Showing posts from January, 2017

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: “The My Friend The Gorilla Affair”

Well. Here we are. This is widely regarded as the Worst U.N.C.L.E. Episode Ever, though I would respectfully disagree; it’s not as disgracefully wretched as “The Jingle Bells Affair”, nor is it as in-your-face offensive as “The Indian Affair Affairs.” I’d even argue that it’s slightly better than “The Hong Kong Shilling Affair.” Heck, throw a dart at a list of season four episodes, and odds are very good it’ll hit an episode at least marginally worse than this one.
That said, this one is indeed pretty terrible. Napoleon dances the Watusi with a gorilla. There’s just no putting a positive spin on that.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: “The Abominable Snowman Affair”

I suppose this episode won’t magically improve the longer I put off recapping it, so let’s rip this bandage off quickly, shall we?

We open somewhere high up in the Himalayas, where Illya bids farewell to his native guide, then dresses up as a Yeti in head-to-toe fur and a rubber mask so he can sneak across the border into the fictional country of Ghupat. We’re barely a minute into the episode, and already things are irreparably stupid. We are deep in the foul and stinky waters of season three.
It quickly gets stupider: Illya is ambushed by Calamity Rogers (Anne Jeffreys), a former movie star dressed in full cowgirl regalia. Mistaking him for a genuine Abominable Snowman, she whips out a rifle and shoots him in the arm. “Yahoo! I got that ornery critter!” she proclaims to her loyal manservant.
Still with me? You can bail out now; I won’t get offended. It won’t get any better.

Friday Roundup

In terms of happiness and general mental health, how is everyone doing? Hanging in there?

This morning, I saw a plane flying over Harlem trailing a banner proclaiming RESIST: WE OUTNUMBER HIM. It was oddly comforting on this bizarre and melancholy day.
My sister and I went to the United We Stand rally at Columbus Circle yesterday. We were there very briefly; the crowd was twenty thousand strong, and we are both mildly agoraphobic, so we stayed inside the boundaries of Central Park where we could slip away easily. Baby steps. Glad we went, albeit briefly, even though we missed Cher (Cher!).


No U.N.C.L.E. recap this week due to a combination of an overpacked agenda and general inertia, but have no fear:

a) I'll post a new recap early next week, and:
b) it's just going to be that stupid third-season episode where Illya dresses up as the Abominable Snowman for absolutely no good reason, so you're not missing all that much.

Apologies for the delay.

Friday Roundup

Happy 2017. I never really feel the new year starts until my birthday, which is on Monday, so I’ve still been in post-holiday mode. Hence the lack of a roundup last weekend, and hence I'm going to spend most of this roundup yammering on about various Christmas foodstuffs.
My sister and I had a very nice Christmas. The cocktails in the photo are made from vodka infused with, um, green apple-flavored Mike & Ike’s, with apple-flavored seltzer added. The result was sticky-sweet and gimmicky but pleasantly appletini-ish. The mysterious orbs at the bottoms of the glasses are cherries.
Christmas Eve: For brunch, I made a very good tart with puff pastry topped with a mixture of cream cheese, goat cheese, garlic, and herbs, with a ton of grilled vegetables—eggplant, zucchini, onions, peppers—and fresh basil loaded on the top. We had champagne and our traditional oyster stew—a long-standing family recipe that I have since amended into a smoky oyster chowder—for dinner. For the chowder,…

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: “The Candidate’s Wife Affair”

In San Francisco, Napoleon provides bodyguard services for Miranda Bryant (Diana Hyland), wife of presidential candidate Senator Bryant (Richard Anderson) and rumored target of a THRUSH kidnapping plot. Posing as a press photographer, Napoleon chaperones Miranda to her appointment at a beauty salon. While he waits in the foyer, she’s ambushed by THRUSH operatives, who whisk her to their hidden lair beneath the salon and replace her with a woman who’s been surgically altered to be her duplicate. When Fake Miranda rejoins Napoleon, he fails to notice the switch.
Later, Napoleon saunters into U.N.C.L.E.’s San Francisco headquarters, where Mr. Waverly and Illya greet him with bad news: According to the electronic voice print U.N.C.L.E. has on file for Miranda, Napoleon has been escorting around an unknown enemy spy. Illya gets in a few cutting digs about his partner’s ineptitude in failing to prevent THRUSH from making the switch right under his nose. Hey, Illya? Not that you don’t have …

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: “The Sort Of Do-It-Yourself Dreadful Affair”

Napoleon breaks into a THRUSH hideout located inside a pawn shop and steals a file from a safe. He’s stalked throughout the store by a glassy-eyed, inhumanly strong young woman (Willi Koopman), who lurches around with her arms sticking out straight in front of her in classic movie-monster style. The woman, credited as “Agent A-77”, effortlessly rips through a chain-link fence and ambushes Napoleon. He shoots her repeatedly, but his bullets fail to slow her down. 
…This is a really long opening sequence, by the way. Seriously, it lasts for seven minutes, which comprises a significant chunk of a fifty-minute episode. It’s also really draggy: Agent A-77, being a cyborg (spoiler alert: she’s a cyborg), moves at a zombielike, stilted pace, and it’s boring as snot watching her sloooooowly chase down Napoleon. This episode, which was scripted by sci-fi great Harlan Ellison, has huge problems with pacing. It has other problems, too, come to think of it; I’m an Ellison fan (A Boy and His Dog