Thursday, June 26, 2014

Special Post: “Bo and Luke Use”

In which the General Lee is finally given a rest, and the boys get a new car…

So my wife was telling me about an ad she heard on the radio featuring the Dukes of Hazzard. I was intrigued, and took to the internet to find it. I never did find the radio ad, but I did come across what is probably the visual portion of the same campaign.

We open with the General Lee being chased by some modern cop cars, being piloted by a much older Bo and Luke, returning to the roles for the first time since 2000’s “Hazzard in Hollywood” TV movie (which I’ll get around to reviewing much, much later).

Bo remarks that they’ve still got it, implying (to me, at least) that they once again returned to their non-Hazzard professions of NASCAR driver (Bo) and Smokejumper for the US Forest Service (Luke), as established in 1997’s “Dukes of Hazzard Reunion’ TV movie (again, more on that in the future). I’m thinking they’ve both retired, and returned to Hazzard to live out their days doing as they please, which is apparently running from the police as they did when they were younger men. Luke would presumably be in his early 60s, which is a bit early, but not impossible, and Bo would be in his mid 50s, but if he earned and invested well, and let’s assume he did, he’d be set for life by now.

Anyhow, Luke says that while they may still have it, the General Lee has seen better days. Bo agrees, noting that today’s police cars are much faster than they used to be, while the cops are right on their tail. Luke says that’s why he’s on Auto Trader, right then and there, on his phone!

The cop car gets a little too close and bumps the General Lee from behind, causing the car to go through a fence, and Bo has to back the car out of a pig pen, saying he wishes the General had a backup camera. Luke says that Auto Trader can get you that, too! Bo tells him to make sure to get one where the doors open, to which he replies “I think they all do!” “Really?” exclaims Bo.

I was pleased to note that somebody paid attention and actually gave the cops Georgia plates, even though they don’t even show it for an entire second, I had to go frame-by-frame to get the snapshot.

After the General Lee does a jump and crashes through a barn, Luke ends up with a rooster in his lap, and a disgusted look on his face.

The sheriff catches up with them and Luke gives him a friendly “Hey, Lonnie!” I guess Rosco must be long retired, unless they’ve called down the thunder of the State Police.

While evading the sheriff with another long jump (and an automated alert from Auto Trader!) they pass a billboard that indicates that maybe Daisy’s started up a business in her later years:

Bo says they have to get out of this chase, tells Luke to save his search, and throws the phone at an oncoming Detour sign, causing it to flip the other way! Bo says Luke can pick the search back up on his tablet, and Luke seems impressed. I’m impressed they have Wi-Fi in Hazzard County!

After the cops take the fake detour, it appears the boys are going to crash into a suspiciously ramp-shaped pile of logs. Instead, they hit the jump and end up crashing through the front window of an Auto-Trader dealership. That must’ve been some jump!

The dealership guy doesn’t seem terribly shocked, they’re even on a first-name-basis with him (his name’s Rusty). Maybe Bo and Luke own the dealership? It worked for Cale Yarborough after he retired! Anyway, Bo asks to see a Dodge Viper, Luke piping up to ask if they can get it in orange.

So they drive off into the sunset, and that’s the end of the commercial. It’s a fun little nostalgia piece, and you can tell both Schneider and Wopat were having fun revisiting roles they hadn’t played in 14 years, give or take an episode of Smallville. Maybe I’ll review that when the time comes.
On a different note, I’m not a fan of the General Lee’d Dodge Viper; it looks a little too sleek or something for my taste. Here’s my take on what a 2013 Dodge Charger, which is what Luke first looked up, might look like:

As for the General Lee, I can only hope they out him up in proper storage, as is befitting such a beloved vehicle, rather than this, which is actually a model someone built, available for bid on eBay! It’s expensive, but look at all that detail! If I were a rich man, it’d be on its way to my house right now.

I’ll see you all soon for Season 2, Episode 9, “Witness for the Persecution.”

Monday, June 23, 2014

Season 2, Episode 8, “Hazzard Connection”

In which there’s a demolition derby, and my spell check does not care for the name of the villain…

We open at the Boars Nest, where Bo and Cooter are drooling over the new waitress, Bessie Lou, while Luke looks on in disgust, remarking “She walks like a trucker!”
Afterwards,  Rosco is searching a truck and trailer full of junked cars, under suspicion that the driver’s boss, Augie Detweiller, is smuggling something. The Balladeer pipes up and fills us in on who Augie Detweiller is, and that he steals fancy racing engines and then puts them into junked car bodies, so he can then smuggle them out of the county and sell them. Wouldn’t it be easier to just operate somewhere closer to a city, which is certainly full of chop shops and the like?
Back at the farm, Bo and Luke are waiting for Cooter to help them repair something, and he’s late, because Cooter is a jerk. Daisy comes outside and tells the boys that Cooter just called from Colonial City, and wants them to come pick up some junked cars for Augie’s demolition derby. They all hop into Daisy’s car and head over. Uh oh!

At the Boars Nest, Boss asks Rosco for a report on the Detweiller situation, noting that the state police have asked Boss to keep an eye open, and that he can’t abide a crook in his county…that doesn’t give him a cut. Truly, Boss is a paragon of morality. Enos comes in and reports that it seems like Bo and Luke are working for Detweiller. Boss tells Enos to prepare to arrest the Dukes for aiding and abetting, and to keep his eyes glued to Detweiller.

So Bo and Luke pick up the cars and smash them into each other while arguing about the waitress again. Luke offers up the insult of “She got skinny legs and crooked feet!” Unfortunately, the captions turn it into something altogether different:
They deliver the cars to Detweiller and watch as a rigged “Slammer” car cruises around the track. Unfortunately, a slammer car has nothing to do with POGS, but rather is a regular demo derby car with six inches of concrete in the doors and trunk, giving the driver an advantage. It’s apparently super illegal. Bo and Luke seems suspicious, but Detweiller assures them the slammer is just for show between races, and he’d never use one in a competition race, stopping just shy of winking when he says it. Bo and Luke seem convinced.
Rosco and Enos are there, and witness Detweiller give the Duke some advance money for bringing more cars over to him. Apparently, Detweiller is aware the cops are watching, and has known about it all week, and has been setting up Bo and Luke to take the fall if their plan goes awry.

So Rosco sends Enos over to stake out the Duke farm, and he’s witness to all sorts of suspicious sights, like Daisy hanging laundry!
And Jesse plowing the field, which is the first time I’ve seen anyone doing any actual work around the farm!
So it turns out that Daisy is well aware they’re being watched, and tells Bo and Luke about it, also mentioning that Cooter’s Garage is being watched, too, only she says”Grr-age.”
Luke comes up with a plan to get Enos to tell them what’s going on, by disconnecting something in Enos’ car, forcing him to get a ride with Bo and Luke in a junker car they’re delivering to Detweiller. He has no choice, so he goes along. Luke brings up the spying, and Enos says it’s police business, but the Dukes don’t give a shit about police business!

Luke pretends the breaks on the car are out and starts swerving around drunkenly. Enos, not wanting to die without coming clean, tells them what’s going on. Bo and Luke are shocked about Detweiller, and Luke puts the brakes on. Enos is understandably upset that they made him disobey his orders, but really, you’d think he’d know by now that when you’re friends with the Dukes, you’re gonna get fucked over sooner or later.
After that brilliant bit of skullduggery, the Fates give Luke Duke a big “fuck you!” and the bakes go out, for reals this time! Luckily, no one is killed or injured, except a fence and probably a bunch of fish after they end up in a pond.
After Luke comes up with the plan to figure out what’s being smuggled, he and Bo head over to the demolition derby track to look for jobs, asking Detweiller if they can drive in the derby and get some “real money.” Detweiller laughs at them, saying that even if they could handle one of his cars, they’d have nothing to lose, so he wants them to drive the General Lee in the derby, then calls them chicken, not thinking they’ll risk the damage. Bo will not stand for this insult, and a very slow demolition derby race begins!

After several minutes of Bo narrowly avoiding being hot and Luke looking on anxiously, Detweiller agrees to let them race. Rosco, who’s still tailing them, witnesses this and heads off to tell Boss, who’s busy throwing darts at a picture of Bo and Luke.

Detweiller send them over with a truckload of cars over to Choctaw County, with Rosco hot on their trail. The boys see this and realize that they might be smuggling something right now, and if Rosco catches them with it, it’ll be curtains for them!

Enos gets a warrant and drives to meet Rosco on his way to where the boys are headed. Meanwhile, Daisy, apparently having been told of this eventuality by Luke (it’s weird, he tries to raise her on the CB, but she never answers, yet she’s right where she needs to be), pulls her car in front of Rosco’s cruiser, causing it to smash into Daisy’s Plymouth, HARD.

So after they pass Rosco and Daisy, Luke notices they’re being followed, and Bo tries to lose them down a dirt road. The pursuers are undeterred, and are eventually revealed to be Detweiller and his goon, claiming they were testing the boys’ ability to work under pressure. He says they passed his test, and to report the next day for some “real work”. Isn’t that what they were doing already, minus the being followed? Ugh.

Having waited the entire night in the town square, the boys and Cooter finally see Detweiller drive off, and follow him to the local abandoned stone quarry, which is where he is operating out of.  They sneak into the operation via a convenient cave, and rifle through an office, only to realize that, ascot or no, Detweiller isn’t stupid enough to hide anything there when he knows Rosco has been following him. In their haste to avoid being seen, they see that Detweiller is smuggling stolen racing engines, which we knew about many many paragraphs ago. They are eventually caught, and Bo retaliates by swinging and missing at the guy, while the guy very nicely reacts and falls down anyway.

After an exciting escape, they head off to tell the state police what’s going on, taking the evidence with them on the trailer. There’s a big end-of-episode chase where everybody gets involved, even Daisy and Jesse, who are much closer to the county line at the farm than I would have guessed. Luke runs the smugglers off the road, causing their car to flip completely upside down, but they’re fine, because there’s two minutes left, and they need to be arrested.

Luke takes the evidence to the state police as they were originally planning, and Detweiller and Co. get sent to prison. Everything goes back to normal, and Bo and Luke celebrate their hard work by wining and dining the new barmaid and her sister, who Luke can’t seem to find fault with.

As for the Hazzard Connection, well, someday we’ll find it…

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Season 2, Episode 7, “Dukes Meet Cale Yarborough”

In which the Dukes meet Cale Yarborough…

We begin this tale with Rosco chasing Bo and Luke (and Luke is driving! That’s pretty rare, you guys!) over some unknown infraction, while Bo wonders why, as they haven’t done anything wrong today. Geez, Bo, maybe he’s chasing you for any of the other times you broke the law in previous episodes that you haven’t paid for?
The boys accidentally break their probation by crossing the state line, because Rosco had previously removed the conveniently labeled sign indicating they were about to do so.
Firstly, Conyers, Georgia (main filming location of the first five episodes, and where I place Hazzard County when I do these insane bits of research) is some 75 miles from the closest state border, which is Alabama. Secondly, knowing that, Rosco is well outside his jurisdiction, having to go through at least four counties to get to said border. And finally, if crossing the state border violates their probation, don’t you think the Dukes would make damn sure they know where the state line is, regardless of if there’s a sign there or not?
Annnnyway, Rosco gets super excited and calls Boss, expecting high praise for his good deed. Boss yells at him for interrupting his meditation; he’s even got a shrine! Granted, it’s just two candles and a stack of money on the table, but is that really any less silly than the Church of Ed Wood? (Yes, that’s a real thing, it’s right here in this link.)
So Boss tells Rosco to arrest Bo and Luke for breaking their probation, which they conveniently overhear via C.B. radio. Wouldn’t you think the police would have a separate channel, maybe a secure one that random criminals couldn’t just listen in on?
In making their getaway, Bo and Luke come across an unfamiliar road, as where else do they have to be, besides evading capture? Surely there’s time for a leisurely drive! The road leads to a racetrack, where a non-General Lee’d Dodge Charger is racing around. They get out of the car to take a closer look, and the pit boss, Chet Garvey (that sounds correct, right? Pit…master? Pitfall? Pit, the commodities trading game? I don’t know, racing is naught but driving in a circle to me) tells them they’re trespassing. The driver of the other car gets out and confirms this, and also that he’s Cale Yarborough, owner of Cale Yarborough Honda in Florence, SC!
Turns out he’s at this secret race track to test out an experimental engine, and eventually use it to win something called the Illinois 500, which I’m pretty sure isn’t a thing, unless he meant the Indianapolis 500, and he’s not even driving one of those cars. Regardless, they’re testing in secret because they don’t want the Jethro Brothers a duo so dastardly their reputation precedes them, in that Bo and Luke already know who they are, so the audience gets no exposition.

After the boys drive the other Charger around for a while, Cale mentions that there’s a problem with the engine and wants to know where to go to get a part. Bo tells him “Old Cooter will mill you one up custom.” Cale says “What’s an old cooter?” which made me choke on my drink. This isn’t helped by the fact that the very next shot is of Daisy.

  At the Boars Nest, Jesse and is playing chess with old Cooter himself, and who I can only assume are the Jethro Brothers (because the episode’s certainly not going to tell me!) come in snooping for Cale Yarborough. Just then the boys and Garvey the pit boss (confirmed by Bo!) come in and quietly tell Jesse and Cooter what’s going on, then Cooter just blurts out “CALE YARBOROUGH?!” like a jerk.

Enos rushes in to try and arrest Bo and Luke for the accidental state-line-crossing. A car chase commences, and Rosco eventually catches and arrests them. The Jethros are outside the station asking about Cale again, but Rosco quickly turns them away. Bo and Luke try and get Enos to let them make a phone call, but he’s distrustful after the time they tied him up and left him to sit in his own waste.

They eventually convince him, and call Cooter of all people, but it’s really to let Garvey know about the Jethros. He heads over to bail them out of jail, much to Rosco’s dismay. They are seen heading back over to the garage with Garvey, and take the opportunity to bug both the General Lee and the
white Charger.

Back at his office, Boss gets a telephone call from his cousin Maybelle, who works at the telephone company, calling to read him a telegram from the Jethro Bros, letting whoever it was intended for know they’re going to steal Cale Yarborough’s fancy engine. Boss’ wheels start turning as to how he can turn this into a profit for himself, because he’s not rich enough as it is.  Rosco arrests them and brings them in to see Boss, who agrees to drop all the charges against them in return for $15,000 of the prize money. This is all overheard by Daisy, who was bringing in some champagne Boss had ordered.

With the new part Cooter milled for the engine in place, the white Charger runs great! There is much rejoicing, but it’s interrupted by Daisy on the C.B., who fills them in on the situation. This is further interrupted by Jesse on an additional C.B, and he seems pissed. They hightail it back to the farm to see what the hell he’s so upset about.

Turns out he’s pretty cross with them about breaking their probation by crossing the state line. They try to explain about the engine and the Jethros and Cale Yarborough, but he’s unmoved. They counter by saying he didn’t raise them that way; he raised them to help people who needed it against the corrupt system. Realizing they’re right, he lets them go.

Enos pulls up and begins to arrest the boys. They point out that they’re out on bail, but Enos says Boss made up the warrant and he’s got to do his job. Jesse starts asking Enos a bunch of questions about whether or not he thinks Bo and Luke are guilty, and if he should really arrest them even though he knows they didn’t do anything, spinning things around on Enos so bad that he lets them go. Enos realizes this and gets all butthurt that Jesse tricked him. Jesse says he thinks Enos wanted to be tricked, and that deep down, he wants to fight the law as much as the Dukes do. Enos says he’s probably right, which is a pretty interesting wrinkle in Enos’ character. He heads off to give chase to the boys anyway.

Back at the track, Garvey and Cale want to leave, but Luke points out that it won’t be easy with Boss blocking the roads. He then details a brilliant plan to confuse the crap out of everyone, allowing Cake and Garvey to get to Illinois. The plan goes as such:

It goes…poorly, what with the cars being bugged. The boys’ every move is being anticipated, and they don’t understand why. They eventually lose the cops and decide to get Cale out of town via the plane of Amos Stigger, the local crop duster.

Amos tells them he can’t do it today, he’s got to do a last minute job dusting Boss’ crops, which don’t exist. Jeez, what a creep. He’ll take your money, even though he’s not providing the service. The cops pull up and another chase ensues! After a spectacular jump, they pull off somewhere and find the bug in the General Lee. They get their revenge by holding the bug up to the car’s horns under the hood and blowing it. This is so loud, even  over the radio, that Boss falls to the floor in shock. Bo and Luke laugh long and heartily.

They go over to Cooter’s and come up with an even better plan! They proceed to paint up Cale’s white Charger and an additional Charger they happened to find like the General Lee, with Daisy volunteering to paint the Confederate Flag on the cars, piping up “I’ll paint the flag! I just love that flag!”

The police have three roads blocked off in an attempt to catch the Dukes when they try to skip town. Good thing there are three General Lees, with Jesse driving General A, Daisy General B and the boys in General C, the original.

There is much confusion as to who is where, and the chasing is even more insane than usual. The boys jump right over Boss, as Cale put the turbocharger, which turns out not to be an entire engine, just a piece, onto the General Lee. Cale Yarborough makes it safely out of Hazzard and goes on to win the Illinois 500. Yay?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Season 2, Episode 6, “The Ghost of General Lee”

In which the reports of death are greatly exaggerated…

We open, like most times, with Rosco chasing Bo and Luke. Bo remarks that they didn’t even do anything, they’re just testing out the General Lee’s new camshaft. Rosco radios Enos the Dukes’ location, and his reply is garbled, due to what seems to be a faulty radio.
Luke bets Bo that he can fool Rosco into losing them using his Enos impression over the radio. He does, and we are treated to a shot of Tom Wopat lip synching over an audio track of Enos-type phrases. As a result of this, they lose the police.
Meanwhile, over in Sweetwater County, Chief Lacey (who used to be chief of police in Springville County back in season 1; I guess maybe he took a different job? Or, more likely, the continuity is non-existent) drops a couple of con men off at the Hazzard line, methodically naming off, and then destroying, their tools for fixing games of chance. He then tells them that if they ever come back, they’ll be going away for 10 years, then mutters “let that dummy in Hazzard handle them.” Jerk.
The hustlers resolve to steal a car so they can get to a place called Cottondale, where they come upon Bo and Luke skinny dipping for no reason, because apparently this is a thing male cousins do in rural areas?
The hustlers steal the General Lee, and head toward Cottondale, meeting up with Rosco on the road. He gives chase, thinking it’s Bo and Luke. They end up going off the road and into a pond. They do not come back up.
This is where things take a serious turn. Enos dives down and can’t get to the bodies, so they think Bo and Luke are dead. In a sterling bit of acting on the part of James Best, Rosco frantically calls for an ambulance and wrecker to the site, saying “The Duke boys done gone in the pond, while looking just devastated. The hustlers look on from the weeds, having escaped the car before it sunk.
Rosco heads back and tells Boss what happened. Boss is pretty upset, too, saying he’s going to miss them as nemeses, and that life is going to be all the drearier without them to deal with. He then pulls out the watch that he carries, referring to it as the watch owned by Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He then asks Rosco how much he thinks it’s worth, then promptly smashes it!
He then tells Rosco that it’s only worth $15, and the real watch (worth $20,000) is locked up in his safe; he’s been fooling everyone for years! He then proposes a plan in which he claims the watch was stolen by Bo and Luke before they died, while having the real one all along, thus netting him an extra $20K, and making him a contender for Asshole of the Year.
Meanwhile, Bo and Luke, super-panicked and super-naked, come upon some girl they know and ask her for some of her dad’s clothes, so they can hide their shame. They are come upon by the girl’s disapproving mother, who tells them she doesn’t want any of their nonsense, and to get the hell out. They leave, and Luke remarks that “A man ain’t truly been insulted til he’ stood buck-naked in front of a woman and she didn’t even notice!” “Or care!” smirks Bo.

At the Boars Nest, Cooter is playing pool against the hustlers, while Uncle Jesse and Daisy are drinking and waitressing, respectively. Boss and Rosco walk in, and Boss makes Rosco tell Jesse what happened to the boys. The whole rest of the scene is played totally straight, and it works beautifully. Jesse can’t believe what he’s heard, Cooter very quietly puts his head into his hands, and Daisy looks like she’s about to bawl.
Jesse sits down in a chair, and Rosco tells him that even though he chased Bo and Luke when they’d speed and whatnot, they seemed to enjoy the chase, and he did too. He then says it wasn’t ever personal. Jesse responds by silently giving Rosco’s hand a squeeze, as if to say “I don’t blame you.”
Everyone gathers around them to comfort each other, when Boss pops up and tells Jesse the bullshit story about the stolen watch, and you just want to kick him in the throat for even daring to pull such a thing. Even Rosco looks uncomfortable with his participation in the scheme, and Jesse gravely says that he’s going to prove the boys didn’t steal the watch if it takes until he dies.
Meanwhile, Bo and Luke, having stolen the clothes off a scarecrow, eventually make it back to the Duke farm, where the fastest wake ever is going on. Really, it can’t have been more than a couple of hours since the General Lee went into the pond, unless it’s been a day or something. Since it never gets dark in Hazzard anymore (a mandate from producer Paul Picard), we can never know for sure. Jesse goes over to the window and sees the boys peeking in. He rushes outside and is very happy to see them, which turns on a dime to being rather pissed off, and he corrals them into the barn.
One they get there, Jesse fills them in on the whole watch fiasco, and they have no idea what he’s talking about, because of course they didn’t do it. They tell him about what happened with the hustlers stealing the General Lee, and then Daisy shows up and screams, as her cousins are alive. Cooter comes running outside and is more shocked than anyone that they are alive.

Rosco pulls up to the house, come to pay his respects, and Bo and Luke (and Cooter!) make a plan to head into town to clear the boys’ names.

Later, at the police station, Rosco is waiting for his lunch, and hears Luke’s voice coming from a CB radio, saying he’s calling from beyond the grave. Rosco is freaked out, but is pretty sure this is all a hoax. The voice then tells him to go down to the impound garage to find proof that he’s telling the truth. He warily heads down there, only to find:

Luke continues to play up the haunting while Rosco slowly backs out of the garage, where he literally runs into Enos, who’s bringing back Rosco’s lunch. He shows Enos the car, and they’re scared shitless by the hood and trunk opening and closing, while Luke spookily says “ROSCO!”

The car then drives away, seemingly without a driver. In reality, Bo and Luke are driving, while ducked down, and using a periscope to see with; they’re doing a pretty good job, all things considered. Rosco and Enos give chase, causing all sorts of damage. After the driverless General Lee nearly makes a train hit Boss Hogg’s car, he and Rosco start to figure out that something’s fishy, and determine that it’s probably Cooter’s doing. Daisy pulls up to the Boars Nest and walks into Boss’ office, only to find the hustlers cracking the safe to steal the watch, which they heard about in the bar earlier. They swiftly kidnap her and tie her to a chair.

While she struggles to get free, the hustlers are trying to crack the safe by putting their ear to the door and trying to hear the tumblers. This is so ridiculous, even the Balladeer comments on it: “You reckon anybody can really open a safe that way?” They leave to go steal a pickup truck, so they can transport the safe and blow it open once they get some dynamite.

Boss overhears Jesse communicating with the boys, and it’s revealed that they’re still alive! He tells Rosco to catch them before they get to the Boars Nest and  clear their names. While the hustlers are loading the safe into the truck outside, Daisy pulls a pretty impressive feat to call for help, by spinning her chair around, knocking the phone off the cradle, and dialing the operator with the heel of her shoe, who connects her to the police station. She fills Enos in, and he heads over.

Bo and Luke arrive, freeing Daisy, and there’s a huge chase, eventually leading into Sweetwater County, where they are all met by Chief Lacey.

They all start arguing over the safe, and Chief Lacey threatens to arrest all of them, and Rosco pipes up:
ROSCO: You can’t arrest me, I’m a sheriff, too!
LACEY: I can in Sweetwater County, and that’s where you are now, boy!
Lacey makes Boss open the safe, and the watch is in there! He yells at Rosco, making it seem like Rosco told him it was stolen. The hustlers get arrested, Bo and Luke are cleared, and Boss has to pay back the money he collected from the insurance company. Bo says that if he hadn’t left the keys in the General Lee, none of this would have happened! Luke looks like he wants to smack Bo.

Oh, and Jesse makes Boss pay the boys the $500 he’d offered as a reward for finding the watch, because there’s nothing better than kicking someone when they’re down.