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|77 reviews in total|
This first episode of "Hart to Hart" (after the original pilot) told
you everything you would need to know to prepare for the next five
years: The Harts are rich, they are fabulous, and they are completely
and utterly in love. And also solve murders.
I really appreciated the cargo shipping setting kicking off the entire series. Jonathan's undercover efforts result in his getting his hands dirty, which is fine with him. We immediately see that Jonathan may be rich and own everything, but he's also a very humane person who cares about the wellbeing of his workers. Makes us like him right away.
BLOOPER ALERT --> 4:15, the guy in the net is supported by the crane when the net collapses.
ANOTHER BLOOPER ALERT --> When Jennifer comes down the stairs in her first scene, she's holding her briefcase upside down. This is not my first episode review, so it goes without saying that I love Stefanie Powers. So much. But usually her propwork needs work.
While we're on weirdness, I have two words for you: Post-existentialism. Uh ... post-existentialism? Really? Oookie. I also kind of got a kick out of this guy saying he was Jennifer's 2nd cousin once removed. That's not so far away familially that she wouldn't know who he was. Of course, not many people know what the "removed" aspect of cousinship is. If my second cousin has a baby, then that child and I are second cousins once removed NOT third cousins. I'd have to also have a child, and then s/he and my 2nd cousin's child would be 3rd cousins. Basically, the "removed" is a half step. To make things even more interesting, if a 2nd cousin once removed then also has a child, then it's TWICE removed. There's your genealogy lesson for the day. Now where was I? So, the whole plot of this one is that the supervisors at the docks that Jonathan found to be bad guys at the dock got pretty peeved, so they put a hit out on Jennifer, and their head bad guy sent this fake cousin to kill Jennifer. However, Freeway doesn't like this guy; smart dog. He's so creepy. Jonathan doesn't trust him, either, and I love how he says let's call Uncle Chuck and Aunt Gail, and the phone number is 514 Zenith 79243. Can you imagine?! Still using words for exchanges! If this were All in the Family, I'd buy it no problem. But this was 1979, and I remember that year, and we didn't use words. How many of the six of you actually reading this review know what those words even existed?! You could tell that they were getting away with a lot during this with the pajama top, no bottoms. Bare chested Jonathan, kissing in bed. Standards loosened up during the run of the show, but at the time of this episode, this was a big deal.
There is no headboard here! No padded one, no Asian one, no nothing'! What is here, however, is so much foundation for their relationship. He doesn't get jealous cuz he trusts her, and that's a big deal for the time. Jennifer is her own woman, she doesn't need a man to define who she is, and he doesn't feel the least bit threatened by that.
What, Max isn't supposed to notice the bad guy's head sticking up out of the counter top when he's hiding? Not great direction. And the oven blew up the whole wall yet was rebuilt veeeery quickly. Also insane in the very best way was one of the few times Jonathan is driving the station wagon, which nearly sideswipes someone, then he makes a call on his car phone, which shocking back in the day, and then makes a u-turn. Did they not know they were in LA?! The suspense is pretty thick during the climactic scenes on the cliff. Stefanie does appear to do her own stunt there, hard to know for sure, but she does seem to be standing on an outcropping to simulate hanging off the cliff. This was also, as far as I know, the first and last appearance of the guest house.
Overall, really nicely done as far as telling us who these people were, why we should care, and what the whole show would be about. Oh, and you knew she was going in the pool the minute the hit-man started doing his thing as the pool man. So, THAT'S where those underwater kissing clips came from in the Season One & Two opener!
This episode really had it all, and it's one of my favorites. The plot
here is that Jennifer is being hypnotized into being a jewel thief for
a spa owner and her badly-cast lover who happens to be a business
partner of Jonathan's. I'll get the nitpicky stuff out of the way: 1)
The bad guys are badly cast for each other cuz she looks like a much
older version of Jeri Ryan, he looks like a 40- year-old cross between
Burt Convy and David Birney, and they just plain don't match. 2) There
were major inconsistencies with the reference to J&J's first kiss where
"her father was standing behind them," only we know that's not how it
happened from the 5th season opener. Yes, this ep predates it by two
seasons, but knowing that continuity would not be there bugged, but
what can ya do? 3) Jennifer's hair. I really didn't dig her waking up
in the *exact* same hairstyle that she wore all day every day
throughout this episode. It's one of those oddities of direction that
make me wonder ... WHY? Was there a real life need for her hair to be
in the same style the entire episode for several straight days, even in
the same barrette?! If they shot the entire thing in one day, OK, fine,
I get it, but still, where is hair and wardrobe?! These kinds of things
As for the good, there's soooo much. For one thing, Drunk Jennifer was really adorable. Later, Jonathan's concern over his wife possibly losing her marbles is very realistic, and the way he says, "I like your face just the way it is" is perfection for the romantic H2H fan. He says more to her in that sentence than half the shows today say in a bed scene. I also really enjoyed when Jonathan went snooping and his utter confusion and concern when he didn't find what he was expecting. Finding the purse from the previous night, he gets quite the "uh oh" moment. Next, can we talk about the rotary phone?! It was a fancy one, but a dial nonetheless. And a real ring, too! Oh, how I miss those real live rings. Aaaaanyhoo ... Stephanie does a great job at the hypnosis/confusion. Then the stress of knowing she's doing something very bad with no memory of it. She's really scared. The sit down J&J have on the chaise is a small thing but an effective one in reminding us how much he loves her. How dedicated they are to each other. In sickness or in health, indeed. The finest moment was when he caught her in the act. Just great stuff. He was so concerned, frustrated, angry. He's rough, yanks the jewels from her, puts her in the car, drives off. Wow, great sequence. Blooper alert --> While snooping around her wardrobe, Jonathan has to re-snap the jewelry box. Also, a weird scene at the spa where he asks how the body wrap was and that he'll find out about it later. Something went wonky there. I think it was just a bad dub. Jennifer up on the roof was truly creepy. Those actors and stunt doubles were really on the roof of a building. Stephanie was really close to that edge, and her double was truly on that ledge. I was actually nervous. What makes this so edge-of-your-seat is the end. The concept of Jennifer killing Jonathan is just completely anathema, which is what you knew this ep was building toward. It defies everything we know and love about them. So, when she is so completely controlled by the bad guy, then the danger they're in is truly palpable, truly tangible. And when she holds the gun on him and then he does the same? My god, that's just heart-wrenching! The bed scene at the end is great. Perfect example of how their timing is, literally, perfection.
The thing that struck me first about this episode was how college kids
dressed back in 1984. Wow. The next thing that struck me was the insane
hair on the bad guy. Oh. My. GAWD. OK, so this is another Max episode
bordering on a Mary Sue. Max's nephew is graduating from Westcliff
College and a star on the basketball team. The bad guy is another
player on the team, a patsy to the big bad guy, really, insanely
jealous, and plants cocaine in the nephew's locker, and causes all
kinds of trouble. Turns out Max was the only family he had after his
parents' died; turns out "Jenny," his mother, must have been his
sister. Now, I'm not generally a fan of Mary Sue stories, especially
here in the god-awful 5th season, but this one was really good. Really
great acting all around. The nephew, Doug, is played by David Wallace,
who played Tod Chandler on Days of our Lives. He did a very nice job. A
great scene between J&J playing ping pong; one of the truly rare
moments where J&J are genuinely annoyed with each other, not faking it
or undercover. They played it so well! Another great scene was between
the Dean of the college and the Chairman of the Alumni Assn. (the big
bad guy, played by "Hunter"). Great in many ways. For one thing, the
acting is top notch; it's a throwaway scene, but they're talented
actors who chose to own their roles and made this snooze of a scene
compelling and important. Which was a serious feat considering the Dean
is pushing an old push mower across his lawn that is nothing but DIRT
and no GRASS! And also considering that the Alumni guy is sitting there
on the front lawn as he's doing this on a piano bench? Talk about
terrible set dressing. But, still, they pulled off a great scene. And
Hunter had the very best line of the episode, maybe the season:
Dean: "There's going to be an investigation" Hunter: "Who's going to investigate it the campus cops? They couldn't find a pair of stolen panties if the girl was still in 'em."
So, of course, J&J are undercover, save the day, and Doug helps them win the championship for junior colleges. JUNIOR colleges? Oookey.
BLOOPER ALERT --> At :24, Jennifer is about to sit down as she's kind of manhandled by the guy in the blue shirt. The back cover of her magazine is different in this shot as the very next shot when she actually sits down. Also, the photo on the back of that magazine that first time looks an awful lot like the guy manhandling her; it's weird!
Kind of strange, she never wears her red backpack on her back. She Carries it with her everywhere. And that includes when she's on her bicycle. Not sure why she wouldn't just put it on her back. I really like, however, when there is the bike accident, Jonathan can't hold her cuz they're still undercover, and he just puts a hand on her shoulder. Communicated exactly what it needed to. And also great communication, after the game when Doug is being celebrated, Max reaches out to him and says something that we can't hear over the cheers. You can read his lips, but we don't hear the words ... and we don't need to.
This was a very interesting episode. the bball theme was a new one for them, certainly. It must have been difficult to direct and shoot,and while I did see more than one shot reused at least once, I still think director Ralph Senesky did a decent good job considering the complexities of this episode.
Sadly for me, this is the last episode my local station showed before they pulled it from their schedule. One day, I hope to find the last three episodes of the run,a s well as the nine or so episodes from season 3 that they didn't show. Untilthen, this was way fun. Maybe it's fitting that this episode ends with a freeze frame of Jonathan looking directly into the camera with a knowing grin.
Well, Jennifer's hair is back to normal here. J&J go to their ranch where they're shooting a commercial for it. I think. The director is a total jerk and rejects one model after another, braless and otherwise. He is so over the top that it's ludicrous. But, the actor commits to it, owns it, and ya gotta respect that. So, he sees Jennifer and says she's the one I've gotta have for my commercial, and he won't take no for an answer. Eventually, she agrees. Only there's a guy who just escaped from prison that is after her and tracks her down to the ranch and causes all kinds of havoc. The escapee is played by John Clarke, who originated the veteran role of Mickey Horton on Days of our Lives. This was a huge treat to see. In all the years he was on Days, he didn't do much else, and time never seemed that kind to him. Here he looks so young (only 52), and he does a wonderful job. Completely not Mickey. Great. It was a real treat. But also in this, playing Clarke's sidekick is MC Gainey, who was the scruffiest of the Others on Lost. Talk about looking young; it's shocking to see him. He was creepy then, too!Most of the other guests are great in this, too, but the stunt work? Horrible. They don't even bother making StuntJonathan or StuntClarke look remotely like their counterparts. I mean, full on face shots of them, obviously NOT them. It's bad, bad, bad. I don't get it at all. They could easily have shot those scenes so that they could hide the obvious differences, but no, they chose not to. To Stefanie's credit, I really loved how she drove the wagon in a few scenes all by herself, and she did a great job. This one's got its issues, but but compared to the complete and utter drek that exists in Season 5, this one is ... not bad.
Following int he great tradition of Season 5 location shoots, this time
production goes back to ... Greece? I think? I dunno, it's hard to
tell, really. they mention it a few times, but honestly, this was hard
to know. It looked like Greece, but then the locals were dressed like
modern-day cowboys with accents that were a cross between England and
Tunisia. Turns out it was the Island of Rhodes just off of Turkey. The
Hart's show up in a yacht with Max in tow. What, did they sail there?
Apparently, they've been at it for three weeks, so they probably did.
They meet Jennifer's old Classic's professor, who's on the verge of a
discovery the bad guys want. The local extras seem oblivious that
anything's being filmed here and/or that these people are famous
actors, which is probably why they keep going abroad; the last time
they went local, the San Franciscans couldn't stop staring and taking
photos of them on camera. A hungry little boy the professor take in
plays a big role here, which is actually kind of sweet at the end. But
you can tell that when J&J learn that the professor's assistant may
have been murdered that RJ & Stefanie are just tired of saying,
"murdered?!" like it's something new and shocking in their lives. The
guest stars are terrible in this, but no biggie. The greatest part of
this episode is the scene about 12 minutes in with J&J on their boat
just staring at each other, kissing, and having Max interrupt them.
Jen: Isn't it wonderful?
Jonathan: Ins't what wonderful?
Jen: Just being here listening to the music and the people.
Jonathan: I don't hear anything
Jonathan: We're the only ones here. That's what's wonderful. Just the two of us. You and I. Alone in the world. No more mysteries.
Max: Hey Mr. H.
Jonathan: Not now, max.
Max: I gotta talk to you, boss.
Jonathan: Go away. Max: It's important.
Jonathan: I know what's important.
Max: I'm sorry Mr. H, but something funny's going on.
Jonathan: Tell me later Max.
Max: You gotta take a look now.
Jonathan: Take a look at what. Max: Come on, I'll show ya.
The looks Stefanie was giving RJ and the head-shaking and the frustration was great. RJ was understated and not to much on the emoting, but he was too busy gazing. This scene brought the whole thing up to a 7. Otherwise, it's easily a 5.
Another mary Sue Story, this one channelling "Ice Castles." That movie was hot right about now, and so Ty Babylonia and Randy GArdner, bot of whom guest in this one. Ty does a decent job, actually. What annoys me about this one is what has annoyed me about most of the stories in season 5, and that's that the Harts don't have their own stories,they are there to prop up the guest star in the extraneous story of the week. This one is a good example. A whole set of story appears a sthe first scenes, and THEN we see the Harts after the multiple scenes setting the foundation are set. RJ and Stefanie look not so great this episode. Stefanie's hair is just a big, hot mess. But back to the story that drove me nuts, a teenage ice skater is being pursued by bad guys, and the Harts just so happen to drive by and save her and her father before the car blows up. Now, suddenly, they're taking full responsibility for her and her still recovering father. Will she be able to compete with ehr serious injury? Will she be able to compensate? Will the bad guys get her? Will these actors bet any better before the end of the show? All mysteries forthe Harts to take responsibility for and run with them. The girl is even staying at the Hart's. The close ups of the actors are also hysterically funny in a pathetically bad way. Theyr'e not skating on their own, they're making pretend motions to it appears that they are. That includes the lead girl, Jonathan, and Jennifer. Allt he kisses in the world between J&J are not goign to mask the fact that this is a bad episode.
Another completely silly episode. The Harts enter Freeway in a dog show (for real?!) and just so happen to bump right into a guy who's being chased by people shooting at him. So, this guy dumps off his dog on the Hart's, who take him in and name him Watson in honor of being shrouded in mystery. The only mystery I want the answer to is who is coming up with these lame-ass scripts in Season 5. BLOOPER ALERT --> Freeway tries to jump out of the car ten minutes in,a nd Stefanie has to ad lib. Minor. So, throughout the episode, the bad guys pursue the guy and then eventually the dog. Stefanie's hair is better today than last episode. RJ seems to be delivering his lines with insouciance the entire episode. Lke why should I bother to care about the lines I'm saying if you can't bother to write me lines that aren't obnoxiously boring and stupid?
This show has been known for its stunt casting, and this episode continues that tradition. Dorothy Lamour plays Max's love interest. Of course, that love interest is never heard from again, but for this one lone bottled episode, he's found the love of his life. This one centers on ballroom dancing. Not what we're used to these days with the Stars. Just an after-dinner club of dancing blue-hairs. Stefanie does bring it big time with the South American accent, which is brilliant. RJ also does very well with another assumed identity. and at least this episode the motivation made sense. Dorothy's character has a ton of money, the bad guy wants it, and the catalyst to it all is that Max just doesn't know if he's that into her. Stefanie's hair looks really strange here. Growing out the unfortunate mullet and as a result, wacky poofy.
I haven't the slightest idea what to make of this thing. The plot centered around a stagehand who was obsessed with an actress who died in the theatre some years before. J&J show up and Jennifer's resemblance to the dead chick puts the guy over the edge. The plot could be interesting, but it was so weak to be practically non-existent. It was all just a prop for RJ & Stephanie's singing and dancing numbers. They are asked by a Broadway director friend of theirs to do an amateur charity show. Um, hello? Been there done that with the exact same show last season. There's a Diva that is way over the top who, of course, has no talent; the director is one of THOSE directors who hates amateurs, so why he's here i have no idea, and then he has a hissy fit; and the Harts are immediately looked to for leadership. Both of them are extremely talented and carry their numbers off well. But to what end? What is the whole point? Were TPTB tying to launch a reboot of the series as a variety show? Stranger things have happened in Hollywood. But honestly, this whole thing was all over the map and just plain silly. Other than the great makeup on the crazy guy? Drek.
Stefanie's hair is growing out. Good! Also good is this episode.
Jennifer witnesses a murder, and Joseph Mascolo (of Days of our Lives
Stefano fame) spends the rest of the episode trying to off the witness.
A whole lot of bait and switcheroo going on here, and I admit, it kept
me guessing. My favorite performance is easily the carpet cleaning guy.
It can be the very little tiny things that make or break an episode.
You don't need to have a huge role to make an impact. And I'm telling
you, this guy's six or so lines really stole the episode. Another nice
surprise was Diana Muldaur returning for another guest turn in a role
so diametrically opposed from her previous one that it's just wonderful
to watch. This time, she's a nun. Awesome. Also awesome was more
precious backstory to Jonathan's past, first from the bad guy talking
about the research he'd done on the poor orphan child, then from
Jonathan talking about when his parent's died (in 3rd grade,
apparently). Even better was the very best fight scene between Jennifer
and another person in the history of the show. So far. She really
screams, she really struggles, and she's really well-directed. The
whole story at the convent is just awesome. Thew hole thing on the
courtroom steps also plays out so nicely. Not so thrilled wtih
Jonathan's office doubling as a courthouse ready room, but in a sea of
Season 5 stinkers, this one's a keeper.
Gotta hand it to 'em for continuity. Same deck table and chairs as used in the tennis episode.
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