Monday, February 04, 2013
The Dr. Mystery guide to "Miami Vice" for gentlemen and gentlewomen of leisure (Part 1: Season 1)
On a late Sunday night during the most recent holiday season, I noticed that Netflix was streaming Miami Vice. I decided to watch the first episode for nostalgic purposes. I loved the show when I was a kid, but I wasn't expecting it to hold up. Holy shit, was I wrong. I am about halfway through season 2, and this show to me is what crack is to crackheads. It's not great art (though almost every frame is surprisingly beautifully composed or at least visually interesting) and some of the writing is pretty silly, but it might be the most fun I've had watching TV in as many years as I can remember. It's ridiculous in all the right ways and a few of the wrong ones. I don't have the time or the patience to write about every episode, but I am going to do an offbeat little episode guide for each season after I finish it, focusing solely on the guest stars and, thanks to the magic of the Internet, out-of-context quotes. Here's season 1, with four more installments to come in the future.
Guest stars: Jimmy Smits, in his first role, gets exploded by a car bomb in the first five minutes. His partner, Crockett, lives on a houseboat with an alligator named Elvis. Tubbs becomes Crockett's new partner.
Out-of-context quote: "I don't even like alligator shoes."
"Heart of Darkness"
Guest stars: Al Bundy himself, Ed O'Neill, is an undercover cop who may have gone too far undercover. Or has he? Yes. Or maybe no. Suzy Amis is a naive Kansas girl who is now starring in porn as a naive Nebraska girl about to get it on with a sleazy plumber.
Out-of-context quote: "If all else fails, we can pop 'em for felony bad dialogue."
Guest stars: DC Cab's Charlie Barnett is Nugart Neville "Noogie" Lamont, small time thug turned informant.
Out-of-context quote: "I said he's a fairy, I do suppose, fly through the air in pantyhose."
"Calderone's Return: Part I -- The Hit List"
Guest stars: Voice of Bleeding Gums Murphy, Ron Taylor, is a drug dealer.
Out-of-context quote: "He's goin' after number eight!"
"Calderone's Return: Part II -- Calderone's Demise"
Guest stars: Phanie Napoli was not famous before this episode or after it, and her performance here goes a long way in explaining why.
Out-of-context quote: "I love masquerades!" Bonus quote: "Never touch a typewriter on southerly trade winds."
"One Eyed Jack"
Guest stars: Dan Hedaya is an Internal Affairs guy, and he's incredibly pissed off all the time. Dennis Farina is a gangster who has a good time on his yacht and is also sometimes incredibly pissed off. Joe Dallesandro is a sleazy guy who works for Dennis Farina. When he's not attending cockfights or strip clubs, he is sometimes incredibly pissed off.
Out-of-context quote: "Tell him to eat it!"
"No Exit aka Three Eyed Turtle"
Guest stars: Bruce Willis is a wife-beating illegal arms dealer with a swimming pool in his living room. Coati Mundi, vibraphone player for Kid Creole & The Coconuts, is a fellow arms dealer.
Out-of-context quote: "And the satafortis and the ratafortis and the hantoon rantoon."
"The Great McCarthy"
Guest stars: William Gray Espy is a drug smuggler and speedboat racing champion. He's not that well known, but you've got to see the cover band playing at his house party in order to know true joy. Richard Liberty from Day of the Dead is a college professor moonlighting as a cocaine dealer.
Out-of-context quote: "Your reputation as a first-class weasel is still very much intact."
Guest stars: John Pankow is a redneck.
Out-of-context quote: "Aw hell, Billy. You know my mind's done gone to hell."
"Give a Little, Take a Little"
Guest stars: Burt Young is a Latino pimp with lots of chest hair and an indeterminate accent that changes every three seconds. Lenny Von Dohlen is guarding a warehouse at the wrong time. Terry O'Quinn is a lawyer who makes more money in five minutes than you do in a year. Michael Madsen will shoot through the walls of his own home at you if you knock on his door.
Out-of-context quote: "You're so high you need clearance to land."
Guest stars: Mitchell Lichtenstein, son of pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, is the heroin-addicted son of a big-time securities fraud kingpin. Giancarlo Esposito is a heroin dealer, in the first of his 8 million roles on the show.
Out-of-context quote: "They're gonna pay this guy a million dollars not to play football next year."
Guest stars: Eric Bogosian is a no-good creep. Don't touch his motorcycle. His girlfriend Rainbow Harvest works at a "punk movie theater" and is named Rainbow Harvest. John Kapelos is a lawyer who makes more money in a week than you do in a year but maybe not as much as Terry O'Quinn in "Give a Little, Take a Little."
Out-of-context quote: "I don't see how you make it through the night with tubes of mystery meat in your stomach."
"Golden Triangle: Part I aka Score"
Guest stars: Joan Chen is the long-lost and presumed dead Thai lover of Edward James Olmos from his DEA past.
Out-of-context quote: "Do you need more oil or are you greased up enough, honey?"
"Golden Triangle: Part II"
Guest stars: Joan Chen is back. Keye Luke is a Thai drug lord. An extra is credited as Full-Bearded Dealer.
Out-of-context quote: "Let's get him a solid gold eggroll."
Guest stars: Glenn Frey will fly a plane for anyone for the right price. He has an arena-size stage in his airplane hangar so he can jam on some hot blues licks when he has a little downtime. Richard Edson is his assistant. Edson was Sonic Youth's drummer before quitting music for acting, so this is as close as we may ever get to an Eagles/Sonic Youth supergroup. Richard Jenkins is a DEA agent with a mustache and an almost full head of hair. Ron Vawter works for Homicide. Coati Mundi's back playing a different guy.
Out-of-context quote: "We get down if the play calls for it, bud."
"Rites of Passage"
Guest stars: Pam Grier is a New York detective and the ex-girlfriend of Tubbs. They get back together and the camera spends an insanely long time photographing their feet during a sex scene. John Turturro is an evil pimp.
Out-of-context quote: "Enough loins in here to stock a meat locker."
Guest stars: Ving Rhames is a Jamaican hostage. Garcelle Beauvais is his sexy Jamaican sister who is also a hostage. Joe Morton is a non-Jamaican hostage negotiator. Tubbs sings an a capella faux-reggae jam when he goes undercover as a homeless Jamaican musician. The way he sings the word "Jamaica" is worth entire seasons of other shows ("Jah-may-CAAAA" with the last syllable in falsetto).
Out-of-context quote: "Planted sugarcane in Jamaica and love is what I did it for."
"Made for Each Other"
Guest stars: Mark-Linn Baker, Cousin Larry on "Perfect Strangers," is a sleazy electronics salesman. Ellen Greene is a frightening portent of Fran Drescher on "The Nanny."
Out-of-context quote: "My life is in-whack."
"The Home Invaders"
Guest stars: Esai Morales, David Patrick Kelly, and Paul Calderon are home invaders. Sylvia Miles is a nut whose home may be invaded.
Out-of-context quote: "Detective, I've seen more information on a dog-bite report."
"Nobody Lives Forever"
Guest stars: Giancarlo Esposito is a drug dealer, but a different drug dealer than the one he played earlier. He will play yet another drug dealer in a future episode. Miami addicts want to know why so many drug dealers in this town look like Giancarlo Esposito. Frank Military is a crazed punk and his name is Frank Military. Kim Greist is a high-class architect who falls in love with Crockett, but is she too high-class for him?
Out-of-context quote: "It's not love. It's LWP: lust with potential."
Guest stars: William Russ is an ATF agent with a death wish and a mesmerizing hairstyle.
Out-of-context quote: "Local snitch gives us what he thought was a nickel-and-dime buy, turns into armageddon."
Guest stars: Dennis Farina is back playing the same gangster, but we now learn that he has a heart of gold. Real-life jewel thief turned actor John Santucci is Farina's confidante. Ned Eisenberg plays the first of his 8 million roles. This time, he's a gangster.
Out-of-context quote: "I prefer the chopped meat scenario."
Evan's hair is mesmerizing.
The casting for season 2 is pretty bananas so far. Lots of stunt casting. Look for that post in the next month or so.