Wednesday, November 2, 2016

BJ And The Bear S2 E9: Gasohol

Originally aired on November 24, 1979
Directed by Charles Rondeau
Teleplay by Robert L. McCullough
Story by Richard Maize & Patrick Lloyd

Hammer is back! Country Comfort is back! Tommy is back! Plus, there's moonshine.

So...  much like Snow White and the Seven Lady Truckers at the start of the season...  (by the way, what happened to Snow White?) the non-independent truckers (HighBall Trucking) are trying to drive out the independents so they can get a big trucking deal. Hammer (who I thought had promised not to bother the independents anymore) tries to run B.J., Tommy and Bear off the road. But, Hammer ends up rupturing the lines and pipes that supply oil for everyone in the area. How will anyone get anywhere without oil? That's where the shine comes in...  It's Lumm Shine. And Lumm makes some strong stuff. Plus, he has a granddaughter in short jean shorts. (I call her Lady Lumm.) Can B.J. use the moonshine to power his rig and save the day?

I would never lie about short shorts

Oh, Gasohol. Well, once you can put aside the fact that Hammer's up to his old tricks and that we are, more or less, doing a variation on the season opener...  this episode has its charms. It starts off at Country Comfort with the Problem With The Fuel. Then, suddenly, we're on a studio backlot where we meet Grandaughter Lumm, a sheriff, his two deputies (one of whom was a cop in the great Drive-In Massacre), their receptionist (who is not Sybil Danning's sister) and some guy who Lady Lumm likes but I kept forgetting what he was there for...  I think he was a revenuer.

 The revenuer getting assaulted with mud

It is the guy from Drive-In Massacre
It is not Sybil Danning's sister

Then, the shine gets put in B.J.'s gas tank. And there are chases and Tommy kisses up on B.J. And Old Man Lumm waves his shotgun around and...  Look, I normally don't take notes on these episodes when I do these write-ups. I should have for this one because it's a lulu.

Hammer just hurt 'em...

Everything seems to be moving along well...  then suddenly we meet Lady Lumm and all those secondary characters. I've mentioned this before but I will say it again. They re-introduce all these people over at Country Comfort. Then, they introduce this whole brand new batch of people in this small town. Why so many characters? Why not keep the focus on the Country Comfort gang? It overstuffs an already overstuffed episode. Sometimes this episode reminded me of Season 1's Never Give A Trucker An Even Break, which seemed to have everything 1979 could offer. But, Gasohol has several established characters and then brings in this new boatload. Really, your best bet throughout? Keep your focus on the shiny cars moving around, B.J. looking good and the lovely ladies because the rest of it might give you a headache.

There's actually less time spent on the phone than you'd imagine

I don't normally endorse turning off your mind and letting a piece of entertainment carry you away. I'm not a fan of Dumb entertainment. But, this one walks a precarious line. I would say that maybe it is best to just put the episode on and don't think about it. Although, having said that, I just thought about it and I wonder...

The Sheriff, the Revenue Guy and Old Man Lumm

Notice the writing credit. Robert is on staff for the show. He's a regular writer. The two guys with the "story" credit are not. Could this have happened...  Pat & Dick turned in a script about a fuel shortage (this was the late 1970s) that did not feature Country Comfort or Hammer or anyone. It was about B.J. trying to haul stuff, other truckers getting in his way, fuel shortage, etc. Then, he meets Lady Lumm and the gasohol comes into play. It ends up being a fairly standard episode of the show. Robert was handed the script and told to re-write it, keeping the main storyline but bringing in Country Comfort. That would explain the jarring moment when it goes from Country Comfort to all these new characters. That would explain why there just seems to be too much going on. I like this theory I just made up. I stand by it.

B.J. makes out with Janet Julian
Bear gets drunk
Just another Wednesday at Country Comfort

Gasohol. Much like the episode before it, this is a standard and fun episode of B.J. and the Bear. We can resolve ourselves to the fact that the promise of Season 1 (with varying tones from episode to episode) will remain unfulfilled. This show will now be dumb fun from here on in, with a few exceptions. Maybe the next episode will be one of those? Let's see. Shall we?

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