June 01, 2005
Knight Rider - A Not So Shadowy Flight
Because I'm both incredibly bored and finished watching my season one and two Knight Rider box sets, I thought I'd post some observations about my favorite 80s show. I watched this show when I was a kid and I think it was probably what turned me on to computers. I always dreamed that one day I'd have a car like KITT! Anyway, here is my list which nobody will want to read but me, woo!
- "A shadowy flight into dangerous world of a man who does not exist."
Ok, we should start from the beginning with our critique. What the heck? What is so "shadowy" about the "flight" of Knight Rider? KITT cracks jokes to the local dogs and car thieves while Michael chases girls and tries to avoid work. I wouldn't call that "shadowy."
I don't think the show is about "the dangerous world of a man" at all. First of all, Michael's world is only dangerous because he's a moron. KITT tries to protect him as best he can and if Michael actually listened to KITT he would NEVER be in danger. Instead, he goes with his own half-assed plans and ends up getting them both in trouble. Secondly, let's face it, the show is about a cool car. They could have replaced Michael with a monkey (or a monkee...they were popular in the 80s too) and the show would have still been popular. . . heck, the monkey would have been a better actor.
I think they should change the title sequence to say: "A comical flight into the mildly-unsafe world of a man who doesn't exist but who cares because he has a kick ass car!" That would make more sense, considering the show. I think they did the title sequence before the hired Hasselhoff and once they did, they thought “screw that premise. He couldn’t act shadowy if his life depended on it.” (see “Garth” for proof of that) but never bothered to redo the title.
- April's Gadgets.
Bonnie didn't really add as much to KITT as April did but I still like Bonnie best. April was supposed to be a top notch technician who knew computers, hardware, how to avert Michael's passes . . . everything important (it's funny how KITT's technicians are the only females in this "shadowy" world who don't want to jump in the sack with Michael. Hmm, actually the thought of that is kind of shadowy. Maybe the title sequence does make sense. A world where everyone wants to sleep with Hasselhoff would give me nightmares . . . or make me wear lederhosen and eat bratwurst). However, she didn't know how to program KITT to be confident in the things she installed in him. He's always saying, "I don't think this is going to work. I don't want to test this out!"
That would be like me getting a new laptop and the laptop saying, "Please don't install Windows XP! I don't think Windows software is all that great and I don't want to blue screen. It's horrible to blue screen!" or installing a wireless adapter and the computer freaking out, "What if someone hacks into me? You can't do this. I refuse to connect." I wish my computer would reject Windows, but it would be a pain in the arse to have to talk it into every new piece of hardware and application I installed. If April were so great, she should have fixed that. It made KITT look like a big weenie.
How come sometimes KITT can do stuff on his own or with a voice command and other times he needs Michael to punch endless buttons? When Michael isn't around, KITT goes into pursuit mode, turbo boosts all over the place, ejects people and has a good time with it but when Michael steps into the car, it takes Michael a full minute to press all the roof buttons. Is that just to make Michael feel like he actually has a purpose or what?
My theory is that the roof buttons actually control KITT's mirrors and Michael is adjusting them to check out if the high speed chase, turbo boost, etc. messes up his perm.
There are other inconsistencies too, but I don't really pay enough attention to notice that many. Most of them that I’ve noticed have to do with Michael and who's watching him? Ick. I would make a great KITT technician (but I don't have shorts short enough).
- Why does KITT listen to Michael?
Yeah, yeah. I know he's programmed to fulfill Michael's needs and answer to him and all that. I guess maybe the question should be why the hell doesn't that moron listen to the computer that knows more than he does? Every episode involves Michael doing something dumb and saying, "I need you pal" to his watch and KITT coming to bail his ass out. Generally, Michael's dumb thing is something KITT warned him about and something that could easily be avoided if Michael would come up with a different plan. Generally, the dumb things end up getting KITT into hot water too.
Actually, in the second season at least, the plots are normally centered on April installing a KITT upgrade which KITT is too afraid to test. Michael doing something stupid, most often involving a girl who we're supposed to assume is pretty and wants to sleep with Michael. This stupid thing that Michael did forcing KITT to use the new upgrade before it's tested and before KITT is confident about it working. KITT saving Michael's ass when the upgrade does work and them all laughing about it in the end, after Michael has slobbered all over the pretty girl and basically blew her off with his "young loner" bull. This reaffirms my point that this is a show about the car, not about the "young loner." The whole plot is centered on KITT getting a new gadget and testing it out. I guess Michael has some part in it. I doubt an hour long show with KITT testing something in the back of the semi would have been as popular.
- "A talking car? That's neat."
There's inevitably a subplot of people trying to steal KITT, pee on KITT, do other things to KITT that KITT doesn't care for and KITT revealing himself as a talking car. People remark, "A talking car? Wow!" They're often taken aback for a few seconds (the same as when they sit in KITT and Michael says, "I'd like you to meet KITT.") but very soon they get over the surprise.
Maybe I'm just a geek, but if a tricked out computerized car said "hello" to me in the parking lot, I don't think I'd be all, "that's kind of cool...so you want to go dancing at the Tick Tock, Michael?" I would be amazed. Considering the highest technology they had in those days was the Commodore 64 (I specifically remember having one of those and a Tandy with no hard drive, DOS was on a floppy, when Knight Rider was on), I doubt people would have been so accepting of KITT when they saw him. That’s just me. Maybe people in the 80s were more advanced than I remember and talking, computerized cars would not have fazed them.
Anyway, this post is getting long and those are the major things I wanted to say. I could write a book on the cheesy piece of TV history I know and love. The later seasons when they get the kid mechanic were very cheesy. I don’t remember much because I haven’t seen them since the time they were aired but I do remember thinking they were bad even when I was 10. I think this is enough for now. When they release seasons 3 and 4 I’ll refresh my memory and maybe review them all again! I know you can’t wait.
Posted by vixen at June 1, 2005 01:58 PM
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