The Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries 1.11 – Wipe-Out

This one’s notable for completely losing our son. He didn’t understand what was happening at all! Joe and Frank head to Hawaii, rent a Volkswagen Thing, do some surfing, get interviewed by Fred Hemmings for ABC’s Wide World of Sports, hang out with some cute girls (one of whom is played by Debra Clinger, who was Superchick in Kaptain Kool and the Kongs), and Joe sings “Surfing USA.” Then their room gets burgled and they’re matching wits with a ring of thieves.

The problem is that the audience is deliberately kept in the dark with a chunk of what happens next. We’re not initially told that Frank and Joe have volunteered to go undercover as a rival pair of hotel thieves; we just see them turning into criminals and getting in the gang’s sights. We later learn that the nice couple that our heroes ripped off are actually undercover cops themselves. Perfectly understandable, but just a shade too complex a narrative choice for our seven year-old critic. When Frank and Joe later work a job with the gang’s main heavies, he was absolutely baffled. He liked the surfing, anyway!

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