Knight Rider: Journey to the End of the Knight

Knight Rider, NBC, Airs Wednesday 8/7c

Episode: “I Wanna Rock and Roll All Knight” (Season 1, Episode 7)

Synopsis: Mike, Kitt, and Sarah must stop a pair of young eco-terrorists from I Wanna Rock and Roll All Knight are you kidding me?! I mean, really, are you just trying to be assholes, Knight Rider writers?!

Review: I think we can gain keen insight into the minds behind this weekly abomination by deconstructing an exchange between Billy and Zoe that occurs in this week’s episode. As you know, Zoe’s very hot. And Billy is “not hot” in that way that television “gadget geeks” are never “hot,” except they are always far better-looking than guys like you and me. So naturally Billy has a major crush on Zoe, and Zoe apparently couldn’t care less.

Keeping that in mind, here’s Billy’s “mack” on Zoe:

BILLY: When I was playing Planetary Warcraft last night, I imagined you were Queen Zorda of Gorn.

ZOE: Queen Zorda? The naked chick with the tentacles?

BILLY: Yeah.

ZOE: Ew.

BILLY: I, uh–

ZOE: Did you just go all Clarence Thomas on me?

BILLY: No, uh…. I thought we were having a moment.

ZOE: I could so call human resources right now.

BILLY: I’m sorry, it was a–it was a misunderstanding.

ZOE: I’m gonna ask you a question. Think very carefully before you answer.

BILLY: Okay.

ZOE: What was I doing with my tentacles?

Billy doesn’t seem to comprehend at first. Zoe smiles. Billy looks embarrassed.

God. Just… give me a minute. I’ll finish writing after I’ve had a chance to beat my fists against my temples.

Well, that’s done. And, unfortunately, I’m still conscious.

First of all, “Planetary Warcraft?” Tentacles?

I’m reminded of an old episode of The Andy Griffith Show. A stranger comes to town. He knows everyone’s name, and immediately inserts himself into the lives Mayberry’s residents as if he had been born there. To say that this creeps everyone out would be an understatement.

We find out that the creepy stranger had a cousin who once lived in Mayberry. The cousin told the stranger everything about the small town, and the stranger thought it sounded like a wonderful place to live. Instead of moving there and introducing himself, he decides he’d rather make himself an immediate part of their community. It doesn’t work.

The writers of Knight Rider are sort of like that guy. They seem to have only second-hand knowledge of pop culture buzz topics. They insert them into their scripts, thinking we’ll accept the writing as “cool,” or that we’ll watch and say to ourselves, “Oh, I know that reference! This is a hip show!”

But it’s just creepy–mainly because every reference they make brings to mind something that’s totally inappropriate for the type of show they’re trying to write. These guys have never heard of tentacle porn?

While I will not deny that the idea of associating Zoe with some hot tentacle erotica is a compelling one, that seems like something best left between me and the lampshade.

Furthermore, does anyone under the age of thirty remember the whole Clarence Thomas kerfluffel? I didn’t think so.

When writing dialogue, you should ideally have three goals: to illuminate your characters, to advance your story, and to entertain. If your dialogue fails in any of these areas, perhaps it’s best to snip it. If nothing else, dialogue shouldn’t take us totally out of the story and create a major distraction while your narrative is supposed to be progressing. Wednesday night’s episode stopped for me right after the abovementioned exchange. I know full well that there’s a game called “World of Warcraft” (not “Planetary Warcraft”), and I wished to hell I was playing it instead of watching this dumbass television show. And I generally dislike MMO’s.

Also, shouldn’t Billy just go ahead and say, “Hey, last night I was playing a videogame one-handed while thinking of you!”

Awkward. And not in a good way.

And… Gorn? That sounds like a name you’d make up for yourself when playing Land of the Lost as a five year old.

“I’ll be Gorn the dinosaur hunter, and you be the Slestack!”

Anyway, the rest of the episode involved a young, hot chick and her boyfriend going around blowing up non-eco-friendly manufacturing plants and waste disposal utilities. Turns out, she’s the daughter of a congressman who funnels a lot of funds to the Knight Rider program. Her father thinks she’s been brainwashed.

Mike captures her, and she agrees to be a witness against her accomplice. But it turns out she was just trying to get into Knight Industry Headquarters to steal their secrets, and expose the super-secret government program to the world. She and her boyfriend get the drop on Mike and try to steal KITT. Once they’re in the car, KITT gases them and puts them to sleep.

Everything that’s terrible about Knight Rider is on display in spades in this episode. Is it the worst episode yet? Hard to say. But my hopes of the show improving any time in the near future are fading fast.

Okay, I never had any hope and I never will. But I’ll keep watching.

For more coverage of your favorite shows, check out the Control Freaks Archive.

Did you watch Knight Rider this week? If so, feel free to discuss below.


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