When I was little, I always wondered how my grandpa could sit in front of the TV all damn day. He was a truck driver and, before I was born, had a stroke. Since he couldn’t drive anymore, his livelihood was gone; since his livelihood was gone he sat on the brown couch and smoked brown cigarettes and watched a brown console TV all day long. From the moment he got up in the morning to the moment he went to bed at night, he was watching TV, usually westerns (he and my grandma would often fight; she always wanted to watch game shows).
Now that I’m older, I find it a little easier to believe. Time moves. An hour drive feels like just a few minutes and I can get through just about any workday no matter how I feel. A week doesn’t seem like a week anymore. I think by the time I hit 65, time will probably move so quickly that I could spend a day just staring at a glowing box.
For Christmas I got The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. When it was on TV, I watched it because I was a fan of Bruce Campbell and because it was on right before X-Files. At the time I remember it being a so-so show – something to fill the time between eating a bag of Doritos and watching Scully steadily get hot. Now, looking back at all those westerns my grandpa used to watch, I think it’s a rare combination of parody and tribute.
The one thing that’s common between all those shows – Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Have Gun-Will Travel, Maverick, Bonanza – is that a main character is confronted with a stranger in town and then somehow solves this stranger’s problem. In order to do that properly, there has to be a lot of exposition and exposition is obvious. In Brisco, they do the same thing, usually with a guest star of the week (like Terry Bradshaw), but the exposition is painfully obvious; it couldn’t be more in your face. The only way to make it more apparent would be to have the actors deliver the lines directly to the audience (sometimes the exposition is actually delivered directly to the camera). It’s almost absurd, but I think that’s the way the entire series is. If it got any sillier it’d be an old-west version of Police Squad.
The acting is way over the top (find any scene with Pete), the action sequences are ridiculous (at one point Brisco shoots a bullet down the barrel of his opponent’s gun), and the writing couldn’t be any more transparent (at a bounty hunter’s convention the one who’s killing everyone is… the one who died first!). It’s exactly like I’m watching Wagon Train with Grandpa, except no one in the room is yelling about black people during commercials.
It’s an excellent show. I’m kind of bummed they wrote off The Orb so quickly though. Nowadays, that would’ve been a three-season arc.
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