Wednesday, June 14, 2017

BJ and the Bear S2 E14: Siege

Originally aired on January 19, 1980
Directed by Michael Preece
Teleplay by Michael Sloan
Story by Michael Sloan and Glen A. Larson

Siege! The Siege of Country Comfort! It has begun! And, you guessed it, B.J. and Bear have chosen now to return there and they get all mixed up with it! Faux-revolutionaries, mercenaries, the mayor, a group of gals that are sort of like cheerleaders and Markie Post! They're all here, Plus, Janet Julian! I'm in!

Hooray! (I think this is her last episode, though.)

Let me back up a moment. I overloaded that sentence with hyperbole to pull you in but now I have to bring you down a bit. I've watched every episode of B.J. and the Bear about five times over the past five years. I used to work from home and there were days when I would just play and play the show, sometimes focusing on it, sometimes letting it be background. That's where I grew a great fondness for it. Now, watching it closely for these posts...  I see some flaws here and there, as you may have noticed.

B.J. sings. Bear puts fingers in ears.
(I think that's all Bear does in this episode.)

I feel like the first season was really solid. But, this season is meandering and repetitive. In some respects, that is not a problem. It's that sort of show. But, in other respects, it's a big problem. The show doesn't have an identity. Most of the scripts feel interchangeable with other shows. I could have put the Duke boys in the last episode and it would have been the same. The fact that they introduced two new Sheriff characters to replace Lobo...  and both of them are gone now...  means that they don't know what they're up to either. Plus, Country Comfort? I'm fairly certain it's gone after this episode. They threw a bunch of stuff up against the wall this season and none of it stuck. I believe we are about to completely revert to first season-style episodes for the rest of the season. But then...  the third season changes everything.

 Men looking at Markie
What are we? Cheerleaders? A pep squad of some variety?

One of the things about certain episodes is that no matter how many times I watch them some things just don't sink in. Case in point: What are the bad guys up to in this episode? They take the hostages so the owner of the sports team (I think) that includes the cheerleader-type gals will bring them 10 million dollars. Why? They must have said. But, I sure don't remember. And who are all these women? They're attractive. They're in short skirts. Markie Post was crowned Queen of Something-or-other-related to them last year. But, who are they? Apart from hostages? And why, at the climax, does B.J. cause a diversion by driving his truck through the wall of County Comfort? It makes for a heck of an image but the truck is B.J.'s home. And, in the first season, I feel like he would have come up with something smarter. And, later in the season, I believe he does the same exact thing. (Granted, he does look wrecked as he stares at the rig in the wall. But then, Markie hugs him and all is all right.) The broad strokes of the episode make sense. I simply don't remember the details.

There you have it.
B.J. does look wrecked, though.
Maybe he's disappointed that he didn't come up with a better solution.
However, the day is saved.

Now, having said all that, this is B.J. and the Bear. We're not watching Back to the Future II. It doesn't have to make sense. It simply has to be entertaining. Is it? Well, it's OK. There is a hotheaded bad guy who straps a bomb to another guy. I was convinced that he was nuts. And, the head bad guy, played by Geoffrey Lewis, has a long conversation with B.J. about wars, which is almost interesting. (The gist being that B.J. was in Vietnam saving lives and became a P.OW. but this bad guy was a pure mercenary, fighting for whomever for money.) The ladies are lovely. It's nice to see Country Comfort one more time. But, apart from that... 

Desperate B.J.

There is a section of the episode where the hostages are separated. (I honestly don't remember why.) Half stay at Country Comfort with the hothead and the bomb and the mayor. The other half are put in B.J.'s rig and drive around. (The head bad guy and B.J. are up front.) Seeing those women in the back of the rig reminded me of The Foundlings. And it reminded me that this show seemed far less generic at one time. It was a flagrant mash-up of what was popular circa 1978 but it felt like it was building towards something. Now, sadly, it feels like it's treading water. Maybe shedding the Sheriffs and Country Comfort and having B.J. hit the road with Bear will open it up again...  at least for a while.

Hugs From Markie! (TM)

Postscript: I didn't give you all the plot of this. Well, not in so many words. Here you go. Country Comfort is sponsoring a beauty pageant of some variety. Those ladies are there, including last year's queen. (As I said, I don't fully understand the ladies.) The mayor is there. It's rehearsal night. Suddenly, a bunch of mercenaries/ revolutionaries take everyone hostage, including B.J. and Bear. They want 10 million dollars from a local rich guy who runs the team (or something) that involves the ladies. Will B.J. be able to free the hostages? Or will it all go to hell? (Hint: The Former) Tune into Siege! and find out.

I'm not sure what show this is from but...
Good Gravy!
Bye, Tommy.*

*Her character's name, by the way. I'm not saying goodbye to some random guy named Tommy.

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