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Winner Take All?
Of all the employees that new program director Andy Travis (Gary Sandy) has had to work with in his brief time as program director at WKRP the most oddball yet perhaps the most talented is Dr.Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman). Whilst Johnny is a flighty and erratic primadonna, when the Doctor is in, few disc jockeys are his equal. Locked in a tight rhythm his top 40 rock morning drive time show has awakened the dead i.e. improved the radio stations ratings to the point where the industry has taken notice..
Having accepted a job in Los Angeles where he used to work and where his career was at its apogee (Where he said "Booger" on the air and got canned), Fever left Travis in a sudden bind to replace him. It isn't merely a huge setback for WKRP. Travis genuinely misses Johnny as does night-time deejay Venus Flytrap(Tim Reid), intern Bailey Quarters (Jan Smithers) and receptionist Jennifer Marlowe (Loni Anderson).
Into this somber and forlorn environ, out of work DJs venture looking for work. Fever's eventual successor is one Doug Winner (Phillip Charles Mackenzie) - a young up and comer who found out about the job opening via record company eel Murray Gressler (Jeff Altman). Winner - agreeable and diplomatic, makes an excellent first impression. Even Les and Herb like him. Venus and Bailey remain unconvinced even as Winner performs admirably on air.
Yet Dr.Fever returns, fired again (This time for saying "Jive-Ass" on the air) and asks if they'll take him back at WKRP. Travis is more than happy to hire him back but it somehow doesn't seem right to just plug him right back into his old time-slot given how well Winner has been doing with it.
So Travis offers Fever the graveyard shift i.e. midnight til 6 AM as a temporary assignment until he can find him something better. Fever accepts. The awkward moment when a returning Fever's first shift changeover cedes the helm on air to Winner, who now occupies his old time-slot, is handled well by both men at first. Each is gracious up until a tell-tale baggie of white powder falls out of Winner's stack of new LPs.
Station manager Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson (Gordon Jump) unexpectedly shows up in the DJ booth just in time to see the packet and, with astounding naivete, asks what it is. Johnny decides not to rat Winner out even after Winner dares him to. The Big Guy leaves with the packet convinced by both that it is foot powder.
Johnny refuses to inform on Winner whom he finds contemptuous but enjoys watching Winner squirm as well as see him lament the loss of the not inexpensive bag of blow which Dr.Fever prescribed for the Big Guy to put on his feet.
Meanwhile Travis clues in that Winner has been receiving cocaine from Gressler in a pay for play exchange. Called onto the carpet in Carlson's office Winner tries to pin it on Johnny but neither Travis or Carlson buy in.
Why Fever doesn't inform on Winner right away is never explained. My guess would be that while Johnny wanted his old time-slot back he didn't want it back that way. My guess would be that just didn't feel right to a character who never fully shows deference to management in the entire run of the series. It may even have occurred to Johnny that he would not be believed. He has after all just been fired from the same Los Angeles station a second time for heavy-handed reasons.
Why Travis hires Winner in the first place even though skeevy Murray pushes for it is less difficult to puzzle out. A station like WKRP has few quality people walk through its doors looking to work there. Winner, has talent, appears professional because at some point in his career he likely was. He doesn't really put on an act (Though he probably wasn't high) in the interview.
Travis saw the young man Winner used to be, who is likely still there beneath the cokehead version which makes Winner do things he wouldn't do otherwise. A bad influence like Murray can lead nice people into some dark corners.
Travis is the most capable employee at WKRP but that doesn't mean he is perfect. It does mean that after he makes a mistake he is quick enough to catch it before it does lasting damage (A payola scandal could get a radio station decertified by the Federal Communications Commission). In keeping with his professionalism Travis doesn't dwell on the fact that he made a bad call. He goes to Carlson and explains why the young employee must be fired.
Phillip Charles Mackenzie was a comedic actor who COULD play straight man but was generally better known for flamboyantly off-beat characters. His characterization here hits all the right notes in showing the gritty desperation of an addict whilst suggesting what he might have been like before he started using.
There were other serious issues raised during the series. But this episode was among the best in that it struck a comfortable balance between the issue and the humour. As for why payola would happen at the 16th ranked station in an 18 station market, that is something only Murray Gressler might be able to explain if he actually existed. Per Winner's demands he is compensated with $600 worth of cocaine for playing Onslaught records - a hefty bounty for airplay on a station not many people listen to.
Fast-talking and skeevy seeming comedian Jeff Altman appeared in the film Record City (1978) which was about a record store. He was also in American Hot wax (1978) which was about DJ Alan Freed whose career was destroyed by the payola scandal of the early 1960s. He also appeared on episodes of Bandstand and Rock Concert. Thus Altman's appearance serves as legacy casting.
GLOW: The Liberal Chokehold (2017)
The Best Episode Of The First Season
Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling mastermind and financier Bash (Chris Lowell) has had his allowance cut by his rich mother Birdie (Elizabeth Perkins) who is alarmed by how much money he has spent in but a few short months. She becomes outraged when she finds out that it has been bankrolling a women's wrestling promotion. She'd be considerably more outraged if she knew how much out of that he was spending on hard drugs.
Bash, his director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), and the women of GLOW are left with a $9,000 shortfall in booking the venue for the next event. They hatch various schemes including a bikini car-wash to finance and keep the show going.
One scheme involves them gatecrashing Birdie's fundraiser against crack use, and pretending to be former crack addicts who took up wrestling as a way out of the drug scene. Each gives a laughable but nevertheless convincing testimonial before they ask for donations.
Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) who wrestles as "Zoya the Destroya" uses the moment to make apology for her affair with her best friend's husband via an ambiguously worded pitch of contrition for an event which she says happened because she was under the influence. The best friend whose husband she jumped is of course Debbie Eagen (Betty Gilpin) - a fellow out-of-work actress who became a pro wrestler for GLOW. Debbie watches the semi-apology from across the room.
Sam brought cocaine. Sam thought he would have a good time. Sam did not have a good time. Sam found out that someone already made a movie out of an idea he thought was uniquely his. Then Sam tried to seduce wrestler Justine (Britt Baron) a woman young enough to be his daughter. The resultant surprise has lingering effects on him and consequently upon the production.
We see these characters try to scam money out of philanthropists which should be appalling. But after having seen them attempt to make money off a bikini car-wash their desperation to do go on with the show is readily apparent. Because of that it somehow seems less bad particularly when they have each shown how much they really are in need of a break if only so they can see what that is like.
Every one of the quirky characters on this extremely well-written comedy is likable. But the breakout stars are sure to be Jackie Tohn who plays party-girl Melrose, and Marc Maron as the lovably skeevy show director Sam.
Things Don't Just Happen...People Make Choices!
Desperate female performers, including out of work actress Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie - here looking like Nathalie Imbruglia with a hangover), struggling on the Los Angeles entertainment production scene flock to a mystery audition which some appear to think is porn and others seem to think is extras casting for a used car commercial. The auditions prove to be for something more bizarre for it's time i.e. women's professional wrestling on cable TV.
Ruth is no saint (She's doing her best friend Debbie's husband & Debbie just had a baby). She also doesn't appear to care whether or not she actually has any gift for acting to still want to do it after numerous indications from others that she isn't very good.
In fact none of the people depicted looks particularly heroic or even like someone you'd wanna know. They swear like women do now and use an argot that women use now. But as far as I remember women didn't call each other "dude" back in the 1980s or throw Fs and Cs around near as often.
The pilot episode strikes a universal tone that anyone should be able to understand. It shows us where someone has to get to that they might think taking up pro wrestling (without years of training, only the minor chance of success, excellent chance for injury and be insulted every step of the way) is a good idea.
The humour is of a drier, darker edgier variety. For instance during her cattle call audition with Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) - the sleazo cokehead producer/director of GLOW, Ruth is given not only a crude, cursory assessment of her physical appeal (Specifically her face) but one that sounds it was written by an insult comedian who can read her thoughts and knows how to word exactly the nuanced missive to her that she will have staring back at her in every mirror she sees thereafter.
That particular rock-bottom feeling, common to all of us at one time or another, is of the kind that started revolutions throughout history. Ruth does something else with it as do the other characters on GLOW. Many will laugh at these characters. Others will look at them with pity and an awkwardness recognizing similar circumstances.
Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling was a real life cable TV wrestling promotion that specialized in works performed by female sports entertainers. Its legacy of grooming women gladiators for TV stardom and wrestling glory cannot be overestimated. GLOW paved the way for generations of female performers in the wrestling ring.
At worst it was fun to watch. At its best, like any pro wrestling promotion, it reached a fairly high level of live performance art many times in any given year. But the characters in this series are composites and it very loosely articulates the chain of events in GLOW history.
As for feminist or post-feminist I don't know. Is there such a thing as "Post-post-feminist"?
Come to Bed (2017)
Probably Canada's Funniest Short-Film of 2017
Phil (Jason DeRosse) and his live-in girlfriend Claire (Stacey McGunnigle - usually red-haired but with dark brown hair here) have been together long enough where they have to schedule sex.
One night, while watching television in their pajamas, Phil is ready for some bedroom action but Claire just wants to watch TV and eat junk food (presumably not one of the many products McGunnigle has done a commercial for).
Can't blame Phil for getting turned on. Cutey Claire is wearing sexy leopard print pajamas and looks adorable in between stealing snack-bites and becoming entranced by what is on the screen in front of her. But she isn't feeling romantic for a couple of reasons that she and Phil don't find funny but that everybody else will.
DeRosse and McGunnigle wrote and performed together for many years with Toronto's legendary Second City comedy troupe. But McGunnigle is far better known.
In Canada, McGunnigle became "That woman from the commercial" (A title once held by Natalie Brown, then Jennifer Baxter) as she starred in multiple ads on Canadian TV hocking different products as a shy, adorable but generally clueless character.
In this six-minute production, you can get a sense of why McGunnigle has gone further faster. She has all the star quality DeRosse lacks and she could improve Saturday Night Live or Orange Is The New Black were she to join the respective casts of either show.
Riptide: Diamonds Are for Never (1984)
Murray's Night Out
Perky flight attendant and gullible mark Connie (Kathryn Witt) agrees to deliver a package for her friend Artie (Peter Hobbs). He is a nice old man who has convinced her to deliver packages for him before. He tells her that very innocuous things (Insulin, diabetic chocolate) are in the packages and they are for his brother Walter Truman (John Anderson).
After collecting the latest package she forgets to ask him something and goes back to Artie's house just in time to see his murdered body as a mysterious hood George Bobbitt (Pepper Martin) stands over him with a gun. The man chases her but she manages to get away.
Los Angeles private investigators/seductive face-men Cody Allen (Perry King) and Nick Ryder (Joe Penny) are planning a hot double date with Tammy (Robin Evans) and Bambi (K.C.Winkler) - beautiful young female crew members who work for rival boat captain Mama Jo (Anne Francis) whom, rumor has it, is out of town.
Their business partner Murray Bozinsky (Thom Bray) is insulted that his buddies are trying to get him to go away for awhile so they can enjoy themselves. Bribed with guilt cash from them, the keys to Nick's vintage corvette, and a mandate to enjoy himself, Murray is persuaded to go out on his own without his two safety valves - Cody and Nick.
He has elected to go to the movies instead of an Aerosmith concert. Classic cartoons are playing at the local bijou and he can't resist. They've given him $70 which back in 1984 was enough to budget for a flick and buy movie theater popcorn.
There he finds Connie sobbing and terrified and he bonds with her. She has been hiding out in the theater from Bobbitt who chased after her. She is afraid to leave. Her fears are well-founded. The man is waiting right outside having cut off the entrance.
When she finally does leave it is with a sympathetic Murray who pledges the support of the Riptide detective agency and drives her back to the boat after failing to chase down the murderer in Nick's car. Murray can't handle the high-speed car chase and ends up in an accident. Not only does the baddie get away but the cops nab an irate Murray for reckless driving and speeding. But Connie is at least safe.
The police hear Connie's story and investigate but find no body or sign of a struggle due to the killer employing excellent cleaners. Back at the Riptide, Connie & Murray find tiny crystals they identify as diamonds in one of the insulin bottles inside the package which even conservative estimates suggest are worth a fortune. No sooner do they find the precious stones than they are abducted by Bobbitt. An unknown factor presents itself when Cody and Nick try go full John Wayne and try to rescue Murray and Connie.
Pretty solid entry although the baddies are a tad on the decrepit side. Having flight attendants smuggle illicit goods has long been a practice in the underworld. It has even happened in recent years despite considerably more stringent airline security and tougher penalties.
Kathryn Witt starred as Pam Bellagio on the CBS series "Flying High" during the 1978-79 TV season. She portrayed a flight attendant.
This episode is the only listed directorial credit for Gloryette Clark who was best know for editing for TV shows.
The Ocean Does Not Give Her Secrets To Just Anyone!
Los Angeles private investigators Cody Allen (Perry King), Murray Bozinsky (Thom Bray), and Nick Ryder (Joe Penny) travel to the Caribbean island of Martigua for a weeks vacation. The three of them dote on their beautiful friend and hostess Italian undersea explorer Giovanna Guilirini (Ava Lazar) but Cody is the one who gots the biggest crush on 'er, eh? They met her late in the second season (Episode 21 - Arrivederci, Baby).
Leading their expedition to find lost pirate treasure is world famous adventurer Angelo Guilirini (Cesar Romero) - Giovanna's father and captain of his own boat - the Arrivederci (All introduced on Season 2, Episode 21). The expedition has been fraught with sabotage which is suspected to have been orchestrated by alcoholic rival Captain Jack Schofield (Christopher Cary) and his decrepit wreck of a boat the Forty Fathoms.
When Cody, Murray and Nick confront Schofield he does not deny he wants the treasure but does deny he has committed any act of sabotage. He proposes they work together after showing them parts of the treasure he has found. They have the man-power and the technology but after ten years head start on them he knows where it might be. The uneasy partnership is tested when the sabotage continues. Unbeknownst to them an evil businessman and an icy German fence (Christoper Neame) are trailing them in hopes of stealing the treasure out from under them.
Amidst the treasure hunt story-line the cast also enact fantasy sequences which depict the Pirate & the Princess legend (Similar to the Highwayman poem) which is tied to the treasure. Perry King (Channeling Errol Flynn) portrays Captain William Tyson - the pirate. Ava Lazar portrays the princess he captures. Joe Penny (Channeling Cary Grant) portrays the first mate. Stylistically it conveys a classic cinema/women's romance novel vibe.
The inference we are meant to draw is that the show is a modern take on swashbuckling adventure. The characters have that Peter Pan quality which invites the comparison already anyway.
Gorgeous leading lady Ava Lazar was more than passable in her dual role. But she is the only female character we see. On a show that already featured himbos Cody and Nick they added a couple of guest himbo characters portrayed by Paul Land (As Guido) and Russell Todd (As Tony) respectively. They could have made both female and cast gorgeous actresses but didn't. For that and other reasons (Hokey writing mainly) this is not a personal favorite.
As an implicit appeal to female viewers the detectives spend a significant part of a scene at the end talking about how to best be considerate of Giovanna who is heartbroken over a personal betrayal.
Fans of the show Lost might pick up on a line of dialogue Nick says i.e. "I've never heard of ghosts haunting an entire island before."
The Key Is Finding The Primary Agent
Research scientist Don Orley (Paul Wilson) drives to a bar to meet with Los Angeles Spectre investigative journalist Marlene Lewis (Darleen Carr). He wants to blow the whistle on a nefarious plot to get a dangerous "food enhancer" called APS approved by the FDA when it isn't safe for consumption.
Looking anxious, red-faced and sweating profusely Orley is not the picture of prime health himself as he begins to reveal what he knows. He suddenly dies right in front of her after offering cryptic details on what it is about. The startled reporter believes the man was poisoned. She also thinks that she was too after having been given six months to live following a physical evaluation by her doctor.
Riptide detective agency partners Cody Allen (Perry King), Murray Bozinsky (Thom Bray), and Nick Ryder (Joe Penny) devote themselves to the case after hearing her story. As they delve into the project Orley was involved in they notice a trail of deaths made to look like accidents. They could each become chalk outlines on that very trail as they get closer to the scheme and the culprit behind it.
As an implicit appeal to female viewers the detectives spend an entire scene talking about how to best be considerate of their client's feelings - a woman who knows she has little time left to live. The warmth and sensitivity of the Riptide boys was supposed to be part of their cachet with that demographic. But it wasn't very subtle and could be interpreted as condescending. The character is after all, a journalist who is good at what she does and is unafraid to rattle cages. Any inky stained wretch - male or female knows the dangers.
The male demographic could easily relate to the brotherly dorm atmosphere of the life the guys lived aboard the Riptide. Because of that we see the comedic scene in which the guys try to get themselves organized to launder their clothes. It is a catastrophe and Cody hasn't even planned ahead enough to have something to wear to the laundromat. The first sight Ms.Lewis has of them features Cody shirtless (Hello ladies!) with he and the other two holding a long overdue pile of cruddy threads. These are overgrown frat-boys and we get constant reminders of it.
Implicit in that reminder is the sexist notion that they could really use a woman to take care of them - a trade off a lot of lonely women at home watching on TV at the time this was first broadcast would make after checking out Cody and Nick for an hour every week. It was a trade off women used to be called upon to make as their point of entry into a single adult man's life. That signal is continually put out there.
Old-fashioned women were probably very receptive. Insecure women who didn't particularly mind house work may have felt encouragement seeing a way in with these photogenic but nevertheless nasal-voiced immature himbos but only them or guys who looked as good. The important thing was the notion of an opening being filled on the Riptide with Cody and Nick.
As if to balance out how gender roles were changing a scientist friend of Murray's does him a favour then says he owes her one which she clarifies by saying "one" means "The one with the mustache" i.e. Cody.
Riptide: Home for Christmas (1985)
I Was Only Following Orders!
It is Christmas and Los Angeles private investigator/helicopter pilot Nick Ryder (Joe Penny) is feeling sick and irritable. He never much liked the holiday season anyway. Out of frustration his detective agency partners/best friends/roomies Cody Allen (Perry King) and Murray Bozinsky (Thom Bray) are getting ready to ask their moping buddy to walk the plank.
Nick gets a phone call from the Army Reserve who have an urgent assignment for Uncle Sam they want him to do. Unmarried and without his services engaged in professional matters he looks at it as the perfect opportunity to forget the holidays and fulfill a duty he is honored to do particularly given that a soldier with a family might otherwise have been made to do the job. He is given the responsibility of escorting the body of a deceased soldier home to Wyoming and co-ordinating an honor guard for the man's funeral. Cody and Murray are happy to see him off the boat for awhile.
Alone and melancholy on the long transport flight from Fort Tucker, Nick takes time to brood. He is unprepared when evidence suggests that the body in the casket he has accompanied is not who it is supposed to be. Having met the soldier's inconsolable father Ben Wilkinson (James Whitmore Sr.), Nick struggles with having to sort out what has happened and to handle Ben who has become convinced his son is still alive even though the chance is slim. Ben is a proud but kind man whom Nick has quickly come to admire.
Cody and Murray do their level best to help matters. They were in the army too and, like countless servicemen, still have unresolved feelings about their time in combat and feel loyalty to their fellow soldiers. But confronted with a criminal conspiracy involving elements of the army a more personal nerve is hit. As fans of the series know, it was a bizarre plot within the military was what brought the three detectives together years earlier. These disappointed patriots are particularly irked when the army is used for selfish ends by twisted individuals.
If there was a show that never needed a Christmas episode it was Riptide. Cody muses that it is 80 degrees outside their boat at the Los Angeles area King Harbor Marina which doesn't exactly suggest the climate the season is associated with. Around Christmas, Riptide and other shows set in warmer climates were like a visual vacation from the cold for those of us who lived north. Setting an episode elsewhere was counter intuitive.
An uncharacteristically serious, even bleak at times, entry like this one was a huge departure for this series. In fact, aside from the opening montage and a few scenes it doesn't even look like a Riptide episode. But none of that should detract from its value. The story and teleplay made from it are both solid and James Whitmore Sr. (His son directed this episode) was as good an actor as they ever brought in to guest star.
Your Eyes Always Tell The Truth
Riptide detective agency partners Cody Allen (Perry King), Murray Bozinsky (Thom Bray), and Nick Ryder (Joe Penny) have a productive evening attending to the very serious matter of watching Brief Encounter (1945) on cable aboard their boat. Murray starts bawling and his two alpha male buddies get misty eyed at the ending. It just has to be the time for their nemesis uber-macho cop Lieutenant Quinlan (Jack Ging) to come aboard offering them a case.
American government agent Malcolm Sawyer (Michael MacRae), in concert with the local police wants the private investigators to retrieve federal witness Renee St.Claire (Cristina Raines) - ex-supermodel turned mob-wife turned state witness. She is hiding from her mafioso husband Sonny St.Claire (Stewart Moss) in Santa Perlita - a small town in Northern Mexico. He killed her brother and he has sent men after her to prevent her from testifying against him.
They find her almost immediately (a little too easily) and immediately enact a plan to expedite her transport. Their scheme to use a decoy to sneak her out fails and they are ambushed barely escaping in the Screaming Mimi - Nick's dilapidated military helicopter.
The Mimi crashes in the mountains and Nick and Renee hole up in a grow op cabin to await rescue by the American military. This should invite questions about why they were hired for the job when they could have just sent in the military in the first place. A goofy plot-twist gets thrown in which muddles things even more.
A real criminal mastermind with a vast organization and demonstrable ingenuity like Sonny St.Claire would logically have little trouble finding his wife and dealing with her if he knew where she was. Logically he would know where she was if the guy who showed the Riptide boys where to find her was revealed to be in Sonny's employ. Therefore what are Boz, Cody and Nick doing in Mexico at all? Each plot hole is at least as big as that space between Cristina Raines's teeth.
While ultimately incoherent when it comes to plot there are very least a few decent action sequences. But the chief difference (Other than its poor overall quality) which sets it apart from other episodes is that a love story plays out with some surprising passion and intensity.
The opening scene alluding to Brief Encounter and Nick's maudlin love story turned steamy sex romp with Renee again emphasizes the nature of the characters. These are sensitive guys and each adventure provided that essential backdrop for a potential romance.
The other pay-off for female viewers are the continuous shots of buff superhunk Perry King sweating through a tank top whilst wearing a shoulder-holster simultaneously accentuating his traps, pecs and biceps. Not a very subtle appeal to female viewers but probably appreciated nevertheless.
I have liked Cristina Raines in a lot of things she has done but this role really didn't allow for much. Other than some hot love scenes, through which she acquitted herself quite believably. By the end the realization is clear that they didn't give her enough screen time to properly define those aspects of the character that are essential.
Comic relief I guess is meant to be derived from Boz with wearing a dress to act as decoy for Renee. Cross-dressing isn't funny no matter what actor has ever done it.
Down, Out & Dangerous (1995)
I Help You, You Help Me
Earnest and successful nice guy Brad Harrington (Bruce Davison) is having problems in his life at the worst possible time. His wife Monica (Cynthia Ettinger), who has a history of miscarriages, is pregnant, pressure at the investment firm where he works is high. He is also continuously provoked by his abrasive weasel of a neighbor Calvin Burrows (Stuart Pankin) who makes a mess of his beautiful back yard in a dispute where Calvin is technically in the right but unreasonable in resolving. Things escalate resulting in legal action.
Brad, a man with a lot to lose, meets Tim Winchell (Richard Thomas) a homeless hippie drifter who has nothing, is new in town and whilst not too proud to beg insists that he is not too proud to work for food or money either. Tasked with cleaning the huge mess Calvin has made of his back yard one weekend Brad thinks it is a happy coincidence. Tim is immediately cooperative, helpful and gracious in acceptance of any form of remuneration. Brad takes Tim home to help him with the clean up and the stranger proves to be a tireless worker.
Calvin is, of course, around and acting even more obnoxiously in wake of his court date with Brad. He also takes an immediate dislike to Tim showing even greater lack of respect for the shaggy vagrant than he has for Brad and insists on prodding both of them about the clean up of the mess which HE caused. A physical confrontation with Brad ensues in a rehash over their boundary dispute and Calvin falls and goes 'boom' with an ouchy that proves fatal.
Tim makes it look like an accident (which it was...except for the part where Tim made sure Calvin was dead by bludgeoning him a few times with the bricks he fell on whilst Brad wasn't looking). Brad knows how it looks given his disputes with Calvin and Tim is only too happy to remind him when a determined police detective (Jayson Bernard) investigates. A clash of wills ensues as Tim tries to use what he knows to blackmail Brad and milk him to the point of displacing him in his own life.
The real show here is the arc of the Tim character - a volatile and extremely violent outsider whose galling opportunism and resourcefulness suddenly erupt after he has shown every outward sign of being helpless at the beginning. His transitions showing different faces are not necessarily as long a reach as they might seem after we have seen things play out. Ultimately it helps if the viewer was not a big fan of the Waltons. That makes it less of a leap to see John-Boy go bug-eyed psycho.
Weaknesses in the production are readily apparent. The characters never really develop beyond being one-dimensional in a cheap TV movie version of those new-acquaintance-turned-maniac scenarios which have quite frankly being done to death time after time since Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951). There are no strong female characters beyond that of Brad's co-worker CeCe (Melinda Culea)