GIGIG Get’s “Get Smart”
Five Months. Five Hodgkins. Five seasons of Get Smart on DVD.
Would you believe…SIX months?
We couldn’t quite pull off the trifecta, but half a year, 138 sequential episodes (The entire 25 DVD set) and a whole lot of family yucks after we began, a few things are certain about Get Smart:
- Even after not seeing them in years, I knew way too many episodes by heart
- Show co-creator Buck Henry was right (In a “DVD extra” interview, he said simply: marriage & twins…bad idea)
- It is painfully clear why Robert Karvelas (Agent Larabee on the show & Don Adams’ cousin in real-life) didn’t have a long acting career post-GS
Here’s Don Adams with Agent 86’s shoe phone
Watching the series today (in 2007), one loses perspective on just how subtly subversive and cooly satirical it was when it premiered in 1965. Like the architectural elements of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs (which first appeared in the 1920s, but are poorly imitated in thousands of suburban neighborhoods today), Get Smart helped pave the way for two generations of “thumb your nose at the man, push the envelope and smile” shows, pre-dating Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and The Smothers Brothers.
I do have hopes for next year’s Get Smart feature starring Steve Carell (whom I admire) and Alan Arkin (who was just starting his film career when the original GS aired). I mean, the movie can’t help but be better than the big screen remakes of Bewitched, McHale’s Navy, Sgt. Bilko, Wild Wild West…or for that matter, The Nude Bomb, can it? Besides, I hear rumors of a Bernie Kopell cameo.
But what about the boxed set, you ask?
The 25 DVD set from Time-Life is packed to the brim with extras, many of them rare and great (a Bill Dana Show clip featuring Adams as a pre-86 house detective, video of Adams winning Emmy after Emmy, insightful interviews and the obligatory outtake reels), and others which may only be described as “fascinating” (such as Adams’ 75th birthday party at the Playboy Mansion, which was slightly less funny than his memorial service, also included in the set).
But that’s just nit-picking. From “Mr. Big,” the black and white pilot show co-starring Michael Dunn (Dr. Lovelace from the REAL Wild, Wild West) to “I Am Curiously Yellow,” the decidedly un-PC and slightly psychedelic 138th episode, this lovingly and painstakingly collected Get Smart set delivers it all: Ziegfried and Starker…Hymie and the Chief…Agents 13, 44 and 99. There’s more than enough catchphrases to go around, so I know you’ll be watching…and loving it.
After all, it’s the second funniest television show I’ve ever seen.