Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Funnin' Rachel Maddow: The Fifth A-Teamer!

A month or so back, Rachel did an 80s-themed segment that literally wowed me and may explain why I’m partial to Rachel, above and beyond the fact that she’s the best, of course. Talking to David Sirota about his book titled Back To Our Future, Rachel said to David: “I have to tell you, I watched every single second of the A-Team that was ever put on television. I was absolutely obsessed with the  A-Team. Can you explain to me how that warped my mind?”

And I went, “Wow, you’re kidding me, Rachel. Me too!”

The A-Team was my absolute favorite TV show at the time. Honestly. I can’t say for sure that I caught every single episode, but I didn’t miss many. A friend who is black (the Reagan years weren’t exactly peaches & cream for African Americans) and I were immediately turned on to the A-Team as a scathingly funny commentary on the age of Reagan. Both of us hated Reagan as we watched the rise of the Right in America with shocked disbelief. In the A-Team we saw a hilarious reflection of the times. For us it was a comedy; our friends puzzled over our finding humor in it.

Do you remember the show in which the Chinese mafia was extorting money from a meek, family-owned Chinese restaurant? The outside shot of their HQ showed a narrow building with a Chinese laundry in the first of two floors — they could magnify every imaginable ethnic stereotype. The shot cuts to the interior and we see palatial quarters totally disproportionate to the building’s dimensions, with the Chinese Mafia boss sitting on a throne looking like a cross between Fu Manchu and a 12th century warlord, as he intones: “The Golden Pagoda Restaurant MUST BE DESTROYED.”

My friend and I would laugh at how mean the bad guys were, at the deliberately poor production values, and how some characters just “can’t act.” If the show had a Mexican theme, they’d pipe in the Mariachi music and cut to a hastily decorated “Mexican” bar, with extras sitting about wearing ponchos and sombreros and drinking beer. Then there was the obligatory Southern small-town sheriff nabbing drive-thru Yankees in speed traps from behind the obligatory billboard, extorting money from the victims. The sheriff character was a cross between Buford T. Justice, played by Jackie Gleason on Smoky and The Bandit, and Chief Bill Gillespie from In The Heat of The Night, played by Rod Steiger. Naturally, the A-Team Southern sheriff had a beer belly and a short black tie. In a scene in which the sheriff worked over a terrified victim, he leaned over snarling, “I OWN this town!” My friend noticed that the only visible wall decoration behind him was that famous picture of Ronald Reagan, as the smiling Gipper! Hahaha. And so it went.

We always saw the show as a hilarious satire of all things Reagan. For us the show was a comedy, accidental perhaps, but I don’t think so, given all the subversive liberal clues that were sprinkled about. It was ostensibly a kid show that liberals could appreciate. So, though I’ve not read Sirota’s book, I think it’s a stretch to suggest the A-Team influenced preteens negatively; certainly not adults. You watched every episode and turned out OK, right? Sure, we may be a little warped … but we’re OK.

Memo to the scumbags at the Daily Caller: In case you haven’t noticed, Rachel’s HOTTER today than she ever was. It’s too bad she’s spoken for.

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