Tread Perilously — ABC Afterschool Special: The Day My Kid Went Punk

tp1400-1Tread Perilously’s month of reactionary PSA television continues with an ABC Afterschool Special called “The Day My Kid Went Punk.”

When dweeby band nerd Terry Warren gets a summer job as a day camp counselor at a mountain resort, he takes the opportunity to rethink his image. Trading in his terrible glasses for contacts, Hagger slacks for black jeans, and collared shirts for a ripped-up tee, he goes full Sid Vicious — much to the displeasure of his employers and his parents. Will the Warrens assume he’s doing this for no good reason or will they have a thoughtful discussion about going punk?

Erik and Justin immediately get lost discussing some of their favorite punk and post-punk acts. Gene Simmons and Ace Frehly make special appearances. Justin notes the Big Lib energy in the special. Erik reveals when he was done with The Cure. Jay Underwood gets surprise praise even as memories of The Boy Who Could Fly leads to a tangent. A Stranger Things discussion also breaks out. Justin recounts the meeting of Nick Cave and Nicolas Cage. A brief Geography Corner ponders where the well-to-do part of the Valley was in The Karate Kid and Terry’s fashion choices get critiqued.

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Tread Perilously — Dragnet 1967: The LSD Story

tp1400-1Tread Perilously begins a month of television reacting poorly to social trends with the 1967 episode of Dragnet called “The LSD Story.”

When Sgt. Joe Friday and his partner, Officer Frank Gannon, take a call concerning a young man with a painted face “eating the bark off trees” at a nearby park, they make their first contact with Blue Boy. Sure, he has a real name and comes from a fairly affluent family, but Blue Boy’s fascination with LSD gets in Friday’s craw — particularly as there is no law against possessing, making, or distributing the hallucinogenic compound. But then the laws finally go into effect six month later, Friday and Gannon make a bee-line to Blue Boy. What they find at his drug den will not surprise you.

Erik attempts to explain the month’s theme while Justin calls out the 1960s. Both join the anti-Hippie crusade. A History Corner leads to a mention of William Jennings Bryan. The pair also get deep into the weeds about cop shows. Justin calls out the sexlessness of Dragnet and Joe Friday for being a killjoy. Erik reveals his reticence to start the new season of Stranger Things and Duke from G.I. Joe ends up facing H.R.

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Tread Perilously — The Brady Bunch: Kelly’s Kids

tp1400-1Tread Perilously’s Backdoor Pilot month concludes with The Brady Bunch‘s one and only attempt to sell another show — an episode called “Kelly’s Kids.”

When Mike and Carol’s friends, Ken and Kathy Kelly, move in a few doors down, they announce they are adopting a son, Matt. After his first night home in their new home, they discover he misses his close friend, Dwayne and Steve. Kathy convinces Ken to adopt one of the boys, but when they discover Dwayne is Black and Steve is Asian, the plan changes. The Kellys adopt both and soon discover the choice is unpopular with a NIMBY next door neighbor. Will it convince the boys to run away?

Justin, at long last, finally experiences his first episode of The Brady Bunch, but Erik still finds a way to make it anything but a true Brady episode. Geography Corner warps space and time as both Erik and Justin attempt to fit the Brady house completely into reality. The social mores of 1974 get examined at length. The Brady Bunch movies also come into play. Mickey Cohen makes a surprise appearance. Unexpected takes on Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers and The Batman occur and Justin examines a certain culture of passive-aggressiveness.

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Tread Perilously — Who’s The Boss?: Charmed Lives

tp1400-1Tread Perilously’s Backdoor Pilot month continues with an episode of Who’s The Boss? called “Charmed Lives.”

Angela heads out to San Francisco to deal with the Vionelli Foods account. She thinks she’s found the perfect “Princess” Vionelli in the form of Joyce Columbus (special guest star Fran Drescher). But when Mr. Vionelli catches sight of would-be photographer Lauren Sullivan (Donna Dixon), the plan changes. Will Joyce be able to win back the contract, the clothing stipend, and the apartment? Or will she and Lauren figure out a way to share the charmed life of Princess Vionelli? Also, will the story be strong enough to launch a series of its own?

Erik and Justin immediately get lost in the racism of H.P. Lovecraft and imagining the Italian Elder Gods. The derailing continues with discussions of the new Kids in the Hall and the Fourteenth Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa. Erik’s recollections of Drescher trying the “Charmed Lives” pilot three times leads to a hypothesis about her eventual success. Justin offers an unfavorable evaluation of Dixon’s performance. Credited episode writer Paul Haggis comes into sharp focus as certain shortcomings are analyzed. Justin casts Drescher in a 1980s Harley Quinn film and a beloved Disney character makes an unexpected appearance.

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Tread Perilously — The Facts Of Life: The Beginning Of The Beginning

tp1400-1Tread Perilously’s month of backdoor pilots continues with The Facts of Life‘s attempt to backdoor reboot itself in its final half-hour — an episode called “The Beginning of the Beginning.”

When Blair learns Eastland is due to close, she cashes in her trust fund to buy the school. She quickly learns operating a private academy is anything but easy thanks to dwindling enrollment and a mansplaining science teacher. To save the enterprise, she decides to admit boys. Surprisingly, the addition of a whole gender is less of an issue than a girl who wants to be expelled. Will Blair learn how to be Mrs. Garrett in time to save her pupil?

Paul Pakler of Paul and Corey Cross the Streams joins Erik and Justin for another visit to Peekskill. He credits the show’s theme song for a deep philosophical tie. Justin decides the Facts of Life TV movies are more entertaining. The trio tries to unravel the mystery of Juliette Lewis. They also fondly remember character actor Kathleen Freeman. Continuity flubs point out just how little such things matter in the late 1980s. Erik recalls the time Elijah Wood stalked him at Comic-Con. Paul finds the one funny joke about Shirley MacLaine’s 1980s New Age adventures and Justin recasts Seth Green as Bud Bundy.

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Tread Perilously — The Golden Girls: Empty Nests

tp1400-1Tread Perilously begins a month of backdoor pilots with The Golden Girls episode “Empty Nests” — the first attempt to launch Empty Nest.

When Renee, the girls’ neighbor, begins to lean on them more and more after her daughter moves away to college, Rose suggests she has empty nest syndrome and Dorothy suggests Renee should tell her husband, George, that she’s lonely. Back at their house, we discover George is a particularly busy general practitioner and Renee has a brother with Dissociative Identity Disorder. We also learn they have a pesky neighbor named Oliver who is too obnoxious to live. But will it all spell a series we want to watch?

Erik and Justin note a certain “first draft” element to the writing. They also agree on the film Go. Justin takes a strong stance on backdoor pilots. Erik offers a hot take on Cowboy Bebop. The pair stump for Cobb Vanth yet again. Rita Moreno continues to be a show all-star while David Leisure proves to be the opposite. Erik’s attempt at a Robert Redford impression ends up decidedly Shatnerian. Favorite Golden Girls lines are referenced. Bea Arthur’s neutral expression provides some much-needed laughs. Erik tries to recall the actual Empty Nest and blames Odoacer for the disappearance of the pixie cut.

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Tread Perilously — Doctor Who: Silver Nemesis

tp1400-1Tread Perilously wraps up Doctor Who month with its 25th Anniversary story: “Silver Nemesis.”

The Doctor and Ace’s jazzy afternoon in Windsor gets interrupted by an alarm signalling imminent danger headed for Earth. Meanwhile in 1638, Lady Peinforte and her manservant, Richard, plan to travel 350 years into the future to recover a statue The Doctor launched into space some months before. Elsewhere, Herr De Flores plots to take the statue for himself and for “zee Fatherland.” Is this all according to The Doctor’s design? Or will another gaggle of shambling Cybermen throw off his calculations? Also, will the Queen recognize The Doctor?

Erik and Justin discover a three-part Doctor Who story can still be jam-packed with characters and explosions. Sylvester McCoy proves once again to be Justin’s favorite Doctor while Ace continues to climb up the companion leaderboard. Erik tries to mention why 23 November is important to Doctor Who. The discussion goes off the rails to discuss Birds of Prey. Navid Negahban joins the list of actors Tread Perilously would love to see as The Doctor. Erik investigates the filmography of guest actor Anton Diffring. The Other gets compared to Division. The various Doctor/companion dynamics get analyzed. Erik once again voices his disappointment in Chris Chibnall and the Cyber-Leader has a very bad day.

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