Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cain’s Son-In-Law

15 Cain's Son-In-Law
October 27, 1979
Music: Stu Phillips
Writer: Frank Lupo
Director: Charles Rondeau

The silliness threatens to overwhelm this uneven BJ AND THE BEAR episode, which does at least stem from a clever concept. BJ (Greg Evigan) rescues a sexy blonde, Carol (Audrey Landers), from a roadside scrape with an aggressive suitor. Taking a plot point from BJ's main inspiration, SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, Carol is escaping a fiancé she was pressured into marrying by her strict father, Captain Cain (Ed Lauter), the rigid Southern sheriff who has become one of BJ's arch-nemeses. After he catches BJ and his daughter swapping spit in a grimy motel room, Cain tosses the trucker into the hoosegow for a 30-year stretch busting rocks. The only way to gain the lawman's sympathy is by conspiring with Carol to convince her father that he and Carol plan to be married. By moving into Cain's house as his future son-in-law (and drinking his beer and blocking his driveway with the semi), BJ gets to needle Cain to get back on all the trouble the cop has called him, and Carol gets the satisfaction of having her fiancé, one of Cain's deputies, get jealous and fight for her hand.

Having BJ move into Cain's house (and call the stern right-winger "Pop") was a funny idea by writer Frank Lupo (THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO), although the humor leans too far towards slapstick near the end, when BJ and Carol's "wedding" is interrupted by a barroom brawl (that is at least nicely staged by director Charles Rondeau). In the series' effort to give the characters some continuity, Janet Louise Johnson, Angela Aames and Joshua Shelley return as BJ's trucking buddies. Lupo also wryly comments on BJ's adherence to tried-and-true television formula by having his hero wonder why he keeps getting involved in other people's problems. Hey, BJ, you wouldn't have much of a show if it was just about a truck driver hauling beer to rural roadhouses, would ya?

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