(Top two pictures are from The House on Willis Avenue; I still haven’t screencapped Nice Guys Finish Dead.)
So yesterday we finally watched Nice Guys Finish Dead. I hadn’t seen it for a couple of years and only remembered I hadn’t liked how Vern St. Cloud was written. I also remembered it was very silly and Lance White was nearly perfect.
That isn’t far off the mark from how I felt last night, either.
ROTFLOL, Lance felt like an overgrown Boy Scout. He was just so good it was unreal. He donated all the money he inherited after his wife of two months died. He didn’t load his gun. He even hated punching out the killer.
If I ever write or draw something where Ginger and Lou meet him, Ginger is going to be losing his patience very fast.
One thing I’ve never liked on the show is when it seems like Jim Rockford gets all the bad breaks. I usually find it sad, not funny. They seemed to really stretch that idea to the point of unbelievability in season 6, including this episode. With Lance around, you knew he’d keep getting shown up (albeit often amusingly). Jim won the award for most valuable P.I. in Los Angeles, but you’d know it would be a fluke and he’d have to give up the award at the end (even though, despite his words, he really wanted the thing). And it was sad how he was the one who put up the bail for Beamer, even putting his own car on the line, and Beamer just kept thinking Lance did everything for him. Jim even recommended Beamer be made part of the detectives organization thing and Beamer thought that was Lance’s work too. To Lance’s credit, I loved that he told Beamer it was Jim.
Jim was pretty adorable. I love when they’re in Lance’s apartment and Lance says his wife died, and even though Jim is really frustrated with Lance, he shows he feels bad about that and says he’s sorry. Jim being such a softie at heart is one of the things I love about him.
Vern really was a jerk. I was kind of wrong about remembering that the animosity was on both sides in this episode. It was pretty much all on Vern, until Vern pushed Jim to the edge of his patience. Vern tells Jim to just say “Thank You” as an acceptance speech, and Jim doesn’t want to put him out, so he’s just the nice guy and does what Vern wants. Then Vern pokes fun at that and says, “What kind of acceptance speech is that?”
There’s the incident of Vern punching Beamer, although admittedly he might not have done it if Beamer hadn’t threatened him with “Put ‘em up!” first. But Vern definitely acted like a jerk in that scene.
And there’s when Jim, Beamer, and Lance hurry to the hospital after hearing that Larry was beat up, and neither Larry nor Vern is very hospitable. Larry keeps whining he wants them to go and Vern, instead of apologizing, insists that they leave. Of course, Larry is worried Beamer will recognize him as being the murderer (which he does), but Vern is just being a jerk.
In Vern’s defense, I suppose he figured that the group didn’t care about Larry’s health and only came because they wanted to further the investigation, and he saw no need to be polite and hospitable in that case. It goes back to Vern’s dog-eat-dog attitude and whatever embittered him years ago. Something obviously did, judging from what he says in Sticks and Stones.
Also in Sticks and Stones, he can be downright sweet at times. But for whatever reason, the writers didn’t want to show that sweetness in the other episodes, which I feel was a very bad move and just makes Vern look one-dimensionally terrible here.
So I was pretty worn-out after that bizarre episode, and although I wanted to see Chris, I didn’t feel like wallowing through all of The Hawaiian Headache, which is quite a headache of an episode. Jim being the “bad breaks boy” continues to the extreme in that episode, Jim’s Army commander is a Class A jerk and we’re supposed to believe he’s the good guy, and it’s just randomly shoehorned in at the end that Dutch Ingram is the killer (which I still don’t believe).
So I decided instead to break out In Hazard from season 2. It was rather refreshing. I could see that the writing was much better at that point, the characters were all treated with respect by the writers, and it had a nice, happy ending for people (including Joseph Campanella’s character).
People always complain that the writing was going down by season 5. I can’t swear to that, but I can definitely say it was going down by season 6. I really, really enjoyed the season 2 episode and am very glad I chose that one instead of watching another season 6 episode right then.
On a sidenote: I am chagrined that I forgot Dennis was promoted to Lieutenant. I wrote him as a Sergeant in my Rockford fic that takes place after season 6. Oh dear. I wonder if anyone noticed.
The Bogus Books.
Hamilton in court.
I love those classic WTH and exasperated looks.
Tony slumps against the door in dismay as Kolchak goes off to fight a witch.
Kolchak and Tony after the office is ransacked by the Mob.
Simon is told about the dead men in the sub and the one holding a hammer. After they’ve all been hearing hammer sounds for hours.
Simon trying to convince Mike Kellin that the weird stuff is all in his mind. Both of these men are incredible in this episode. This was the first time I paid attention to who Mike Kellin was, and I’ve paid attention ever since.