Sunday, July 7, 2013

Season 9, Volume 1: First Thoughts

So the first half of season 9 arrived on Friday! I’ve been happily exploring some of the episodes I’ve never seen uncut.

I noticed one intriguing thing on the container itself: Steve gets pictured and mentioned! Andy is certainly never mentioned on the containers for seasons 5, 6, and 7. He is depicted on the ones for season 8 (with the wrong color hair, oy vey), but I don’t know if he’s actually mentioned in the blurbs. Anyone with season 8, please let me know if he is!

The very first thing I wanted to do was to dig out The 12th Wildcat and find that missing scene with Hamilton from before court convenes. I skimmed past the first part of the episode and paused to watch Steve when he appeared.

You know, it’s really a shame about how that episode handled the court scenes, making Hamilton look so unable to control himself and having to be reprimanded every few minutes. Not to mention their refusal to even explain the crime at the end. The 12th Wildcat has copious amounts of both Steve and Hamilton and I would probably greatly enjoy the venture if not for those problems.

I love the missing scene. There is no similarity whatsoever with what happens in court moments later. Hamilton is awesome, he handles the reporters asking about his narcotics bust awesomely, and his conversation with Perry is awesome. It reminds me of that great scene at Clay’s Grill in The Golfer’s Gambit, before everything goes downhill in court.

Hamilton is very happy and pleased about the bust, naturally, but he doesn’t come off as overconfident or prideful or anything like that. He’s very mature, logical, and composed. When Perry asks him to release the client, Hamilton refuses, but he has good reasons for his actions, and he explains them very nicely to Perry. And he even comments that he’s mellowed out to be giving Perry some of this information. He certainly has mellowed out in later seasons, and that canonical notation of his character development deeply thrills me.

Having seen such a wonderful scene, I cringe all the more to think of watching the court scenes again. But I do plan to give the episode one complete viewing in its uncut state, to make sure I see all of the missing material.

I sure would like to know the explanation for why the court scenes in the back-to-back episodes The Hasty Honeymooner and The 12th Wildcat are almost identical, right down to the prosecutors being chewed out so frequently and the exact nature of Perry’s complaints against them both. It really does make the court scenes in The 12th Wildcat lose a lot of their meaning. It makes me feel as though they were sloppily tacked on and possibly not even meant for Hamilton at all, since The Hasty Honeymooner comes first and the prosecutor is a random guy we never see again.

That would make me feel better about The 12th Wildcat, honestly, because Hamilton gets such wonderful scenes outside of court that to me it’s just not believable that he would regress to being so unprofessional in court. When he has to be reprimanded, it’s usually only once or maybe twice in an episode, which is vastly different from how often it happens in The 12th Wildcat.

Other things I discovered are that The Fatal Fortune is one of the most mangled episodes there are. I counted five scenes that are cut short or missing entirely from the syndication version! It will require a post all to itself to detail them all.

I also encountered another instance of Perry throwing an accusation at Hamilton, which he does in The Fatal Fortune. I really do puzzle over why Perry does that so often in later seasons, but I love how Hamilton reacts. He handles it very calmly and maturely as he responds and tells Perry that he is not doing what Perry is accusing him of doing.

I started skimming through The Bogus Buccaneers to find the missing scenes in it, and I located two or three by the halfway mark. And one of them does explain a bit why Clay would be chosen as one of the three godfathers for the baby. It’s an adorable scene of him wanting to make sure the mother-to-be has plenty of milk to drink. I’m looking forward to watching it all the way through, and The Runaway Racer, too. I’ve long suspected that it is also one of the most chopped-up episodes.

I also watched The Wrathful Wraith, but only found one long scene and one short bit missing from it. They’re important parts, though, especially the long scene. It’s where Louise goes for the diamond cufflinks and eerily gets locked in the room. Then she finds the cufflinks aren’t even in the box.

The short scene is a bit when Perry and Paul are going to call Della back after Louise goes to visit the clairvoyant. Paul talks Perry what he’s learned about the clairvoyant, and wow, she’s a character. And they comment that Della probably ran out of gas for the third time in a month and is probably walking to the phone in the rain. One of them remarks on how Della can remember the details of a four-year-old brief, but can’t seem to remember that cars run on gasoline. Haha, poor Della. That isn’t why she called, but it’s an interesting little conversation. I love anything like that, which sheds light on the characters’ personalities and quirks.

I also couldn’t resist watching The Candy Queen. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it uncut. But I was left scratching my head in confusion. I only counted one small bit missing from the MeTV version, the first half of Perry’s conversation with Claire in jail. Honestly, I could have sworn that there was a scene where Wanda was telling about being poisoned on the witness stand, even though that would contradict Hamilton saying that he had tried to avoid the subject. I wonder if I’m mixing it up with The Silent Partner. And yet I don’t see how I could be, because they didn’t go to court in The Silent Partner.

Maybe a scene really is missing, because on the container it says that some episodes may be edited. I’ve thought that the only edits on the DVDs are the specific opening sequences, but perhaps there are occasionally others. I’d have to wonder, though, why I could have seen an uncut version not so long ago and yet CBS wouldn’t have access to one for the DVD set! And judging from the running time (close to 52 minutes), it seems it surely must be uncut. I don't think the episodes ever ran longer than that, except in season 1.

In any case, cut or uncut, The Candy Queen is always one of my favorites to watch. I get Hamilton, Steve, William Boyett, and H.M. Wynant all in the same episode!

I’m looking forward to an upcoming week of more uncut scene discoveries (as well as a whole bunch of guest-spots by H.M. Wynant on MeTV over this week and the next).

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