Angels on Skates
Kris and Kelly take Tiffany to Venice Beach to teach a reluctant Tiffany to skate like a "real Californian". While renting skates, they're propositioned by one Freddie Fortune - owner of a local skating rink - to join his roller disco contest. They politely decline.
Outside the skate shop, their teacher Kenny is skating with his partner Rita in a grease-stained Venice parking lot. Rita hurries away when a photographer tries to snap her picture. Away from the crowd, two men grab Rita and force her, kicking and screaming, into a van and take off. The Angels roll along halfheartedly, too busy not falling down to earnestly pursue the van. Everyone stands around frowning and pointing before deciding this might have been a kidnapping.
The police don't want to get involved, unable to prove what happened was legally a kidnapping. Kris wants to help anyway - for free - because nobody else will. Tiffany wonders if this kidnapping could have anything to do with Freddie Fortune's $30,000 prize money in that dance contest. Of course it does - there is no other motive for kidnapping in the Angelverse. But we have to watch them investigate anyway.
Posing as a roller derby scout, Bosley goes to the shop to question the girl working the counter, Gert, a wannabe roller derby jammer, and learns some details about local Venice skaters. She then treats him to a demonstration of her derby skills by knocking him to the floor (which he sorta deserved, for getting her hopes up).
Kelly and Tiffany - er, Yvonne Henning and Tara White of Roller Disco Magazine - return to that same parking lot to interview Kenny's obnoxious skating nemesis. They learn nothing. Plan B is to locate and break into Rita's apartment, where they find curiously expensive belongings and a snapshot of her family. Rita must be a runaway!
Meanwhile, a spandexxy Kris is hanging out at Freddie Fortune's, furthering the investigation by skating in circles for several hours. We see that Freddie is the bad guy when he goes into some back room where some henchmen have Rita tied up.
Charlie identifies the snapshot of Rita's father as a famous and recently deceased millionaire, and orders Tiffany, Kelly and Bosley to go wait with Rita's step-mom for the inevitable ransom phonecall. Meanwhile, Kris has to go skate in circles some more. When she tells Kenny about Rita's true identity, he acts surprised, but we soon learn that he's reluctantly in on the kidnapping.
Rita's step-mom reminisces about better times to an 80's-blazered Kelly while Bosley and Tiffany set up some recording equipment. She agrees to Freddie's $1 million ransom demand, and the call is traced to a phone booth near the rink.
In order to hang around the skating rink.. more... Kris takes up Freddie's offer for a spot in his lame roller disco chorus line, because joining a dance chorus is necessary to solve every case.
Tiffany drops off the money in a knapsack as per Freddie's instructions. Observing from the Bosleymobile nearby, Kelly and Bosley soon see Kenny go rogue, skate past and snatch the dough! They exchange bewildered looks before getting out of the car and chasing on foot/skates. Pedestrians are toppled, property is damaged, stunts are performed by men in wigs, and Gert gets to show off her derby skills by knocking a henchman off a bicycle.
Everyone ends up back at Freddie's rink where the big contest is underway. Trying to right his wrong, Kenny skates straight into a fistfight with another henchman in that back room; Kris and Bosley arrive with guns to break it up. Rita goes directly out from the hostage dungeon to skate in the big disco contest with Kenny, even though she just found out he's responsible for getting her kidnapped and traumatized.
Afterwards, Rita is back in her rich clothes and going home with her step mom, who for some reason is going to do everything she can to keep Kenny out of jail. Bosley tries to skate with Gert and falls down. "Oh, Bosley!"
WHAT'D YOU THINK?
• Could the Dom Delouise-looking guy taking Rita's picture be any more blue screened?
• Although they make it seem like Tiffany has never touched a pair of skates in her life, she instantly skates at least as well as Kris and Kelly who are there to teach her.
• Why is it necessary for Tiffany and Kelly to put on skates in order to stand in that parking lot?
• Kelly is visibly just scribbling aimlessly on that notepad. (It'd be great if there was ever a scene where one of their fake interviewees got a look at the notepad with just doodles drawn on it.)
• Why does that creepy guy come at Rita with a big knife in order to take off her earring? Okay, he must've cut off that chunk of her hair with it, but are scissors so hard to find?
• Everyone tosses around that ransom bag like it weighs nothing, although $1 million in cash would have to weigh over 20 pounds (and that's assuming it's all in $100 bills).
• The cameras covering the dance finals are KBEX, the fictional news station where Kelly, Sabrina and Bosley worked in Angels on the Air.
• Gert was sure ready and willing to commit assault on a police officer at a moment's notice just on Bosley's order. Good thing he was telling the truth that time. Then, he simply tells Gert, "watch him for us," and leaves her with a violent henchman unconscious on the sidewalk, and no explanation. What does that mean?? What is she supposed to do if/when he wakes up? Did they ever go back?
• How did Rita feel well enough to immediately go perform her routine after being held hostage for a week? Impressive how she got dressed, applied makeup, and washed and restyled her hair in the 30 seconds it took to get on the dance floor, let alone performed her choreography without a hitch.
• Gert must also be a very forgiving person, to be so friendly to Bosley at the end of the episode after he deceived her pretty cruelly with his cover as a roller derby talent scout. "You know your lifelong dream I said I was going to make come true? Just kidding!! Can you teach me how to put on knee and elbow pads?"
• The same extras in the same clothes are visible in the background from day to day.
BAD GUYS BEAT DOWN
SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS
SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS
DAYS TO SOLVE CASE
STUPID BAD GUYS
Didn't it occur to Freddie that the famously wealthy step mom would probably have police waiting to trace his call, and it would be wise not to use the phone booth at his own rink? Instead he invested in the gadget to disguise his voice, which was at least a better effort than when bad guys talk with a napkin over their mouths. But who's going to recognize his voice anyway?
The Angels' skating attire looks like they're undercover as teens on a farm, complete with pigtails, plaid and overalls, and Tiffany has wisely pieced together her very own Garanimals outfit. Before you complain about the outfit with red spandex pants and Steve Urkel rainbow suspenders, consider that Cheryl Ladd is one of the best people you could hope to see wearing it.
Every single extra was dressed hideously, but the actual worst wardrobe incident was clearly Rene Auberjonois in a blue fringe/sequined cowboy suit.
Wardrobe Repeats Plenty! Tiffany's back in her blue/white suspenders from Love Boat Angels, and in the belted turtleneck outfit from Angel's Child. Kris compensates for Sabrina's absence by repeating this turtleneck from Angels on Campus, and gives her favorite plaid shirt seen in Angels on the Street and One Love... Two Angels some more airtime. Finally, Gert borrows the striped blouse often seen on Kris.
SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS
The Angels and Bosley all have roughly the same amount of screen time here, making this one of the series' most evenly-balanced episodes; on the other hand, 15 minutes per character in an hour-long episode isn't an awful lot.
- HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 64%
Too bad Jill wasn't in this episode; her roller derby experience from Angels On Wheels would've given her (stuntman) validation to skate proficiently or maybe even do some cool stunts in a roller-chase.
True to character, our remaining Munroe puts a twist on her family athleticism by using her skating skills for performance art rather than sport or justice.
This leaves us with Kelly heading up the action-skating department. On one hand, it's realistic not to have all the Angels be expert skaters (we would've written a "yeah right" section here if they were)... but on the other hand, this is TV, and they should be! It's not terribly exciting to watch a novice skater roll around Venice Beach (especially considering it's mostly her Captain-Hook-wigged stunt double, who might as well do some stunts more advanced than rolling in a straight line). The best you can do is laugh at the real Jaclyn Smith careening after various bad guys when it would be far more effective to drop the skates and run.
Once again, the Angels take on an unpaid case just out of the goodness of their hearts (or one of their hearts, and then the other two are obligated to go along with it). One wonders what kind of astronomical salary they must net when they do get paid - pro-bono work doesn't pay for Malibu beach houses.
While we're on the subject, why does Kris phrase it as wanting to help Kenny even though he doesn't have any money? Isn't it Rita they're helping, really? Being Rita's amateur dance partner doesn't make Kenny responsible for her - it's just that he was standing there when it happened. He's not the client. He was reluctant to even report the crime.
These girls sure don't recognize an incredibly obvious kidnapping when they see one. Even rookie Tiff loses points, but Kris and Kelly, who've had 3 and 4 years on the job, respectively, should know better by now. They watch Rita getting wheeled away by two thugs into a scary van, struggling and screaming the whole way, and all we get is "Gee, where d'you think Rita's going?" "Does she know those guys?" Seriously? Then by the time they get to the office, Kris is all adamant that she knows she witnessed a kidnapping with her own eyes. Didn't seem like it at the time, Kris.
REPEAT OFFENDERSRoz Kelly: Gert later appeared in Toni's Boys.
Lory Walsh: Kidnappee Rita Morgan played Carmel in Lady Killer. When did it get to be senior citizens' week?
Rene Auberjonois: Freddie Fortune played hypno-con-artist Terrance in The Seance.
Don Chaffey also directed Mother Angel, Terror on Skis, Angels on the Street, Angels on Campus, Harrigan's Angel, Nips and Tucks, Island Angels, He Married an Angel, and Mr. Galaxy.
Michael Michaelian also wrote Angels on Campus.
Anna's Rating: I didn't note this above because I don't know how many of you are familiar with A Very Brady Sequel, but Shelley Hack has this habit of unnecessarily emphasizing words in exactly the same tone as Jan Brady talking about her ~booooyfriend~ George Glass. If you aren't familiar, the best I can describe it is that she has the ability to speak in italics (and uses it liberally). See: Tiff asking His Grace about the ~biiig contest~. (I have to give a point for "your grace," though, which was actually funny.)
Anyway, this episode is just barely on the edge of what I can try to consider fun-bad as opposed to just bad-bad, in that there wasn't even that much to point out. The Angels display a particularly low IQ and that just spoils it for me. How are they in the law enforcement business? Scratch that - how are they still ALIVE? They didn't even have to have a clue what was going on at any point during the episode - for the most part, they were just unnecessary middlemen rolling/posing around while the supporting characters resolved the problem themselves. Were most crimes in the 70's directly related to dance contests?
Holly's Rating: Spare me this drudgery on wheels. I only award it 2-stars because the personal highlights for me are the jaw-droppingly weird ensembles, odd characters and footage of an unsteady Jaclyn Smith on skates.
MORE SEASON 4 EPISODE REVIEWS