Saturday, July 30, 2016

Charlie’s Angels 2:1 “Angels in Paradise” (Parts I and II)

Airdate: 9/14/77
 

New Angel Kris Munroe (younger sis of Jill, who left for France to try to win Le Mans – but wasn’t Sabrina the racer?) joins the team, but there’s hardly time to celebrate. Charlie’s been kidnapped while on vacation in Hawaii, by a mysterious woman named Leilani Sako, using the act to extort the Angels into helping her get her husband Billy out of jail.

Sun-burned Sabrina turns to Don Ho, playing himself, who informs her that the Sakos control all the gambling and smuggling on the island, and that Billy was set up by some pretty ruthless ruffians. Bosley queries Hollis, the Sako’s lawyer, who gives him the skinny on jail visiting hours, and Kelly turns to a shady massage parlor, run by a madam who seems to know more than she’s letting on. But bikini-clad Kris has the worst luck – her subject, Billy’s schoolteacher sister, gets shot while surfing, before she can provide any info. 



She’s okay – whew! -  but the thugs won’t stop, even attempting to put a slug in Kelly at the beach. Head thug Ace (a James Woods sound-alike) turns out to work for a Mr. Blue, a Chicago-based Sako rival, who demands to have Charlie. This puts a crimp in the Angels-agreement, particularly after the trio made good on their promise to spring Billy from the slammer. They drive a hard bargain with Leilani, but wind up confronting the Blue man himself, who confirms his possession of their beloved boss. Are they too late, though? A coroner has just left a message for the Angels that dead body washed ashore with the ID of Charlie Townsend. Du-duduuuuuum!

Nope, false alarm – some drunk named Harold who

stole Charlie’s wallet and fell off the boat. (Whew!) So Kris locates crackpot nudist (Sammy, played by a currently ABC-employed Norman Fell), going nude herself to get the 411 that Charlie’s on Blue’s yacht (really? Couldn’t they have assumed that?). Refusing to trade Sako for Charlie knowing the Hawaiian would be dead in a second, the Angels engage in a search and rescue operation. Sabina runs the distraction – attempting to return Billy for money, neglecting Charles – while the other girls sabotage the ship. The Coast Guard arrives, but Charlie and the girls escape.

Angels had earned enough Nielsen’s clout to have a grand, gala two-hour second season premiere, shot on location in Hawaii. No opening titles yet (not enough available clips), it sort of played as a second pilot – with one big exception: skin galore. Yes, by now Angels had earned a rep for jiggle-TV, so the producers must have decided they needed to live up to it, particularly in Part II, when we get extended gratuitous close-ups of belly dancing and an entire third act featuring Kris and Kelly in string bikinis. Never mind that the dénouement leaves more plot holes than a double helping of a Swiss cheese sandwich.

Did this need to be double-stuffed? No, but back then you whupped it up for the second year to prove you were in business (The Incredible Hulk did the same thing a year later, also taking Hawaii as its setting). The story is a bit stupid when you really look at it, despite a brief scene early in Part II of Billy explaining his life in crime, trying to make sense of it all. But I have the sense they wanted a more lighthearted entry to commence their sophomore year, what with a new girl in town and all. And given that purpose, the tone neatly squeaks by. It is, after all, a lot of fun to see the girls havin’ fun in the tropics, both as characters and actresses.

And how ‘bout new Angel Kris? Well, she displays her body in bikini quite admirably (something Farrah never did), and jumps right in to the mystery-solving line reading with equal proficiency. Clearly she has to grow into the role (I can’t believe I just said that), and she will, faring just as well as other 70’s blonde replacements like Priscilla Barnes (Three’s Company) and Diane Ladd (Alice). Perhaps even better, given her continued post-series success, unlike those other two.

Mr. Blue is a fun, ham-handed, James Bondian villain, but don’t trust baddies who use phones with both a cord and antenna!

Client: None – Charlie’s been kidnapped!

Plot difficulty level: 7 (overall easy with pockets of dense information)


Rating:  ***



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