Today feels like the kind of day that should end with something richly, deeply stupid. Something stupid in a vapid, good-natured way. Not evil-stupid, just dopey, dipshitty, almost soothingly stupid. Involving dogs and Volkswagens, ideally. This clip right here is just the thing, from a 1978 episode of The Bionic Woman.
I’d seen this clip long ago, but I’d forgotten about the beautiful, pure idiocy of it until today, when a reader named David emailed us just for the sole purpose of reminding us this exists. Thank you.
Here’s all you need to know: the show was about the Bionic Woman, who was a sort of super-strong cyborg with long blonde hair that worked as a spy of some kind or something. Anyway, she had powers.
In this episode, she finds out that all her bionic/cyborg bits were prototyped on this dog, a German Shepard named Max. So, Max is also bionic, super strong and somehow remarkably intelligent for a dog, too.
That’s all you really need to know. In case you doubt that we’re in a golden age of television right now, check out the drivel your parents or maybe even grandparents had to endure:
This clip is so gleefully stupid it’s not really worth picking apart to show what’s wrong, but let’s just find some of the wonderfully stupid highlights:
Okay, wait. The sweetly stupid little girl is in a ‘69 Beetle. You can tell it’s a ‘69 because it has the first electric rear-window defroster on a Beetle. Now, anyone who has ever driven a Beetle—or, hell, any manual transmission car—can tell you that what this little girl just did is shift the car from neutral into third, or maybe first.
That means the exact opposite of what happens in that clip should have happened. Since the parking brake isn’t up, the Beetle should be rolling when it’s in neutral, and should stop when the kid clumsily kicks it into gear.
Couldn’t they have had the kid kick the car out of gear into neutral? Did naturalism and accuracy mean nothing to these miserable bastards?
Also, I don’t care how bionic that dog is, how the fuck is he looking at that kid and understanding that she’s too young to drive, not in the proper position to drive, unable to drive, and has just accidentally somehow caused the car to roll?
This may be my favorite part. Look at that wonderfully cavalier way that dog just smacks out that very non-safety glass from that Datsun 280Z. Doot doot doot smash smash smash. That floppy dog paw, shoved against the glass by some feather-haired PA crouching in the back, oh, it’s fantastic.
“Lady! Your dog’s tearing your car apart!” Dude, get a grip. All the dog did was smash a window with his paw and jump out of the window to chase after the runaway Beetle with the kid in it you didn’t bother to mention. Finish busing those tables, Randy.
This kid’s an idiot. You’re in a rolling car, dumbass! Was I this dumb at that age? Probably, and I wasn’t even allowed to play with flowers.
This is mildly interesting: note the bumper on that Beetle: it’s not stock, it’s some slightly bent chrome tube that’s been bolted on, most likely because the normal bumper (known as a Europa-style bumper) on that car would have been too large for a dog to really bite.
The bumper changes again here, to a completely straight tube, the easiest thing for the scenes where the dog has to actually bite down on the bumper. I like to imagine it’s really a very long sausage covered in aluminum foil.
The sounds of ‘skidding’ here are astoundingly bad. I love it. LOVE IT. I think the foley person took sound clips of an airplane tire briefly making contact with a runway. Listen a few times and see what you think.
THRILLING DOG-ON-CAR ACTION!
LADY, PULL THE DAMN E-BRAKE! You’re like two seconds from all of this shit happening all over again. I see where the kid gets it.
Yes, yes, who’s a good cyberdog?
Man, that’s so so so stupid. So, so stupid. I mean, this whole article was a little stupid, too, really, but I just wanted to share some stupid with you.
Let’s watch him smash that window again: