Thursday, March 27, 2014

Will Perry Mason become MeTV's Most Memorable Program?

So for the past week and a half, MeTV has been running a poll for MeTV viewers to pick their favorite shows. The winner will get a marathon on MeTV.

Perry is still in the running on this, the fourth round! I’m very excited and happy to see the turnout of Perry fans voting. But I’m a little nervous now, because Perry has gone up against The Twilight Zone in the Quarter Finals today. I’m guessing it’s going to be pretty hard to beat that show. But let’s keep voting for Perry and just maybe our show will be elected MeTV’s Most Memorable Program!

Ironside was also in the running, up till now. It lost to, of all things, Batman! Sacrilege! I was hoping Ironside and Perry might end up facing off in the final round. That would have been epic.

For any MeTV viewers who haven’t yet voted, the poll is here:

(Please don’t vote if you don’t have MeTV. Since the poll is to pick a show to air a marathon of, it’s only fair that the voters are MeTV viewers.)

Season 7 wrapped up last week. It suddenly occurred to me that while every season has had episodes about teens and young adults, it seems like season 7 has them in greater abundance. Or maybe it just seems that way because four of its seven young adult episodes air one right after another! The Careless Kidnapper, The Drifting Dropout, The Tandem Target, and The Ugly Duckling all heavily involve characters in their late teens or early twenties. (The other season 7 young adult episodes are The Festive Felon, The Devious Delinquent, and The Bountiful Beauty.)

I enjoy The Careless Kidnapper, The Tandem Target, and The Ugly Duckling the most out of those. The Festive Felon is quite good too, especially uncut. I did like The Devious Delinquent and The Bountiful Beauty better on this round than I have in the past. And The Drifting Dropout was quite interesting. This was my first viewing of it. And it sounds like there was a lot cut out of it, so I need to watch the uncut version soon.

I was glad that in The Careless Kidnapper, David’s friend Michael wasn’t the one killed falling off the boat. It was really an awful stunt the two of them pulled, trying to get David’s father upset and worried about him, but I don’t think Michael deserved to die over it. In some episodes he probably would have been the one to die, so that was an intriguing twist that the body ended up being someone else.

I definitely wonder at how David’s father was so forgiving when he learned what had sparked the kidnapping idea that he told David he deserved an explanation about the violent argument he overheard instead of needing to give an explanation about his and Michael’s actions. It would definitely be mortifying to bring your friends over to your house and find your parents in the middle of a row, but that’s not any justification for arranging a mock kidnapping!

I do find kind of annoying, too, when David’s father is so adamant against David’s mother saying anything to Perry about what really happened at the docks. On the one hand, it’s understandable that he wouldn’t want her to possibly end up in jail because of the kid falling and (they think) dying. On the other, good grief, it was an accident! Of course, I suppose that after the actual body is discovered and it’s the guy who was blackmailing David’s father, then he continues to be adamant against his wife saying anything because he’s trying so desperately to keep the story from getting out, particularly the list of all the patients he was trying to help in secret.

I like that there really wasn’t anything romantic going on between him and Mary Manning, one of his patients. Sometimes all the affairs on the series get tiresome. He honestly was just trying to protect the privacy of her and all the others because of their medical problems.

I also like that the epilogue of that episode shows the kids over at David’s house having a nice party with David’s parents as chaperones. And I’m sure Perry/Della fans love that Perry and Della watch through the balcony doors for a moment before Perry suggests to Della that they go nightclubbing instead of joining the kids. It’s definitely a sweet scene.

One thing about The Tandem Target, I’ve never been quite sure what to think of the murder victim’s stepdaughter Irma. The first time I saw the episode, I actually thought for a long time that she was probably the murderer, due to the note thing. And while she definitely has plenty of reason to be upset with her stepfather, somehow she always seems to come off acting like a child. Even if the man hadn’t had an ulterior and terrible motive in keeping her rightful money from her, if I was he I’d probably be pretty hesitant to turn all that money over to her.

One thing that never fails to amuse me is how Philip Ober plays both him and his brother Adrian. It’s all very deliberately tongue-in-cheek; it’s never mentioned by the characters how much they look alike, but it doesn’t take much to see it. I love the first, close-up shots of them both. Each turns to face the camera in the same manner and there’s a certain pause of surprise for the audience to react.

I’ve never been quite sure what to think of Adrian bringing another Napoleon statue to the widow at the end and her laughing about it, although it definitely amuses me when Perry refers to the statue as another party at the table and says he had better depart, since three’s a crowd and he’s not sure what four is. But I guess to me it seemed to be making too much light of the dead. Sumner Hodge certainly wasn’t a very nice man, but he must have done some things right, to have set the company in order when he first came along. And I’m guessing he really cared about his wife and stepdaughter, at least at first.

Also, MeTV aired a different print of The Ugly Duckling. Either that or they further chopped up the one they had, because I’m positive they used to air a copy that kept William Boyett’s police officer scene intact. He and another man come to see about the broken window at the beginning and are offered toys for their children. That scene was completely absent last week.

I find it curious that in both The Tandem Target and The Ugly Duckling, the murderer ends up being someone high up in the company. I’ve ended up mixing up the climaxes of both episodes due to that, sometimes thinking that The Tandem Target is the one where Perry holds that annoyingly noisy toy and insists on keeping it on until the guy confesses. But that’s in The Ugly Duckling. And that part definitely gets on my nerves, not so much because the noise is aggravating as it is because the noise is so loud I have to strain to hear the people talking!

I always kind of wonder what’s going to happen to the artist at the end of the episode. They’re worried he might go to jail, but we don’t know what actually happens. I kind of hope that he got a suspended sentence since it was his first offense, and since he was trying to do right by the girl by covering for her when it looked bad for her. It’s certainly a better motivation than wanting money or trying to cover for oneself.

I was thinking of actually trying to make a list of each season’s young adult episodes, but I was only scrolling through the list of season 1 episodes when I realized the prospect would probably be quite overwhelming. There’s also the question of where I would draw the line, since there’s episodes with characters in that age bracket who aren’t the main focus of the episodes. There’s the question of exactly what ages I’m defining as “young adult”, since by that I mean early twenties, but it could have a broader meaning. (Actually, I think it may be a synonym for teens; there really doesn’t seem to be a good, short term for people in their twenties!) And there’s episodes where, while the characters are young, it doesn’t seem so much that their age has any particular part in the story. I accidentally left The Festive Felon and The Bountiful Beauty off my initial count because I just wasn’t thinking. There might be others that would qualify, too.


  1. I've been a Perry Mason fan since I was a kid. Watched a lot of the movies as I was growing up. Been watching the episodes when I can on MeTv as well. Thank god for them, not only do they show them, they show the occasional Perry Mason movie as well. Am looking forward to April 11th when they're airing another one.

    1. MeTV is awesome. The movies are pretty fun, a lot better than I thought they'd be. I look forward to the next one too.

  2. Ms Whitfield as Ms Trilling is about the best looking "Ugly Duckling" I ever saw :) Surprised that they didn't cast Nancy Culp, another PM veteran, to play Ms Trilling

    1. It's always strange when they cast someone beautiful to play someone who isn't supposed to be!