I have only the vaguest recollection of this episode, specifically the masquerade at the end; but honestly, that might be due to the opening clips and not a memory of the story, itself. This might have been a good episode, but after two times through it, I remain hopelessly distracted by the fact that Jennifer looks like something straight out of "Tootsie." I mean, she is the spitting image of Dustin Hoffman as Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels. Or more accurately, since this ep pre-dates the movie's filming date by at least a full year, he's the spitting image of her. The dress is, literally, identical. The Tootsie hair is clearly evocative of Jennifer's in this portrait, the entire carriage of their bodies in that specific imagery is too exact to be a coincidence, and there's no way that Sydney Pollack and Columbia Pictures don't owe Tom Mankiewicz some kind of royalty. Anyway, I just couldn't get past it enough to focus. What's more, IMO the painting of Jennifer is really awful. BLOOPER ALERT --> Very first shot of the bad guy in the back of his clown car, he is clearly reading cue cards or for some insane reason looking into the camera instead of at the enforcer character he's supposed to be talking to. Huge pet peeve. I was also put off by the random girlfriend that said very emphatically that they were "lovers." Was "boyfriend" too archaic a word? Not groovy enough? Terrible scripting there. She even made their relationship sound illicit. Totally weird. Ya know what I loved, though, Richard B. Schull in the first of three outings he'll have as Lt. Gillis. I liked him better than the 2nd guy, though admittedly Richard Herd's character brought a nice layer to the H2H fabric. But it was Melissa Steinberg as Gillis's girlfriend that made me giggle. She's random, for sure, but she was a fresh air of comedy that wasn't goofy. From her posture to the way she pawed at Jennifer, the girl was adorably funny, and I wanted more of her! Walker Texas Ranger fans will enjoy seeing Noble Willingham here. It's randomly occurred to me that a) the Japanese steakhouse experience has not changed in 30 years, and b) taking a drink every time Jonathan says, "are you alright?" would make a good drinking game. Best part of the episode is without a doubt the bathroom scene in their towels. On its face, it's ridiculous that Max would come into their bathroom while Jennifer is naked but for this towel around herself and they all three of them just act like it's nothing. But something about it just works. It's part of the suspension of disbelief for the Hart universe, you just have to say, OK; but it's also kind of authentic, because the actors make you believe that this is all just their innocently familial way in that family. As for the story itself? Pretty solid, really. The bad guy's got a valid motivation, they got there well, the masquerade had a pretty great stunt, and the costumes were fantastic – though most of them were timeless, the music brought you right back to 1979. In the end, it was one of those predictable episodes that you don't mind for its predictability; instead you kind of wrap yourself up in it and say, ahhh. Unless you're me and distracted by Tootsie.
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