Comfortable and Furious

Airwolf and Cheap Beer: A Journal: Episodes 10-14

Watching this much “Airwolf” is really having an effect on me. Look at this photograph of me attending a party several years ago before I had any notion of watching a bunch of “Airwolf” episodes. Imagine what it’s like now.

Taurino Beer, imported from El Salvador (“Taurino Beer” is Spainish for “Airwolf”), sells for $10 per 18 pack at Fresh and Easy. Good fucking God it is bad. The upside is that if you should overdo it, you’ll already be acclimated to the taste of vomit. I mean, it seriously tastes vaguely of puke. Hold on a second while I open another one.

Oh right, I promised I would get back to other 80s copter shows. As the middle of this season of “Airwolf” is generally pretty shitty, I’ll see if I can distract you with the intro to “Riptide.” Hey! Look at this! It’s the intro to “Riptide!”

Yowzah. So that’s Donald P. Bellisario 1, Stephen J. Cannell 0 in the game of helicopter shows. Fun fact about Bellisario: He served alongside Lee Harvey Oswald during his stint in the Marines. Fun fact about Cannell: His teenage son was tragically suffocated by a giant sand castle.

Episode 10: Once a Hero

Sting and Archangel meet up with some unsavory Asians in a dodgy bar and trade money for what’s in the briefcase: pictures that place St. John in the prison camp of a Laotian warlord, whereupon String returns home and begins to hatch a plan to recover his brother which involves selling one of his many Louvre-quality paintings to finance the mission and rounding up his ‘Nam pals, one of whom is the front runner in the California senate race and the other of whom is a professional dirt bike racer, to man the mission. There are times when “Airwolf” stretches credibility. They go on the mission, the senator guy goes nutsy-koo-koo and… I won’t ruin the episode for you buy revealing if they find St. John or not. You have to admire them all. Most people go to SE Asia to fuck kids. Right?

Best Borgnine Line: Hey! This guy’s hotter than a two-dollar pistol on a Saturday night!

Episode 11: Random Target

Another substandard mid-season episode, but at least we can always rely on String’s fly sense of style, even though this cap is probably from another episode. This one contains the line, “looks like some kind of big gathering of people for some reason.” I mean, overly expository dialog should at least provide some information. “We’re going to find the creator of the robot. Maybe he knows how to destroy it!” Not, “let’s go find some guy for some reason.” A guy who has another air company that the String and Borgs work with sometimes is killed after they do some filming in the desert for him. Then the lab where the film was developed is torched. Then it’s discovered that a lady and her jeep were blown up in the same area where the filming took place. Then Santini Air is torched. The police don’t see any connection. Airwolf must intervene. Though nonsensical, this is an impressively violent episode with a double-digit corpse count. I can’t think of another network show nearly as violent as “Airwolf.” Like, dead bodies turn up on all of those dumb cop shows, but you never see people blossoming into their glorious becoming of death.

BBL: When they’re flying over the desert they see some chicks in bikinis and Borgnine zooms in and with a bunch of exclamations like “oooooh look at that!” I don’t know if the producers didn’t realize how creepy the image of a salivating Ernest Borgnine secretly filming girls from a helicopter would be, or if they did realize how hilarious it would be.

Episode 12: The Condemned

The Russians have engineered a horrifying bio-weapon that makes people believe that Tina Fey is funny. We’ve acquired the agent, but everyone on the Island of Research, where scienticians have gone to find an antidote with minimal risk of creating an epidemic if something should go wrong, has turned up dead. This sounds like a mission for… not Airwolf. Probably some kind of elite hazmat team that has spent years training on how to deal with bio-weapons. But they sent Airwolf. A sub full of Ruskies turns up for reasons that are pretty unclear, especially since they are on U.S. territory.

The story becomes a stirring cold war allegory as everyone becomes infected and the Airwolf team (it’s just String and the chick because Ernest Borgnine was having life-saving awesomeness-reduction surgery) and the Russians walk the precarious path between their national interests and prejudices and mutually assured destruction. There’s actually a very clever twist because everyone on the island seems to go insane and kill each other due to the contagion, but as it turns out, several hours of extreme paranoia is a side effect of the lifesaving antidote. Is the message that Reaganism was indeed the path to cold war victory and, ultimately, peace? Eventually, everyone gets smashed on vodka and does that Russian dancing that is extremely gay, even by the standards of dancing. String and Caitlin come away with the antidote and a great anecdote!

Best Borgnine Line: Look, I’m trying to move my bowels. Don’t I have enough problems as it is without people screaming at me while I’m trying to move my bowels!?

Episode 13: The American Dream

String and Dom are attending a wedding in one of California’s Central Valley Vietnamese communities. As a vet of ‘Nam String has formed many bonds with the Vietnamese people, as is bound to happen when you drop napalm on someone’s children. This is one of the innumerable similarities between me and an 80s action hero. Having worked in the gaming industry, I too have befriended this gentle and annoying people. Yet another vaguely Shakespearean smoked ham plays the criminal mastermind who threatens this small community with a booming voice coupled with an understated and cordial demeanor that scarcely cloaks his deadly intentions.

This ultimately leads to a confrontation between Airwolf and a couple of crop-dusters in the worst mismatch since Charles Barkley last grappled with the written word. Finally, the Vietnamese warlord guy swoops in with a fighter jet, but Airwolf shoots him down, forcing him to parachute to the fields. The leader of the farmers proclaims “This is America! Citizens arrest!” Cut to a soaring bald eagle (really). I enjoyed this episode. Just to reiterate how much deathlier “Aiwolf” is than other such shows, the bad guys kill people by spraying them with gasoline from a crop duster, then burning them alive.

BBL: (proposing a cabbage cutting race) “I’ll tell ya what! The first one down to the uh… down to that uh… ditch, down there is the winner! Let’s go! Haha!”

Episode 14: In at the End of the Road

More half-assed mid-season dreck. Bank Robbers or some other kind of robbers storm into a little town and try to kill everyone by stuffing them in a meat locker with no oxygen. Airwolf intervenes. String and Dom have this big conversation about which kind of disability you’d most want a hot girl to have so that you could get away with raping her because she’d be unable to report it. String was like, whatever makes it impossible for her to report me, but leaves her body most intact.

So, his ideal would be a fresh vegetable, I suppose. But Dom felt it was very important that she’d know what was happening, just not be able to report it. That was the main thing that he found erotic about the scenario–he wouldn’t even care that much if she was disfigured, so long as she was conscious of what was happening but powerless to ever tell anyone.  He concedes that he’d probably even do it to a guy if those criteria were met.

“BBL: Hey, look! Look at that family of bears!”