About this blog

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire ... The A-Team.

This was the introduction to one of the great TV series of the eighties. The purpose of this blog is to build up the definitive episode guide to the show across its five seasons which ran from 1983 to 1987. So this isn't too much of a burden, I'm intending to watch a couple of episodes a week and given that there were around 100 episodes made during its run, this will turn into a year-long project!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Cowboy George s4ep16

Co-starring: Boy George as himself, L.Q. Jones as Chuck Danford, Taylor Lacher as Miller, Ben Lack as Herm, Jim Boeke as Butch
Written by Stephen J Cannell
Directed by Tony Mordente

Face books a country and western singer Cowboy George for an Arizona gig but his plans are scuppered when Boy George turns up instead.

If ‘Curtain Call’ (the one where Murdock is shot) is the most famous A-Team episode, then this is the most infamous. Celebrity appearances came thick and fast in season four but none were quite as incongruous as the appearance here by British pop star Boy George.

Quite how the A-Team and Culture Club (incorrectly referred to as ‘The Culture Club’ by Face) were thought to be compatible is anyone’s guess. If you’re going to have pop stars on the show, at least choose ones that fit the audience demographic. Huey Lewis and the News anyone?

As with the Hulk Hogan episodes, the main entertainment value here comes from the squirming embarrassment you feel for all involved. Boy George can’t even play himself convincingly and comes close to fluffing his lines at various points. The attempts at camaraderie between BA and Boy George are particularly excruciating.

Elsewhere, Hannibal poses as Cowboy George and Murdock gets a Lennon Sisters song stuck in his head (not particularly amusing). Murdock then poses as a DJ to promote Face’s concert but simply plays the same Lennon Sisters track over and over again as the infuriated station owner tries to break into the studio (more amusing).

At the concert, Boy George begins performing to a hostile redneck crowd who come to enjoy the song, a scene far more ridiculous than any in which hundreds of rounds are fired without anyone every being shot. Part of the way through the song, the episode starts intercutting between the performance and an action scene but the two don’t mix at all. Matters then grind to a complete halt for another song and you begin to wonder how the episode ever made it past the ideas stage.

Away from Boy George, things don't improve much. Murdock appears in drag towards the end, which is admittedly funny but also a sign of very lazy writing. The final action scene isn’t actually that bad but still doesn’t generate much excitement and there’s yet another song to sit through before the end credits.

There is an inevitable curiosity value at work here but it’s not an episode most fans would want to watch very often, if ever again. The fact that it comes from the pen of series co-creator Stephen J Cannell is particularly surprising. Was he over-ruled by the network or was he a Boy George fan? Whatever the reasons, the result is all fairly hopeless, the answer to a question no-one asked. 4/10


  1. "The fact that it comes from the pen of series co-creator Stephen J Cannell is particularly surprising. Was he over-ruled by the network or was he a Boy George fan?"

    When you have enough range to be responsible for shows as diverse as "Top Of The Hill" and "The Rousters," it's possible that it was the latter but I have a feeling it was the former - see also "There Goes The Neighborhood," where the rock star was due to be played by Cyndi Lauper. Also, if ever a show was not designed to have "Karma Chameleon" playing over the end credits of an episode ("Featuring Jon Moss As Culture Club") it's this one.

  2. Sure, it's misguided, one song too many, and the plot is wafer-thin, but there's a fun vibe here that makes it hard for me to judge it too harshly.

    There's certainly more entertainment value to be had than in something like Body Slam or Uncle Buckle-Up. My main problem is that the middle song ("Move Away") lacks the catchiness of the other two and really drags the whole mid-section down.

    Aside from that, it's a lot of fun watching Murdock play both deejay and expected mother. I love the scene where the radio station owner tries to "test" Murdock- who immediately launches into a flawless deejay impersonation. Another good reminder of what a clutch player Murdock/Schultz really was.

    Ironically, the episode does include a real C&W singer: Johnny Lee as the leader of the disgruntled workers. Lee had a string of hits in the early 80s, and was one of the artists propelled by the success of the Urban Cowboy soundtrack.

  3. I think this is probably the oddest episode, but I love Culture Club and it was fun to see George and the guys. The whole Lennon Sisters run was a hoot, too.