Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Scarecrow and Mrs. King--How the Spy Business Has Changed

So you all know that I'm in an editing marathon/crunch right now and things are going great/horrible.  I've become quite adept at motivating myself for the times when I don't want to sit in the chair and look at the incredible/silly writing that I've put on the page.  One way is when I've edited a chapter I get to reward myself by watching a Scarecrow and Mrs. King episode.  

If you don't recognize that show, it was a spy show in the 80s about a suburban housewife named Amanda King (played by Kate Jackson) who gets tangled up with "the Agency" when she helps one of their agents named Lee Stetson (played by Bruce Boxleitner) code name Scarecrow.  That little act of kindness by Amanda turns into a part-time job for her and as a single mother, she needs it.  She's sort of a Molly do-gooder involved with charities and scouts and being a mom.  Partner her with a sophisticated agent and it's a lot of fun.  There's a lot of intrigue and a little romance as the series progresses.  The stories really were well-written and it's been fun to go back and re-watch them.

There have been a few things I've noticed, though, that have changed in the "spy business" since the 80s.

Poor Scarecrow is always looking for a pay phone.  Nowadays, well, do we even have pay phones anymore?  I can't remember the last time I saw one.

Computers took up half the room.

Printers spit out papers that had those funky holey paper thingys on the side that you had to rip off.

Russia was our biggest foe back then.

A lot of the storylines (like terrorists poisoning water supplies, protecting communication lines etc.) are still relevant today.

I've also noticed a few things I love about the show that haven't changed.

The romance between the leads is built up slowly.  Sometimes today's television (especially with lead actors who have as much chemistry as Bruce and Kate did) seems to move past the friendship/falling in love stage so quickly you blink if you miss it.

There aren't any dopey cliffhanger gimmicks to keep you tuning in.  You tuned in because the show was just that much fun to watch.

It shows a normal family.  (Well, okay, as normal as you can get when the mom is a spy.)  But it shows her relationship with her mom, her two kids, her ex-husband, and her co-workers.  Sometimes it feels like today's television misses that element.

All in all, it's just a fun show that is motivating this poor writer to get her job done.  And while it doesn't make me miss the 80s clothes at all, it does make me miss television shows I can watch with my kids.  Those are hard to find in 2012.

Do you have an old show that you love to re-watch?


~T~ said...

Scarecrow and Mrs. King--they don't make shows like that anymore. Maybe that's why I don't watch TV.

I recently wrote a little story about a pay phone. You can read it here if you need a break from editing!

C. Michelle Jefferies said...

I miss 21 Jumpstreet and The spin off. I also miss Buffy, Angel and Charmed. but those were more 90's tho. One I loved and miss terribly is Malcom In The Middle. it made my family feel a little less dysfunctional.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Thanks, T! I do need a break from editing. I'll go read. :)

Michelle, the 90s show I miss is Alias. *sigh* Those were the days. I also liked the Cosby Show. Thank goodness for Netflix, right? :)

Primarymary said...

I loved Scarcrow and Mrs King and Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman.

Angie said...

Star Trek TNG. fortunately, ihaverowait the series on DVD. I also loved Scarecrow and Mrs. King. Good luck editing!

Charlie Moore said...

Actually, I've been watching the original Hawaii Five-O on netflix. Much different than the current version. Another old show I favored is MASH.

Jon Spell said...

We tried watching eps of two old shows, one that my wife loved and one that I loved, and they both just fell flat to us now.

Sledgehammer: over-the-top cop parody. Not funny enough.

Remington Steele: Conceptually, makes me think of your show up there. The leads are pretty, but the pacing, ugh. Yes, I'd like to watch the car drive down the road again, please, with no dialogue to distract me.

May have to try SC&MK, though, see if it stands up to the test of time.

Friends and Frasier are both very easy to watch again, but I can't think of a single show from the 80s that would work for me now. Maybe Quantum Leap?