I have been watching a lot of TV lately. I guess now that we’re in a golden age of television, you could stretch and call TV a type of cinema. I never was a big fan of TV growing up, because I would forget to watch it due to its episodic nature. I tended to like shows only after they’d gone into syndication, when I could count on the same show being on every night at the same time. I just don’t have the patience to wait a week, or all summer, to find out what happens next. Notable exceptions to this were Twin Peaks and X-Files, and lately, Better Call Saul.
Then we got the ability to binge watch, and it has changed my TV life. I’m not shilling for Hulu, because fuck Comcast, but if you like TV, do yourself a favor and get the $12 no commercials option. That’s how I effortlessly watch the same three British comedies over and over and over, for comfort, like a toddler who needs to know what is going to happen next at all times. A toddler who doesn’t have to watch car commercials.
So it has come to this: if I want to keep this blog going, I just have to talk about what I’m actually watching, rather than trying to watch stuff in the name of almighty content. Also, I just bought the dot com domain for this blog, and so I have to do at least 26 dollars worth of posts.
I always enjoyed doing my TV Tuesday series, but I’m afraid no one wants to hear about me watching my way through 90s detective series Lovejoy with short breaks to watch a New Zealand soap opera about fortysomething singles who hang out at bar trivia. (I have Acorn on Roku for international English language programming, and no I’m not being paid to say that either.)
But today on Hulu I found a feature length pilot for an 80s cop show I’d never heard of before, and it was so cheesy that I thought it deserved a post to go with today’s made up internet holiday, Grilled Cheese Day. Plus, unlike most of the feature length pilots I have watched for TV Tuesday, this one got made into a long-running series. Which I somehow completely missed.
I thought I was an 80s fan, but somehow I missed Hunter. It’s your typical anti-hero cop story, which, being someone who kind of has a problem with authority, is the kind of cop show I like. It feels like someone, Stephen J. Cannell to be exact, decided to mash up Vice Squad and Dirty Harry and then edit the finished product for television, melon farmers! There is even a low angle shot of Hunter pointing a big handgun at a bad guy.
Ex football player Fred Dryer, who is a much better actor than some ex football players who ventured into acting (Brian Bosworth, cough), stars as police detective Rick Hunter, who has a habit of roughing up suspects. He takes on a partner, the beautiful brunette Dee Dee McCall AKA The Iron Cupcake, so they can pretend to be partners long enough to leave the station together every morning to escape the watchful eye of their appropriately angry captain.
But when Hunter stumbles onto a serial killer who slits the throats of thirtysomething blondes at a honky tonk on Wednesdays (seriously, they should have gone to bar trivia night in New Zealand), he decides to use a blonde bewigged Iron Cupcake as bait. Surprisingly, the two tough cops don’t hate being partners. Oh, and Hunter comes from a family of mobsters. Isn’t that wacky? Joanna Kerns guest stars as a shrink, and Brian Dennehy is super creepy as another shrink who may be the killer. I hate to spoil a TV movie that came out in 1984, because I wouldn’t want these two attractive people pictured below to handcuff me, but Brian Dennehy’s achy breaky mind might have walked out on him. Spoiler.
All that is exciting enough for a fan of 80s cheese. But what really got me excited was this: for 30 years I have been hearing guys from all over the country, including my own husband, say “Works for ME” when they agree with a plan you have made. They all say it with the same tone and emphasis. I bet I have heard this uttered hundreds if not thousands of times. Well, what I did not know, and what even my husband who says this all the time did not know, is that “Works for ME” is a catchphrase from the first season of Hunter, which the main character says every time he injures or kills a suspect. And I wonder how many people have been saying that line, in just that exact tone, without knowing it is a word virus from a TV show. A verbal virus, like in Pontypool. You could argue that “Make my day” is technically more famous, but “Works for ME” is obviously far catchier. Hunter says this catchphrase so often during the pilot that it became comical, but I’ll admit I was watching this at like 5:30 this morning. He even says it after a guy falls off the roof to his death.
I don’t know if I’ll be watching more episodes of Hunter. There’s just so much to stream, and I’ve already got several shows going. And although I thought I had seen all the 70s horror movies Europe ever put out, I was wrong about that, and I do have a couple I want to tell you about soon. But with car chases, smart aleck remarks, and a beautiful but tough woman costar all going for it, as a TV movie, the Hunter pilot works for me. I had to say that.
What kind of grilled cheese did you eat today? I had pimento cheese and picante provolone on oat bran honey bread, with lots of butter. Messy but delicious.