Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Have a Mrs. Peel Kind of Year!

Okay, it all depends on how you look at it. For optimists, it’s a New Year’s opportunity for remember-whening and summing up. For the pessimist, it’s scraping the bottom of the cultural trash can and acknowledging the 500-pound gorilla in the room. Either way, I swear that there’s a Point in here somewhere. Do you recall these folks?

1.) Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer (circa 1982) of “The Dukes of Hazzard”: Byron and Chris took over for original stars John Schneider (“Bo Duke”) and Tom Wopat (“Luke Duke”) during the popular TV show’s 5th season. Why the substitution? Bo and Luke, struck with an acute case of Gary Burghoff-itis, decided that they were Major Television Stars with Bright Futures and held out for more money. The show’s producers told Bo and Luke to shove a pair o’ possums up their hoo-hahs sideways. Plucked from obscurity overnight, these two unknowns soldiered on as Bo’s and Luke’s cousins, “Coy” (Byron) and “Vance” (Christopher), through 1982-83. This resulted in one of the most stunning surprises in television history: ratings for “The Dukes of Hazzard” tanked quicker than the General Lee on sugared Premium. Schneider and Wopat, having ironed out their differences with the newly-cooperative producers, returned to the show in 1983. Coy and Vance left Hazzard County soon after and never returned—not even for the “Reunion” episode in 1997. See what happens when you sneak into Daisy’s room uninvited?

2.) Linda Thorson (circa 1968) of “The Avengers”: In 1967, pop culture icon Diana Rigg (“Emma Peel”), deciding that she’d had it up to “there” starring in an international TV hit, quit “The Avengers”. Canadian beauty Linda Thorson signed on the next year to play John Steed’s new Girl Friday, rookie agent “Tara King”. While Tara King was beautiful, intelligent and capable, after the sultry, leather-clad, kung-fu-fighting, take-no-prisoners Mrs. Peel, she just seemed rather. . .blasè. “The Avengers” was cancelled in 1969.

3.) Helen Slater (circa 1984) as “Supergirl”: Back in the mid-1980’s, this blonde stunner seemed ready to conquer Hollywood. She headlined the feature films “Supergirl” and “The Legend of Billy Jean”, and costarred in “Ruthless People” and “The Secret of My Success”. True, Ms. Slater was beautiful—my, how she filled out that red and blue costume! Trouble was, she couldn’t act. When attempting drama, she was stiff and unintentionally funny. In comic roles, she came off as shrill and boring. These days, according to the split-second glance I took at Wikipedia, Slater’s work (when she does work) consists mostly of “indie” films (i.e., ones nobody sees) and guest-starring bits on TV. If she still has that Supergirl outfit, I wonder if she ever wears it? Late at night, maybe, while posing at home in the bathroom mirror. . .well, uh, ahem. I won’t go there.

The point to all this? As years went, 2006 was the equivalent to these TV also-ran’s. Bland, dull and quickly forgotten. At least in Brother John’s neck of the woods. Nothing bad happened (thank God), but nothing really good happened, either.

I’m not in the habit of making New Year’s resolutions. But since structure is key, what the hell? Here’s hoping that my, yours and everyone’s 2007 is a Mrs. Peel kind of year. Or at least, not another “Tara King” kind of year, anyhow.


Post a Comment

<< Home