still mad at me.)  A "soft backdoor pilot" is when supporting characters almost overwhelm the main character but don't quite. The episode "Lobo" from Season 1 is a "hard backdoor pilot." We will encounter another "hard one" when the character Heather returns later in the season with Heather Thomas (instead of Mahaffey) to solve another crime. Glen was up to something that involved a show about two female detectives. Sadly, he has passed so we can't ask him what his plans were.

Hangin' With Heather!

The episode is screaming out for a laugh track. There's a constant series of wacky adventures going on with our gals. From the opening in a diner where bikers harass everyone to the final fight around the pool, this is Larson ratcheting up the Wacky. There's even a scene where soaking wet Carolyn takes off her clothes at the laundromat to dry them. And...  there's a guy nearby who assists her...  right as his estranged wife walks in to make up with him. (His wife does the best of all possible faces when she sees what is going on.)

Greatest Face Ever?

As always, the Wacky is never terribly funny...  the best episodes of Our Favorite Show are mostly drama with moments of comedy. Season 2 has been liberally applying the comedy, possibly to match it up closer with Lobo. But, it's not what B.J. and Bear do best. They do light drama/ action with a bit of comedy. The season will calm down and return to its roots as it goes along. As we get away from Country Comfort, basically. But, the ratings will have begun to dip heavily by that point so few would care.

 Eating dinner with B.J...
not thinking about Potsie
In the T.V. biz, this is called the "Hot Lean"

Is this a good episode? Sure. Why not? It's a charming 48-50 minutes worth of television. It does have a few laughs. It has a semi-exciting powerboat chase with way too much rear-screen projection. The ladies are lovely. The guys (well, B.J.) look good. Bear gets involved in the minimal amount of chimp-related chicanery allowed by law. This could almost be an episode of anything. But, it has just enough of the Larson/ Bilson know-how to keep you hooked...  for the time it's playing. And, as I mentioned, two female detectives will be appearing later in the season.

Top photo: Carolyn is mixed into all that water
Bottom photo: Awesome Rear Screen Projection makes chases more exciting!

But, first...  some unfinished business...

I actually meant episode 3 of Run For The Money, rather than Carolyn dancing by the pool...  The screenshot gods make me their pawn.

Freeze Frame!

...and one more for good luck...

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