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Hart to Hart: Night Horrors (1980)
Season 1, Episode 14
7/10
Professor Plum, with the Knife, in the Conservatory.
19 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The Harts are invited to a dinner party treasure hunt at the new (and haunted) home of their eccentric friends. My kind of show! However, they trot out every single trope in the horror genre manual before the first five minutes were even done. Lightening, thunder, creaky door, cobwebby suits of armor, creepy room, and creepier butler gliding around like one of Buffy's Gentlemen spouting a Lugosi "Gud Eeeevening" while back-lit to hell and gone. Neither J nor J are too thrilled to be there, but since they stay, so do I. I was sure this was going to be a Ten Little Indians/Then There Were None kind of thing, but then it became apparent that it was far more Clue than Agatha Christie. I'll take this moment to encourage you to go watch Clue the Movie, cuz it's totally brilliant (Madeline Khan was a god).

The cast of guest characters have great potential, but the awful writing and direction leaves them and the whole episode flat. Bill and Jo LaMond penned this one. Some great lines include Jonathan's double entendre of "I do most of my working out at home," and Jennifer's follow up of, "He's in excellent shape;" as well as near the end when the butler says, "Happy hunting, sir," and the host replies with the immediate, "You're fired" deadpan. Fred Stuthman & Arlen Dean Snyder delivered those lines with beautiful timing. Tiny little exchange, huge impact. Unfortunately, the bad lines were awful. The LaMonds wrote one of the best (Harts under Glass) but also the very worst episode in H2H history, "Homemade Murder," plus "Bahama Bound Harts," which is another serious stinker. This was definitely tons better than both of those. It was Ray Austin's direction, however, that was truly atrocious. Dark lighting crippled this thing. Clue was this very same kind of storytelling, yet those scenes didn't need to be dark to pull off the suspense and creep factor. It wasn't simply that I didn't care for the art direction, I mean the lighting was incompetent. The camera shots are one piece of crazy after another. Long lingering closeups so extreme that I could inspect their pores. I'm pretty sure the shot of the host's head on a platter lasted an hour. I swear poor Arlen Dean Snyder's eyeballs needed some visine when Austin yelled cut. Shots through candles made me feel like I'd purchased obstructed view concert tickets. Terrible camera work at the dining room table. Beginning on J&J, then pulling out into a bird's eye wide shot of everyone seated around it had huge potential as a very compelling shot. But it's so shaky it was just unprofessional. I assume it was poor use of a jib, cuz I'm not sure a crane shot indoors would have resulted in the shaking camera. It was inexcusable, really. Nothing was worse, however, than the way these poor actors were directed. It was veeery clear that they were DIRECTED into these awful performances, because they were all equally bad, uncomfortable silences, and unexplained reactions. They all have these frozen looks of hand- over-mouth horror for no good reason, the strange characters played by Mews Small and Nina van Pallandt have these behaviors that make zero sense, and the whole thing is just one big hot mess.

One of the things I probably hate most about this ep is that Stefanie's wearing a fur – and I'm quite sure she hates it now, too. It's not like her or Jennifer – at all – and she wears it in half the scenes. William Holden was not dead yet, but it's not like her views had changed overnight on that. Interesting to be a fly on the wall at that wardrobe session.

On the upside, while the front hall of this place looked like a redress of the Hart's foyer, the episode's exteriors were filmed at the famed Piru Mansion. Gorgeous. You can visit there today. Even get married. Also cool? A thousand and one blooper alerts.

BLOOPER ALERT --> When they're still gathering, the light goes out and then the final female guest show up. Timing is off, as Jonathan asks if someone forgot to pay the light bill, THEN everyone gasps and the light goes out.

BLOOPER ALERT – Blink-and-you-miss-it jump cut. When the Morty the Minister (there ya go, Seinfeld lovers) is putting Jennifer in the closet, look very closely at his right hand on the coat hook, you'll see frames are clearly missed there. My son caught this one.

BLOOPER ALERT - Butler clearly can't drag RJ to the dumbwaiter, so RJ has to help while unconscious. This leads to an awful shot that's just all dark extreme closeup jumble of, literally, nothing (which is probably because, again, poor dude can't lift RJ onto the dumbwaiter any more than he can drag him there).

Picky picky: Torches in the secret passage? Really? Who lit them? How do they stay lit? And the headstones of the graveyard (conveniently located in the home's backyard) were something straight out of Disney's Haunted Mansion. Ugh.

I guess what I come down to in this cathartic bit of review therapy is that this episode is really freaking imperfect but totally worth watching. If not for the bloopers, then at least for the Clue Hart to Hart factor. The hosts are Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard, the medium woman is uptight Mrs. White, The curly-haired lush is loony Mrs. Peacock, Morty the Minister is shifty Mr. Green, the author is studious Professor Plum, the butler is the butler, and the Harts are the players getting shoved into secret passages as they try to figure it all out.
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Hart to Hart: Which Way, Freeway? (1980)
Season 1, Episode 15
6/10
Two woofs are better than one
19 July 2016
There's a ton going on in this first and best Freeway-based episode. Some of it great, some of it fun, some of it silly, some of it stupid; but ultimately, it's very watchable. Right away you get a beautiful shot tracking around the full depth of the kitchen that culminates in Jennifer in a bunny costume. Why is she in a bunny costume? Cuz they want us to say, OMG, she's adorable in that bunny costume. Yes, there's a plot point of them having a charity event for animals (that makes up for the Night Horrors fur), but they never get there and just trust me, it's solely meant to make you look at Stefanie in the bunny costume. It's effective, too, cuz she's adorable. The plight of Freeway's doggie girlfriend, Susie, gets us invested pretty quickly. The Harts do what they do for all creatures in their sphere and take responsibility for her (even though they know the owner), get her to the vet, and then return her right into the lap of the bad guys. Incidentally, the Larchmont Pet Clinic really exists, and the sign hasn't changed a lick since 1980. Soon Freeway's safety is threatened, and I spent the rest of the episode terrified for the dogs. Well done stuff with the interaction of the two pooches on screen. Not so well done were the frequent use of unnecessary dubs over scene transitions and lazy, reused shots. For instance, it doesn't take my critical eye to notice that Jennifer's reaction shots in the living room when Freeway first comes back are clearly from the earlier kitchen scenes. I mean, blatantly obvious. But there's also a very unique chase scene in golf carts that had me pretty impressed midway thru the ep that made me forgive. This show will constantly remind us that Jonathan is fabulous at absolutely everything; as a business magnate, that golf is one of them should be a surprise to no one. In this case, RJ didn't have to fake it, he really hit that golf ball, and we all get to see it sail from stroke to green in the nicely executed long shot. The entire set of golf locations scenes were great, expertly crafted, and all three of them looked like they were having a serious hoot filming them. There's also J&J gold in this ep via the clear communicating they do with each other solely in their subtle glances. I also about howled when I saw Peggy Pope – again – as a maid – AGAIN!!! She'll be another maid in a couple more years in "Hart & Sole." This woman has the market cornered on maid roles, seriously, I laughed out loud. Then there's the bad guy's line to the bad guy girlfriend; her character is Eileen, and as soon as he says, "come on, Eileen," you know you'll be hearing Dexy the rest of the day.

Blooper Alert --> Last act, Jonathan calls the dead man Stuart Baldwin instead of the character's actual name, Steven. Also in that scene, not a blooper, but the wine bottle is in some kind of silver service holder thingie, and it just kind of blew my mind.

I didn't love the climax of J&J swiping the luggage tram. Like the taking of the fire truck, it was gratuitous and made even worse when Jonathan threw all the luggage around. As a traveler, that's a huge turn off for me; but Stef is really driving the thing. In the end, it was very, very Hart to Hart. But I'm left genuinely sad, because I know we never see Susie again. That just begs the question … is she OK, where does she go, and since the Harts have more money than god, why can't she stay?
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Hart to Hart: A Question of Innocence (1980)
Season 1, Episode 13
10/10
Winner, Winner, WINNER.
17 July 2016
This. Was. AWESOME. I didn't remember it, it was brand new to me, I smiled the moment the thing began, and did not stop until the very last credit rolled. The episode gets right down to business establishing a relationship with Jonathan's long-time business tenant, a magazine vendor on the busy Hart Industries property. And OMG, veteran actress Jeannette Nolan is so good. She's soooo good from the word go. Written poorly this would have been a Mary Sue story. But she's not an interloper, she's a valid person in their lives that they clearly care about. That we haven't seen her before takes nothing away from that because of the superb marriage of writing, directing, and acting. The plot surrounding her is written as a vehicle for Jonathan's altruistic nature, not as a one for the guest character, so you bond to this woman immediately because you feel the utter affinity that Jonathan has for her. RJ positively soars here. His affection for and amusement in her – his emotional investment into her well-being – are subtly played by him to the point where you just can't help but feel a fierce protectiveness over her, literally, right away. Shortly thereafter, Jameson Parker brings his cutie patootie mug to the bad guy role, hating him is easy, and a plot is born.

The office scenes were light, H2H goodness, because a) any episode with Deanne AND Stanley is a win, and b) Jennifer's hair was extra poofy, which was right on trend for this second episode of the brand new decade. We learn quickly that the vendor, Rose, is being blackmailed, and our hackles go right up for her. I loved the abject willingness Jonathan has to help her, but so refreshing was Rose as a very unique kind of woman. She's terrified, but she's no slouch and takes no handouts. Jeannette plays her so convincingly that the layers are there without needing a bit of exposition. I also had big love for how seriously they took the props. This stock certificate for Hart Industries is gorgeous. I'm sure they didn't create it from scratch and is just a blank stock cert mocked up for the show, they could have gotten lazy but didn't; the detail shows so much respect for the audience and the material. For those like me who have kittens over this stuff, Hart Industries' incorporation is established as March 30th, 1969. When I was a fetus. I was in hog heaven and we're not even ten minutes in.

Pairing Rose and Max as equal parts old married couple and siblings that got on each other's very last nerve was like a treat you didn't know your grandma was going to be bringing you. From the second Max learns she's going to have to be in the house with him it's a string of crazy good verbosity. The Rosie, Bozo, and Bimbo banter was brilliance on a stick. Every bit of screen time between these two was GREAT. Effortless. I'll bet real money that these two were in other shows together, because their timing was second to none. I never wanted this to end.

The guest stars were all stellar. The fencing coach was utterly authentic, the real estate agent is like who's on first, and the sorority girls crushing on Jonathan nearly put me into hysterics. Cindy Grover as the key to it all wasn't so great, but that Mork from Ork and Simon more than made up for it.

RJ's confrontation in the gym with patootie was subtle until it wasn't, and it was gorgeous. The house they go snooping in is a set that would be used time and again on this show, but that's no problem, because the whole undercover thing was adorable. Admittedly, the sound editing kind of sucked when they went back to the house, but oh well.

Very impressive blocking in the final showdown. Not with the swords, which were a lot of clack, clack, clack, clack, with RJ's free arm in the completely wrong spot and no real fencing skill, typical TV fencing. I mean with the kicking away of the gun. It was like the most perfect kick, nice job Jameson.

Jeannette's mid-show soliloquy was truly a masters class in the craft. And the real estate agent bit was funny stuff.

BLOOPER ALERT --> Minor, but on his way out of the room when he discovers the gun missing from the drawer, Lionel walks into the door jamb on the right.

This one was all wrapped up in a nice little bow at the end, which I'm usually not a fan of, but in this case, it was perfect. A total ten.
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Hart to Hart: The Man with the Jade Eyes (1979)
Season 1, Episode 11
7/10
Lurch almost Stole the Show
5 February 2016
Not one of their strongest episodes, but "The Man with the Jade Eyes" is solidly entertaining. One of the great things about H2H is that most of their eps introduce you one at a time to a singular microcosm of society. Here we get to see a little slice of the Oriental Trading catalog meets Chinatown. We open on a clearly bad guy chauffeur with a menacing scar on his eye and an equally menacing I-don't-need-no-stinking-patches attitude. He's basically Lurch, and he will have some great interaction with J&J in this ep that truly shows off their physical comedy chops – especially Stefanie's. Now halfway into the season, we're fairly used to people falling dead at the Harts' feet, thus necessitating that they get involved, and this ep is no different. The Rolls is strategically placed at the get go, so it's no surprise when the Chinese Hotai statue the poor guy dies over is stuffed into the backseat. What is surprising is that I wasn't really sure there were any good guys here at all until the very end. Loved seeing James Hong! This uber prolific character actor plays his holy man character with seriously creepy goodness. This man has been in everything and continues to do so at nearly 87yo! His filmography is unreal. I also very much enjoyed the performance of Donna Kei Benz, who transformed from Femme Fatale to Girl-Next-Door and back again in about four seconds flat. It's too bad that she hasn't worked in decades, she was talented. I got a huge kick out of the librarian, because, clearly, she was not an actress, but she gave it all she had! Also appreciated peeks into Max's and Jennifer's characters; Max just hops right to it like it was a request for a cup of coffee when Jonathan told him to engage in some reconnaissance. And Jennifer refers to the opium wars as if everyone knows about them, because, of course, SHE does, is very learned, and is entirely unpretentious about it. We also learn that she has a nephew. Since she has no siblings, however (right?), I'm not sure how he was conceived. Lots of location eye-candy, here, too. Like the restaurant, Ming See, that seemed to be located in the middle of a crappy alley (read: back lot). House of 1001 Pleasures was the gift that just kept on giving here, too, with one innuendo after another and a great line by Jennifer. I tried figuring out what location served as this place, cuz it seemed too extensive to be a set. Tip: Don't google "House of 1001 Pleasures" and expect not to get porn. Just letting you know. Silly me, though, it had to be a set; the Asian history library, however, seemed kind of legit. I also love any line that lends itself to the in-joke that their serial Nancy Drew'ness; so Jonathan saying, "As a matter of fact, I don't know why we're involved in this, do you?" and Jennifer's clear reaction to the contrary were gold. These little things make me giddy. Not great here is a pre- Knight Rider/post-The Ghost & Mrs. Muir Edward Mulhare. He's awful. A serious cartoon in the middle of an otherwise decent episode. Scarface: Lurch Edition would have stolen the whole show if it wasn't for my favorite part of this thing, which was, without a doubt every scene happening in their bed. It's the second time somewhat in succession, here, where Jennifer is sitting at an injured Jonathan's bedside, and she continues to relate to him with intelligently crafted warmth. She takes care of him but doesn't coddle him. Just like the last bedside carebear scene, there are no dramatics here, nothing over the top or silly. It draws the viewer in and makes you feel the nature of their relationship, and it's superb. Then the kicker's bedhead pillow talk just makes you smile.
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Hart to Hart: Color Jennifer Dead (1980)
Season 1, Episode 12
7/10
Tootsie Owes Mankiewicz a Royalty
30 January 2016
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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Hart to Hart: This Lady Is Murder (1980)
Season 2, Episode 3
9/10
Stefanie shines as her immediate and opposite doppelganger
24 January 2016
One of the few episodes I remember in detail from the original run. What starts out a standard kidnapping story ends up one being a hell of an adorable romp. Stefanie Powers plays not only Jennifer, but also her doppelganger, Dominique. So dead a ringer they are for each other that the kidnappers nab the wrong woman, then spend half the episode stupidly running after their ransom like fools. This case of mistaken identity gives Stefanie such an opportunity to spread her wings. Though this was only the beginning of H2H, playing the same character for five solid years may or may not have made Stefanie itch for some variety. If so, then it's nice that she got to show a lot of range, here, because Dominique could not be any further from Jennifer. Her makeup and hair were just the start – and I did love the use of her hair; soft and feminine for Jennifer, severe and dominating for Dominique. Clearly a purposeful representation of the characters. Even without the obvious cosmetic differences, Stefanie stepped into a whole different affect, and she made it look effortless. From her movements to the intensity of her gaze, you never doubt for one moment the veracity of the Dominique character or forget that she's not Jennifer. Her can't-be-bothered indignance is outmatched only by the insouciance she wears like a fine garment. Her dynamic with Jonathan is so fun -- I love what a shameless flirt she is, how she delights in messing with him, and how he must be on his toes at all times to keep up with her. I loved her continued use of "Banana Brain," especially on the phone with the kidnappers. My favorite line in the episode just follows this actually, "Well, it's delightful to talk to you, Jimmy, but it sounds as if you've had one too many peanuts," reminding us that we're still well-within the Carter administration. Interestingly, this is the second episode in a row I'm reviewing where Jonathan kisses a woman who isn't Jennifer. Unlike the last one ("With This Gun, I Thee Wed"), I liked this one a lot. Not because the actress is still Stefanie, but because it makes entirely more sense. The lead up felt right, the circumstances felt right, the writing was sound, and the motivation just felt entirely more authentic. It's a whole season later, so that time for settling into characterization didn't hurt. And the kicker was so good it was like a deep breath you didn't know you needed. It was the conversation they should have had in the bathtub of that other episode. This is Stefanie's episode, she does a really beautiful job here, but shout out to the brilliance of Andy Robinson (ST: DS9, Dirty Harry). This guy is always all in. No role too small for him to make a real impression. Watch his expressions, his body language, the intonation of his voice, his sweet simplicity. Even his his walk screams dumb, sweet, good guy at heart. This is why I love him. As an old car lover, I could not get enough of that junkyard, which practically made me weep. I think I saw a c1945 Ford truck! I was also really impressed with what looked like the real RJ rolling off the bad guy's car in the close up shot. Didn't care for Jon Cutler in his first of three appearances as the most hapless cop ever, maybe he'll grow on me in the next two. And picky picky, I don't think $500k is going to fit in that small duffel. Not so picky, that split screen at the end. It was kind of dizzying, as you can absolutely see the unmatching two halves of the shot. It's really close, but the light doesn't quite match (shadows on the right-hand couple), and the backgrounds shift away from each other, creating a nauseating visual effect. Excellent effort, however, with a location shot in natural light, so I give it a pass. Loved this episode.
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Hart to Hart: With This Gun, I Thee Wed (1979)
Season 1, Episode 10
5/10
This is a mess
23 January 2016
I sat on this one before I reviewed it, because I didn't want any knee-jerk reactions. My objective opinion is that while there are gems making this a must-watch, I'm ultimately left scratching my head. This is gonna be a long review; might wanna get a cup of coffee.

We open on a random poker game with Tommy Lasorda (as himself). Before you know it, a mystery is afoot, that's it for the then- prolific Dodgers manager, and the Hart's are headed out to Monaco for the wedding of Jonathan's ex-girlfriend. The envelopes started getting pushed right off the bat, here, with the airborne plane angled up. On its face, it's just a shot of the plane, but I can't help but get a phallic feel with the intention of setting our expectations for something … messy.

My jaw dropped several times throughout the hour, beginning with a crazy-ass stunt off the back of a car that seriously concerned me. Soon Jonathan is climbing a trellis so he can save his ex, the bride, played nicely by Christine Belford – who looks so much like several other actresses (Kate Mulrew, Jacklyn Smith, Ellen Burstyn). For me, this whole scene in her bedroom was, honestly, completely strange, though the strangeness is very interesting. It felt very familiar between Jonathan and his ex. Very much like former lovers. They stood so near each other, and there was a real sense of trust between them that I could actually feel as the viewer. Part of me enjoyed seeing Jonathan thru the lens of this relationship. But my guess is that most J&J fans will not appreciate it, because they're not going to want to see either J or J's implied, very personal history with someone else. They just won't. For me, the scene was very uncomfortable, but not nearly as uncomfortable as when they kissed. Which was a shock. I audibly gasped and uttered a few choice words and about fell over. There's a reason they kiss, but I suspect that the J&J purists are going to feel pure, unmitigated hatred for this poor actress caught in a miasma of fangirliness that she never could have expected. No one, including me, wants to see Jonathan kiss another woman. Remembering my objectivity … As scripted, this kiss was a ruse meant to protect her from her blackmailing fiancé. As a means to an end, that's a plausible way to go. But in the situation as written, it seemed gratuitous – nothing but a convoluted excuse to make Jonathan care about another woman, remember another woman, kiss another woman. Why? So that the audience will react? I have no idea how they reacted back in the day, but judging from the rabid reaction to what I think is a brilliant episode, "Hartstruck," my guess is that the reaction was probably the most hated of any scene ever of H2H. For me, give me an end that truly justifies these means, and I'm going to accept the kiss. But even I, as one who can see the forest for the trees on extra-curricular kisses, do not see this need at all. It's just not there. If the threat was different maybe, but having the man find Jonathan kissing his fiancée seems WORSE than just finding him like a stray about the room. Jonathan can hide in the bathroom. In a closet. Or even back down the freaking trellis. Maybe there just wasn't time. Maybe the dogs would have sniffed him out. I'm not saying the motivation is non-existent, I'm saying it's lame. Definitely not character-driven.

Now if you're a fan that hates this to the point where you might bust a vein, there are real gems here that make this episode worth watching. For one thing, the really epic hand-holding as they stroll down the massive hall of the Monaco hotel. And then there's the bathtub scene. They pulled out every stop they could with the censors, here, cuz that bathtub was spell-it-out-sex. Was it an apology? She seemed annoyed at the situation, rather than at her husband, but there was a sure reluctance there, regardless. Read: punishment. "Jonathan, move your foot." You know where that foot was, and she was having none of it. All of this is fascinating. Jonathan holding so fiercely to Jennifer's hand was so significant that it was actually the camera's focus. A show of his devotion to his wife through the intimacy of their bonded hands. Then her refusal to completely acquiesce to his possibly apology- driven charm in that bathtub. Every moment in that bathtub was adorable, though. Any way you slice it, all of that was a great payoff for fans after that horrible kiss.

BLOOPER ALERT --> Stef's body stocking is clearly visible across her chest beneath the bubbles as she inhales deeply just before the last time she tells Jonathan to move his foot. Look hard, you'll see it. Almost as awesome as that is Jonathan reading Marie Claire. I spent a stupid amount of time looking for this issue of Marie Claire. It's in French, but for the life of me, I couldn't find it.

Other messy elements I hated in this episode included pleats, that outfit's awful butter color that was terrible on Stefanie, bad dubs in the pool scene, and the heinous line, "Go to San Tropez, lie on the beach, make wondrous love." Really? I'm fairly sure this entire thing was shot on a backlot, and do not even get me started on the madcap kitchen scene, the concept of which is great but ruined by the chef's ridiculous, over the top reactions. I could go on and on about the end, too, but I think I've said enough. From the pate' to the bouillabaisse to the concept of the cardinal to the ruse in the bedroom, this whole episode is a mess. And weird. Just so very weird.
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Hart to Hart: A New Kind of High (1979)
Season 1, Episode 9
7/10
Go Directly to Jail. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200
18 January 2016
I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, J&J are positively adorable in every way. From one scene to the next they delight in each other. Watching them love being with each other so much is why we as fans love them so much. This is our first Undercover Jennifer episode. The look on Jonathan's face when she walks in with the wig is absolutely worth the price of admission. I mean, it's really, really funny. RJ's expressions are the perfect counterpoint to Stefanie's look and manner. Now, the whole undercover thing is really all very contrived, but I don't care, and neither will you, cuz it's so freaking amusing. The next thing that slayed me was the drive home with Jonathan altered by equal parts drunk as a skunk and high as a kite. Of course, if I'd had coffee out of that heinous '70's mug I'd probably end up altered, too. But RJ and Stefanie delivered big time for that drive home. A lot of physicality that had to have been really challenging and really a blast. The best, however, was how they related to each other after he's come down from the drug. No dramatics, just their relationship. She's cool as a cucumber and a little amused as she sits by his bedside (in a lovely outfit with her hair up – for reasons unclear). He's feeling contrite and hung over, and so grateful for her. It's a lovely, lovely scene, and it's my favorite of the entire episode.

Not so great was the completely inconsistent direction. When it was good it was great; when it was bad it sucked. For instance, when Max answers the phone in the first block, we don't hear the doctor's end of the conversation until the second or third exchange. Then we hear it, but not Max, then we don't hear him again. That's just lazy, weird direction. I also think they were still finding their way with who the Max character really was. Last episode he's barely able to afford $100 earrings, before that he was rolling in pimp dough undercover with the hookers; now he's back to Moneybags with a wad of cash to rival any bulge those pants will sport. The dialogue was great ("are you keeping track?" "Every penny."), but it did make me wonder if they knew where they were going with Max.

BLOOPER ALERT --> In the very first establishing shot of the lab, the Hart's yellow Mercedes is parked there. Only they don't drive up and park there until a few scenes later. This is what happens when you film out of order so that you can get all the scenes in the same location done at the same time. Which is standard and efficient both procedurally and financially. But you really must have that attn to detail as a director to make sure things are not in the shot that aren't supposed to be there yet. This seems like a rookie mistake, but he was far from a newbie, as he was mid-way thru his working director career by this time. It was just lazy. Finally, I really think the buyer character (listed as "The Man" was woefully out of place. The actor is credited with exactly three roles, and the way he played this really took away from the episode IMO. The director could have fixed this, but I think this was a get 'em in, get 'em out gig for him. Now incorporating the bar mitzvah made me exceedingly happy, but it was also smart, because those take place on Saturdays, which is a tiny detail lending credence to why the lab is empty. I know this is a long review, but I have to tell you, once I got over the shock of hearing the word asbestos tossed around like its not a cancer-causing material, I then got an ancient look at a knee-high stocking, the likes of which I've not seen live and in person since I bought a bunch of them from Walgreens to make Mandrakes for my son's Harry Potter bday party.

The only part of this ep I remembered from the first time around was the wind machine. Picky picky, I know, but more lazy direction was why they didn't turn the fans way up, cuz their hair does not match the force with which the wind is purportedly keeping them back. But ya know what, it's all worth it, cu look, it finally rained in California, and Jonathan MacGuyvered themselves out of danger. The final shot of Max in his Star of David apron and J&J sick in bed was perfect. And, if they don't want their chicken soup, I do.
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Hart to Hart: Max in Love (1979)
Season 1, Episode 8
8/10
Scammy McScammerton
16 January 2016
This is the first of a series of episodes we'll see over the five seasons of H2H that feature Max. This, like a good handful of them, are about the loves of Max's life. The lovely character actress, Madlyn Rhue is the first we'll see, she won't be the last. It was so good to see her again. She died of complications of MS, and you can clearly see the effects of it on her actively impacting her at times in this episode. For instance, you can see in her gait how hard it is for her to walk in the park scenes with Max. It just kind of makes me that happy kind of sad to watch her. This episode is chock full of guest stars that just made me swoon with nostalgia and excitement. In addition to Rhue, Rene Auborjonois of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Boston Legal, and the beloved Daniel J. Travanti in what has to be his very last role before Hill Street, lit up the screen.

Once I got past the giddy and actually watched the thing, I got pretty swept up. This was the first real Max-centric episode, and it set the bar for the rest. You immediately feel a fierce protectiveness over Max the second his quest for the (hideous) earrings begins, because you just know something is up. Sure enough, there's a scam being run on the Harts, they're running it via the big, unselfish heart of their Max, and we as the viewers want to jump through the screen and pummel them for him. Not because he's being used, but because his heart is being broken.

Something I rarely notice so acutely is the musical score. But in the scene just after the auction, Jonathan is making funny faces, and every time he does, the music played under it punctuates it. I really appreciated that creative interpretation, and it really spelled out in a tangible way how the orchestras are scoring in real time with the scenes playing; it gives it all so much more depth. Other little things I enjoyed were Jonathan driving Max around, their dialogue, kibitzing, and talking about whether they "like the girl" or not, Jonathan not being above using his poor-man's coffeepot, and the line, "Hello, my pretties." CONTINUITY ALERT --> It's established here that when the Harts met, Jonathan was doing the chasing. That's not how it eventually ended up. I know, picky picky. More pickiness, Lionel palms that gun real well for being out cold, and in the hospital ward, heavy use of extreme closeups that seems really out of place and strange. The Absurd Line of the Night Award goes to the truck driver, who yells at his partner to "go on up there and get him!" As if it's no biggie to climb up to the roof of a moving truck to engage in fisticuffs.

In the end, this episode is about Max and the absolute devotion he and the Harts have to each other. Nothing exemplifies this more than when Max says, "You two when you look at each other … That's the way I thought she looked at me." His heartbreak is so stoic. Which makes it worse for us, worse for them, and bonds us as the viewer to this unique, believable, relatable relationship between the three of them.
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Hart to Hart: Cop Out (1979)
Season 1, Episode 7
8/10
Hookers do not faze the Harts
12 January 2016
I love that this is a very early episode, because it establishes an extremely important element for the Harts – one which the entire rest of the series would revisit like a golden rule over and over and over again. And that's that they're altruistic people who care about you no matter who you are. They care so much that they'll risk their reputations and lives to help you. For no other reason than it's the right thing to do. Nothing could exemplify that more than J&J working their asses off to protect prostitutes from a serial killer. And they're not high-priced callgirls, either, they're street hookers. In 1979 to care this much about a hooker without so much as a thought to how it would look when you're as important as Jonathan Hart, that says something very important about who he is. It was very progressive for its time, and frankly, it's progressive now. The episode opens on a pair of red shoes that I must have. Since I'm highly unlikely to procure them, I'll move on. You know where this is going very quickly, and soon the doomed Markie Post is asking the Harts for help. This one's not a mystery, though, as we know whodunit almost immediately; it's a character study. We get to experience some investment into who these people are, then suffer the thrilling suspense as we watch it unfold. The altruism is apparent when the girls put their faith the Hart's to try to help influence the police to care. The cops see the terrified prostitutes as the invisible people, but Jennifer doesn't, and neither does Jonathan. Richard Herd is totally effective as the arrogant and unlikeable Sargent. Now, don't get me wrong, the way J&J nag and manipulate him into letting them enter the crime scene is absurd, even by 1979's standards – I've never seen more ridiculous evidence collection as the two of them contaminate the crime scene in every way imaginable – but, this is H2H, so you just let that all go and enjoy what you're given. Like the Sargent's consternation-cum- witty banter with J&J, which grows on you. Max is given quite a lot to do in this episode, and it's so freaking good I could not look away. From the moment he enters the bar in a tapestry, thru all his scene work with the excellent guest stars, all the way to his possibly post-coital hot mess breakfast bedhead, the man stole the show. Especially while sitting at the actual bar with the two guest stars. OMG, Lionel was perfection. A very close runner-up to my Max love in this ep is Jennifer as she openly sits with the known hookers at the restaurant. Let's remember, it's 1979, she's that day's 1%, and she is sitting in a booth at a coffee shop in broad daylight with three known street-walkers, two of whom looking every bit the street they're walking, and kibitzing with them. She does not care one iota what other people may think. Even when a guy tries to pick her up, she's not offended or embarrassed – she's amused. And it's played with authenticity that makes you love her. Not so great? Set design is wack. The naked dancing lady pillows are actually quite inspired, but the brown teddy bear is not. If you're going to have Jonathan discover a single, errant, red hair, then make the bear white, cuz ain't no one seein' that hair on the brown bear. I also could not get past the retired pimp. Read that again. Retired. Pimp. What, now? They wrote that whole thing like it was a legitimate career he'd just gotten the goodbye party for and dressed him like Grandpa. No, no, no, no. NO. I also have to call out a bit of a plot hole in that the Killer knows his Mark(ie), but then he's shocked her red hair is a wig. Yes, it's conceivable that he thought she'd colored her hair, but whatever. Knocking a point off for that, as well as the insane loosie goosieness of the crime scene process. On the other hand, I come back to the hair on Max. It must be celebrated. Twice in this episode, it is seriously somethin' else. And all kidding aside, it's touches like this that bring a reality and believability to his character. But overall, the important thing in all this is the statement about the value of human lives to the Harts. Truly awesome episode.
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Hart to Hart: Murder Between Friends (1979)
Season 1, Episode 6
6/10
How many red herrings does it take to screw in a light bulb?
6 April 2015
I should have known from the opening scene that this one was going to be work to get through. The old Hollywood kind of over-the-top acting was painful out of these guest stars, and by the time the gun goes off I was glad to be rid of one of them. A Bonnie Bartlett so ageless it's unreal is the grieving wife, and now we're off on a classic whodunit. There are at least four people you are just sure did it at any given time, then there's a 5th, and all but one are red herrings with some kind of ax grind. Honestly, didn't enjoy the story on this one at all, but I was fascinated, anyway. For one thing, Stefanie Powers is completely believable in every single thing she does. Her expressions, the way she sits, and her reactions. She's got more presence in her silences than some actors do in their line deliveries. I also loved how believable Jonathan is when he gets heated with his friend. The weird stuff fascinated me, too. Jonathan's robe is really beautiful, but that H on the breast reminded me of Laverne and her L's. I also couldn't look away at how nipply it was out there in the very interesting exercise class. The instructor was so harsh, and they named her Inga. Really? OK. Usually I can relate to this show without being reminded that it's 36 years old, but in this episode Jonathan whistles at his friend's secretary. No way Jose' would that go over these days from anyone, let alone a Jonathan Hart. Once I picked my jaw up off the floor I watched the scene, and ya know what? Shannon Wilcox is fantastic. Really, really good. She went from very very busy actress to nothing since 2011, unfortunately. I'd say of all the characters, including Bonnie's, she was the only one I really actually found myself caring that much about. I guess my problem wasn't the story, it was, sadly, everything else. The scripted dialogue was eh, the acting was really eh, and the direction was just plain weird. Like let's talk about the hats in the scene of mourners heading for the funeral. I had a director who did mostly period stuff, and he made everyone wear hats all the time in every show. No one got away without a hat, and I kind of felt like he might be directing this episode, too. The collection of cars in that scene was the strangest anywhere, from jalopy's (thanks, Max) to the Rolls – then the scriptwriter goes and blames the ex- wives who got all the good cars in the divorces! What? Some great nuggets, though, like watching Lionel Stander drive the Rolls; I'll bet every opportunity he had to do so he just ate up. He also got a great line when he says someone was crying alligator tears. Jennifer corrects him with crocodile tears, and he says, "crock of somethin'." Zing! But again, a weirdly placed scene in the park, and why on earth did the costumer dress them like twinsies? Perhaps the strangest choice here was when one of the red herrings is killed, and the next day several people, including J&J just walk right into the crime scene, no telltale yellow tape, no CSI, no nothing. Even back in 1979, this is a plot hole that is gaping. It's in that scene, though, that J&J have themselves a spat, and what fun THAT was. The chemistry between them is off the charts in that scene, the love amidst annoyance is so clear, and the chastely sweet kiss Jennifer gives Jonathan at the end just made my heart expand. It's good stuff, Maynard. Back to weirdness, the end fight scene has Jennifer just watching while Jonathan allows himself to be relieved of his sleeve, followed by just silly, silly choreography. It was the kicker, however, that really had me scratching my head. It comes out of positively nowhere for no reason and, while adorable, it doesn't belong. If Harry Caesar as Lt. Doyle had stuck around for future episodes I'd've thought maybe the bowling scene was filmed as part of another episode and then moved to this one, but no, this is his one and only episode. Talk about random. People, it was a weird ep. It was just a really weird ep. Worth watching … but weird.
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Hart to Hart: You Made Me Kill You (1979)
Season 1, Episode 5
7/10
Jonathan has a stalker hiding in plain sight.
5 April 2015
Watching and reviewing these out of order can be very interesting, because this is another episode about Jonathan having a stalker – only it's not another one, it's the original one. I was wary at first, but the fact is that this is a very different episode than season 5's "Hartstruck," and I really loved it. The extremely recognizable and very talented Kathleen Lloyd plays a Hart Industries employee who falls in love with Jonathan and goes to great lengths to emulate Jennifer in an effort to get his attention. A work party J&J throw (OMG, the '70's goodness at this party – "Come on, it's called the Boogie!" hahaha!) makes for one incredibly interesting block of compelling eye candy. I don't mean hotness, I mean dialogue and direction that can't really be explained, it just sucks you in. Extras get some lip action, beautiful camera shots from above show the depth of this beautiful set, an understanding of the upstairs layout between stairwells, detailed set dressing whether it made sense of not (a set of legal books?), and Stanley being Mr. Strikeout. Kind of mixed feelings on that, actually, because as pointed out to me by babsfan8816 in a message board thread, the continuity here is off, and that's disappointing. The introduction of Stanley in "Jonathan Hart, Jr." has the character married with kids, and not quite as goofy. The episode basically ends up going where you think it will, but it was still kind of riveting, really. You know the minute Jennifer says she'll kill herself if she spills anything on her dress that she, indeed, will be doing so, and that will set up a whole suspenseful series of cat and mouse stalking that definitely got my blood pumping (No one notices the crazy girl upstairs?). It also allowed for a more intimate look at the very best closet in the history of the world that would, without a doubt, rival that of Carrie Bradshaw. Of course, Jonathan's knight in shining armor routine – whenever we get to see it – is always a win. I also loved J&J's detailed dialogue trying to figure out who the stalker was; they didn't need those lines, but they provided a lot of good context for their relationship. Hands down my favorite part of the episode were the scenes with Deanne, which I know sounds boring, but I love when good B-characters are used so well, and she was. She had some fantastic screen time, and she delivered her performance really well. In one line, she explains the bottom line of who Jonathan Hart is and why someone would end up going cuckoo for cocoa puffs over him like this. A characterization that would hold up so well that believing it a second time for "Hartstruck" is not that hard to accept: Jonathan is nice to everyone, treats them all with true kindness, and someone who isn't quite all there might take that the wrong way. Yep, sums it up. Deanne's a smart cookie. Maybe that's why she disappears by the end of the series, cuz she's been promoted. One would hope. That said some nitpicks: A) I'd like to know where Deanne stores her stuff, B) Mata Hari rhymes with Gotta- Sorry, not Hat-uh-carry – do your homework! C) Poor Tony the travel agent is gonna have a really hard time pulling those bandages off, D) the cop is a bit of a jerk for no real reason. But those are just nits, it's the Stanley continuity that made me knock it down a point. Otherwise a very good ep with great direction and, if nothing else, an impressive Robert Wagner shrine.
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Hart to Hart: Death in the Slow Lane (1979)
Season 1, Episode 4
8/10
I accepted the absurdity and loved it, crank and all.
31 March 2015
Jonathan is definitely all that, don't get me wrong, but in the end he's a boy that likes his toys, the toy in question an old King George-era car for Jennifer's birthday. Definitely a classic bonehead husband move with this gift for him rather than her; that's OK, I've been known to buy my husband plenty of shirts that are "for him" but that are my taste not his. Bonehead wife! Heh. Anyway, there's a ton to love about this episode right off the bat. I was laughing out loud more than a few times. The pounds vs. dollars tete-a-tete was very amusing, and then there's a ton of props and lines that made me squeal. The best line of the show and a sign of the times, when the dock foreman hands off this ridiculous car to Jennifer and says, "You're really gonna look terrific … sittin' in the gas lines. There's a lot of Jennifer-is-no-slouch'iness to this ep. She can fix her own damn sink, thank you very much, you can leave the driving to her, she'll open up the hood of a vintage car (as if she'll know what the hell she's looking at), and she'll go grease monkey like a pro. Then there's the corset she preens in. Awesome shot of her in that doorway. She looks so good without objectification. It's something out of Downton Abbey meets Penny Dreadful. Now one thing, I've worn a corset for a role in the past, and I can promise you, sitting on the ground in that thing is not easy. I'll bet you anything she had to be lowered and hoisted back up. The scene where the woman offers herself up to Jonathan is really good. He lets her down with a leading man sensitivity that calls for every single moment of closeup that was shot for it. Very much enjoyed the notes in the late Andra Akers's performance as a woman unabashedly attracted to Jonathan. The gratuitous low-speed car chase scene with champagne torpedoes is hysterically absurd, and I needed more of it until the shot of Jonathan giving up and running after the bad guy, since his legs would move faster than the car would. The mystery driving what this car is all about is a doozy, and when it was finally revealed I was really impressed. I was a bit disappointed with the kicker. For one thing, their bedroom doesn't appear set yet, as their bed has no headboard at all and a very weird painting above it that really just didn't fit. Of course, me watching these out of order, it's not like anyone knew that yet. The bigger deal is that Jennifer goes and gets herself a fur coat. It's not what William Holden would have wanted, and it's not what Jennifer would later be established to want. A big oops in the character development department. Holden had not yet died here, that's clear. I need to watch the fake fur episode again to see how this might be references (or not). Overall, the whole thing is silly in many ways, from the image of Max cranking a car to the costumed afternoon to the concept of what they resorted to in the end, but in the Hart universe it's really par for the course. So, I loved this one. Knocked it down a point for the fur coat.
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Hart to Hart: Passport to Murder (1979)
Season 1, Episode 2
7/10
Average episode, but sexy fangirl moments are not to be missed
29 March 2015
I am so excited to do start up my reviews again. Passport to Murder was not the strongest episode, but it's not a bad romp. An early first season episode, it continues to set the stage for just who the Harts are. If the plane in the credits doesn't sell you on his richness, maybe the yacht will. In this episode Jonathan, Jennifer, and Max sail to Mexico to help an old friend. The excuse to get them there kind of eludes me, but all that sort of falls away with the bad guy setup stuff. The absolute menace very convincingly played by John Aquino (whose career would end in 1982 when he appears to have left acting) sucked me in pretty quickly. This guy was scary. I did have to click back several times and go, whoa, cuz dude appears to be practically fondling the breast of actress Louisa Leschin, as he forces her hotel clerk character to strip. But soon enough the Harts figure out that something ungood is afoot, and off they go guilting themselves into being drug mules in an effort to re-goodify it. Their motivation to do so is fuzzy at best, but no episode without it, so okeydokey. A lot of eye (and other sensory) candy here: RJ's adorable windblown hair, the incredibly real backward stunt down the stairs, the weirdly American accent on the Mexican doctor, nurses who still wore little hats, Jonathan looking Hottie McHotterson in his undone tux, and Jennifer and a Mexican hotel guy having the most adorable argument in Spanish. I also love how this episode is an early example of how the costumers would be dressing Jennifer in timeless classics that would stand up today. Seeing as how this series would last four more years, I thought it was a little early for the in-joke line, "Jonathan, don't you ever wonder how it is we always manage to get into these things," but I'm sure the writers enjoyed that bit of cheekiness, especially as it came as part of a jail cell scene that involved Jonathan's bare chest, and an ambiance that screamed Brady Bunch ghost town. So, campy. Not campy, though, was the acting of Margarita Garcia. This Mexican cop was a throwaway character, but she was so fantastic that she stole the entire show, AFAIC. No lines. All it took was presence, facial expressions, and her expressive propwork to make me believe that woman meant business. I seriously mean it when I say I loved her performance. However, the very best part of this episode was the fangirl giddiness I found myself in when Jonathan wakes up with his hand on Jennifer's ass. It's not a quick, cheap shot, either, that hand stayed there on the swell of her butt for a seriously long time. It's where his hand should be when they wake up in that position, it's deeply affectionate, it's believable, and it's sexy as hell. Juxtaposed with prison matron Marge staring at them while she has her breakfast, it ruins the mood, but that was the whole point. The entire thing is beautifully played by all of them. BLOOPER ALERT?  I'm not sure about this one, but there's a trip and fall during the chase through the foliage that really didn't seem planned. The tumble Stefanie takes seems so unchoreographed, and then RJ says, "Are you alright?" and he doesn't say it in character voice or context. They just kept filming, and then they run off camera, so I'd think if it was real they'd stop the filming. But they my have just made an acting choice to keep going, and then it worked well on film so it was kept in, I don't know, but it sure didn't seem scripted to me. Either way it was really brilliant, and I also appreciate how during this change they're sweaty and dirty and gross. Overall, this episode is a bit weak in the plot. At one point Jonathan says, " to get the dope back, remember why we're here?!" Well, after having watched it I'm still trying to figure that out, so that line's pretty prescient for me. But holy sexiness, man, the final scene where Jennifer positively mounts him in the gorgeous golden light of the top deck of their yacht really just makes you go, oh who cares.
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Hart to Hart: Jonathan Hart Jr. (1979)
Season 1, Episode 3
5/10
Disappointing paternity episode chock full of plot holes
29 March 2015
I'd never seen this episode in the original run as far as I remember, and I was looking so forward to it. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed. So, I carefully watched it again, and I think I've figured out that the issue with this one is that it's one of the handful that just don't translate to anything acceptable in 2015. When you watch Hart to Hart, you just have to do two things, A) Suspend your disbelief that perfect people like this could exist, and B) Remember that this is a product of life as it existed 36 years ago. I can do that with nearly all of them, but not this time.

In this episode, a single mother played by pre-ET Dee Wallace is manipulated by her abusive ex into extorting money from Jonathan by duping him into thinking her 8yo son is his. There is a lot of potential for serious angst and drama here, which they capitalize on in some ways. From the moment the boy hits the gate buzzer and Jonathan relates to him with warmth and kindness it's gold. RJ and the boy, played by Randy Gray (and WOW is this kid good) are very sweet and have some lovely sensitive moments. But the plot holes are endless, I mean there are just so many problems here, beginning with the very premise. There was no real reason I could find for the mother to cave to this. She could have just gone to the police, it made no sense. The Harts' immediate actions of just giving the kid a room without too much by way of questions was off, and their lack of hard feelings later really didn't sit well with me. Anyone who would let their 8yo be in the control of someone else for, ostensibly, weeks and a pitiful $200k (even accounting for inflation), is not OK. At one point they just leave the suspect in the room with the money, the school gives out this boy's personal information to the Harts, who are great big nobodies to this kid as far as they know, and then the kid never actually goes to school during this time. And the big to-do of searching high and low for the kid's mother – would the boy not know his mother's name? She worked at a hospital, very easy to find.

Now, wrapped up in this train wreck of an episode, there are pieces to appreciate. It's Stanley's first appearance, and his character is set right at the get go, I loved that. Randy Gray might be an Adam Rich lookalike, but he has real talent, it's too bad he left acting (or maybe a good given the fate of most 70's child actors). I don't know if the show bothered to clear film locations, but the onlookers at the zoo positively gaped at the Rolls. And scenes J&J share in the immediate moments after the boy shows up are what soapy goodness is made out of. When they're alone to discuss it, the air is so pregnant with angst that I felt it here on my couch. The way they had that scene go was very interesting, and I'm honestly not sure if the writing there was driven by chauvinism or feminism. I am sure, however, that I hated the way they parted from the kitchen. Maybe when I revisit this episode in the future I'll be able to verbalize why. In the end, Jennifer's absolute belief in her husband and her truly unconditional devotion to him (and vice versa) is paramount and the whole reason this show works. The acting was tops throughout the episode, especially that of William Lucking as Wallace's ex. He's really freaking effective and downright menacing. I also loved when Jennifer got really angry, and Jonathan has to remove her to the kitchen to calm down, that got me very excited.

BLOOPER ALERT --> In the park, I feel like Dee forgets her line. William Lucking had delivered his line, and then Dee Wallace had put her hand to her head and stayed silent as if in thought. But that's a weird acting choice, and no one else was directed like this, so I really think it was a classic, "I forgot my line" move. I think Lucking is really good, because instead of just waiting there, he went on and said, "if you don't want the cops to get an anonymous tip," to which she interrupted out of nowhere and said, "never hold up, never hold up." There's no way it was scripted like this to step on his line after an awkward silence, she forgot her line.

Some good elements here, and the last scene with the boy and his guitar made me weepy. But this episode was uncomfortable and, honestly, wrong on a lot of levels. It does not hold up in 2015, and it utterly disappoints me to say that.
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Hart to Hart: Straight Through the Hart (1983)
Season 5, Episode 2
5/10
Oh those silly Argentinian polo players
22 November 2011
I was so excited to see that this one guested one of my favorites from way back, A Martinez. Loved him as Cruz Castillo on Santa Barbara. Really, who didn't? Wasn't so sure about Abbe Lane, thought, as the Sugar Mama paired off with Fernando Allende 20 years younger than her. H2H does that a lot, though, pairing older guest women with younger guest men. At first I wondered what they were thinking, but then I said to myself, ya know, H2H was ahead of its time, casting women over 40 time and time again, and then giving them young guys to pair with! So, OK with me. Anyhoo, this one centers around the polo world -- Jonathan is captain of the US team, of course -- and a mallet that hides something inside that the bad guys want. Of course, the mallet ends up at the Hart estate, and seeing as how the baddies will do whatever they have to to get it, you can imagine that bad things happen. I'm just gonna stream of consciousness this one, mainly cuz I'm feeling lazy today.

* Early on, Jonathan says to Jennifer, "Every time I don't think you could look better, you always surprise me." Ain't that the truth? She looks fantastic, always does. Even in the short hair I wasn't a fan of in this Season 5 episode that was, less of a stinker than most.

* We get a shot of three different Hart cars in one episode: The Rolls in the driveway, the station wagon, and the yellow Mercedes.

* Martinez sweats an Awful lot in this. I mean, it's so excessive that he is shiny and drippy the entire time. They treated it as a plot point, but it seemed really unnecessary.

* Jonathan sits down to breakfast, puts his napkin on his lap, then tells Max he doesn't care for anything.

* I had to giggle at the polo player taking his time to dress all in black with a black ski mask, but left his signature ascot flappin' in the breeze so that a clue could be left.

The actors are mainly phoning this in, but it's still better than most of them in this season. The best line really goes to Max. As he's in a hospital bed, a pretty nurse goes to take his temperature (with a real live glass & mercury thermometer!), and Max says, "My mom used to just give me a kiss on the forehead" (wink wink nudge nudge). Heh.

Truly average. Not awful, not great.
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Hart to Hart: Bahama Bound Harts (1983)
Season 4, Episode 16
Wackiest Camera Angles Ever
21 November 2011
It's another destination episode the the Harts. This time it's the Bahamas, and the name dropping begins immediately. It's a huge Who's Who ad, and honestly, it's pretty good. Yes, it's corny in spots. OK, most spots. And it's predictable from the word go. But it was so goooooood in its corniness and predictability. Not to mention how surreal some of it was. There's so much going on in this episode that it's hard to know where to begin.

Well, this Season 4 episode begins with J&J and Max headed out on their private jet to the Bahamas for a big party for a recluse named Loring Nichols. No one's seen him in 10 years, as, unbeknownst to his friends, he's been drugged and doubled by his closest entourage. There's a murder, scrambling ensues, and the whole episode goes exactly as you might imagine it would. What sucks me into this one has nothing to do with the story and everything to do with the storytelling. First, let's talk about the opening scene of the gin rummy game in the jet's very, very narrow cabin. Two opposing couches with a coffee table in between forces them to shoot poor Stefanie with her legs wide open. Her skirt covers things, but it was weird to see.

In fact, this is just indicative of the overall direction of the whole episode. I know location shoots are challenging, but some of these camera shots were just plain strange. Like the one following behind them as they talk to the police detective. It was literally 10 seconds, at least, of the backs of them as they discuss. No reason for this. If you ever wanted to know why you shouldn't turn your back to the audience, this is a great example. It's not like it was a plot-driven or artistic thing, it was just ... lazy? Takes you right out of the story. It wasn't even the stunt-Jennifer, this was really them from behind. Very weird. Another example of wack-ass shot composition was when Jonathan was on the pier talking to Loring. They dressed Loring in a terrible hat that sat all trucker-like on the top of his head, yet the bill hid his entire face, and it was a medium 2-shot that never once got you a good look at the actor. It was just pointless. Yes, they were on a real dock. Who cares, find a way. OK, then there's the shot of Jonathan elevator and climbing shots, which they reuse several times. At least choose a different expression for subsequent repeats! Or shooting Jonathan through the slats in bed's headboard, but the slats are obscuring a good portion of his face. Artistry is good. But do it so that it's technically sound and not blocking the actual subject of your shot! And these are just a couple examples. There are just so many shots that were probably creatively imagined but that when executed they failed miserably. But don't get me wrong, it was still a delicious kind of miserable.

Ah the days when you could smoke indoors. Which brings us to the entrance of Max. There's a reason Hart to Hart isn't the same without Max. Lionel turned in such a compelling cock and bull story scene that I was just drawn right in and smiled the whole time. It was a high counterpoint to the low one where Jennifer gratuitously absconds with an ATV for no real reason.

the last shot was such a disappointment. The Harts riding horses on the the beach at sunset is beautiful, but the stupidly dubbed conversation was el stinko.

Was I entertained. Oh hell yeah. But the execution of this episode was so bad I can't give it truly high marks. I think director Stuart Margolin, who is a fairly well-recognized character actor, probably tried with what he had to work with on location, but this was just ... not good.
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Hart to Hart: Always, Elizabeth (1984)
Season 5, Episode 21
6/10
Max and June Allyson: Not a Great Match
29 October 2010
This is so noiry that it was only the music that assured me that this was truly a h2h episode I was watching. It was pretty creative, actually. But back in the day, if the opening titles had not just rolled, you might not know what you were watching till 8 minutes in.

I should be amused by this episode where the tables are turned and J&J are the servants to Max when his pen pal, Elizabeth, whom he's been lying to, shows up unexpectedly. But instead, it felt kind of uncomfortable. I mean there were funny moments for sure, but it just seemed to play like a big plate of awkward. And what is it about these last episodes of the series being about house guests that aren't all that welcome causing all kinds of havoc? I think as soon as they started naming episodes without the word "Hart" in it, that must have caused some kind of wack voodoo.

Here at the end of the series run we got a third dose of J&J getting a little tiffy with each other. Turns out Jennifer is a terrible cook and can, apparently, dish it out but not so much take it.

So, J&J switch roles with Max so completely that they're even in each others' rooms. More squick! Elizabeth, played by June Allyson, is tracked to the Hart's house by her nephew (a second visit from Joe Pantoliano) where he is tracked by his own bad guy, Robert Davi, who is creepy no matter what decade his bad guy role is in.

This episode introduces a new, pretty comprehensive set, the new wine cellar. I imagine that if the series had continued we'd've gotten more wine cellar scenes.

I gave this a lower rating. I think June Allyson, while ten years younger than Lionel, was poorly cast. She looked older, is not the type he would go for, and turned in a relatively weak performance. Robert Davi was great, though, and RJ was pretty good, too. Lionel, however, gave quite the little nuanced piece of subtle you can. That's why he was a good actor. He knew how to make you believe you ere watching a real guy, really named Max, who really knew how to please everyone. I didn't love this episode, but I did love him.
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Hart to Hart: Larsen's Last Jump (1984)
Season 5, Episode 20
7/10
The Harts have a fight. An actual fight.
29 October 2010
Well, it took till the end of the fifth season, but Jonathan & Jennifer actual have an argument that isn't fake, staged, or undercover. It's not a knock down drag out, and there's not really any true anger. But it was definitely different watching this dynamic between them. Why the fight? Well, they have some last minute houseguests when a couple they befriended on a ski trip come over to watch a VHS tape (VHS!) made of the four of them with a cutting edge self-operating camera. The brilliant character actor, Ray Wise, plays the husband, and wouldn't you know it, he's caught on that tape having done some bad things to a ski jumper that results in his death. It takes a while for the Harts to catch on, and in the interim, neither of them are that happy to see this couple and point fingers at each other for their having showed up. Because we know Wise is a bad guy, I wasn't really sure if the Hart's were engaging in a setup or if the fight was for real, but it turns out it was for real, and it was a bit voyeuristic watching them in that context. They did a nice job. That said, it was not their best performance. They really phoned it in half this episode. Which is so unfortunate, because the obligatory fisticuffs at the end was actually really good. Jennifer and Max were totally in on that act, too. I mean, Max even got shot, and they didn't even do anything with it! The the inexplicable behavior in the last scene where J&J have turned on the air conditioning and frozen Max & Freeway out of the house. What, now?! Weird. I guess I just don't know what to make of this episode. The direction was actually creative and a nice change of pace, but the overall effect was just plain strange. I gave it a 7 for the argument scene.
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Hart to Hart: Hart to Hart (1979)
Season 1, Episode 0
10/10
The Pilot! In case you have any doubt, their hobby is murder.
28 October 2010
Finally, I get to see the pilot after all these years. Nothing looked familiar, so, like so many other wonderful eps, this was new for me, and it was great! I watched this as the originally intended 2-hour pilot as it appeared on my Season 1 DVD set and not as the two-part episode hack job that it ultimately became for most viewers of the reruns. I'm so glad I did, because I got to see some real gems that have probably gone missing at some point to accommodate the re-cut. The pilot very clearly lays out four very important things:

1. Jonathan Hart is very, very rich and drop dead gorgeous 2. Jennifer is independent, confident, and drop dead gorgeous 3. The Harts are completely in love and always will be.

And, oh yeah, their hobby is murder, which is only really to give them something to do, cuz make no mistake, this show is about them and their off-the-charts chemistry. They had mad chemistry in all of their eps, but in this one it was in the stratosphere, setting the tone for what would be every episode to come. They were the original supercouple.

This very first Hart to Hart revolves around three concepts they'd come back to time and again --> evil spa treatments, evil hypnosis, and evil dangerous winding mountain curves. Specifically, when one of Jonathan's good friends appears to commit suicide, Jonathan & Jennifer go undercover to get to the bottom of it.

This establishing pilot gives us so much foundation. A beautifully crafted camera shot shows us just how lush and beautiful their property is with the only shot of their actual driveway that I recall in the series. It's in this pilot that we see the two of them playing winding-mountain-road-chicken in their two fabulous cars that later become the opener. It's where we learn that Jennifer is a writer, Max is their butler guy, they have a nice big house, they are very loyal to their friends, and they love their dog. Speaking of which, there's a very funny scene with Jonathan, Max, and Freeway where they're spelling things out so Freeway won't hear that he has a trip to the vet coming up. The D-O-G and the V-E-T for the S-H-O-T is amusing, but it's also very relatable, which is something they always somehow achieved well -- relating to their viewers despite their avarice of wealth.

There was some truly surreal stuff going' on here, too. Jill St. John and Natalie Wood, both of whom married Robert Wagner, were both in this pilot. Natalie's role (credited under Natasha Gurdin) is tiny as an actress playing a Scarlett O'Hara type on a Hollywood set; Jill plays a principal role as a spa customer. It was positively fascinating to watch, especially knowing that this is one of the very last things Natalie ever did. Natalie is perfect in her role, but Jill is way too overly made-up. She had on so much blush and so spidery in the eyelashes that it was reminiscent of a clown, unfortunately. Talented girl, though, she was really quite good. Pity she hasn't done much these days.

I watched this with Mankiewicz, Stef, and RJ doing commentary and completely geeked out over the little titbits they offer up. I waited with baited breath for RJ to talk about Natalie, but interestingly, it was all three of them that talked about her, and the brief mentions were gold. And while the tidbits were plentiful, it was their wonderful camaraderie and mutual admiration between the three of them that really warmed my heart. If you have a chance to get the Season 1 DVDs, you really must watch this pilot twice, the second time with the commentary turned on.

Have to mention the two things that didn't seem to fit. James Noble is in a bad guy role, here, but honestly, all I saw was the hapless and clueless Governor from Benson. This was either just before or just as Benson started, but it just made me completely giggle. On the commentary, they talk about how Noble had to be directed over and over and over again to stop leaning. And he totally was! His character went kind of nowhere, so it seemed like a character that started out important but ended up unneeded but was easier to just keep in the script. There was also a strange scene with Jonathan in the steam room. Completely pointless scene.

Hands down, my favorite scene was Max on the 20th Century back lot when the actors playing Nazis are checking out the car, and as they walk away, Max makes a power fist and says, "Shalom," then Jonathan who is on the phone with Max says back, "Shalom." HYSTERICAL stuff. I mean, it's nothing on paper, but it's truly all about the delivery. Then a Native American Indian chief actor strolls by checking out the car, followed by Natalie Wood as the Southern Belle. Pure indulgence, but it worked so well. This scene, as well as Max in the window sets up early the funny Max and straight-man Jonathan that would play well for years after. There's also a scene where J&J are bickering in his room that is so gorgeously done between them, and that final scene in the jet, which is just truly what this show is all about.

There was also a pool bit after a snake that was a potentially dangerous stunt thanks to the walls of that pool forming bays that the StuntJonathan could have hit on this way down. Fun, but Stefanie totally anticipates the splash before it happens, as does at least two others, tho not as significantly.

This pilot was fantastic. Despite the James Noble and steam room weirdness, I'm giving it a 10, because I can't give it a 12. There's just nothing not to love, here.
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Hart to Hart: Hit Jennifer Hart (1979)
Season 1, Episode 1
8/10
Episode one sets the tone for this great series
15 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
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!
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Hart to Hart: Hart of Diamonds (1982)
Season 3, Episode 13
9/10
Jennifer Did a Bad, Bad Thing
16 November 2009
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 bug me.

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.
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Hart to Hart: Slam Dunk (1984)
Season 5, Episode 19
8/10
Want to be like Mike. But aren't.
12 July 2009
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.
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Hart to Hart: The Shooting (1984)
Season 5, Episode 18
8/10
A Good One in Season 5? What?!
14 June 2009
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.
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Hart to Hart: Death Dig (1984)
Season 5, Episode 17
7/10
Only the Unique Love Scene Saves This One.
14 June 2009
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

Jen: What?

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.
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