SCORE: 4 out of 4 Tennis Balls
May 17, 1987
Mood Ring: Yeah right, I have no idea where this old thing is—haven't seen it since I packed for college.
Tonight I saw a TV reunion movie about the Bionic Man and Woman. Wow, blast from the past! The movie was fair, but mostly it was nice to find out what Jaime Sommers did after she quit the OSI, and to FINALLY see Steve and Jaime back together again… because that always totally bothered me that she wound up with some other guy when The Bionic Woman ended. With that nagging inertia restored, all I require now are tickets to the Bangles concert. Then my life will be complete!
BIONIC REUNION TV MOVIE 1987
REUNITED AT LAST
!STUN-LOVE! and !BUDAPEST BONK! —these crazy kids are finally back together again.
March 12, 2012
Dear Bionic Blondes,
Mood Ring: Purple
Okay, this has got to be the longest title in TV movie history. Why the producers decided they should spell out the entire name of both TV series for a reunion movie is beyond me. I guess they feared someone might confuse these 2 bionic icons with the only other 2 bionic shows in TV history. My simplified title suggestion?
"Jaime and Steve ♥ Each Other Again."
Anyway, woo-hoo! In 1987, the NBC network gods decided our bionic heroes had been in moth balls long enough and audiences wanted them back. So they produced a 2-hour reunion movie and birthed a new bionic son in hopes this secret television pilot attempt would successfully launch a new weekly series. As it turns out, viewers had no desire to adopt him. We just wanted TROTSMDMATBW. You know, like the title said. And it was a blissful reunion with romance set in 80s pop culture and fashions. Big shoulder pads, big hair, and an action score with synth pop and Miami Sound Machine style drums. Totally bitchen.
The movie opens with vintage series footage of Steve's pilot accident, some bionic graphics, old clips and then new scenes. Jaime gets the same treatment—forced to fall out to the plane again, jog in the 70s, then cuts to a scene from tonight's movie where she crashes through a window. Oh good, we're all up to speed now!
The Plot: So there's this terrorist group called "Fortress" that's stealing and stockpiling arms in the US. Once upon a time they fueled insurgencies in other countries, but have regrouped in the US under the watchful eye of OSI pre-Homeland Security to fight all those "bleeding liberals" who are "ruining what made this country great." In other words, meet the 80s Tea Party!
The group is being run by Lyle Stunning (his name is really Stennings but auto-correct keeps helpfully fixing it, and I'm tired of fighting my keyboard insurgency.) He's played by Hollywood veteran Martin Landau, who is like the godfather running things from jail now, no thanks to Steve putting him there years ago. Oscar begs Steve to come out of retirement and help the OSI stop these angry tea baggers.
But Steve isn't interested. He's busy running a fishing charter boat now and wears Bass Pro sporting vests and visors. Oscar points out the sentimental name of Steve's boat "Summer Maiden" and tells Steve he obviously still pines for Jaime Sommers.
No Oscar, do NOT say her name! Because the very mention of Jaime zaps Steve, and triggers sudden, paralyzing !STUN-LOVE! ...where he flashes way back to the 70s when he and Jaime were romantically jogging together. When Steve manages to regain consciousness, Oscar informs him Jaime now works for a rehabilitation center downtown.
Like a deer caught in headlights, this launches Steve into another !STUN-LOVE! slo-mo Jaime flashback. But despite Oscar's clever !STUN-LOVE! interrogation technique, Steve refuses to take the assignment. He departs with a warning from Oscar that Stunning is after the secret of bionics and his life could be in danger.
At this point in this movie, we have received two big news alerts. No, make that three. #1 Jaime and Steve both live in Los Angeles now. #2 Chris Williams (Not!Steve 3.4) died on a mission a few years back in Budapest. (Darn. And no... as I have already explained to police, the Bionic Blonde does not have an alibi.) Anyway, Jaime was there at the American embassy, but got hurt in an explosion. She felt responsible for not being able to save Chris, and also harbors some resentment towards Steve for refusing to come out of retirement like she did to assist Oscar in the mission to rescue Chris before he was killed.
Big News #3: Steve has a son named Michael, from a failed 1960s marriage he *shock* didn't even tell the network about, let alone his parents Helen and Jim (presumably) or his 1975 fiancée Jaime Sommers. Michael Austin is all grown up now and is a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force.
While alluding to having provided child support, Steve, as it turns out, has been a deadbeat dad all these years, shamelessly sending his kid to go live with his aunt when his ex wife/mother died, with nary an effort nor desire to ever meet his son. But revising Steve's history and defiling his moral integrity is completely necessary tonight, because we will need a new bionic crash victim.
We Now Return You To Our Bionic Family Reunion: Having seen the !STUN-LOVE! paralysis effect first hand, Oscar decides to play cupid and make this a crossover episode, thusly arranging a blind date for the Bionic Woman with a boring computer programmer on the OSI staff and picking the same restaurant in which he knows the Bionic Man will be meeting his son that evening. (This is one of two potential drinking games while watching this movie. Every time the cast repeatedly meets at this "Schooner" restaurant, drink. Warning: have gallons of beverages handy.)
The Bionic Woman was 15 minutes late for her movie this evening. Maybe she was wearing one of those 80s fad Swatch™ watches that didn't keep time very well. But she did have time to squeeze in a hair cut, and I must say it's quite a shock at first to see Jaime without her long blonde hair.
It's a nice 'do—fashionable for its day, with lots of mousse on top and a dash of Mullet. To go with her 80s hair, Jaime is wearing lots of big shoulder-padded jackets tonight, too.
At the Schooner restaurant (drink!), her blind date is causing her to yawn, until she bionically overhears the hostess mention Steve's name when he arrives. Jaime panics, tells her date she isn't feeling well and tries to slip out—however Steve catches up to her.
Jaime nervously asks how he's doing, but Steve is too busy smiling and having another !STUN-LOVE! episode, flashing back to when Jaime was riding a slow motion horse and eating pizza with him in the 70s. (ROMANTIC BALLAD PLAYS) <-- no kidding, this is what the subtitles on the DVD said. Sigh. So we’re not imagining it, either. Steve is in luurve!
Calling Card: When Steve snaps out of his daydream, he tells Jaime he has someone he wants her to meet.
"Blonde or brunette?" A-ha ha good one Jaime! (She obviously watched him flirt with all those other women on his series after they stopped doing crossovers. Of course she never did that, nor would I have ever documented it in this blog. Heh heh.) Jaime starts to cry a little bit and tells Steve she can't deal with him now. She's angry that he disappeared when "someone" needed him.
Steve takes her arm in an attempt to calm her down, but Jaime bionics him through the front window of the restaurant, where he lands at the feet of his son who has just arrived. Meanwhile, a flustered Jaime hands her business card to the restaurant manager and asks him to call her about the busted window, then remorsefully slips out the back. Of course I am totally intrigued by the fact Jaime appears to have cards already printed up for her occasional bionic blunders...
The next day, Steve nearly gets abducted by Fortress but manages to escape in a Fall Guy action sequence consisting of car chases and windshield shoot-outs, while 80s techno pop music plays in the background. Steve goes to see Oscar to report the incident, and then Oscar brings up the subject of his rendezvous with Jaime last night. "Steve, I know you're still in love with Jaime. Still waiting for her to come back to you—the old Jaime. The Jaime before the sky diving accident."*
Back After These Messages: *Okay just a tiny point of contention here for the writers: The Jaime before the sky diving accident was a professional tennis player and Steve's new girlfriend. After the skydiving accident, Jaime was carrying about $6 Million dollars worth of shiny new hardware with her heart intact, Steve brought her flowers while she crushed tennis balls, and he apparently still even liked her enough to propose marriage.
It was while they were planning their wedding that the unfortunate rejection of Jaime's bionics and massive brain aneurysm took place (and oh yeah, she DIED) that contributed to the wipe out of their romantic relationship. So Steve doesn't want the Jaime before the skydiving accident. He wants the Jaime before the network accident where they blindsided millions of sobbing TV viewers by killing her—and all her memories–off.
I Would Have Used A Coconut: Oscar informs Steve that during Jaime's other, more recent bombing accident in Budapest, the force of the concussion caused her to regain all of her memories about their relationship. (See, I told you all we had to do was clunk her on the head! #GilligansIsland101)
Steve leaves, but not before he has one more !STUN-LOVE! flashback to the time he and Jaime were standing by their carved initials on the tree in Ojai, and Jaime said she couldn't remember what it was like to be in love with him. Now, thanks to her !BUDAPEST BONK! she does. *Squee!*
Park Place Redux: With years of practice, Oscar now skillfully crosses over to The Bionic Woman set. Today he finds Jaime running through a city park, which I thought was ironic since that was very nearly her last scene in her On The Run finale.
I would almost give the writers credit for this nexus, except they botched that simple skydiving reference, so why would I expect they would have taken the time to rewatch this episode, too?
This is a wonderful scene between Ms. Wagner and Richard Anderson that was reminiscent of their heart-to-heart talk in On The Run. We learn Oscar and the Feds did essentially allow her to retire with the exception of a few missions over the years that she agreed to accept, plus a little more back story on her misdirected anger towards Steve—and the moment when she awoke in the hospital from her !BUDAPEST BONK! and began to remember The Six Million Dollar Man romantically.
But then Oscar tells her she has to stay away from Steve because that could make her a Fortress target, too. Jaime's confused. "First you're playing cupid, now you telling me to go to my room?"
In the next scene, we find Jaime working in her Rehabilitation Center and get to see the first sessions of the future Dr. Sommers. (Naturally in L.A., there are plenty of former 70s child TV stars to keep her rehab practice humming. #HotSpot #SmartBusiness)
She's wearing a bright blue jacket, black pants and a striped blouse with a flipped up collar. <---This is our second drinking game option this evening. However, once I counted how many times I saw Jaime with her shirt collar flipped up, I realized I would probably have to check into the Betty Ford Clinic by the time this movie was over. So warning if you play this one: water down your drinks beforehand!
Together Again: Later outside, Jaime gets abducted by Fortress who threatens to shoot her blind colleague Carol, plus all the little blind students if she tries anything bionic.
Steve zoom-scopes Jaime being kidnapped and takes off running after them, bionics up like a 4-story building as a short cut to the next block, then jumps and lands on top of their moving station wagon. Just as he slides down the windshield, in like a synchronized ballet performance, Jaime kicks open the car door and escapes her captors. Steve flips their car, but it still manages to squeal off. Boy rescues girl. Girl grateful. Steve and Jaime hug. *fans self*
Then Jaime and Steve head over to the Schooner (drink!) restaurant and embark on an honest, yet puzzling conversation that even after multiple viewings still leaves me entirely confused. I finally decided to attempt to put this conversation into CliffsNotes in hopes we could structurally figure out how Jaime got from "Sorry" to "See Ya Around!"
TROTSMDMATBW Abbreviated Script-------------------------------------------------------------Sorry I threw you through that window the other night.I have a 23 year old son, now.WTF?I married right out of college. Divorced.
Found out later she had my son.She went PCS? WTF?She's dead. My boy is stationed here at Maffin Air Force Base.Like father like son?I didn’t get in touch with you after I left the OSI because...
I didn’t know who I was.Why didn’t you say something to me?
I was going through exactly the same thing.But I always kept a candle burning for you so
your memory wouldn’t dim altogether.I loved Chris, and I know that’s hard for you to hear,
but when I woke up, I remembered us.Oscar told me.Even back then, something kept me from marrying Chris.
I guess I know now what that was.Someone you still cared about?Yes but I mean no, I mean I need time of course.To get to know me again?Look, I’m trying to say something that’s long overdue…
But. Now I can’t say it.So maybe I’ll just say, SEE YA AROUND!Stay out of trouble.
And let's just stay in touch from now on, okay?-------------------------------------------------------------WHAT TH....?!!
Steve, if you want to throw Jaime through the window here, really it's okay. I might even help.
It was a bit agonizing to watch Steve fighting back tears and pouring his heart out like that (nice performance by Mr. Majors here), and while we saw a few expressions of vulnerability and forward remarks from Jaime, she basically gave him what felt like a huge brush-off at the end.
On the other hand, she DID just find out he lied to her about having a first wife AND a son. (“Oops Honey, did I forget to mention that while we were addressing our wedding invitations?”) So whatever it was that caused Jaime to suddenly backpedal here—a rush of conflicting emotions—or writers simply teasing us— Jaime obviously changed her mind that night and decided "see ya around" should technically start ASAP.
She's Breaking Up She's Breaking Up: After Steve and Michael semi-bond in a pub brawl, he decides to attend his son's Top Gun graduation ceremony at the air base. Jaime also makes a surprise appearance, and she and Steve do a little long distance flirting in the crowd. But something malfunctions in Michael's M-16-whatever plane during his air show and it explodes in a fiery crash.
At the hospital, Jaime arrives to console Steve. They get the rundown from the attending doctor about Michael's grave condition: loss of both legs, an arm and an eye (yeah, deja vu) and then Steve pleads with Oscar to save him with bionics. No arguments. "We owe you a lot, pal." Rudy and his team are already on the way!
After the surgery, Michael is upset that Steve would turn him into a bionic spin-off. Jaime overhears and tells Steve she has already arranged to handle Michael's rehab.
In her first session with Michael, she introduces herself as a friend of his father's. Michael tells her she just lost 5 points. "So did you." Ooh good one, Jaime! She also has another smart comeback when he claims she wouldn't understand. "About being bionic? Try me." (Ms. Wagner delivered some great lines in this scene.)
It's Totally Automatic: This next scene reminded me of The Bionic Dog, only instead of Max, Jaime was helping Michael exercise his bionic strength in a music video montage set to the pop song “Automatic,” while Jaime changed outfits like 4 different times. (The flipped up collar drinking game really kicks into gear here.)
Later while strolling through the park, Jaime finally admits to Michael that Steve was someone very special to her, but refuses to talk about their relationship any further. When she challenges Michael to a race, Jaime finally reveals to him that she's bionic, too—even though Michael can outrun her at like 200 mph using rocket sounds with Rudy's new app.
That night Michael gets kidnapped, as well as the blind woman. Fortress also nabs Rudy and it turns out there's a traitor within the OSI on the bad team, too. Jaime meets Steve on his boat and they begin to plot a rescue. Then back at the Schooner (drink!) they get some info from OSI agent Jim Castillion (played by Lee's son Lee Majors II) and decide to enlist Michael's Air Force classmates to help create a distraction for them at the glass factory where Stunning is holding everybody captive.
Where’s The Ice Machine? Later that evening, Steve and Jaime get the very last room vacancy at the Colonial Motor Lodge and awkwardly try to avoid jumping into the one available bed together. Jaime tells Steve to turn his back and try not to snore. He decides to resist the writers attempts at blatant sexual tension and steps out onto the balcony—while Jaime crawls under the covers, smiles and says to herself she was so glad Steve "didn't let that candle go out."
So? Criminy, what HAPPENED?! Did Steve spend all night standing out on the balcony? Did they sleep together? Did Steve snore?! This lost scene was actually a delightful surprise to me when I watched the DVD release, as it was completely missing in the Family Channel's airing that I managed to catch on my VCR a few years ago. I never remembered this, and don't know if they cut the scene in syndication for time, or if they decided that even with a man and woman fully-clothed, the mere suggestion was too "steamy" for the Family Channel's audience.
Ready, Set, Action! The next day at the glass factory showdown, we see a LOT of guns and automatic weapons, bombs going off, guys getting shot—even by Oscar.
Wow, I guess throwing teddy bears no longer works in 1987 like it did (cough) in 1978. Still, the level of non-bloody violence was well below today's TV standards, and after what seemed like 10 minutes of non-stop fighting and killing and rescuing and bionic-ing, it was finally over. Bad guys captured. (Can you tell I’m not really into drawn-out action sequences?)
Certainly Is A Beautiful Day! At the end, everybody's gathered round a table outside the Schooner (drink!) and of course they all do—champagne, to be exact.
They celebrate their mission victory, then Jaime and Steve skedaddle off. Michael catches up to them and apologizes to his father for being a jerk earlier and they agree to spend more time together, yadda yadda.
Then Jaime turns to Steve and says, "Certainly is a beautiful day, isn't it?" Steve agrees. Jaime adds, “I’m awfully glad you didn’t give up on me.”
Jaime asks where they should go. Steve suggests "Somewhere to find the future?" Steve knows a small, candlelit restaurant (dear god please, NOT the Schooner again) and then they smile and walk arm-in-arm down the boardwalk together into the sunset.
I'm not sure where they wound up next, but they apparently stopped by a Sears portrait studio first, because a photo of them wearing these same exact outfits appears on Jaime's nightstand in Bionic Ever After.
Don't you just *heart* happy endings?
Wow, I didn’t realize just how vast this wardrobe was until I started grabbing images. (I counted 15 changes) Lots of black (my fave), shoulder padded jackets, long shirts and sweaters, flipped up collars (drink!), and what’s with this fancy black British-y hat at the air show? Jaime should be on Downton Abbey! I liked her green blouse, too.
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