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Why Jim Isn't Married With Children.
This is a very funny episode. The Wronko family parks next to Jim's trailer in Paradise Cove one morning. The family immediately starts annoying Jim, whether it's the teenage son riding his dirt bike or the family patriarch Carl Wronko running his outboard motor etc....
In one LOL scene, Mrs. Wronko asks Jim if their teenage daughter can use his bathroom. Mrs. Wronko tells her daughter, right in front of Jim no less, to be sure to "spray everywhere." By the way, a previous reviewer stated the mom told her to spray after she used the bathroom. That's incorrect, she's suppose to spray everywhere BEFORE she uses Jim's bathroom!
There's also some funny interaction between Jim and the actor George Wyner who plays an insurance agent. There is also some funny "CB" dialogue. Overall, just a very funny episode.
The Rockford Files: A Deadly Maze (1977)
Lab Rat Rockford
Basically, Jim becomes the unwitting subject of a behavioral psychology experiment conducted by Dr. Eric Albach played by the great Larry Linville. As an interesting aside, I'm pretty sure this is the first work Larry Linville did after leaving M*A*S*H.
Fortumately, Linville gets a lot of screen time and is really the costar in this episode. As was often the case, Linville plays the opposite of what he was like in real life. He plays a cold, unlikeable man to perfection. It's too bad Larry Linville never really got his due as an actor.
Some other highlights of this episode are two running gags. One of the gags is Rocky wants Jim to sit down and eat the fish dinner he prepared, but Jim is so preoccupied with the case he's on he keeps starting and stopping eating and eventually leaves to continue on the case. The other gag is Sgt. Becker wears a funny looking nose bandage throughout the episode.
This episode is another great example of the combo of humor and serious drama that is The Rockford Files. I like how this episode leads us one way, but then has a twist at the end.
Jim and the New Age.
It is obvious looking at this episode of Rockford, and Chases' other productions (Sopranos) (Northern Exposure) that Chase is interested in spirituality and philosophy. However, this episode of Rockford makes it clear he is not a "New Age" fan or a fan of any quick fix when it comes to spirituality. I'm certain Mr. Chase considers spiritual enlightenment to be a long arduous process, and there is no "Quickie Nirvana," and there are many spiritual frauds out there.
I found this episode to be very funny with all the New Age dialogue. However, the end of the show turns serious. The swami that the New Age character Sky Aquarian has been following ends up being a fraud. Furthermore, Sky ends up following a Christian fundamentalist TV evangelist who supposedly has the answers. In the end, Jim tries one last time to talk some sense into Sky, but to no avail.
This is the only episode I know of where the audience gets a glimpse into Jim's spiritual beliefs. Sky asks Jim if he is familiar with "Jesus." Jim states he has been for quite some time, but does not elaborate. I think Jim via David Chase thinks spirituality has to fit into a pragmatic framework to be valid.
Hawaii Five-O: Pilot (1968)
Interesting to say the least.
This episode starts out with a man suspended in a pool wearing a bizarre looking suit. The suit makes him look otherworldly, really. It was kind of scary when they took the mask off him. Some of the highlights are Khigh Dhiegh playing the evil Wo Fat. He basically reprises his role of Dr. Yen Lo from The Manchurian Candidate (1962).
Some other interesting aspects of the pilot are when McGarret assaults one "intelligence officer" and threatens another. Moreover, McGarret makes out with a hippie Hawaiin college girl on the beach!
The pilot also has a James Bond feel to it with a spy story and McGarret as the "super agent" and Khigh Dhiegh as the super villain. There is also some interesting camera work including utilizing a mirror to create a fish eye lens effect.
Little Guys Vs Corporate Giant
A corporate private investigations firm named Waterbury is trying to put the competition in the Los Angeles area out of business by setting them up resulting in their PI licenses being yanked. Fellow PI Billy Merrihew played by Cleavon Little comes to Jim for Help. Furthermore, fellow PIs Vern St. Cloud and Marvin A. Potemkin, played by Simon Oakland and Val Bisoglio respectively, also seek Jim's help.
What really stands out in this episode is the humor, in particular Simon Oakland as Vern St. Cloud. Vern's dialogue is very funny. His scenes where he is forced to work at a shoe store because he lost his PI license are a highlight. Another highlight is a car chase between Jim and his Pontiac Firebird, and a Corvette.
Jim The Art Expert
Some highlights include a funny scene with Jim talking to the very attractive Camilla Sparv (Evelyn Stoneman / Maggie Donnegan) with Jim in the guise of an art expert. Jim's irritated banter with William Daniels (Thomas Caine) is also pretty funny. A young Ron Silver (Ted Haller) makes a fine appearance as an art friend of Jim. There's a scene at the police station where Becker is chagrined to be seen with Jim because the other cops don't like Jim. Jim threatens not to leave the station until Becker tells him the information he wants to know. Becker then whispers the information to Jim who thanks him and loudly states his goodbyes to his good buddy Dennis Becker for all the cops to hear.
Emergency!: Propinquity (1974)
Know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em
Roy's house is being fumigated so he spends the night at John's apartment,this results in John and Roy doing a lot of arguing over each other's personal habits. The guys respond to a car fire and John singes his leg. A drunk driver hits the ambulance Roy is riding in. However, I think some of the highlights of this one include a fire in an abandoned refinery. I always enjoy the scenes in Emergency that involve industrial areas. Jack Garner, James Garner's brother makes an appearance as a member of a poker game. Furthermore, one of the players has a heart attack and will not leave the game unless John agrees to stay and play his hand.
Serious, Funny, Silly
Sergeant Major Zack Carey is in a local bar when a corrupt Deputy Sheriff starts slapping around a prostitute. The Sergeant comes to her defense and ends up beating up the deputy. The Sheriff sees this as a reflection on him and attempts to persecute Carey. When Carey stands up to the Sheriff, the Sheriff plants drugs on Carey's son and tells Carey he will send his son to a prison camp if the Sergeant Major does not give him a large sum of money in a payoff. Sergeant Carey pays him off, but the Sheriff reneges, takes the money and sends the Sergeant's son to the prison camp. The Sheriff also hints that Carey's son will be raped in the camp. The Sergeant Major has had enough and takes off in his restored Sherman Tank in order to break his son out of the camp and cross the state line so he can get fair justice.
This is a strange movie. It has some very dark moments yet it has some laugh out loud moments due to some very funny dialogue. The film has a rousing, silly ending.
It's hard not to like any movie with the great James Garner in it. G.D. Spradling is very good as the evil Sheriff. The WWII era Sherman Tank is also fun to watch, especially when the Sergeant Major destroys the Sheriff's office.
The Return Of Rockford
The Rockford files returns after a fourteen year absence. I was not disappointed. The audience gets to see the same great casting and characters that made Rockford Files a great show. Notably absent however are Gretchen Corbett as Beth Davenport and Noah Beery Jr. as Joseph "Rocky" Rockford. Joanna Cassidy takes over as Jim Rockford's lawyer and now ex-wife. I don't know why Gretchen Corbett didn't reprise her role, but Cassidy gave a solid performance. Unfortunately, Noah Beery was not able to appear either. However, Stuart Margolin returns as Angel Martin and is his usual hilarious self.
"I Still Love LA" covers, in an oblique way, the Menendez Brothers case. Furthermore, it deals with the Rodney King Riots, California wild fires, LA carjackings, and finally earthquakes. However, through it all, Jim Rockford and James Garner, still love LA.
Jim, Cops, and Rural America
Jim gets into another small town jam. Being this is a character driven show does the plot really matter that much? As usual, the characters and the acting are top notch. Some of the highlights are an attractive (nice mid-riff)young hotel clerk (Rita) played by Smith Wordes. There is a very nice stunt near the end of the show when Jim rigs up a cable to slice the top of a police car off! I like how the RockFord Files portrays a good share of law enforcement and the criminal justice system as being corrupt. This gives the show a more realistic feel. Having lived in a rural area myself, the small town portrayals are also pretty accurate!