Originally aired on February 17, 1981
Directed by Christian I. Nyby III
Teleplay by Robert L. McCullough, Tom Sawyer, Michael Halperin and Richard Christian Matheson & Thomas E. Szollosi
Story by Ken Pettus
I can count. And that's 7 ladies all right
Grant is after BJ and the gals again. The gals want to raise money to buy Angie's Nephew Louis and his friends football uniforms and equipment. They throw a mini-carnival/ fair type of thing with a lottery. Steiger arrests all seven of them because they forgot to get a permit for the aforementioned lottery. Grant has them placed in a jail far from Los Angeles so BJ will not have truckers he needs for an upcoming haul. BJ eventually finds the gals and comes up with an idea: A football game between his gals and the female prison guards. The guards win and BJ loses everything. BJ's gals win and Grant leaves everyone alone until the next episode. But, will Grant cheat? Hell, will BJ cheat? Do I feel cheated of 48 minutes of my time after watching this episode?
The answers to those questions are: yes, yes and almost.
The game begins... with headbands!
Can we all dwell on the fact that 6 people wrote this? There's a story, which is where the original premise came from. But the "and" and "&" in the teleplay credit implies that there may have been more than one story involved that got grafted together. And it shows. The episode starts with all the nephew stuff, which isn't that great. Then, it segues into a Women In Prison segment. Then, it becomes the final football game where... wait for it... Grant substitutes guys for the prison guard ladies. Uh oh! But, BJ fills a football with helium! And he does something to another one to make it weigh a lot! Oh the wackiness!
Normally a game like this is something I can get behind
Except that's the only part of the show played for wacky. The tonal shifts are hurting my neck again. Grant and Steiger are as nasty as ever. The scenes with Louis play like poor Afterschool Special material. The prison scenes are actually kind of unpleasant, which makes all the helium football gags feel odd. It is tough to see where the episode's going to go until BJ makes the deal with Grant. Frankly, it wasn't what I was expecting. It seems to belong to another episode.
And helium balloons
Sadly, the football game comes across as a hodgepodge of randomly edited together moments. The gals get some points. The guys get some points. Stacks loses her shorts. Helium football! Suddenly, BJ's on the team. And then it's over. There's no sense of time to it. There's no sense of urgency. And, worst of all, even though it is flag football, those guys look like they want to kill our gals. And yet they never quite do. And I'm not sure why. The way the whole scene is put together gives the impression that the gals will be crushed. But, it does not happen. Don't get me wrong: I don't want to see any of them crushed but I'm not sure how it happened the way it happens. I guess the moment the "good" team starts ripping off Marx Brothers bits to win then all reality has gone out the window.
The best part of this episode is the screenshots
The Louis/ Abdul (he wants to be called Abdul) section has some amusing bits where he's chatting with BJ and they're sort of picking on one another. And, it's fun when he's on the sidelines with BJ during the game. But, that portion of the episode feels half-baked. (Sort of like the editing in the game.) My favorite part: He hangs out with a "gang" called the Vampires. (They're the ones the gals want to buy uniforms for.) Louis is about 12. The "gang" is a bunch of 12-year-olds. I'm not convinced.
Not quite the same pizzazz
The whole "Gals want to help these kids get equipment" bit of the episode goes by a bit too fast. One minute Louis and Angie say how much money they need. Next minute, the gals are talking about helping "The Vampires." It took me a moment to remember that they weren't talking about actual vampires. Then, they decide to do this fair thing. Then, Grant mentions the permits and I thought he meant trucking permits. Then, we're at the fair where they all get arrested. It took six people to write this strange, lurking mess? How and why?
Oh Louis! You charmer
See you in the next episode... Wait. What?
He's not in any more... Oh
The prison sequence is as harrowing as this show gets, which is not very. Until Cindy puts a bowl full of soup on a guard's head and wacky music shows up.
Why me? Why me all the time?
I really have the feeling that this show no longer has any idea what it's up to or what it wants to be. Yes, all seven gals get something to do here. Yes, everyone looks cute in their football outfits. Yes, BJ has some fun moments talking with Louis. Yes, Bear ends up in a football uniform (where'd he get that from?) drinking beer. Those are good things. But, the rest of it is a confused mess that goes too fast and then goes too slow and then has too much going on and then can't stick the big game ending. I'm sorry to say that I think this show is really floundering. Greg Evigan and the gals are doing what they can. (Grant and Steiger are really bordering on unbearable.*) But, the scripts need to be better than this. The set pieces need to be less jumbled. And it needs to be more fun. Adding in "Wooooooo" noises when Callie kicks the helium football doesn't really cut it.
*Although it is strange to see how they go from being so nasty to goofballs out on the football field. Maybe half of the writers thought they were writing for Lobo and Perkins?