SCORE: 3 out of 4 Tennis Balls
January 21, 1976
Mood Ring: Blue
The Bionic Woman’s new show was on again tonight. I really liked it! Jaime stopped her car with her foot when the brakes didn’t work. Then she went undercover and had to steal things for a bad guy, but he gave her nice clothes and a million dollars! I think she looked funny in those glasses. I’m so glad I will never have to wear glasses!
July 21, 2012
Dear Bionic Blondes,
Mood Ring: Purple
This episode marked Jaime’s very first solo assignment for the OSI! We should probably hold another Bionic Blonde party for this milestone event with lots of champagne, while we play along with Carlton Harris and dress-up our Malibu Barbies. If you wear glasses, be sure to clean any smudges on your lenses because you won’t want to miss this!
But first, previews from last week narrated by Oscar, where he reminds us Jaime Sommers, the world’s first bionic woman, has returned to Ojai, made a new stall for herself in a horse barn and became a phone book ripping school teacher. But others (i.e. bad guys) were watching Jaime on TV too, and everybody faithfully did their homework by reading last week’s review, right? So join us as we return to double Welcome Home Jaime again the second time!
Going Full Circle: The Bionic Woman was right on time tonight. Fifty points! We open in her classroom where the kids’ desks are all arranged in a circle, designed to encourage student interaction and make it impossible to pass notes. No phone books in sight, so I guess the principal took them all away from Miss Sommers at the insistence of concerned parents.
We never hear the question, but a boy raises his hand with what appeared to be the correct answer because Jaime nodded her head: "A woman didn't sign the Declaration of Independence because it was harder to get a good education back then." To which a girl responds, "...there would be a lot of women signers nowadays!" and then all the kids cheer. Yay, go us girls! But wait…
1. Does she mean we know how to sign our name today? or
2. Women are much more involved in congress and in shaping the business of our nation?
(Ladies, meet me at the footnote at the end where we will analyze this class discussion in our first installment of "Junior Feminist Fantasies.")
You've Come a Long Way Baby: Then the bell rings and Jaime announces to the students, "Tomorrow, we'll set up our own continental congress." To remain true to the 20% statistical representation of women in Washington today, this means only 2 of the girls in class need to show up for school tomorrow! Woo-hoo!
Afterwards, Jaime commutes home in her cool Datsun 280Z sports car. She turns on her AM radio to the local Ojai news station's “Bionic Crossover Report”, where the DJ announces that Astronaut Steve Austin is in Thailand and was just given a royal welcome by the King. I love how Jaime makes a "la-dee-da" face here. (Interpret as you wish) But then suddenly, Jaime's brakes blow out as she's driving down a hill. Oh no!!
The Devil Wears Prada: Jaime's car tires are squealing and she's losing control, and then the scene cuts to her pumping the failing breaks—and oh my, *love* these heeled sandals you're wearing here, Jaime! But alas, she has to sacrifice them in exchange for saving this beautiful sports car… I mean, her life. Jaime very gracefully reaches for the drivers's side door handle, pops open the door and sticks her foot out onto the pavement, and with screeching metal freight train force, finally bionics the car to a safe stop and avoids a tree blocking the road. Just like last week, a hidden camera in the bushes captures the entire, edited ordeal. I think it's really nice that Universal shares their footage with the bad guys like this.
Back After These Messages: Okay, true confessions time. Once in college, I was driving my grandmother's old '67 Plymouth (looking fabulous, I'm sure, with a squiggly perm and wearing something in Flashdance-awesome) and as I was slowing down to approach an intersection, the brakes suddenly went out. Ahhh!
I am not kidding, my very first emergency reaction was to attempt to open the driver's side door and stick my foot out onto the street to stop the car. I don't remember at what point it suddenly occurred to me that I was not bionic, but I did manage to quickly abandon the idea and move on to Plan B— which involved locating this wonderful invention called an emergency brake—a lever I managed to successfully engage and stopped the car before any collisions. Whew!
Afterwards, I just had to laugh at my blonde moment of insanity, and then I cursed the Bionic Woman—whom i had not thought about in years—for this sudden demonic possession of common sense that nearly cost me my life. Anyway, true story. Feel free to use it as an icebreaker at parties. And if this ever happened to you, and you are also in need of a Jaime Sommers School of Driving exorcism, for god sakes, please email me so we can swap AutoZone stories and brownie recipes!
And Now Back to the REAL Bionic Woman: In the following scene, single-shoed Jaime is limping up the stairs to her coach house apartment carrying her ruined sandal, with Helen trailing behind her. I love how Jaime has her priorities in order here. "What really makes me mad is this was my favorite pair of shoes!" I *heart* this woman!
Jaime shrugs it off as an accident, but Helen is worried. She says Oscar called for her earlier. When Jaime picks up her phone to call him back, her bionic ear senses the line is being bugged. (Either that, or the neighbors left their water sprinkler on.) Okay, this time she's convinced there's something amiss, and asks Helen to get a message to Oscar.
The next day at the end of class—where I'm guessing their congress role playing that day produced several CNN scandals, failed to pass any legislation and then voted to recess—Teddy (not the junior senator from Massachusetts) reports to Miss Sommers he has just finished washing the "tub" they are planning to use to bob for apples at the fair tomorrow. However, Jaime avoids a commitment to attend when he asks, because you know, she might have to go undercover or something over the weekend.
Then Oscar arrives, closes the classroom doors for privacy and informs Jaime they checked her car and found her brakes were tampered with and her telephone is bugged. He thinks the culprit is Carlton Harris, the "lady killer" from her last crossover mission—or as I like to remember it, that episode where Steve pushed Jaime out of the airplane. Oscar suspects Harris is exporting government secrets, but Harris has killed 3 OSI agents who were sent in to obtain proof. Jaime—who, hell-o?; is oddly unfazed by this serious body count—wonders, "But if he wanted to kill me, wouldn't I be dead by now?"
Oscar somehow forgets this kind of plot happens to Steve all the time, and asks Jaime how she would "explain these accidents?" A ha! Jaime actually solves this mystery before Oscar does. While erasing the chalkboard, she multi-task remembers Harris saw her on her last mission leap tall buildings in a single bound etc., and that these accidents have probably been orchestrated to test her bionics in advance of a job offer. So they hatch a plan to make Harris think Jaime could easily be hired away for a higher salary. And new shoes. Don't forget to ask for Prada, Jaime!
Stop Bugging Me: Jaime and Oscar pretend to have an argument in front of the janitor they suspect is on Harris' payroll. Later, with her phone still bugged, Jaime gets a call from Oscar. At last, Jaime fulfills all our fantasies by blurting out what we wish WE could say whenever our bosses bother us at home.
Jaime: "What do YOU want!?"
Oscar: mumble mumble whatever
Jaime: “Well, just be glad I didn't get REALLY mad and throw you through a wall.”
Oscar: mumble whatever here’s an insulting pay raise offer while I mumble pretend our Fortune 500 company is broke
Jaime: "$19,000 a year for MY services? What do you think I am, some kind of a Bionic cocktail waitress?"
Ah hahahaha! I love this line. (Oscar if I were you, I wouldn’t place that martini order right now. I think she’s channeling Carla from Cheers)
Then Jaime hangs up on him. Followed by a "sorry Oscar" as she blows a kiss to the phone.
Of course the plan worked. Harris overhears the conversation from his surveillance van, flanked by the undercover janitor and Harris' son Donald, who has just graduated with a shiny new law degree, but is torn between wanting to work for his father's company, while objecting to his daddy's dishonest business practices. Ironically, participating in this illegal wiretapping event does not seem to strike Donald as being unlawful at all. Perhaps he missed that day at the Paper Chase School of Law because he was too busy sleeping with the professor's bionic womanish-looking daughter.
Direct Deposit: Harris phones Jaime at home later and says he's prepared to make her a job offer, and asks her to meet him behind the generic Bank of Ojai in ten minutes. With no time to contact Oscar, Jaime makes the interview in time, but it's a trap. She gets charged in the alley by Harris' car, forcing her to bionic up a 2-story fire escape. A final test in her job skills.
Next, we are lounging on the patio at Harris' (I’m guessing) Malibu mansion that is perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean, where he offers Jaime a glass of champagne to begin the interview. (Natch, I would be accepting this job without further adieu right here and now.) While he pushes a button on an ancient VHS player to show Jaime scenes from that new Bionic Woman TV series where she's braking a car with her foot. Jaime quips, "You're a regular Allen Funt, you know that?" (Haha 70s wiki-reference "Candid Camera.")
However Jaime proceeds to blatantly lie on her job application and only divulges that her legs and right arm are bionic, wisely keeping her bionic ear a secret. To demonstrate her strength, Jaime bends an iron plant stand. Harris smiles and says he’s glad to have her on board, but then Jaime objects to his assumption by emptying her glass of champagne onto the patio.
Get This Woman A Refill: Jaime reminds Harris she hasn't heard an offer yet, (because you know, she's deaf in one ear). He proposes she can earn $1 million dollars in the next 24 hours. (OMG. Gurl okay now's a good time tell him about your bionic ear, point out the record Nielsen Ratings and how much all the little children of the world adore you, then counter for $2 mil plus syndication royalties and a double-wide star trailer. But don't dump your champagne this time. And darlin’ please don't forget to make him throw in some DESIGNER SHOES!!)
Sigh, Jaime takes the first $1 Mil offer, and agrees to steal a couple items for him. But the downside is she has to start her new crime spree immediately, and is thusly unable to leave the estate, nor can she contact Oscar for guidance because the phones are bugged. She is literally on her own in her first solo mission. Which left me scared for like a minute, until Harris escorts Jaime to her new beachfront dressing room (yes!), and then we see what she gets to wear to this upcoming formal party she's attending. Time to play dress-up for the crime boss!
Malibu Barbie Outfit #1: Jaime puts on a beautiful full length, sleeveless black evening gown bedazzled with horizontal stripes. 250 points! Her hair is styled up in a bun, but I think perhaps the earrings she wore here were bordering on bling overkill—unless you enjoy carting around 2 chandeliers on your ears. Jaime's talking to Donald while she's admiring the Godzilla diamond necklace she's putting on, pretending to be motivated by all these worldly possessions she's being offered for turning to the dark side. However, Donald remains skeptical of Jaime's allegiance.
At the party, Jaime mingles and chats with the host about her pro tennis notoriety, then repays his hospitality by sneaking into his den to steal his Navy project plans for Harris. Since her last safe-cracking mission at Ben & Jerry’s, Jaime seems to have refined her technique a bit. This time she skipped the bionic ear combination decoding method and just ripped the entire door off the safe. #LatentHostility
However I would like it stated for the record that not once during this burglary did Jaime even put down her sparkly black evening purse while she was hacking into the safe. Her Malibu clutch remained expertly draped on her left arm as a matching accessory to the crime the entire time. Perfection!
Then Jaime scribbles a text message on a piece of paper to place back inside the safe that says "CONTACT GOLDMAN, O.S.I. ...Sent from my iHand" Unfortunately Donald spied on her and swiped the note afterwards without her knowledge, so the message never made it to Oscar.
Later at the mansion, Harris and Jaime toast her successful thievery over a glass of brandy, and then he fondles her hand and starts to put the moves on her. Ewwwww! Jaime was relieved when Donald interrupted this scene. Then I think she had to go take a shower after that. I know I did.
Malibu Barbie Outfit #2: Later that evening, Harris commissions his bionic doll again for her second assignment and outfit, and Jaime emerges from his Malibu mansion in her next disguise: dressed like a Rite Aid Pharmacist wearing a light blue lab coat and large, black rimmed eyeglasses. This career-oriented outfit was designed to appease the faction of Jaime Sommers fans who are awkward, adolescent geeks— young viewers who will one day grow up to hang out at the mall in front of the Apple Store.**
Clearly, Harris is fulfilling a fantasy to conceal Jaime's superwoman abilities by putting her in a classic Clark Kent disguise. (Phone booth sold separately) Well whatever, because on behalf of all her fans here in nerdland who wear glasses, I hereby assign Jaime 500 points for these fabulous fashion frames! (Different from her Harry Potter specs in Over the Hill Spy.) As you can see from the Bionic Blonde research presented on the right, Jaime’s had countless undercover missions over the years where she has successfully fooled us all using this same clever disguise.
She Blinded Me With Science: So our Malibu Pharmacist has to steal something like a microchip from a science lab and Donald drives their undercover van (sold separately) to the complex. Jaime bionics a padlock into a storage room and then hai-karates a chain link fence barrier. Again, she tries to leave a note for Oscar before she leaves, but this time Donald catches her at gunpoint. During the van ride back, this is actually a nice conversation where they both talk about their motivations for their opposing paths of righteousness.
Might is Right: This scene will semi-set the tone for The Bionic Woman series—an aim to add more character depth to the bad guys—who will mostly be motivated by money or power or to avenge pain or loss or patriotism for their mostly-Russia countries. Here, we learn Jaime's reason for starting this TV show and working for the OSI (well, aside from that $6 Million bionic indentured servant clause) is very simply, "Because I believe that what I'm doing is right."
Meanwhile back at the (Malibu) ranch, Harris gets a phone call and accidental tip that Jaime is double-crossing him and is still working undercover for the OSI. Oops, busted!
Isn't Her 24 Hour Contract Up YET? The next morning Harris has dragged our poor girl out of bed to do yet another covert assignment. (Yo, don't make me call Sally Fields to unionize this slimy sweatshop.) This time Jaime has to heist a folder or something from a company vault, but thankfully gets to dress up in a less conspicuous yellow pantsuit and go as Malibu Sunshine this time. Harris drops Jaime off outside the highly secured, fenced-in complex, and then his chauffeur drives him onward… right down the road to the main entrance of "Electrodyn Inc.," owned by Carlton Harris. Crap, Jaime's being set up!
Jaime follows orders and easily breaks in, finds the bank-style vault, peels it open like a sardine can—but then she is greeted inside with a nice big surprise party from Harris and some foreign bad guys, who recognize her as the bionic woman they just watched on closed circuit TV entering the compound. She is now going to be sold to them like a fembot so they can "take her apart” to study the bionic technology. Noooooo!
Vaulty Wires: Suddenly, Donald enters with a gun to stop this corporate madness—a distraction that allows Jaime to bionic the bad guys around and rip some electrical box off the wall to shut off the power. She and Donald escape out of the vault and Jaime power locks it back to imprison them. Angry Bird Score: 250 points. Woo-hoo! And Ms. Wagner earns an extra 500 points here for her stunt bravery in pulling that flaming high voltage box off the wall herself. (Can we get a burn unit on standby, please?) Note: for an animated gif of this scene on the left, refresh this web page.
And thus concludes Malibu Jaime’s million dollar weekend crime spree. In her apartment on Monday morning before school, Oscar informs Jaime that Harris is being successfully indicted for murder—she did good and he's proud of her. “And Steve would be, too." Oscar adds, and that he “sends his love” from Thailand.
Jaime is all smiles with this more-personal-than-an-AM-Radio-crossover-update and says “Give him mine, too” Aww don’t you just love happy endings where Jaime and Steve send candy hearts back and forth through Oscar? Then Jaime points out hey, this is the first mission she didn’t mess up, and that she might be able to do this every week as a series! My purple mood ring agrees.
Apple Turnover: Later at school,Teddy is disappointed Miss Sommers wasn’t at the fair last weekend. Jaime says she wanted to come “but I had so much running around to do—it was very important.” (This is code for I got a much better offer in Malibu, kid, and yes, crime does pay despite what I will teach you in continental congress.) Since Teddy didn’t get to see Jaime dunk for apples, he saved one to give to her, but feels a little embarrassed. “Corny, huh?”
Nonsense. Our Malibu Teacher thinks it's terrific.
Welcome Home Jaime (Part 1)
Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast (Guest)
Seven different fabulous wardrobe changes in this second episode. The gray flannel top with dark vest design was a repeat from Part 1. My faves were the sequined black evening gown and the short-sleeved yellow jumpsuit. While I’m never crazy about seeing animal furs worn, it was not something that came out of Jaime’s own closet so Ima forgive this “Malibu Mink,” and blame it on Harris for forcing her to wear it!
*Junior Feminist Fantasies: This is a new section in Bionic Blonde where girls get to measure the career hopes we garnered from shows like The Bionic Woman in the 70s with any progress logged in gender advancement in the decades since. Let's analyze Jaime's 1976 class discussion on women in education and politics.
In terms of education, women actually began outnumbering men in college in the 80s, and are now earning more bachelor and advanced degrees than men today, so tons of progress there. Report Card: A+ *Fist Bump* But statistically, we still have yet to achieve equal pay for equal work, earning an average of only 77¢ for every dollar a man makes. Report Card: C
As for the number of women "signing" in Washington? Currently in 2012, women hold less than 20% of elected office positions on both federal and state levels, despite comprising over 50% of active registered US voters. While still an improvement from the 70s, it's not exactly an equal ratio in gender representation. However, since 1976, we have had 3 female Secretaries of State, 3 women on the Supreme Court, 1 Madam Speaker of the House, and 7 female First Ladies!
** I would like assure any readers who may have missed the satire here, I always use the term ‘geek’ with a great deal of affection. Not only do I consider myself part of this club—I mean please, I’m devoting a blog to The Bionic Woman—but I also wear glasses. So this is a rare occasion where I get to admire my heroine in similar character fashion.
THE BIONIC WOMAN 1X02
MOVE OVER MALIBU BARBIE
In her very first solo assignment, Jaime plays dress-up and goes on a 24-hour crime spree. Some girls have all the fun!
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