Monday, October 3, 2016

Mitchell & Woods...

I could write about politics this morning, or how one of my dearest friends is trying to stir up shit with a pro Trump post.  I'm choosing not to do that, though, because I've probably already written too much about politics.  It's not that I write a lot about politics as a general rule, but more that there are way too many people opining about the upcoming elections.  And, well, I doubt anything I write will have an effect on anyone's opinion anyway.  Also, I find the upcoming elections very depressing and I'd rather think and write about something else.

So today, I'm going to write about a horrible episode of CHiPs I watched yesterday called "Mitchell & Woods".  I tried to find clips of it on YouTube, but sadly I've come up short.  I'm just going to have to describe it and leave the rest up to your imagination.  I realize this may be a pointless exercise to anyone who wasn't around in the 1970s and 80s.  On the other hand, there's always iTunes.  That's how I managed to see this godawful episode yesterday.  It's one of those episodes of TV that is so bad it's almost good.

Anyway, to really get this episode from Season 5, you really have to have seen a two part episode from Season 4 entitled "Ponch's Angels", or some shit like that.  In that two hour set, we meet two pretty female motorcycle police trainees.  There's a beautiful blonde named Melanie Mitchell, played by Trisha Townsend (who strangely apparently wasn't in anything else after this).  Seriously, Ms. Townsend is a stunner.  She has feathered blonde hair and huge blue eyes.  She has a beautiful body that fills out the CHiPs motorcycle uniform perfectly.  I'd love to know what happened to her career.

There's also a luscious brunette named Paula Woods played by Barbara Stock.  I should mention that Ms. Stock is a very lovely white woman who has enjoyed a pretty decent career beyond her turn on CHiPs.  I have to wonder why they named the dark haired character Paula and the blonde one Melanie, since the name Melanie means black or dark.

In "Ponch's Angels", there's another blonde character named Jennifer.  She plays Ponch's girlfriend, who is continually upset because the two pretty trainees are constantly in his apartment and occasionally in various stages of undress.  Jennifer is played by Cindy Morgan.


"Ponch's Angels"

So Ponch and, to a lesser extent, Jon, are tasked with training these two beautiful and brilliant trainees who don't follow orders.  There's sexism aplenty going hand in hand with a half assed "girl power" message.  I actually kind of enjoyed "Ponch's Angels" somewhat, even though it was very cheesy TV.  I didn't realize that it was a precursor to something really shitty.

When CHiPs originally aired, I was a pretty big fan.  I was also a young kid.  By the time season 5 rolled around, I think I'd lost interest.  That was the season the show really started to jump the shark in embarrassing ways.  First off, Erik Estrada was having contract disputes with the producers, so he doesn't appear in several episodes.  Instead, he's replaced by Bruce Jenner, many years before Bruce turned into Caitlyn.  It's hard to reconcile Bruce Jenner on CHiPs with Caitlyn Jenner of today.  While he does a fairly good job as a motorcycle cop, he's no Ponch.  I think that's why I hadn't seen "Mitchell & Woods" until yesterday.

I guess the writing was on the wall that CHiPs was about to get axed and the producers were eager to keep the gravy train rolling.  The ideas for the show were clearly drying up.  So, in season 5, they brought us an episode that was clearly intended to be a pilot for a new "chick" detective show.  Our old friends Melanie Mitchell and Paula Woods were back...  But my, how they'd changed in ten months' time!

First off, Melanie Mitchell is still a beautiful blonde, but she's somehow morphed into Ponch's old girlfriend, Jennifer.  Actress Cindy Morgan had taken the role.  And Paula Woods bizarrely went from being a gorgeous, statuesque white woman with brunette hair to...  Jayne Kennedy!  Jayne Kennedy is also an incredibly gorgeous woman, but in my opinion, she's not much of an actress.  And she's also black, while the character she was playing was originally white.


The second incarnation of Mitchell and Woods.

Allow me to hastily add that I have no issues whatsoever with the idea of racial diversity.  I think it's great that the producers wanted a woman of color to play Paula Woods.  But "Ponch's Angels" was aired just ten months prior to "Mitchell & Woods" and in that episode, Paula Woods was a white woman.  Viewers may have short memories sometimes, but that was definitely a stretch.  Why didn't they cast Kennedy as Woods in the first place?  I can certainly see why Barbara Stock, who was apparently also on Dallas at the time, wanted no part of this turkey.  At least Morgan looked a bit like the original Melanie Mitchell that was in "Ponch's Angels".

So at the beginning of "Mitchell & Woods", we learn that the beautiful trainees Ponch taught just ten months earlier were both suddenly being promoted to detectives at Ocean City Police Department.  I think, but don't know for certain, that would mean they'd outrank Ponch and Jon.  What a blow that must have been to their egos!  Having grown up on the East Coast, I wondered if the show was going to be set in Maryland.  But no, Ocean City is a California beach town.  The two ladies trade in their sexy uniforms for plain clothes.  Throughout the episode, Jayne Kennedy is wearing a dress that comes dangerously close to showing off her tits.  I'm not sure she was wearing a bra.

There's new music that was obviously composed for this episode.  I'm sure it would have been used in the spin off, had it successfully aired.  The music on CHiPs was over the top, but it was especially weird in the "Mitchell & Woods" episode.  Amid heavy horns and percussion, you hear what sounds like women whispering something that sounds like "chick chick chick" with an echoey effect.  It's really weird and distracting.  It almost reminds me of something out of a horror movie.

We see Mitchell & Woods immediately get off on the wrong foot with their new boss, who yells at them for taking his parking spot.  Then, after telling them not to call him "Chief", he inexplicably turns them loose to handle their first murder case with absolutely no supervision.

The murder case is, in and of itself, totally ridiculous.  The case literally falls into the hapless lady cops' laps as he staggers into their office.  The victim says "I'd like to report a murder.", and collapses right in front of the women.  Although he has just apparently expired and would presumably still be warm and perhaps might even be saved, the victim is referred to as "a cold one" by the head detective, who instead of calling an ambulance, calls the medical examiner.  Woods has just tried to take a cursory pulse and declared it absent.  Clearly she's qualified to say the guy is dead and unsalvageable.

It turns out the victim had gone to high school with Mitchell and was going to be her prom date.  In fact, even though Mitchell has been out of high school for eight years as of late 1981, her former prom date and current murder victim is still dating the woman he'd ditched her for-- the best actress in the school who stupidly goes by the nickname, "Chickee".  You can tell Melanie still hates the bitch, too.  Seems to me, that would be a good reason for Melanie to be assigned to a different case.  She would be too emotionally involved in this one involving a former beau and the bitch who "stole" him from her (not that I think adults in relationships can be "stolen" from someone else).

Anyway, as the hour wears on very slowly, the two fledgling detectives make their rounds questioning people using questionable methods that likely weren't taught in the police academy.  In the course of the episode, we see Melanie cold cock a woman at a party after the woman slaps her across the face.  In the real world, Melanie would have arrested the woman instead of hitting her back.  But no, she punches her in the mouth and leaves her face down in the buffet line.  Then, as the two ladies high five each other, they head off on a quest to save the world in their own, kickass way.

We see them leave an obnoxious creep at a bar handcuffed to a brass bar around a table.  They cause at least one major car accident, but then it wouldn't be an episode of CHiPs without one of those.  They also somehow beat off a bunch of bikers who are harassing a woman on the street.

Despite all of this action, I still found the episode dreadful and mostly unentertaining.  I mean, it was fun to watch simply because it sucked so much, but even as CHiPs episodes go, it was pretty terrible.  I have to wonder if they fired some writers or if a couple of them were enjoying certain illegal substances when they wrote the script.  It was just very poorly conceived and completely implausible.

I am almost done watching season 5.  Fortunately, iTunes doesn't have season 6 available, because if I recall correctly, that season was the worst of all.  There was an episode in it about aliens.  You know when aliens come into the mix, a show has reached the point of no redemption.  It happened on The Brady Bunch, too.

Happy Monday, everybody.

8 comments:

  1. I never liked the character of "Ponch." He might have been one of the world's most awesome people, but i just didn't like him.

    Was the other original main character the ine who accidentally killed himself by doing something like jkingly firing a gun with blanks in it too close to his head, or was that someone else?

    P.S. Which old post do I need to be looking for. Tel me ina DM at Twitter if necessary.

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    1. I was always partial to Larry Wilcox, who played Jon. Ponch was too much of a show off. But, in watching these old episodes again, I must admit that he had more charisma than Jon did. Jon's character is somewhat like Bill, though, so I'm still partial to him.

      Neither of the lead characters on CHiPs killed themselves. You must be thinking of someone else.

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    2. Jon Erik Hexum shot and killed himself on the set of COVER UP with a prop gun. He was formerly on the show VOYAGERS! with Punky Brewster's brother, Meeno Peluce.

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    3. Watching the episode now and found it curious to see. Okay, it's not great, not not terrible either, at least by 1970s standards ... sort of Cagney and Lacy with feathered hair, bell bottoms and cheesy dialog. And why would a pro Trump article stir up poop?

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    4. Keep in mind that this was written in October.

      I think this CHiPs episode actually aired in the 80s and it was a total Cagney and Lacey rip off.

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  2. Here is Trisha Townsend.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knD8l87gxQ8

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    1. Looking for Trisha Townsend led me to this page. Why did she not continue with her acting career. She was as good as any other actress that had appeared on chips. This is driving me crazy. Does anybody else notice how much better looking women from the late 50s-the early 80s- were? They were much more beautiful and women-like then now.
      Please bring back the hair styles. OMG did women forget how to look like women? Trish's hair in Chips was amazing as all the women from back then. I guess that is why back in the 80s, I was a 15 year old kid running around with a boner all the time. Women in 2017 have no sex appeal. They all look like they have been cookie cut from some synthetic, processed dough.

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