September 5th, 2007

Banana Splits Head

...would you believe two policemen in a rowboat?

One of the things I did last night before going to bed was begin to watch the first season of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry's Get Smart, which I had obtained after seeing the teaser trailer for the film version coming out in 2008. This version will star Steve Carell as Agent 86 and Anne Hathaway as Agent 99 and Alan Arkin as The Chief. The Rock features somewhere in there as well, but presumably not as The Rock. I admit I was very worried about hearing this, as movie adaptations of TV shows either fall into the "Let's Reinvent It And People Will Love It We Sure Do Hope!" trap (though I do admit The Brady Bunch Movie escaped that trap and was amusing on its own) or the "Let's Do What Made The Show Good In The First Place" and gain considerable acclaim (The Addams Family comes to mind, as well as the recent Simpsons movie.) Get Smart was funny for specific reasons, and to mess with that means bleh and eye-rolling posts from the likes of me.

But I liked Carell in the teaser, performing two very well-done silent gags definitely in the vein of the series: First, Maxwell Smart getting stuck in the phone booth elevator (Carell does a beautiful slow burn here) and then Smart stealthily peering through a beaded curtain, which then loses half of its beads in a loud, clattering mess. Another moment of perfect timing goes here as Carell freezes in place, glancing about nervously while the beads fall. One perfect pause later, he turns to go back, causing one final strand of beads to let loose. The slapstick was very much in the vein of the series, so I thought that was good. Carell also does a perfect Don Adams deadpan, so I have no lack of faith in him. However, the strength of the adaptation lies in the lead, the co-stars and the story, so we'll see how that goes.

The pilot of episode of the Get Smart series (filmed in black and white, by the way, very interesting) surprised me by the fact that it established so many of the show's famous running gags: Max's shoe phone, the Cone of Silence, Smart's catchphrases "Would you believe..." as well as "...and loving it!" (the latter being a true Mel Brooks line if ever there was one.) Normally I'd associate such favorites as part of a series' evolution, but no, there they were, right from the start. That intrigued me but it also worried me, because I figure that if the most well-known elements of the show were in it to begin with, boy howdy must they have been milked over several seasons.

Even so, the comedy was good and Barbara Feldon quite fetching and Don Adams is still one of the best secret agents ever, even topping Woody "I have a very low threshold of death" Allen in Casino Royale.

it's award time

...and I will award the Brass Figligee with Bronze Oak Leaf Palm to the first person who can tell me, without Googling or any other such searching, who exactly lived at 432 Proudfoot Avenue.

Bonus points if you can name every inhabitant.