Tread Perilously — The A-Team: Labor Pains

Tread Perilously’s Patreon request month winds down with a very special episode of The A-Team called “Labor Pains.”

When the A-Team manages to lose Colonel Decker in a chase around the Central Valley, they hide out in a town under the grip of a local produce concern. Soon, Hannibal Smith learns the workers cannot can get their fair share or have the issues addressed by management. The A-Team springs into action as labor unionizers, bringing food to the workers and convincing them collective action will bring about positive change — particularly as produce baron Ted Jarrett needs his crops picked before the rains come. Can the A-Team help the farmerworkers get their union recognized in time? And will B.A. Baracus build a produce gun?

Erik and Justin get lost when they realize episode co-writer Richard Christian Matheson is the son of acclaimed sci-fi writer Richard Matheson. Justin admits he was not allowed to watch The A-Team as a kid, and is surprised with its extremely pro-union message. The lack of prominent Mexican-American farmworker characters grates on Erik, though. Regan gets invoked once again. The pair tries to determine what the “Los Angeles Underground” really is and what crime the A-Team committed. Erik is surprised to discover “Howlin’ Mad” Murdoch is an abrasive character. Both are surprised to discover Colonel Decker’s second-in-command is played by Devil in a Blue Dress director Carl Franklin and Erik discusses the gleeful joy behind most Cannon films.

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Tread Perilously — Breaking Bad: Fly

Tread Perilously’s Patreon request month leads to the lowest rated episode of Breaking Bad on IMDB, “Fly.”

Walter White’s increasing anxiety gets exacerbated when a fly enters the lab. Will his sleeplessness lead him to tell Jesse the truth about Jane’s death? Will Jesse be able to kill the fly before Walt’s concern about contamination makes their batch woefully late? Will Gus be happy? Also, will anyone ever realize Walter White is the bad guy?

Erik and Justin immediately launch into a discussion of Mad Men and its blackface episode. That may give you some idea of how thrilled they are to be discussing the infamous “bottle episode” of Breaking Bad. Justin even admits to the one time he liked Pete Campbell! He also points out the irony of the episode’s creative team producing the highest rated episode of Breaking Bad. Erik gets confused about Krysten Ritter’s time on the show. The discussion leads to The Shield and, of course, Star Wars — but we promise it is a shorter digression than normal. They also wax nostalgic for the Pontiac Aztek. The key dramatic problem of the episode gets addressed and Erik explains why he is not a Breaking Bad superfan.

Also, an extended Queer Eye discussion breaks out.

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Tread Perilously — Spenser For Hire: The Big Fight

Tread Perilously’s Patreon request month finally offers Erik an excuse to watch Spenser: For Hire with the episode called “The Big Fight.”

When Spenser’s old boxing manager comes back to town asking for a favor, he soon learns the guy sold him out to be murdered. Despite this, Spenser still wants to help his old pal — even when Hawk rightly surmises that the former manager is bad news. But when Spenser learns who really wants him dead, he decides to walk into a various obvious trap. Will Hawk bail him out in time or will Spenser be for hire no more?

Erik and Justin try to determine if a boxing plot always leads to a poor episode of television. It, of course, leads to a Battlestar Galactica discussion. They also realize the four main Spenser characters are all in different series and pay all due homage to a man called Hawk — which has nothing to do with his resemblance to the Emissary. Justin outlines the Latverian quarter of Boston: Little Doomstadt. He also tries to explain “covering the spread” in a sports context to Erik. Johnny Five Fishes, the Passive-Aggressive Gangster makes his debut. The pair fall in love with John C. McGinley’s late-80s yuppie scumbag character and try to re-envision him as DC Comics villain the Sportsmaster.

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Tread Perilously — Murder, She Wrote: Death Takes A Dive

Tread Perilously’s month of Patron requests continues with its first ever episode of Murder, She Wrote — “Death Takes A Dive.”

When Harry McGraw (special guest Jerry Orbach) invites Jessica Fletcher to see the prizefighter he “inherited” from someone who owed him $5,000, she finds herself involved in the complex and often corrupt world of professional boxing. And when a hilariously crooked promoter (played by special guest star Adam West) turns up dead, Harry becomes the prime suspect; leaving Jessica to manage the prizefighter. Will she be able to exonerate Harry, get her boxer a fair fight, and solve half the problems in Boston before the count of ten?

Erik and Justin marvel over the list of guest stars — Jerry Orbach! Adam West! LeVar Burton! John Amos! Ernest Borgnine! Bradford Dillman! Erik credits YouTuber Pushing Up Roses for everything he knows about Murder, She Wrote. He also teases the next episode of the classic CBS series Tread Perilously will cover. Justin wonders why Ernest Borgnine is playing such a small part, but has no problem believing he could lay Adam West out flat. A Geography Corner breaks out when Justin and Erik try to figure out which L.A. City park is doubling for Boston. They also find the optics of Harry McGraw “inheriting” a boxer quite problematic and Erik accidentally invokes the Regan demon.

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Tread Perilously — Eureka: What About Bob?

Tread Perilously launches into a month of Patreon requests with Eureka and the episode called “What About Bob?”

Sheriff Jack Carter is called to one of Global Dynamics’ labs when a researcher goes missing. But he soon discovers the lab is a sealed biosphere and no one has been in or out in ten years! Both he and Allison Blake break the seal to enter the lab and learn the missing man has slept with every married woman in the experiment. Is mere infidelity the root cause of his disappearance or is some stranger science at work? The presence of a reptile man definitely suggests Jack has a bigger problem than low team morale.

Justin and Erik try to parse the generic nature of Eureka and why Joel Gretsch didn’t get the lead part. The gentle nature of the town gets on Justin’s nerves immediately. Erik reveals he watches commercials from the 1980s as comfort food. Justin notes Ronald McDonaldland is overrun with crime. Both extol the virtues of character actor Joe Morton. They also recall San Diego Comic-Con off-site activations and the arduous path to Nanda Parbat. Erik declares Sam Witwer as the Darth Maul and Justin uncovers why reptile mutation is the go-to genre TV trope for shitty people.

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Tread Perilously — Hell On Wheels: Bear Man

Tread Perilously concludes its month on the frontier with an episode of Hell on Wheels called “Bear Man.”

When Elam wakes up after having fought a bear and won, he is taken in by a local tribe. They believe his success against the bear means he now has the powers of the bear — a useful thing to have on their side should they attack a Union garrison. For his part, Elam seems to have lost his identity and revels in becoming “Bear Killer” for a time before a fur trapper recognizes him and a white woman taken prisoner by the tribe seeks his aid in her escape.

Erik and Justin discuss how Hell on Wheels tends to be described as “a show you can watch” and the problem of prestige TV production values. Justin points out the lack of series star Anson Mount while Erik suggests the lack of white faces and the usual Hell on Wheels format earned the episode its low IMDB rating. Archie Andrews’ bear mauling also comes up. The use of make-up effects gets praise, as does director Clark Johnson’s eye for action. The pair attempt to figure out what a 19th Century “Karen” would be and Justin gets to use his history degree for a good purpose.

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Tread Perilously — Little House on the Prairie: The Godsister

Tread Perilously’s month on the frontier continues with a trip to Little House on the Prairie and an episode called “The Godsister.”

When Charles Ingalls and Jonathan Garvey leave town to help build a telephone line in Shelbyville, the rest of the Little House pick up Charles’s chores. But the situation leaves young Carrie feeling left out and unloved. Will a spirit in the nearby creek become her new best friend? Or will it all turn out to be her imagination? Meanwhile, Charles and Jonathan encounter television curmudgeon Dolph Sweet and a shocking Irish stereotype with a plan to make whiskey by defrauding the American Telephone & Telegraph Company.

Justin is not all that surprised by Little House while Erik tests his blood sugar from the level of treacle in the episode. The two praise the TV charisma of Micheal Landon even as he endorses moonshine. Erik tries to pitch a Secret Drifter show for Merlin Olsen. The discussion almost immediately derails for Stranger Things. They also recall the Santa Clarita Valley of the 1980s. The focus on Carrie Ingalls proves to be a problem, even after the truth about the people who played her comes to light. The pair also try to figure out if Little House invented “women be crazy” comedy and the more demonic reading of the episode becomes tough for them to resist.

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