My Year With The A-Team: Season 4, Episode 10 – There Goes The Neighborhood

Murdock serves breakfast while B.A., Face and Hannibal read newspapers

“‘Mr. Juarez!’ says one of the bikers. ‘What are you doing here?’ Unasked is ‘Why are you and your men dressed like Pee-Wee Herman?'”

Chalk this up to yet another thing I missed over the summer: the A-Team iPhone app! And no, it’s not for the movie, it’s for the real deal. Play the song. Listen to B.A. complain about jibba jabba. Fire weapons, and watch the opening credits. If you could weld with it, it would be the ultimate A-Team experience.

As phone apps go, this one seems fine. The designers did make a whopping typo, though – there’s no E or R in “sucka”!


There Goes The Neighborhood

Wild Guess Preview: Fred Rogers hires the A-Team? Turns out the Neighborhood has seen hard times, what with that crooked courier company coming down hard on Mr. McFeely. But the team comes in and makes those speedy deliveries and knocks the bad guys into the Kingdom of Make Believe. Their timing couldn’t be more perfect: X the Owl has an assignment from correspondence school about military tactics, so he thinks Hannibal’s plans are nifty-galifty.

Stevi Faith with the A-Team
Love is a battlefield.

The Recap: We’re back at the Hollywood Palladium already? Where’s Rick James? Actually this episode’s rock star is Stevi Faith, the offspring of singer Percy Faith and Stevia extract. Stevi is so popular she gets two bins in the record store, she gets top billing over Hall and Oates, and the entire city of Los Angeles holds a preparation montage just to get ready for her concert! Her hit record is called “Ten Cent Virgin,” uh…. anyway, Hannibal and Face are at Stevi’s latest recording session, where she announces, to no one in particular, that the proceeds from her L.A. show are going to the Third World Relief Fund. One of her managers says this is a problem somehow, that someone phoned a threat in because “they don’t want their money going to Central Africa.” And he doesn’t trust the A-Team’s protection, either – possibly because a couple of revolutionaries bust into the studio and shoot up the place before running out. The team tries to stop the dudes, but the best they can manages is B.A. running over a piano in the parking lot (he remarks “I always wanted to play the piano!”).

The team regroups with Stevi and Mr. Stone, the manager, in a billiard room; I guess Colonel Mustard and Mrs. White were in the conservatory. Hannibal thinks the recording studio is too busy and well-known for the team to provide adequate security for Stevi. “Change of scenery, Colonel?” Face asks. That’s the idea; Hannibal tells Stevi “we’ll take you someplace that no one will even think of looking for you.” The revolutionaries are from Northern Tryana, and Stevi’s concert would feed people in Southern Tryana, hence the problem. Stone has no faith, but Stevi does: “I have a good feeling about the A-Team… their karma’s coming from the right place.” Her karma is going with the team, as is the master tape for her new album.

Hannibal says they only need to keep her safe until the concert, two days from now; after that, “the Tryanians have no reason to come after her.” So where does Hannibal propose keeping this incredibly well-known rock singer? A ranch-style house in the suburbs! “Colonel, we could be so happy here!” Murdock says, breathless. They’ve got Stevi dressed up as Hannibal’s mother. Face gets the keys from the realtor and it looks like a happy ending… except there are some bikers down the block and they’re making all kinds of noise and harass a little girl with a dog, upsetting B.A.: “I like NICE QUIET NEIGHBORS.”

Murdock sleeps with his shoes nearby
Submitted without comment.

The team seems pretty crazy about the house they just bought – they’re all coming up with renovation ideas, even though they really only need the place for like three days. Some of the ideas are more unorthodox than others. “B.A., the backyard’s fenced in, so it could be mined if necessary,” Face says. Stevi gets one bedroom, Face and Hannibal take another, and that means B.A. has to “share a room with this crazy fool!?!… you ain’t no quiet roommate!” The next morning, Murdock’s alarm clock goes off at 7:25 and blares mariachi music; B.A. smashes it until it explodes.

Hannibal is up early, too, looking fine in his maroon robe and blue pajamas. He watches the two biker dudes talking trash to one of the fine upstanding neighbors, and he is concerned. B.A. has more pressing issues: Face is taking too long in the bathroom. “You’ve got ten seconds before I break down the door!” Face is miffed: “Perfection takes time!” Even Murdock’s a little upset: when he brings in breakfast, the other three guys are reading newspapers. “I really don’t know what is with this family anymore. I mean, the four of us just don’t seem to communicate in the morning.” He does communicate one important item: “we have an intruder at 2 o’clock, gentlemen.” Murdock flying tackles the guy and it turns out it’s just Joe, the local neighborhood watch. He’s a little confused that four men are living in the same house. Hannibal explains: “We’re all recently divorced.” Stevi walks out and now Joe is really confused, but Hannibal keeps the cover story coming: “This is my daughter from my first marriage.” Joe is excited that the guys are all former military; he takes Murdock, who’s now sporting a pastel sweater and doing a Fred Rogers voice, and the others to see his garage/survival bunker, complete with canned food and an armor-plated tank. “I plan to be ready for the big one,” Joe explains, not realizing he is it.

Again with the bikers? They’re shooting a rifle at the little girl’s dog, and making it dance! That is LOW. “I’ve had enough of these guys,” B.A. says, and so the team heads over for a little confrontation. Hannibal plays it polite; he asks that the guys show more respect for the neighbors, but the punks throw a beer can at B.A. and now it’s motherf___ing ON. B.A. tosses the hoods into the back of their pickup truck – after a few punches, of course – and then Hannibal warns them that the team will “do some real damage” if they ever bother anybody again. The neighbors are so impressed they want Hannibal to be their neighborhood watch captain. This makes Joe, the incumbent captain, nervous, but the neighbors take a vote right then and there. Everybody save Joe and the team vote for Hannibal, so it’s official.

The neighborhood is officially safe, so here come three guys in matching light grey suits to stir up the pot. They drop by the bikers’ house and look imposing. “Mr. Juarez!” says one of the bikers. “What are you doing here?” Unasked is “Why are you and your men dressed like Pee-Wee Herman?” Juarez wants to know why these two dudes got into trouble when all they were supposed to do was sit in a house and wait for a drug shipment. “We’re not gonna let some bullying team get in the way of two million in powder,” he says. Actually, you probably will, pal, unless you have a fleet of super-powered bicycles to go with those Pee-Wee outfits.

Hannibal’s really getting into the whole crime watch thing – he’s made up badges and armbands for everyone to wear. “This stuff is junk!” B.A. complains. “We don’t need no stinking badges,” Murdock adds. But Hannibal says the watches will be a good chance to make sure there aren’t any Stevi-hating revolutionistas in the area. They’re having a little backyard cookout, and Stevi’s telling them all about her start in the biz, how Woody Stone discovered her in a dive in St. Paul and made her a star. Hannibal calls Stone to check in; he seems intent on figuring out where Stevi is, but Hannibal says “that’s not the way we operate” – the important thing is that she’s safe.

Hannibal meets Juarez
“See, your tie is all wrong. You gotta go with the bowtie or it throws off the whole Pee-Wee look.”

Safe from the Tryanians, but not safe from the Herman Gang: the Pee Wees and the bikers bust into the house and find their way into the team’s backyard. “Doesn’t anybody call before they go visiting in this neighborhood?” Hannibal asks. Juarez starts up the usual line about “only one of us ends up owning this neighborhood, my friend,” but Hannibal reminds him that “it’s not nice threatening your block captain,” especially a newly elected one with tons of political capital. So Juarez leaves, probably to visit the Alamo.

B.A. and Murdock make beeper darts
The nerve center of the beeper dart manufacturing revolution.

We’re getting to the nitty-gritty here; B.A. and Murdock are setting up some kind of special darts in case the Pee Wees return. Hannibal’s going to scout out the best route to get Stevi to the concert; Stevi and Face are going to stay home and behave. Hannibal makes a remark about potholes, to which Murdock and Stevi sing the line in “A Day in the Life” about how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall. Wow. Joe the survivalist neighbor drops by cause he’s worried that the bikers might come back. “Are you sure you can handle the responsibilities of being block captain?” In the interests of bolstering defenses, Joe takes Murdock on a bike tour of the area.

Drug guys are tied up, with a 'we are drug runners' sign on them
Those signs became mandatory after the Fair Drug Runner Labeling Act of 1983. If Murdock hadn’t put that sign on, he might have faced a $250 fine.

Juarez tells his bikers “it’s time to make the move.” They drive off, only Murdock has tagged their truck with one of B.A.’s “beeper darts”. He and B.A. follow the homing signal to the airport, where the dudes are unloading drug shipment from a plane. “What we need is a distraction,” Murdock says. “You got an atomic bomb?” They do have dynamite and some plastique and some detonators, which they set up around some oil cans. This blows up the cans as well as the Pee Wees’ limo (I thought they drove a truck?) and then B.A. punches everybody out. “What do you know, snow in the summertime,” Murdock says as he shoots up the crates full of drugs. He ties all the thugs together and puts a sign on them: “We are drug runners, please lock us up.” Then he throws a grenade at the drugs: “Another day, another doper!” Nice.

Murdock’s excited: everything’s moving along well here. “Shut up fool, you’re gonna jinx us!” B.A. says, but Murdock says the mission is in the bag; after all, who could possibly find Stevi now, just a day before the concert? Oh lord, Joe the neighbor is at home, and he sees a piece on the news about how Stevi Faith has been “kidnapped by the A-Team.” He calls the hotline number and ends up telling Woody Stone, the manager, where Stevi’s at. Stone says keep her there, but don’t call the cops. “Pack the Hawaiian shirts,” Joe tells his wife. “That reward money is as good as ours!”

Neighbor Joe, with a megaphone
Hey Joe, where you going with that… ah, never mind

Stevi is telling Face all about how she wishes she could be invisible and anonymous again, back to being “Stephanie Frankel,” her real name. “Attention A-Team: surrender immediately,” Joe yells out through a megaphone. Face “surrenders” to him, but then the two Tryanians drive up and storm the house. They force Face and Stevi back into the house at gunpoint; Joe runs in and yells “Freeze!” but they throw him out the back window and into the pool. Woody Stone shows up and Stevi’s relieved, but the Tryanians say they can’t find the master tape and so Woody’s mad. Now Stevi’s upset: “Woody, this is a really evil thing you’re doing. There’s a karma shift here that could spell your cosmic doom.” By the way, the Tryanians aren’t actually Tryanians; they’re regular thugs who Woody hired so no one would find out that he’s just a lunkhead. Karmically speaking.

Joe's armored tank thing

Down in Joe’s Garage/we didn’t have no dope or LSD/but a couple armor plates would fix it

Hannibal returns from his scouting mission to find his house is under siege, but he and B.A. and Murdock hole up in Joe’s garage – the one with that sweet armored tank thing – and do a little montage, suburban survivalist-style. They even use the canned peas and green beans Joe’s been stockpiling, as ammunition!

Face has a great idea, too: he tells spins a tale of how the team rented a second house down the block. Stone wants the password, so Face makes one up: “It’s the new block captain.” He’s sent them to Chez Pee-Wee, of course; when the former Tryanians appear at their door, saying “It’s the new block captain,” Juarez shoots at them through the door. Oh, that was a damn fine scam.

And while the team’s two adversaries are shooting at each other, the team busts out the armored tank and starts shooting in every direction. Hannibal leaps off and dives through the window of the team’s house to rescue Face and the others. Murdock uses their makeshift bazooka to shoot cans of peas and gunpowder at record execs – time well spent by any measure – and their car flips over. B.A. hi-fives Murdock. Hannibal tells Joe they’ll give him credit for taking down all these guys – “that’ll make you block captain for the rest of your life.”

The team has figuratively cleaned up the neighborhood, but now they really have to clean it up – starting with their house. “Maybe we can sell it as a fixer-upper,” Face says. He’s figured that by getting the reward for the drug dealers, they’ll still break even, though Hannibal and B.A. say that money should go to the Third World Relief Fund, which makes Stevi happy. Joe wanders over and congratulates himself on building an awesome tank. B.A. warns him that the team’s made a few modifications, but Joe says not to worry; he and the tank are like a cyborg, that he and the tank think as one. He gets in and tries to start it up, but instead he sets off the bazooka and blows something up. B.A. laughs as he walks away: “You don’t need our help, Joe… you and the machine are one!” The team drives off.

It’s hard to just keep saying “another fun one,” but hell, it was another fun one. Stevi was a little too straightforward, she could’ve used a little less makeup and a little more character – I did like her weird karmic pronouncements, when she made them. The setting was great, too – the A-Team at home, making omelets for each other… beautiful.

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  1. Joe Davis

    The scene with Face and Stevi just before Joe came to capture them, the camera angle where Stevi sat, I couldn’t tell she had patterned tights on and thought she had unexplained dirt on her legs at first.

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