Watusi!, Or: I Can Haz Gorilla?

January 19, 2010

Is there any TV show with more terrible episodes than The Man From U.N.C.L.E. that still qualifies as a genuine classic?

Readers, please discuss, as I continue my death-march through the dreaded Third Season. 

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9 Responses to “Watusi!, Or: I Can Haz Gorilla?”


  1. Did Gilligan’s Island ever get that bad?

    The Great Gazoo episodes of The Flintstones weren’t great (and even worse were the episodes with the Gruesomes).

    Genuine classics certainly narrows it down a fair bit.

  2. JW Says:

    That screen grab pretty much says it all. No wonder Vaughn went back to getting a Ph.D. after that!

  3. Todd Says:

    I doubt Stephen was thinking of Gilligan’s Island or The Flinstones when he used the term “genuine classic”. There are many episodes of M*A*S*H that are pure dreck, all from “The Alan Alda Show” years. I do agree with you Stephen, the third season of Man From U.N.C.L.E. is pretty dire.

  4. 50swesterns Says:

    I’ve always felt that nearly every show that made the switch from black and white to color went to hell. Many of those shows are classics, yet many of their episodes are crummy.

    Gilligan’s Island — which others have mentioned — was always stupid, but the black and white ones are the good kind of stupid. The color ones usually stink on ice. Same goes for Bewitched, I Dream Of Jeannie, Beverly Hillbillies, even The Andy Griffith Show. Think of that last one — black and white, Barney Fife; color, Howard Sprague.

    When I was a kid, I was a huge Wild Wild West fan. Even at 9, I usually opted to go outside and play kickball if it was a color one.

    However, when I think of the color UNCLEs, I feel for you. Some of those are nasty.

  5. Stephen Bowie Says:

    I love how some of my carefully wrought 2,000-word pieces get no response, but a throwaway screen grab of one dancing gorilla plus a constipated Robert Vaughn nets four comments and counting!

    I’m not sure I agree that color is the culprit, but the switchover in 1965-66 definitely coincides with an overall stupidification of TV that lasted for some time. There’s plenty of shows that fit your pattern — VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, THE FUGITIVE, etc. — although UNCLE was probably a show that should’ve been in color. It’s just that they unfortunately decided to start adding suckiness around the same time.

    • 50swesterns Says:

      It wasn’t the addition of color that made stuff stink, but there seems to have been a shift of some sort around that same time. Color makes a real tidy dividing line.

      I think UNCLE, for one, decided to play around with a little BATMAN campiness, and that sure didn’t help things much.


  6. It was the Batman factor that made the third season of U.N.C.L.E. shitty.

  7. Paul Says:

    It wasn’t the change to color that made it bad, it was the change in producers. The second season was pretty good and then they tried to get it back to that in the fourth season but it was too late. Another episode that rivals this one for worst ever would be “The Super Colossal Affair” where Illya rides a giant stink bomb.


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