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Well, I got my wish. Nancy came back, and she had more to do.

The trouble is, she's Nancy. Or at least I suspect that that's the crux of the issue. In all fairness to her, she's not helped by a dire script, and one of those bizarre collections of cameo appearances that always weigh down any story set around a film studio. It looks as though this was originally intended to be a Nancy story, presumably with the Hardys inserted at a late stage in the hope that this would make people watch it, but the result really doesn't work out for the boys. Joe has nothing to do save play damsel in distress, and Frank has had a personality transplant for the duration. I don't know who that is walking around with Frank's head, but it sure as hell ain't Frank. And the plot screams 'the Hardys are replacing somebody else' all the way through. At one point Fenton is kidnapped, and to prove this, his kidnapper sends a ring to the hotel where the boys are staying. Frank identifies it as Fenton's. "He never takes it off. It was a gift from my mother." Oh? So how come he's never worn it before or since, then?! Does it become invisible the moment it goes on his finger?! Come on, people... Fenton does always wear a necklace and a watch, so why not use one of them?! Maybe in the original script it was Nancy's father who was kidnapped, or the father of one of her friends? Anyway, the resultant mess is fairly agonising to watch, even if it does have Dennis Weaver and Robert Wagner popping up to say hello. So I couldn't be bothered to go back and screencap it.

But there's a good side to every disaster, and here we have, on the same DVD, three other episodes with absolutely no Nancy at all. Hurrah! And what a bundle they are. We have Egyptian gods, stampeding rhinos, and evil invading aliens, all tussling with two allegedly teenaged boys in bad clothing. The seventies were an interesting place to be, and no mistake. And, freed from Nancy, and with his proper personality reinstalled, the good news is that Frank is still best. Oh yes.

Why is Frank best?


Frank is best because he has a nice handbag. It's a leather one. Joe is jealous of Frank's handbag, I can tell. And lo, what's this?


Yes, there's a golden statue of an Egyptian god in Frank's handbag. Most people don't have them. I don't have much experience of handbags, I'll grant you, but right now I reckon that Frank's the only person to have a golden statue of an Egyptian god in his handbag. Probably.

It's a good adventure, this one. Except for the singing, and the rubbish escape at the end, but I'll overlook that. In the meantime it has other things to recommend it.


A wholly believable drive through an Egyptian landscape.


An orgy. Or possibly a rumble. An orgy would probably have less clothes.


An exciting battle with a dastardly enemy. Get back, or we shall gesture at you with our pointy sticks of fire!


You can see how scared the dastardly enemy is.


But on the down side, Girl Of The Week has stolen Frank's handbag. This is Not Good. They should make her give it back.

Undeterred by the dangers of Egypt (and by the loss of their handbag), the boys head next to Kenya. At least they claim that it's Kenya. I'm not convinced, partly because all of the animals appear to be surreptitiously fenced in, and partly because everybody drives on the right hand side. It couldn't have been filmed in a safari park in the States, could it?! ;) Honestly, you'd think that they'd at least do some basic research. Kenya is a former British colony. They drive on the left there. But no matter. I believe that it's really Kenya.


I mean, for starters, just look at this wholly convincing journey by river.


Monkey!


Did they not have any real teenagers in America in the seventies?!


Comedy socks. I realise that I'm not exactly helping my 'Frank Is Best' case here, but in all fairness, they are very good comedy socks. And Joe's aren't a whole lot better.


"Frank, if we dress up in all this fancy safari gear, and show off our knees, do you think people will be fooled into thinking that we are actually in Kenya?"

"Sure to, Joe. Trust me, I'm best. Even if I have forgotten how to do up my shirt buttons."


Another reason why Frank is best. He has amazing camouflage skills that extend even to blending in with the local tablecloths...


... and he doesn't take part in embarrassing musical interludes with the local talent.

Which in no way brings us to aliens. In the last non-Nancy episode on a dangerously Nancyfied DVD, the boys go to help an old friend who is afraid that her boyfriend has been abducted by aliens. There are lights in the sky, and this can, naturally, only mean aliens. The boys go to investigate, but get warned off by scary policemen, scarier (not really) government agents, and weird people in bandages who wander around in the dark. The weird people have no concept of baseball, which can only mean that they are Very Sensible People. Or aliens. Needless to say, Frank and Joe have to get to the bottom of it all.


Sadly, in order to do this, Joe chooses to wear a truly unfortunate shirt. As if this isn't obstacle enough, the boys also come up against a local sheriff who is played by John Quade. Now, anybody who has ever watched television knows that John Quade never plays a good guy. Not ever, even when he's wearing a policeman's uniform. Quite why people continue to trust him is beyond me. Here, Frank struggles to be polite to him, hampered by the fact that he's standing next to the world's least prepossessing shirt. I shouldn't bother, Frank, he doesn't deserve your courtesy. Ten years from now, he's going to blow up your jeep. Well, okay. Technically speaking you're going to blow up your jeep. But it's his fault.

It is going to be so hard not to skip straight to that episode of Baywatch.


Officer Evil. Actually, to be scrupulously fair, he might not be evil in this. He might be a genuine police officer. Or he might be an evil alien invader. The ending is remarkably ambivalent on this, one could argue, somewhat important point.


Ah, yes. This is Frank's fault, admittedly. And admittedly he's also wearing a fluffy blue jumper. On the plus side, though, it is rather an aesthetically pleasing jail.


The boys are confronted by some nasties who claim to be government agents. Unmoved by the agents' agentiness, the boys are surly and defiant – and trust me, it is not easy to be either in a fluffy blue jumper.


Frank's got a donkey jacket! And yes, this does make him best. My sister wanted one of those for years, probably long after they ceased to be fashionable. Frank gets extra bestness points here because they're in a top secret facility with big 'No Entry' signs on the fence. Needless to say, Joe interprets the signs as saying 'Go away and behave,' whilst Frank interprets them as an invitation to come on in and make themselves at home.


Having captured the boys, one of the two possibly government agents (who are actually hitmen) attempts to intimidate Frank. Or bite his nose off. I suspect the former, but admittedly it's not easy to tell.


Frank is suitably intimidated. No, really. He is.


I had to include this one for the sole reason that I am seriously impressed by what escaping has done to Frank's hair. It seems to have leapt to its feet in sheer excitement. It's clearly easily pleased, though, as it's a bit of a rubbish escape. The bad guy thoughtfully drops his car keys on the floor, and then helpfully throws himself over a table.


And Frank, for goodness sakes. Running around the car?! Luke Duke would have skidded across the bonnet.


The boys share one of their together moments. And to think they so often wonder why neither one of them can ever keep a girlfriend.


"Hey, Joe. Want to see a magic trick?"

"Golly, Frank. Yes please."

"Keep your eye on my donkey jacket, then. For 'tis a magic donkey jacket."


It disappears instantaneously, as we switch to camera two. In this scene, the boys hear from the local authorities how the strange people with no knowledge of baseball are on the witness protection programme, which is why the hitmen were after them. The disappearing boyfriend was also on the witness protection programme, and the weird lights in the sky were helicopters, coming to fly the people away to their new lives. Magic, silent helicopters, presumably. Frank jokes that they might all be aliens after all, but the local authorities just glower. If they are aliens, though, does that make the hitmen good guys? After all, we mustn't forget the presence of Officer Evil.


Frank and Joe agree not to think about it too much. Actually, by the looks of it, they'd far rather think about each other.

These episodes were fun. Hooray for Nancylessness. :)

NB: I am aware that the Doctor regenerated tonight, but the episode aired too early, so I couldn't have caught the beginning. I'll watch later on. Might report back with some thoughts on the subject, but then again probably won't. To be perfectly honest, I've only enjoyed a handful of Tenny's episodes anyway, so I'm kind of in two minds about it all. Still, we'll see.

Comments

( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
ladygretchen
Jan. 2nd, 2010 05:47 am (UTC)
Wow! A twofer...actually, a triple, I would have thought you'd have a lot to say about the Haunted studios, lol. But then again, you really don't like Nancy, lol. I have to say, she isn't exactly the Nancy from the books. Oh, you might like Arson and old lace..I did, and it had Joseph Cotten! Love him! These were great reviews as always, and hilarious screencaps. You're right, there really was no such thing as using real teens in the seventies..it carried on to the eighties too.(Thinking of BTTF and how everyone was 20 something.) Thanks for cluing me in to that actor's name. John Quade..he is never a good guy is right! Boo! Tonight was the last night to watch the streaming netflix episodes. :( It's back to the mercy of Youtube.
swordznsorcery
Jan. 3rd, 2010 03:50 am (UTC)
It's actually a quadruple. It's been a slow week... ;)

Watching TV on YouTube isn't too bad. I guess it can be annoying having to watch in ten minute chunks, but once you get used to it, you hardly notice anymore. I've spent quite a bit of time watching TV shows on YT. Mostly Days Of Our Lives.

I have no life. :D
ladygretchen
Apr. 27th, 2011 06:33 am (UTC)
Just had to come back, I watched two episodes of season 2 Hardy boys tonight, and now I'm really digging this show. And yay! It's back streaming on Netflix! I can't decide who I like better, but then the two episodes I saw, one with very young Melanie Griffith acting all haunted and weird and the other with Valerie Bertinelli in the last episode–were extremely Joe-centric. There was a third season?? It's not out yet then. :P I actually wish they would just release the Hardy Boys as their own series and keep Nancy separate. I find myself skipping her episodes in favor of Frank and Joe. It seems like in the later episodes Frank was given less and less, well, no doubt because Sean was the heartthrob of the time. I haven't been 'privileged' to see a singing episode yet, but I'll get to it. :D
swordznsorcery
Apr. 27th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
I think the writers were pretty even-handed in their treatment of the boys over all. You've probably just randomly hit a series of Joe episodes. Frank gets good stuff as well.

The third season was (imho) not as much fun as the first two. It's a completely different bunny. I think I posted a semi review of it somewhere around here, which gives some idea of what it's like; but given how long it's been since seasons one and two came out, I don't think we're likely to see it being released now.

Glad you've been enjoying the show, anyway! It's easy to poke fun at it, because of the clothes and the hair and Joe's singing, but it's very entertaining, and both boys are good. "Simon & Simon" is worth watching as well, if you're in the mood for more detective duos. :)
ladygretchen
Apr. 28th, 2011 05:44 am (UTC)
I'll have to eventually check out the Simon and Simon too. Hey, I just looked up that Parker Stevenson came back to Baywatch for the 97 and 98 season. I really don't remember that. You may have to watch and review those. LOL.
swordznsorcery
Apr. 28th, 2011 05:32 pm (UTC)
Quite by accident, I saw part of one of his return episodes. Craig had cancer. No thanks.

But "Simon & Simon" I think you will enjoy. :) It's basically a fun eighties show of fun eightiesness.
ladygretchen
Apr. 29th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
LOL! fun eightiesness. :D I was hoping to get into watching 21 Jump Street, but as of May 1st they are taking it off streaming on Netflix. But it doesn't mean it won't return, Hardy Boys did. I just can't watch 5 seasons within a few days. And I don't want to get hooked on half of season 1 and then have it taken away. :P

Oh that is soo lame about Craig. They always get rid of the good characters. Like him and Stephanie, because she was an intelligent, flat-chested brunette.
( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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