Episode Report CardMr. Sobell: A | Grade It Now!
YOU GRADE IT
You would think that I, a child of the 1980s who used to plan his Friday evenings around Miami Vice, would be excited by the forthcoming release of a major motion picture based on the television series. You would think that I would already be making plans to camp out in front of my local cineplex in anticipation of the movie's openings, or, taking a page out of the Star Wars fan playbook, that I would dress as my favorite character from the show. (Pastels, lots of pastels.) And you would have been right...at least until I read interview after interview with Michael Mann -- executive producer of the TV series, director of the movie -- in which he seemed to turn his back on the greatest television series of the 1980s. "We wanted to do Miami Vice as if it never existed before," Mann told Newsday. Wait a minute. No pastel clothes? No alligator living in Sonny Crockett's boat? No Philip Michael Thomas doing...whatever the hell it was Philip Michael Thomas did? Well. Nominate someone for a Best Directing Oscar, and suddenly he's an artiste. Pretty fancy talk for someone who just made a movie starring Colin Farrell. This will not stand. Miami Vice was a fantastic TV show, full of action, unintentional comedy, and stylish Italian footwear. It deserves its place in the television pantheon alongside other shows that helped define their era -- your Seinfelds, your All in the Families, your Beverly Hills 90210s. So let us go back to a simpler time -- a time when USA Today used to print what songs would be featured on Miami Vice in its Friday editions, when Don Johnson called people "pal" indiscriminately, when Philip Michael Thomas...respired. Let's hop in the WayBack machine and head to 1986 -- Vice's third season, when the show was at its creative and cultural zenith. Our show opens in what is apparently Miami's wholesale hooker district, in which ladies of the evening stroll down the boulevard with nary a care in the world, and their potential suitors are free to window-shop without threat of prosecution. Into this tableau strolls Detective Trudy Joplin who, in a radical departure from Miami Vice protocol, is working undercover as a hooker. I'm having a laugh at Miami Vice's expense, of course -- the female characters on this show always went undercover as hookers. Crockett and Tubbs could pose a drug smugglers, arms dealers, gang members, you name it. But Trudy? You're a hooker again -- get to stepping.