Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hollywood plans to murder another part of my childhood. "A-Team Intro"

Let's be perfectly honest with ourselves. With a few modern exceptions, the 1980's was the height of syndicated television. The American viewing public was blessed with television shows like MacGuyver, Airwolf, The Equalizer, Murder She Wrote, Miami Vice, Magnum P.I., and the Dukes of Hazard. It was also supported by early morning cartoons like Transformers, Thundercats, and G.I. Joe. It was the perfect time to grow up in these United States.

The A-Team, in particular, is a strong testament to television of yore. Every time he watches the original intro to the A-Team, the werewolf's blackened heart lifts slightly with a few beats of joy. During the late 1980's and early 1990's, the good folks at channel 5 in Los Angeles had syndicated reruns of the the A-Team at 3pm, right when a young werewolf got home from his episcopal elementary school. After bolting to the kitchen to get a Capri-sun or Fruit Roll Up treat, the werewolf would plant himself in front of the television and watch the A-Team. It was the perfect reward for surviving another day of elementary school. Even as a young boy, the werewolf noticed that every episode of the A-Team had the exact same plot. The team has a close encounter with the military police, whom they evade, they then either go to a rough part of downtown L.A., or some boring suburb to find out that some honest small-time family oriented entrepreneur, or community do-gooder is being harassed and shaken down by some nefarious criminal element. After sizing up the bad guys, the team goes to a junk yard, and builds some sort of super arsenal from a discarded Chevy Caprice hulk, a gas pump, some spare parts, and and proceeds to have a battle where they spectacularly route the bad guys in question. Epic in its consistency. Added bonuses included the A-Team's ring leader, Hannibal Smith, incorporating at least three cool disguises, smoking a cigar, and exclaiming "I love it when a plan comes together!", followed by the business development guy, Templeton "Faceman" Peck, always getting the girl. The team's pilot and resident maladjusted weirdo, "Howling Mad" Murdoch, would talk to himself, dress in drag, and creep the hell out of the the team's muscle, mechanic, and token black guy, "B.A" Baracus, (played perfectly by MR. T), whom would frequently tell Murdoch to "Shut up, Foo!" and bust through a wall. It was the perfect formula to guide an eight year old through his weekly afternoon siesta. Being a native of Los Angeles, the werewolf loves the retro shot of the 1980's L.A. skyline in the opening credits, and still finds the 67lbs of gold jewelry that B.A. Baracus allegedly wore through the jungles of Vietnam to be a great source of comic relief.

However, much to the eternal horror of the werewolf, he recently learned that in a fit of uncreative idiocy and desperation, the bozos in Hollywood will be releasing an A-Team movie this summer. Check it here. It's one thing to revive classic movie franchises like Star Trek and James Bond, both which Hollywood has done with some success lately. However, poaching hyper-formulaic syndicated television shows for the big screen is a sign of massive decline. First of all, by it's very nature, there really isn't enough content for more than about 37 minutes of A-Team execution time. That's what made it so beautiful. It was a one-hour date with little boy escapism. Secondly, certain personas just can't be replicated. Taking some mean looking burly black guy, giving him a mohawk, 67lbs of gold jewelry, and some bad attitude doesn't make him Mr. T. Mr. T is the god-father of bling himself, which the rappers shamelessly co-opted, plus he is an established icon, he is the D-rated minority version of John Wayne. Still, he is a class unto himself. Beyond that, as much as the werewolf loves Liam Neeson, he is no George Peppard. George Peppard is a one-of-a-kind B-rated debonair gentleman , whose sunset acting career cruise as Hannibal Smith is a legacy best left untouched. Like most shows of the 1980's, the A-Team was a product of carefree justice meets nifty urban action in an era where political correctness was still dormant on daytime television. It was okay to be a roguish "soldier of fortune" with a case of AK-47's in your trunk looking for a fight. That just doesn't fly in this day and age. Sadly.

The werewolf's final point is looking at what happened to G.I. Joe. His favorite cartoon as a little boy, G.I. Joe, was transmogrified from the ultimate patriotic childhood 1980's cartoon to quite possibly the worst film ever made. It went from being a neat collection of American and international bad-asses, fighting terrorism, each with their own distinct skills and hyper-individuality, to the unwatchable cinematic abortion of globalist vapidity and boring special effects conformity. It was clearly written by a lobotomized orangutan looking for a rotten banana. Watching G.I. Joe's cinematic interpretation last summer was akin to watching my childhood home get napalmed. A part of me died in the cinematic blaze. I fear Hollywood doesn't know when to quit, especially when it is far behind, and will proceed with Hannibal Lector like efficiency to dispatch everything I hold dear from my childhood, one item at time. Nothing is sacred in this day and age.

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