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You Got Burned: A <i>Burn Notice</i> Virgin’s Reaction

Wow. That's all I can say. Wow. ...Okay, I guess I should say more, since I'm the one who begged to write a gushing love note to the Season 2 premiere of Burn Notice, the USA Network's sizzling spy series. I should point out that it was actually my very first episode, having not seen any Season 1 episodes, I'd only read M. Giant's handy cheat sheet, so it was like getting thrown into the middle of a firefight with only the barest idea of what to expect. Hey, kinda like how ex-spy Michael Westen started off the episode! Here're my five favorite things about the premiere.

1. The blatant Spy Hunter reference. If Michael Westen driving into the back of a tractor-trailer truck parked in the middle of the road isn't a reference to the video game Spy Hunter, then I'll eat my hat. Of course, it may also be a reference to Knight Rider, the other show about a special agent working for a top-secret organization and fighting crime, which actually preceded Spy Hunter by a year and is probably where they got the whole driving into a truck thing from. Either way, awesome.

2. Bruce Campbell not overacting. While I love Bruce Campbell, I realize that he's a bit of a ham. That's part of what makes him so fun. But his role as ex-CIA spook Sam Axe is played pretty straight, in a card-playing, beer-drinking, beefy beach bum kinda way. He still seems to be the show's comic relief, however. Sure, Michael is occasionally wacky, with his "Yello" answering-the-phone greetings, but Sam seems to be pretty jovial and/or exasperated most of the time, except when he's explaining to Michael how he didn't want his girlfriend to see he'd been beaten up. Then I cried a little. (Not really.)

3. The London accent. To make a private security firm believe that he's a mining executive looking for problem-solvers, Michael affects the most awesomely thuggish British accent I've ever heard this side of Bob Hoskins. I am amazed that I've never seen anything with Jeffrey Donovan in it before, but he's guest-starred on so many TV series I probably have and just don't know it. Oh, wait -- he was in Blair Witch 2. It's funny that I don't remember him, because if he was this good in that crummy movie, he should have stuck out like a sore thumb.

4. Gabrielle Anwar's mini-dresses. I mean, the woman owns a lot of them, and she looks just as good in them as she did in For Love or Money back in 1993. But more than just looking pretty, Anwar is pretty bad-ass as Michael's on-again-off-again girlfriend/backup Fiona. When Michael's cover story goes south, he has to start a fake shootout with her to keep them both alive, and the goofy, orgasmic look on her face as she hangs out the window squeezing off rounds at him is priceless.

5. The fine art of framing. From what I've read and what I saw tonight, Michael frames everybody. I won't show you how they framed the bad guys last night, but if Bob Dylan wrote a song about this show, it would be called "Everybody Must Get Framed." Are the bad guys guilty of something? Yes. Are they necessarily guilty of what Michael and company make them look guilty of? Probably not. Pretty sneaky, sis.

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