MacGyver 4.9 – Cleo Rocks

Speaking of a little song and dance, like we were last time, in this morning’s episode of MacGyver, Penny Parker lands the lead role in a hilariously eighties rock opera, and in the first scene, MacGyver visits an afternoon rehearsal. It’s all downhill from the end of the song.

I apologized to our son for missing out on another recurring character in MacGyver. When I was choosing episodes, I looked at the cast lists on IMDB and passed right over the ones with Michael Des Barres, because he’s an actor I don’t particularly enjoy, without it registering that he plays MacGyver’s arch-enemy, Murdoc. I wasn’t going to go for the obvious metaphor and say it would be like deliberately skipping all the episodes of Doctor Who with the Master, because I didn’t know the character, but darned if he’s not remarkably like the Master, particularly the eighties version played by Anthony Ainley that we’ll meet soon, all silly disguises and outrageous accents and hiding his true identity in clues for the hero, not to mention the unbelievably overcomplicated screwball bad guy schemes for revenge, revenge, revenge.

Although it must be said that as hairbrained and dopey as some of the eighties Master’s schemes were – I’m honestly looking forward to “Time-Flight” about as much as I’m looking forward to my next trip to the dentist – he never tried to stage a freaking rock opera to ensnare our hero. I know there’s been some competition, but this might just be the stupidest episode of this show we’ve seen.

Also, remember what I was saying a couple of weeks ago about naming the surprise actors in the opening credits? It’s cool to list Teri Hatcher and Robert Donner in the opening, but when you say “Michael Des Barres as Murdoc,” it kind of gives the game away. Eighties Who hid their guest villains in the credits with pseudonyms, so anybody picking up the TV listing would see names like Roy Trommelly (Terry Molloy) or James Stoker (Master’s joke) and not, ideally, be on the lookout for anybody wearing a fake mustache and beard! Eh, it fooled our kid, anyway.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “MacGyver 4.9 – Cleo Rocks

  1. Oh, wow, you are totally right. It never occurred to me before, but Michael Des Barres as Murdoc was very much the equivalent of Anthony Ainley as the Master. Overly-complicated revenge schemes, utterly pointless disguises, seemingly dying at the end of each appearance only to show up alive & well a year later without any explanation… yeah, that’s totally the Master’s shtick in the 1980s, as well.

    So, anyway, what did your son think of Murdoc? Did he find him scary? Or just silly?

    I actually liked Murdoc as an over-the-top recurring adversary for MacGyver, but I’m certainly glad he only appeared roughly once per season. Any more than that would have been too much.

  2. When I first watched a lot of MacGyver episodes it was when they were being re-run on weekday afternoons in the early 1990s. I would often get home from high school about ten minutes after the start of each episode. This was one of those instances, so I missed the opening credits that revealed Michael Des Barres was appearing, and therefore I was genuinely surprised when he popped up. Of course, all these years later, re-watching this one, all I kept thinking is “MacGyver has to be blind not to reazile that the guy in the wheelchair with the cheesy French accent is actually Murdoc!”

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