A-Team Episode 4×12

A-Team Episode 4×12

Guess who’s not going to emerge unharmed…

“Uncle Buckleup”

  • Location: Encino, California
  • Tank: More like lots of small, flying tanks
  • Disguises: Ruff the Bear
  • Scam: No
  • Flight: No
  • Fixation: Uncle Buckle-up, childhood hero
  • Flips: 1. Just one. But quite a remarkable one…
  • Fee: Unknown, non-Free
  • Quote: “Wouldn’t he make a great doll?” – Toy makers, about B.A. Sorry B.A., I’m sure they meant “action figure.”
  • Who is that?? Not really. The toy designer played by Lewis Dauber was in an ep of 24, but I admit I didn’t recognize him.

According to Amy’s computer (which I used to do research–they’re quite useful for research, you know), cars were first required to come equipped with seat belts starting in 1968. This episode aired December 17th, 1985. About two weeks later, in January 1986, California law began requiring their use. So this episode is not only 80’s entertainment, but once again we’re fulfilling our 80’s educational mandate in the form of a thinly-veiled PSA. For good measure, we throw in some don’t drink, don’t smoke, and don’t play with matches. Yes, for Californians (of which I was one back in the 80’s, and so too are our heroes, of course), seat belts were about to become the law.

Awwww, look at all the adorable little consumers!

So what happens if you don’t wear a seat belt? I’m glad you asked! The episode opens with the answer: for the first time in the show’s history, everyone doesn’t emerge unharmed!! To be fair, the ep actually starts with adorable 80’s children buying toys. Also to be fair, he doesn’t die (that’s extremely rare in this show), he just gets injured and does not emerge unharmed from the car.

Hannibal goes under cover to try and figure out who’s putting the squeeze on Uncle Buckle-up (aka Sydney). He begins by auditioning for the role of a Bear–which sounds suspiciously like the Aquamaniac. He eventually gets the part thanks to saving Sydney from another attempt on his life, and it soon becomes clear that one of our Big Three are behind this–Drug Lords are using Sid’s toys to smuggle drugs into the country. But they were forced to outsource toy production to China to make the whole operation work and it turns out the toys have terrible QA issues. So glad that whole 80’s outsourcing-to-China fad didn’t last!

There’s some classic “talk or we feed you to the bears” interrogation, and Face actually does pretty well outnumbered two-to-one vs. some bad guys until he doesn’t… and eventually our heroes are locked in a well-appointed–err… warehouse full of toys. So begins one of the more fun tank montages we’ve seen in a while–who doesn’t love filling children’s toys with black powder and rigging model airplanes as bombers?

It would have been risky to try and shoot this down, probably better that they ran from it.

Our heroes invite the bad guys over to play, the toys attack, our bad guys take their ball and go home, and the day is won! This ep was alright, mostly saved from being completely mediocre by the cool montage and toy assault. Anyway, always wear your matches, don’t play with seat belts, and be cool, stay in school.

Special Feature: Planes of the A-Team

I’ve been waiting a while to do this one and I figure the excellent model airplane attack from this ep is as good a time as any to do my first Special Feature in a while: Planes (and Helicopters) of the A-Team.

  • Boeing 747 The difinitive 80’s jumbo-jet airliner, the Boeing 747 is one we’ve not seen too much of lately, but was very common, and is still in regular use today.
  • Stearman Model 75 I don’t believe we’ve seen this outside the pilot episode, but what a great moment it was. Murdock gave us some of his first (and pretty much last–they dropped that gag early on) howls in this plane.
  • Beechcraft Model 18 It’s easy to mix this one up with the next one (in fact the Beechcraft has been known to stunt double for the Lockheed in this show). Our friend N81GB likes to crash a lot.
  • Lockheed Electra Junior The best way to tell the difference between this one and the Beechcraft are extensions to the elevators coming off the twin rudders on this one. NC1161V has shown up sometimes in a supporting role and sometimes as just a cameo. The Lockheed Electra is probably one of the most famous planes in all of cinema, as it was the plane Ingrid Bergman boarded at the end of Casablanca.
  • Douglas DC-3 Think of this as the 747 of the 1930s and 40s. These things are ubiquitous, almost even today. If we’re flying to a third world country, it’s almost certainly in one of these. A less fortunate one met its end to a very pleased B.A., too.
  • Bell 206B and 206L These show up often, especially in earlier seasons. If bad guys are flying a chopper, it’s a good bet it’s one of these or a variant of it (unless it’s a 222, aka, Airwolf). And if Amy is flying a chopper, it’s definitely one of these. And if bad guys are flying one into a cliff-side and then walking away from it, I’m also pretty sure it’s one of these.
  • Hughes 369D These show up fairly often, too, usually when it’s just a single person flying. That makes them less of a bad-guy chopper since bad guys tend to run in packs.

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