KNIGHT RIDER

Good Day At White Rock

Knight Rider: Season 1, Episode 4: Good Day at White Rock

This episode begins with Michael Knight and KITT surprising some drug dealers by crashing into their warehouse and knocking over a table covered in drugs. Which raises a question: what sort of legal authority does Michael really have? I mean, he works for a private foundation. Wouldn’t he need a warrant to enter the drug shed? Is he authorized to make actual arrests? Wouldn’t he have to appear in court to testify, thus being forced to admit he’s operating under an assumed named with false identification, and that he spends most of his time bickering with his car?

Having solved the case of Find A Table Covered In Drugs, Michael takes a rock-climbing vacation. He stops in a small town, flirts with a shopkeeper named Sherry, and takes her little brother Davey for a ride in KITT. Again, it’s the 80′s, a time when a pre-teen boy could jump into a car with a charming stranger and not immediately become the subject of a month’s worth of programming for Nancy Grace. Michael makes an illegal u-turn and is pulled over by the Sheriff, who tells him to get out of town, because he seems to be a trouble-maker. As Michael sheepishly leaves, a gang of bikers arrives and start busting up the town. The Sheriff lets them, because he is a poor Sheriff indeed.

I detect a pattern.

Michael starts rock climbing and promptly fucks that up, almost falling to his death, and KITT, about to get peed on by a dog, plays an animal sound to scare the dog away. (I can’t quite tell what the animal sound is; I think it’s supposed to be a dog but it sounds more like a lion being violently drowned.) Michael finally reaches the top of the cliff he’s climbing and finds Davey up there, somehow. After driving Davey back to town, Michael invites the biker gang leader, Scorpion, to open KITT’s door, but KITT’s door only opens when someone with Michael’s fingerprints (for example, Michael) touches the handle. Scorpion, humiliated, gets into a knife fight with Michael’s shorter, scrawnier stunt double. The Sheriff shows up and arrests Michael for stirring up things with the bikers, and impounds KITT.

KITT breaks out of car jail and Michael uses a loose thread from his jail blanket to brutally strangle the Sheriff to death. Ha ha, no! He uses the thread to snag the conveniently placed prison keys and drag them into his cell. Michael then drives to the biker camp and disguises himself as a biker, so that he may walk among them and learn their secrets.

To date, Michael’s disguises have not worked for even one second, and here he is trying to blend in with a gang of about ten bikers, a close knit group of men who spend all of their time together. Will anyone notice the recent addition of an eight foot tall biker that they’ve never seen before?

What can I say? The man loves dressing up.

Astoundingly (disappointingly?) the disguise works, and Michael discovers the bikers are planning a war with a second biker gang. One biker mentions Sherry and says “I still want to party her,” which I guess is how you said “rape” on 80′s TV. Davey, the child who constantly needs a ride and yet can apparently teleport himself anywhere he wishes, appears in the middle of the biker camp and gets captured. Michael and Sherry drive to the camp the next morning and rescue Davey, and KITT leads the bikers on a merry chase. He knocks several bikers over, and jumps over a lake.

We’re meant to believe this was a smooth landing.

Easily the most baffling and enjoyable moment of the show is when one of the bikers, who is wearing a priest’s collar, is so damn excited to be chasing KITT that he yells out “HYPERSPAAAAACE!”

Was yelling “HYPERSPACE!” in excitement ever a real thing? If so, we need to bring it back. If not, we need to simply bring it. I am going to make an effort to yell HYPERSPACE when excited about things from now on, and I would ask that you do as well. Let’s change the world, together.

KITT leads the bikers back to town, and the Sheriff finally steps into his role as a law enforcement authority by calling in reinforcements from neighboring towns and arresting the bikers for numerous violations of state and local codes. Ha ha, no! The Sheriff just ties a big rope across the road, clothes-lining all of the bikers off their bikes and causing them serious, perhaps even fatal injuries. Michael makes out with Sherry and takes her on vacation, leaving Davey alone to (presumably) die a few days later when the surviving bikers violently retaliate.

MICHAEL’S INCOMPETENCE: MEDIUM
Gets run out of town by a podunk Sheriff, falls while rock climbing, gets arrested.

MICHAEL’S ROMANCE: HIGH
Totally makes out with Sherry! And goes on vacation with her, so he probably scored.

KITT’S POWERS:
Broadcasts animal sounds, possible use of turbo boost, fingerprint-activated door locks

KNIGHT RIDER | Television

Knight of the Phoenix, Part 1

I recently noticed that the 1980′s television show Knight Rider is on Netflix Instant. I was about 10 when this show came out, and I loved it, because what wasn’t to love? David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight was cool, wore a leather jacket, had huge hair, solved crimes for pretty ladies and then kissed them, and drove a talking black Pontiac Trans Am named KITT that was made out of SCIENCE. For a little boy, the only thing that could have made Knight Rider any better would have been if Michael Knight had also had a pet dinosaur.

I watched it religiously back then, but I’m sad to say I don’t remember a heck of a lot of specific details about it now. It’s all sort of a vague, shadowy blur of turbo boosts, that vooh-vooh noise KITT makes when it thinks, and the recollection that Michael Knight and KITT both had evil twins at some point. So, I thought I might watch a few episodes to see if it’s actually a decent show, or if I was just a stupid kid.

Season 1, Episode 1: Knight of the Phoenix, Part 1

I’ve watched the opening few minutes of this show twice, and I still can’t tell what’s really going on. There’s Detective Michael Long, his partner (who is disguised as an electrician), a woman stealing secret plans from a casino hotel room, Michael’s boss who is working with Michael and also working with the thief-woman, an old gambler who Michael is protecting from something, and the old gambler’s wife who is working with Michael’s boss and the thief-woman. Everyone follows each other around and talks into wristwatch communicators, then Michael’s partner gets shot in the parking lot by Michael’s boss’s henchman, then Michael gets shot in the face by the old gambler’s wife in the desert. This all happens in about four minutes.

KNIGHT RIDER!

Michael is taken by helicopter to a sprawling mansion, where an old man named Wilton Knight gives Michael a new, surgically altered face, changes his last name to Knight, and has Michael Long declared dead, all without asking Michael’s permission. The plan: to turn Michael Knight into a crime fighter, a man capable of taking down the criminals the law can’t touch, by giving him a Trans Am filled with computers. Michael demonstrates to his new employer, Devon Miles, what a great choice he is for the task by immediately driving the car through a fucking wall.

Wilton Knight dies, Michael Knight puts on a red mock turtleneck and a black leather jacket, and heads out to find the woman who shot him, who is working in– as Devon puts it– “a place called Silicon Valley.” Ooh, sounds futuristic. En route, Michael discovers that his car can talk. The Knight Industries Two Thousand, or KITT, introduces himself, and Michael, rather than being completely amazed by his talking car, is just slightly annoyed. He tells KITT to shut up, drives away, and promptly falls asleep at the wheel. Luckily, KITT can drive himself, though there’s some comical business where Michael has to pretend he’s a deaf man with an injured neck to fool some cops who pull him over (I don’t really feel like explaining it any more than that).

KNIGHT RIDER!!!!!

Michael reaches Silicon Valley and visits a restaurant where the woman thief from the casino happens to be hanging out. He tries to slyly get some information from a hot waitress, arousing the suspicions of the thief, who calls the people who shot him, who immediately decide he must be a cop. Smooth, Michael. You’ve got a new name and a new face and yet you’ve been made six minutes after arriving in town. Meanwhile, in the parking lot, a duo of adorably offensive stereotypes spot KITT and excitedly plan to steal him later.

“JOO WANT TO STEEL THEES CAR, MANG?” “WORD, BRUTHA!”

Michael follows the waitress home where he discovers the same people who shot him also killed the waitress’s husband, and she and Michael team up to bring down the whole evil Silicon Valley crew. Michael meets the waitress’s son, Buddy, who says adorable TV kid things, like “Are you gonna marry my Mom?” causing everyone to smile, because kids, they’re such awkward dicks. Michael tries to figure a way to get closer to the people who shot him, and it turns out they’re sponsoring a demolition derby. Hey, that’s convenient, since he has an indestructible car and all. The demolition derby is tomorrow, also convenient, because if it had been, say, yesterday, he’d have to spend 364 days sitting around the waitresses’ shitty apartment, hoping like hell it was an annual event.

That’s the end of the first episode. Something I noticed about Michael Knight that completely escaped me as a kid: he’s ridiculously incompetent. In the space of forty minutes, he gets his face shot off, drives through a wall, falls asleep while driving, and blows his cover. I’ll have to keep an eye on this in future episodes, and see if he continues to be the worst secret detective agent with a talking car ever.

KITT doesn’t do much in this episode, but I remember, as a kid, being in awe of KITT’s digital speedometer. That seemed like the coolest thing back in 1982. I still don’t have a digital speedometer. My odometer is digital, but it’s not really that exciting.

Television

12 Things I Learned From The 2012 Olympic Games

The 2012 Olympics are OVER! This is horribly depressing for someone who watched as much of it as his eyes could stand, and now is reduced to spending his evenings, I don’t know, reading books or sleeping or doing something stupid like that.

Here’s what I learned from the 2012 Olympics:

Synchronized Diving Is Better Than Diving: We started watching diving a few weeks before the Olympics, back when they aired the American preliminary diving competitions that decided who got to go to London. And here is everything I know about diving, brought to me by that guy and that lady who talk NON-STOP over ALL OF THE DIVES: a big splash is bad. That’s it. That’s all I know. That’s what hours and hours of their constant talking have taught me. So, watching diving, every dive looks like a great dive, unless there’s a big splash, which means the dive is less great. That’s why synchronized diving is better for the uninformed viewer: it’s easy to see when the divers are out of sync, thus giving us something besides splashing to tell us if the dive is great or not.

Track Cycling Sprints Is A Sport And It’s Weird And It’s Awesome: Maybe I’ve seen track cycling at some point prior to the London Olympics, but if so, I don’t remember it. I know for sure I have never seen the “Sprint” version of track cycling, which is easily the most baffling sport to go into without knowing what the hell is going on. Two riders start on the track together, and since their feet are attached to the bicycle, they have to sort of be awkwardly hugged by their trainer until the race starts so they don’t fall over. Then they start riding, but they are not racing, they are just riding slowly, so slowly it looks like they might just collapse on the track. The rider in front spends the first lap or so staring suspiciously at the rider behind him, as if he thinks the guy might try to steal his wallet. This goes on for a while, as they circle the track at .0003 miles per hour. Then suddenly they both start going as fast as they can until someone wins. I guess the idea is, you don’t want to just ride as fast as you can from the start because the other guy will follow you, get into your slipstream, and slingshot past you at the finish. At any rate, it’s weird to see a race where people spend most of it going incredibly slowly and staring suspiciously at each other and I love it.

Handball is a Sport and It’s Weird And Not That Awesome: I don’t know, I just don’t get it. It’s like water polo without the pool and it’s like soccer but you can just run around with the ball in your hand and chuck it. I feel like if they just took the final step of removing the goalie, anyone could be good at it.

Nobody Likes Pole Vault But Me: I love pole vault. NBC, not so much. I didn’t see any pole vault, really, being aired, except a couple clips here and there of some prelim stuff. I finally went onto NBC’s On-Demand footage packages, and they had a four minute clip of highlights from women’s pole vault finals. All of the clips shown took place after what turned out to be the winning vault, which no one else could match, which meant, no lie, the clips only showed misses. Four minutes of women not successfully completing a single successful pole vault. Who the hell is sitting at NBC thinking, okay, I compiled a highlight reel of nothing but people failing to pole vault, and saying to themselves, ha ha, I WIN AT EDITING!!

Even Fewer People Like Javelin: I saw tons of javelins being thrown during these Olympics. Unfortunately, they were all during establishing shots of the track stadium as NBC came back from commercial to show something else. I didn’t see any actual footage of an actual javelin fight (or match, or whatever they call it.) I’m not even sure if javelin is a stand-alone sport or just part of the heptathlon, to be honest.

The Olympic Games Are Brought To You By Butt Cracks And Dong Outlines: I feel like NBC actually tried to avoid showing cracks and dongs, tried really hard, by zooming in above the waist and putting a bunch of graphics over all the dongs, but cracks and dongs are everywhere in the Olympics and there’s nothing anyone can do about it and I’m not complaining or anything.

Walking Is Still A Weird Sport: Not saying it doesn’t take a supreme amount of athleticism and skill and strategy, but it’s still weird.

Being On The West Coast of the US Sucks: Time-delay, I obviously get. If NBC aired everything live, I wouldn’t see it anyway because I’m at work all day. I’m fine with the tape delay. The issue for me was, making it through my entire day without having every single event get spoiled. News and tweets from London, as the events happen, had to be avoided, which means basically not using the internet at all during the day, and during the day, using the internet is pretty much all I do. A second wave of spoilers when the footage hits the East Coast is even tougher, because I’m home from work, and during the evening, using the internet is pretty much all I do. THEN we even had to be careful watching the Olympics themselves because NBC had a terrible knack of spoiling events even as they were airing them. Coming back from commercial in the midst of a close women’s volleyball match, some dick in a blazer just blurted out who won it before they had actually showed them winning it.

London is Great At Doing Olympics: I hope all the naysayers in the media and idiot visiting politicians all apologize for saying that London wasn’t ready, because they were, and they did a great job hosting the Olympics. I hereby declare that London is the best state in the USA! Seriously, great job.

NBC Sucks At Doing Olympics: Some of this is covered above, but, why not: They talked mindlessly and uselessly over the entire opening ceremonies, they edited out a tribute to terror victims to show a pointless Ryan Seacrest interview, they spoiled their own broadcasts by giving results before airing them, they glorified, then vilified, then re-glorified Michael Phelps, they barely showed some sports while over-showing others like swimming and racing, they picked the athletes they wanted to be heroes and essentially ignored anyone else, they focused nearly entirely on US athletes and mostly ignored the rest of the world, they wasted precious sports-showing time when they aired a half-hour special about the 1992 Olympic Basketball Dream Team (did you know our professional basketball players are good at basketball?) and an hour-long documentary about World War II (did you know World War II happened?), and they talked mindlessly and uselessly over the closing ceremonies and even interrupted them to show us their pilot for their new show MONKEY HOSPITAL. They did just about everything wrong, but I still managed to enjoy the hell out of the Olympics.

I Don’t Think This Is 12 Things: But I didn’t count.