Book ’em, Danno–Episode 39

Book 'em Danno Podcast

Welcome to Season 4 of Book ’em, Danno and Season 4 of Hawaii Five-O!

Steve and the gang kick things off by investigating a couple of skeletons and a beguiling portrait in “Highest Castle, Deepest Grave”. And then in “No Bottles…No Cans…No People”, Five-O looks to put a stop to an up and coming mobster who throws away his enemies…literally.

Come to watch Steve fall in love with a picture, stay for the garbage education.

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Full disclosure: I didn’t feel the full effects of the portrait in question. What about you? Feeling some sparks like Steve?

steve and portrait

Weaving the Fabric of Pop Culture

I’ll be honest with you: I heard the phrase “Book ’em, Danno” long before I started watching Hawaii Five-O in my early thirties. Considering the show went off the year a few months after I was born, that’s pretty impressive. This one little catchphrase (which wasn’t even designed to be a catchphrase; in fact, Steve McGarrett goes the entire third season without saying it) became a thread that had itself woven into the fabric of pop culture. So has the term “Five-O” as a way to refer to the police. That entered the lexicon before the show even went off the air.

Not bad for a police drama.

I talked a little bit about this phenomenon when I confessed that I’d never watched Seinfeld. Some shows just get into the collective consciousness. Seinfeld was one of those. Intensely popular, I may have never watched an episode, but everyone around me did. Immersed in that situation, I absorbed the show via diffusion. Because the show became so cemented into pop culture, I know all about Festivus, Elaine dancing, George’s fiancee dying, Jerry’s puffy shirt, Kramer’s…everything, yet never experienced any of these things in the context of their episodes.

Much like people recognizing and/or using the phrase “Book ’em, Danno” but have never actually seen Steve McGarrett say it in an episode.

Some shows just get absorbed into pop culture.

A sunglasses-quip combo. “I’m so excited!” A nose twitch. “Hello!” Turkey Drop. “To the moon, Alice!” A ponytail flip. “Dammit, Jim.” Tapping the sides of your fists together instead of flipping the bird. “Who loves ya, baby?” The Monkee Walk. “Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!” The Bart Dance. “Dyn-o-mite!”

There is an excellent chance you recognized more than one of these. And there’s also a chance that you might not have watched all of the shows these came from.

Who’s to say why some shows find themselves a place in pop culture and some don’t. Popularity plays into it, naturally, but not necessarily longevity. Star Trek only lasted 3 seasons, but it’s impact has lasted a lifetime. Obviously, the fans of the show play a big role, not only in making the show popular, but also identifying what bits and pieces will become meme’d and gif’d in some cases decades later.

There’s no telling what show might catch on, or what bit of it might embed itself into the conscious collective mind. Not every super popular show finds its staying power. You never know what little bit people will discover and latch onto and blow up. Or who will latch onto it.

Say “How rude” or “Did I do that?” to a Gen Xer or older Millennial who lived on TGIF and you’ll get a different response than maybe a member of Gen Z who hasn’t discovered that bit of nostalgia yet. Some of these bits of fabric are truly generational, while other bits span the scope.

If I were an educated person, I might better be able to analyze this sort of thing. Pick it a part and understand how it all comes together.

But I’m not.

Instead, I just marvel at all of the colorful bits and pieces woven into the pop culture fabric.

Holy tapestry, Batman!

Book ’em Danno Special–“Bored, She Hung Herself”

In this very special episode of Book ’em, Danno, I discuss the “lost” episode of Hawaii Five-O, “Bored, She Hung Herself” from the second season. I’m keeping things somewhat mum on where I watched the ep and how I found out about it simply because every copy of this episode is a bootleg and therefore, subject to be taken down. I don’t want that.

Also, because this is a bootleg of a 16mm print (I think), the quality isn’t that great. In fact, it’s been speeded up a little bit so everyone sounds a little strange. As such, there will be no sound clips in this episode. I’m sure you’re devastated at the prospect of hearing only my voice.

Listen anyway.

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Very mild trigger warning: there’s mention of sexual assault, but it’s not explicitly discussed.

Also Spoiler Alert! Spoilers are discussed from around 18:50 to 22:41.

Consider yourself warned.

Danno’s calling all of his friends to listen. You should, too.

TV Bosses I’d Work For

Have you ever watched a TV show and thought to yourself, “Man, I wish they were my boss”? Well, I have. So I put together a short list (in no particular order) of the TV bosses that I’d work for.

Barney Miller (Barney Miller)- I feel like this is probably an obvious choice for someone enamored with police shows. Not only did Barney have a more reasonable approach to lawbreakers, he also had an excessive amount of patience when it came to the people in his squad room. He’d finally get to his breaking point, but it took some persistent aggravation. Given that I can be aggravating, it’s good to know I’d probably never get to that point with him, thanks to Wojo and Levitt beating me to it.

Steve McGarrett (Hawaii Five-O)- A no-brainer if you know me, Steve McGarrett is in many ways the ideal. He’ll mentor you, correct you, joke with you, go to bat for you, but he won’t tolerate any bullshit. You gotta put in your effort. I love a boss who has your back, and Steve definitely has the backs of Five-O.

Horatio Caine (CSI:Miami)- Much like Steve McGarrett (as I’ve written about), I dare say that Horatio would go even further for you, particularly in the later seasons when he was decidedly less attached to the rules. He’d do everything possible to turn you into the best CSI he could, but he’d only help you if you were willing to accept it. Some lessons have to be learned the hard way. Right, Ryan? I have no doubt Horatio would kill for you, though, and I really appreciate that kind of dedication.

Miss Kitty (Gunsmoke)- Leaving aside the not-explicity-said-but-definitely-understood nature of the work some of the Long Branch employees were doing, I have no doubt that Miss Kitty looked after all of them. From bartenders to saloon girls, she wasn’t a successful businesswoman because she let the clientele walk all over her and abuse her staff. She’s the fuck around and find out boss.

The Middleman (The Middleman)- All of the patience of Barney Miller, the mentoring of Steve McGarrett and Horatio Caine, and the protective nature of Miss Kitty, with a healthy dose of optimism and clean language. He makes ridding the world of comic book foes less of a chore and more of a good day at the office.

Sgt. Getraer (CHiPs)- As far as bosses with a sense of humor go, Gertaer is up there. Think about it. He had to deal with Ponch’s bullshit all the time. If he didn’t learn to laugh, his blood pressure would have been through the roof. He also has the ability to roll with the punches, which is a pretty good quality to have. Probably the only boss on this list that would go country-western dancing, roller skating, and participate in some questionable athletic shenanigans for charity.

Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Stargate: Atlantis)- If I’m in another galaxy with the prospect of never returning to Earth and our best chance of survival is making new friends, I’m going with Elizabeth. She kept things under control, put people in their place (I’m looking at you Shepherd), and didn’t take any shit from anybody -Wraith, Genii, or Replicator. She had things under control even when they were out of control and honestly, I wish she would have been in charge every Black Friday.

Colonel Sam Carter (Stargate: Atlantis)- Everything you got with Elizabeth, but with the added bonus of a military background, a different science expertise, and some “I have seen some shit” experience. She was also perfectly cool with blowing shit up and I need that in a boss.

Richard Woolsey (Stargate: Atlantis)- If you’ve seen the show, I know what you’re thinking, but let’s be real. Once he got broken in, Woolsey made for a pretty good boss. As a bureaucrat, he brought an element of sneakiness to his dealings with with others in the Pegasus Galaxy and was a pretty crafty negotiator. He also quickly figured out it was best to leave the science to the scientists and the defense to the military. A boss who knows when to let the workers do their thing and when to rein them in is valuable.

Is it cheating to have three bosses from the same show? Maybe. Did I exclude some excellent bosses from this list? Probably.

But this is my list.

Go make your own.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 38

Season 3 ends with a two-parter. In “The Grandstand Play”, baseball star Lon Phillips’s son Gary is in big trouble and only Five-O can save him. It’s an interesting two-parter in general as it’s much more low key than some of the previous ones, but it’s definitely got an emotional weight to it that couldn’t have been achieved if it was condensed to a single episode.

Also, if you don’t like baseball, then you’re going to want to skip the part that’s just me going on about the Hawaiian Islanders line-up and how I want one of their jerseys.

I also wrap up the season with my final thoughts and arbitrary tallies. Because you’re dying to know how many times everyone went undercover during the season, I’m sure.

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I play a game whenever Pernell Roberts guest stars on anything called “Toupee or No Toupee”. No spoilers here.

Also, photographic evidence of the sinister comb forward I go on and on about.

Make It Fashion

It’s no secret that one of the things that caught my interest when I started watching Hawaii Five-O was the fashion. Sure, our team is typically dressed in conservative suits, but their personal and undercover fits are a sight to behold. Not to mention that you’re dealing with an island vacation spot in the late ’60s and throughout the ’70s. So many bright colors, bold patterns, and a broad assortment of people wearing them.

It’s a glorious time capsule.

In fact, it covers the end of one decade, the entirety of the next decade, and the very beginning of a third decade, which shows off the evolution of fashion during that particular time period. In that time span, dresses are going from short shifts to waist-defined and below the knees; the skirts go from minis to maxis; bell bottoms grow and waist-lines lower; even the suits change, with the widths of lapels and ties changing.

Not only that, this is Hawai’i fashion. In addition to what you might find on TV at the time, the standard styles and the styles indicative of certain groups like hippies, you also got island fashion, both residential and vacation. Yes, there are a lot of Aloha shirts and matching Aloha outfits and other threads common to vacationers and required of those working in the tourist trade. And the colors and patterns are glorious. But there’s also what the average, everyday people wear while working in the markets or on boats or doing their shopping. And there are muumuus. So many glorious muumuus.

That’s what’s so great about Rerun Fashion: it tells us so much.

Iris Apfel once talked about fashion as being a sort of record for history. You can tell what was going on in the world at the time by what people wore.

I feel that way about TV fashion as well (however I’m not nearly as cool or as well-dressed as Iris Apfel). We’re not only getting a glimpse into the fashion and styles of the time, which provides its own little insight into what the world was like, but we’re also getting that all filtered through the characters that are wearing it.

Obviously, Steve McGarrett is my favorite example of this.

While the Five-O team wore their conservative suits at work, they’re off-duty attire was much more relaxed for the most part, polos and Aloha shirts. And then there was Steve. Conservative, by-the-book Steve had an affinity for ascots, whites suits, pops of color, and some pretty fab hats. You never would have thought it from a man like him, but he was a bit of a fashionista. While some hard-nosed cops have a softer side off-duty, Steve McGarrett had a stylish side.

There’s something especially fab about characters you’re used to seeing in uniform in their street clothes. When the guys at Station 51 on Emergency! change into their street gear, you not only get a glimpse into their off-duty personalities, you also get a glimpse into their off-duty personalities as filtered through the ’70s. That’s why Johnny Gage is sporting these patchwork jeans. Of which I had a similar pair in high school in the ’90s when some ’70s styles had a resurgence.

I would wear them again today, no hesitation.

Speaking of out of uniform, given how infrequently everyone on Stargate Atlantis gets to don street clothes, it feels particularly monumental when they show up in those duds of the aughts.

If you want to look for character definition through wardrobe, look no further than The A-Team. Each character is defined by their clothes. Hannibal with his safari jacket, Face with his leather jacket, BA with his gold chains and perpetual lack of sleeves. A ball cap, bomber jacket, and pair of Chuck Taylors is Murdock. You can see that from space.

There was a similar situation on the ’60s Dragnet. Joe Friday and Bill Gannon wore the same suits every episode.

One other thing that I find fun to look out for is how the wardrobe department of shows not only dress characters for their personalities, but also how they coordinate the characters with each other.

One of my favorite things about CSI:Miami is that starting in the second season, wardrobe started doing a little color matchy-matchy between characters. Calleigh’s shirt matching Frank’s tie. Delko and Speed wearing similar colored shirts. By the fourth season, it was full-tilt coordination. It seems like at least one character in each episode is guaranteed to match Frank’s tie. And there are some episodes when there’s obviously a color theme. Everybody sporting a shade of one color. It’s glorious.

On the flip side of that, wardrobe on The Golden Girls did their best to make each woman stand out on their own. Not much in the way of matchy-matchy unless there was a specific reason. There’s one episode that sticks out in my mind in which Dorothy, Rose, and Blanche are sitting on the couch looking like a stoplight -red, yellow, green.

Just like the plots and slang, the fashion of reruns can either be dated or timeless, however it never fails to deliver some sort of statement.

Just pay closer attention to the threads.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 37

A man seeking revenge meets his match in an old lady when he takes hostages in the Five-O offices in “The Bomber and Mrs. Maroney”. And the games continue in the Season 3 2010 Hawaii Five-0 episode “Pa’ani”.

I admit that it took a while this season to get to a reboot episode. That’s just the way the schedule played out. But it is a fun episode, so I think it’s worth the wait. Larry Manetti is an absolute gem.

“The Bomber and Mrs. Maroney” was in the running for favorite episode of the season. The blend of humor and tension is fantastic.

Be warned. I do drop a couple of f-bombs in this episode, if your sensibilities be that sort of delicate.

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Behold the physical manifestation of no fucks left to give. She’s not in the mood for your shit and she never will be, son.

Rerun Junkie Confession–I Love a Series Finale

Warning! I will be spoiling the hell out of how several reruns ended. Proceed with caution.

The only episode of The Big Bang Theory I’ve ever seen in its entirety was the series finale. Never really cared for the series, but I had to see how it ended.

I’ve got a thing for a series finale.

Many series don’t get a formal ending. They get cancelled. Which is a shame, especially when they end on a cliffhanger because they fully expected to get another season, but had the rug pulled out from under them. An official series finale wasn’t a common place thing with older series. Most of them just ended without any grand exit even if they weren’t cancelled.

But whether the episode was intended to be the end of a series or not, whether it’s a big send-off or a quiet goodbye, I’m fascinated by how shows end.

The Fugitive was the first series that had a real finale: the one-armed man was caught and Richard Kimble was finally proven to be innocent. It set the template for other shows to follow. Wrap up all of the plot lines and say goodbye.

Obviously, the biggest series finale was M*A*S*H. Though alive when it went off the air in 1983, I can’t say for certain that toddler me actually experienced the end of the show’s 11 year run. I didn’t get to watch it until about twelve or thirteen years later when I was in high school. I’d been watching the reruns since junior high (not counting falling asleep to the episodes they showed after the local news when I was a kid spending the night at my grandparents’ house), but the finale was never shown. And now I can’t remember if some station did a one-time replay or if someone loaned me a copy of it. Either way, I finally managed to see it.

Talk about a grand finale. I can see why so many people tuned in. It was more than just bringing a popular series to a close. It was an event.

Safe to say most shows don’t get that kind of treatment.

Barney Miller got a three-part finale that saw the 12th Precinct building sold, everyone getting split up, Barney and Levitt getting their long-sought after promotions, and Barney turning off the lights and closing the door as he left the squad room. A fitting, bittersweet end.

One of the most brutal series finales is courtesy of Quantum Leap. Dr. Sam Beckett is leaping from person to person in his timeline, trying to right the wrongs of the past while searching for a way home. Spoiler alert! The last episode features a title card announcing that Sam Beckett never made it home. How do you like your feelings? Crushed over ice? Because that’s the only way you were getting them with the way this show ended. It still makes my chest ache to think of it. And I didn’t even watch the show religiously.

Sometimes a show gets cancelled with enough warning that it’s able to tie up enough loose ends that the final episode feels like a satisfying enough conclusion. Stargate: Atlantis comes to mind. Atlantis ends up on Earth and our cast is hanging out on the balcony, taking in the Golden Gate Bridge sunset. It promises more adventure is possible, but it’s not a cliffhanger. Stargate: Universe wasn’t so lucky. The show ended with everyone but Eli in stasis pods, and Eli had only a couple of weeks to fix the broken one or he’d die when the life support ran out. Yeesh.

The A-Team ended up with a shortened final season when their retooling didn’t boost ratings like they’d hoped. What should have been the final episode perhaps wasn’t the strongest, but the final scene was a perfect sum up of the show. They’d get their freedom and keep working to get justice for the underdogs. However, months after that “final” episode aired, the network aired a partially finished episode (they used scenes from another episode to “finish” it) and that became the series finale. “Without Reservations” is good, but the ending doesn’t hit that finale feel like “The Grey Team”.

Steve McGarrett finally caught Wo Fat in the last episode of Hawaii Five-O, but the Marshall family never made it back from The Land of the Lost. Dorothy finally found the love of her life and got married in the last episode of The Golden Girls, but as far as we know Mork and Mindy are still stuck in the stone age.

Planned or not, happy or sad, I love to see how a show ends.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 36

Book 'em Danno Podcast

Season 3 still has a few swerves to it as it heads towards the finale.

In “The Gunrunner” we get a suspicious kidnapping and the 1971 version of a burner phone. In “Dear Enemy” Vera Miles insists that Steve re-open the case that sent her husband to jail for murdering his mistress.

The ultimate swerve is that George Murdock isn’t the asshole. Even when he’s a good guy, he still manages to be a dick. Not so in “The Gunrunner”. Yes, I say many words about that, the burner phone, and Vera Mile’s decided to wear a pink nightie (?) to talk to Steve about re-opening her husband’s case while Gary Collins looks on. Also, I probably spend more minutes talking about the greatness that is Dub Taylor than he is actually in the episode.

Listen to all of the words and minutes on Souncloud, iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Behold the photographic evidence of the ultimate payphone set-up and the nightie in question. Two bits of greatness I will never get over.

1971 burner phone

vera miles and gary collins

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 35

Book 'em Danno Podcast

Season 3 begins to wind down with this two-parter. In “FOB Honolulu”, Five-O is looking to recover counterfeit currency plates that people everywhere are dying to acquire. Like there’s a literal trail of dead bodies they use to track the plates across Asia. It’s part of the slide show.

Wo Fat is back and we’re introduced to a KGB colonel charmingly called Misha the Bear, whom I wished made more than one appearance because he was a good time.

Also there’s Monte Landis, excessive amounts of knitting, and one of the best tail dodges I’ve ever seen onscreen.

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Now this is a fabulous disguise. The gum chewing really completed the look.

in disguise