“A redneck bar crowd is dancing to Culture Club while the A-Team tries to foil an armed robbery, while Murdock plays Lennon Sisters tunes at the radio station. This moment is why TV was invented.”
Last night I woke up clutching a My Little Pony. Not intentionally – I’m staying in my old bedroom while here with my parents, and there are two My Little Ponies on the nightstand for whatever reason. Why I grabbed it in my sleep I have no idea. Maybe to ask its name, which I don’t remember. It’s white and has rainbow hair and its little design is a duck holding an umbrella. I’ll call it AFLAC til I hear otherwise. The other pony is named Parasol, which I remember from their cartoon in the 80’s. Too bad they never did a crossover with the A-Team – ponies hiring Hannibal and company to stay out of the evil clutches of… me, I guess. There’s also two stuffed Gumby figures in the bed, but they’ve evaded my grasp thus far.
My parents have fixed the room up nicely since I moved out; it’s so lovely that, aside from the photos of me and the missus in the corner, you’d never guess it was once home base for a messy, slightly emo young fellow with a Mr. T complex. The one thing about my parents, though, is that they can’t pass up a good deal at a garage sale, so they’ve accumulated a fair bit of stuff over time. And so every room has a few of these extra items in it, just because they need a place to put everything. So in here, among the antiques and wooden furniture and lace coverings, there’s a tortilla warmer.
At least I know that if the Gumbys and the My Little Ponies get hungry in the night I won’t have to serve them cold tortillas.
Wild Guess Preview: Since the A-Team was so helpful to Uncle Buckle Up a few episodes ago, every kids entertainer on the West Coast is begging for help from Hannibal and company. Trouble is, most of them aren’t being hassled by crooked toy manufacturers or greedy land developers. One of them, Cowboy George, tries to blame his own ineptitude on Joe’s Cowboy Surplus, but the team quickly realizes the guy just doesn’t know how to do rope tricks and wanted a scapegoat.
Starring Murdock as Mike Watt and Face as J.R. Ewing
The Recap: Never let it be said the A-Team doesn’t believe in personal growth! Face, you see, is taking a night class in entertainment accounting (hopefully taught by Leo Bloom), and his big project is to book a concert with Cowboy George and the Range Rats, which he says will earn the team $300,000 in profits. He tells Murdock all about this while he drives the awesome van. Murdock is barely conscious and keeps falling over, but he says Face’s deal is a scam and that he doesn’t need Cowboy George, he’s already got plenty of music stuck in his head.
They show up at a country bunker called The Floor ‘Em; Face dons a cowboy hat and they mosy on in. The owner, Chuck Danford, isn’t very cheerful at first, but warms right up when they mention Cowboy George’s name. (Speaking of names, Murdock gives a fake one, “Remy St. Starlin.” When Chuck says he likes it, Murdock says “thanks, made it up myself!”) Face promises a big house for George’s concert; Danford says fine, but he warns that the club’s clientele is mostly a rowdy group of pipeline workers: “If you don’t give ’em Cowboy George…. they’ll kill you.”
They drive away to pick George up at the Dry Creek, Arizona airport. By the way, Face explains to Murdock that a friend of his, Dash Goldman, let Face pick up Cowboy George’s contract because he owed him a favor. Face can’t seem to find the cowboy on the plane, but Boy George is there, and he’s looking for Templeton Peck because Dash promised him $1.2 million to do a show at the Arizona Forum. There is no forum, just the Floor ‘Em, so Face’s friend was weaseling out of a high-priced contract. “Dash Goldman ducked and we took a bullet in the chest,” Murdock says, grimacing.
If you thought Face was upset about this mix-up, you should see Chuck Danford, who has his goons hassle Face to reiterate that the club “don’t want no English glitter prince.” Boy George is fine with that, as he thinks the club is “a certified toilet” and can’t bring himself to perform there. After they leave, Danford tells a flunkie to call some other bigshot to deal with the problem.
Hannibal is on a movie set, and he thinks Face’s predicament is funny. “Boy George is a hundred times the act Cowboy George is!” Face, who clearly hasn’t briefed him on the “we owe Boy George millions of dollars” deal, simply says there’s a slight contractual issue, and besides, Danford is up to some kind of shady business. That’s why Murdock is tailing one of Danford’s henchmen, a Fritz Von Erich-looking guy called Butch who drops by a warehouse. Inside, more thugs are installing big rifles on the backs of pickup trucks, though they’re evil and therefore don’t qualify for a montage.
Cowboy George played at Folsom Prison, too? Geez, that’s like the Budokan of prisons.
So B.A. and Hannibal drive out to Arizona in a convertible, comiserating about how Face has been in “a fiscal ‘Twilight Zone'” after taking that night course. Hannibal does tell B.A., though, that it’s good each of them has interests outside of the team… “you’ve got your daycare center, Murdock’s got his psychoses.” B.A. honks the horn as they arrive at the hotel; the convertible squawks out “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”
Cool, Edward Scissorhands is here!
“Boy George, wow!” B.A. says, and he’s giggling, he’s so excited. Hannibal’s dressed up as Cowboy George; he’s going to deliver Danford a concert, just like Face promised, with Boy George and Culture Club as the opening act. “They don’t think Boy George here can draw the country and western audience… that’s why they’re trying to kill me.” Boy George says he feels bad for the team – even if he does get over with the crowd, they’ll never gross enough money at the club to pay what Face owes him. Now Hannibal’s mad. “How could you trust a guy named Dash?” says Hannibal. B.A. just growls. George offers to “work something out,” and offers to cut his guarantee in half – to $600,000. Maybe they could do an outdoor show instead of in the barn. Face isn’t sure George can draw in the country crowd, but George is confident: “Everybody likes Culture Club.” B.A. agrees: “They’re great!” Ok then.
This is the last time Murdock has to come out of a bleeping up-tempo record and talk about a bleeping dog dying!
Murdock, meanwhile, is in agony in the corner: “The Lennon Sisters, they just won’t stop singing in my head!” Murdock says. I think RadioLab did a show about this once. H.M. tells Hannibal about Danford’s thugs and their Jeep-mounted M-60’s, so Hannibal drops by the Floor ‘Em in his Cowboy George getup to get to the bottom of things. Face is at the local radio station with a guest DJ, “Pecos Bob Steele” aka Murdock, to promote the Cowboy George show. Murdock takes over the board, locks the control room door and immediately plays a set of Lennon Sisters songs, to Face’s great chagrin. He does mention the big show at The Floor Em, at least.
B.A. is watching the thugs’ warehouse, and from all the putting on masks and loading rifles and such he surmises they’re about to knock over an armored car. So he calls Hannibal at the Floor ‘Em, and the colonel realizes he’ll have to hold off on his Cowboy George act to deal with the imminent thuggery. Boy George isn’t sure he can hold the audience as long as Hannibal needs – after all, “this is not my kind of crowd.” And sure enough, even a big intro by Cowboy George is not enough to stop the booing. But then the band starts up and… they still boo. No, the music starts to win them over, and soon a redneck bar crowd is dancing to Culture Club while the A-Team tries to foil an armed robbery, while Murdock plays Lennon Sisters tunes at the radio station. This moment is why TV was invented.
Hopefully Almost Fritz Von Erich here won’t Almost put the Iron Claw on Hannibal.
Hannibal and Face realize the concert was invented as a distraction, so that Danforth’s men could rob the pipeline company’s payroll while no one was looking. So they meet up with B.A. and take the robbers out with a little dynamite and a lot of gunfire; they even blow up the thugs’ Jeeps while Culture Club plays in the background. The thugs are caught in a crossfire and they surrender to the rhythm, and also to the armed commandos.
The team delivers Butch and the other thugs to the sheriff – who promptly turns to Butch and the thugs and tells them to arrest the team for armed robbery! And so B.A., Face and Hannibal get stuck in the local jail, where Hannibal kicks himself for getting fooled by an almost-certainly fake sheriff: “I hate it when I don’t spot a phony.” “So where’s the real one?” B.A. asks. Good question – also, how will they break out of jail?
The answer won’t be “through listening to Culture Club,” unfortunately – “temporary sheriff Miller” has put a halt to their set so he tell the crowd about the armored car robbery. This riles the pipeline workers up something fierce; then he mentions he’s got the culprits in custody and they’re ready to run down to the jail and beat up the “culprits.” Boy George finds this suspicious – another phrase I never thought I’d write – so he runs to the radio station to tell Murdock “your friends are in trouble, I think you should help them.” Murdock: “Pecos Bob Steele is history!” The station owner is relieved that he’ll be able to play something other than the Lennon Sisters.
Hannibal is working on an escape plan, and it’s an easy one: have Face use the set of lockpicks he carries around. They waltz right out of the jail cell… only to find the real sheriff is dead and the aforementioned lynch mob is at the door. They grab some rifles and bar the door, but there are 80 or so pipeline workers, full of beer and English new romantic pop and so the situation is bleak. Face tells Hannibal “you’ll think of something.” Hannibal: “But I can’t think with all this noise!”
I think Murdock is the Sun Maid here. Raisins, anyone?
Help is on the way though – Murdock and Boy George sneak into the general store (after George kicks the door in) and after leafing through the women’s apparel section they find a perfect disguise to smuggle Murdock past the lynch mob: Hannibal’s pregnant wife! Murdock talks his way into the jailhouse; he explains that the team only took the money “because of the baby.” Wow. “We had such wonderful plans for the child… because we all must learn to appreciate the Lennon Sisters.” Murdock says he can convince the team to give back the money. One of the pipeline guys says fine, you have five minutes.
So Murdock goes in, and B.A. recoils in horror: “You’re the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen!” Face disagrees: “You look better to me as a woman than you do as a man!” Murdock does have something on his belly, but it’s not a baby, it’s a backpack full of explosives! We have time for a very short montage in which Hannibal rigs some explosives to blow up the back of the jailhouse; then the team rushes out to the awesome van, WHICH IS BEING DRIVEN BY BOY GEORGE.
Murdock heard something about an airport, so the team rushes over to stop Danford from flying away with the pipeline workers’ payroll. There’s another gunfight, and Murdock, spraying bullets from the side of the van, blows up a Danford Jeep; Hannibal gets the other one to flip over. Danford tries to take off in his plane but Murdock fills it with so many bullets the thing can’t fly anymore. Just then the angry mob shows up and Hannibal hands them the duffel bags full of their cash. “Here’s your money – here are the guys who took it.” And the oil workers will take it from there. “Who are you guys?” says one. “The A-Team,” says Hannibal. “So there,” adds George for whatever reason.
Are you ready for the (English new romantic neosoul new wave) country?
“We want George! We want George!” But this time the crowd at the Floor ‘Em isn’t chanting for Cowboy George, they want a little more Culture Club. Face introduces the band, including “The roughest toughest cowpoke to ever ride the range, Boy George!” and everybody’s digging on the “live” performance of “Karma Chameleon.” B.A. dances to Culture Club, and since seeing something more awesome than that would injure or kill a person, we wrap up right there.
Amazing. I don’t know why this came about, or what exactly they thought would be accomplished by an A-Team/Culture Club team-up, but it actually works beautifully. And even in the weirdest A-Team premise yet, Murdock still steals the show – his Lennon Sisters obsession is too funny for words.