Angels in the Backfield
Amy Jarvis, a standard Nancy Fox character, is a constant disappointment to her old-school dad – first she was born a girl, and now she’s coaching a losing local-league-women’s football team, The Ducks. After”Pokey”, one of the star players on the team is driven at by two masked people on motorcycles, Amy and her dad hirethe Angels to find out who’s behind the motorcycle offense and threatening phone calls. Charlie recommends that *shocker* all three Angels join the team – they reluctantly agree to suit up.
Kris: “I wonder if this is how O.J. got started.”
As the Angels keep an eye out for people who ride motorcycles, Bri is clearly in her element as she plays quarterback for the Ducks while Kelly and Kris begrudgingly make half-hearted plays and look cute in their too-large uniforms.
Julia Smyth (with a “y”), owner of the opposing team, the Panthers, repeatedly and disturbingly attempts to recruit Sabrina for her team. Whether she’s referring to her football team here is ultimately unclear. The three Angels later spy the turtlenecked Smyth speeding away on a motorcycle.
Despite looking like a disheveled drunk post-practice, Bosley bumps into the terrorized player, Pokey, and the two become chummy after discussing her life back home in the sticks and her problems with dyslexia which sometimes cause her to mix up the plays on the field. She provides Bosley with more detailed descriptions of the villainous motorcycles and in exchange, Bos promises to get her help from a dyslexia doctor he knows.
Meanwhile in the ladies’ locker room, a large, hostile teammate aptly named Grinelda picks a fight with tiny, precious Kris and Kelly comes to the rescue just in time, their chick wrestling match culminating with Kelly holding the groaning ogre’s face under a running shower head.
Kelly begins to spend time with Ducks “fan” Joe Phillips, a limping, underdog ex-football player with a chip on his shoulder. They lunch together and afterwards, the two motorcycles show up in the parking lot and try to run them down. Kelly climbs aboard the hood of a parked vehicle to safety.
After having been terrorized by the masked cyclers herself, Kelly manages to sketch one of the vehicles so that it can be checked against Charlie’s computer. Once the results are in, the Angels split into two teams and track down the list of people who purchased that type of motorcycle. On their last stop on the list, Kelly and Kris visit a garage where they discover the infamous motorcycle, and upon peeking through a window, spot Joe suspiciously leaving in a van with another man. Kris stumbles upon a blueprint of the Coliseum that was conveniently left out in the open, and thus deduces that the men are planning to steal the proceeds from a recent rock concert held at the venue.
It’s game time at the Coliseum, and Joe and his accomplice rappel down the side of the building and into the room containing the Coliseum’s safe. Two arena security guards notice the goings-on, and in their attempt to subdue the thieves, get knocked to the floor and held at gunpoint while the bad guys begin to crack the safe.
Having raced to the arena to catch up with them, Kelly sneaks in a side door as Bri and Kris shimmy down a rope and drop through the open window. When they catch Joe and friend in mid-burgle, Sabrina takes the accomplice out with a single shot, and Kelly talks a surprised Joe into dropping his gun and surrendering to the police.
After learning that Grinelda and Julia Smyth (with a “y”) are old college friends, the Angels venture that Grinelda must be sabotaging the Ducks by telling Julia Smyth (with a “y”) all of their plays. Now very seriously into the whole football thing, Sabrina insists to the others’ dismay that they join the Ducks for their final game to beat Grinelda at her own game by making use of Pokey’s dyslexia. Mid-scrimmage at the arena, Amy’s dad sits on the sidelines sipping beer out of a paper bag, and when the Angels successfully foil Grinelda and win the game, he’s guilted into feigning meager pride in his daughter.
Neither the actresses nor viewers liked the bulky and very un-sexy football uniforms (in part causing Cheryl Ladd to name this as her least favorite episode).
The blue jacket Kris wears looks the same as the one on the cover of Cheryl Ladd’s self-titled first album. It’s also notable that this is one of the few times Cheryl ever wore jeans on the show.
The fight between Kelly and Grinelda is a classic as far as we’re concerned. Gotta love that Kelly is able to subdue a huge furious football player by holding her face in the shower spray. Disappointing to see that Kris still needs rescuing when things get rough, since her later awesome fighting skills have not yet developed. Also, Sabrina gets to shoot a bad guy in the arm.
Oh, and let’s not forget the amazing plays all three Angels make. They’re so amazing that the game’s commentator constantly mentions each of them by name as their stunt doubles strut across the field.
The actual football scenes have weird lines dubbed all over them, like Kris mumbling “Thanks a lot, Charlie,” when you can see that her mouth’s not moving. All the other players are spouting weird and badly dubbed comments in uninspired loud-whisper tones. “Get her, get her.” “Block that pass, block that pass, yeah baby.”
INAPPROPRIATE MUSICAL CUES
What’s with the Asian flavor of the music when Grinelda taunts Kris on the field, and again right after their practice is over? Why did they still have the Chinese grandmother and grandfather cue fromhooked up to some button for the sound guy to accidentally push?
THEY CAN’T ALL BE “THE SMART ONE”
It’s the final big game, already on the field, already huddled, about to scrimmage, seconds on the clock, and Sabrina is JUST NOW having to explain to Kelly the strategy about Pokey and dyslexia. Seriously? Where has Kelly been? Even if she didn’t know about the dyslexia thing in the first place (she did), wouldn’t she have maybe discussed the plan with Sabrina while suiting up? Even disinterested Kris, the only football-inexperienced Angel, seemed to get it already.
The stock grunting noise is sprinkled liberally through the entire Kelly v. Grinelda fight, mostly at moments where it doesn’t belong. The “Ulgh! Ugh!” noise basically plays in a loop while Kelly is just standing there not exerting herself at all.
Case solved in a minimum of 8 days
* This is inferred because we aren’t shown 8 days of content. When the case is introduced, Bosley says that the big game is “next Sunday”. You would not say “next” unless it’s the previous Sunday or earlier. The Angels don’t regularly work Sundays. So, the closest this can possibly be to the big game is the Monday 8 days earlier.
Day 1 – Case introduced
Day 2 - football practice – Kelly draws the motorcycle
(more assumed days of practice)
Day 6 – football practice – Grinelda fight
Day 7 – Sabrina scolds Amy’s dad – dyslexia lesson
Day 8 – Kris and Kelly check Joe’s garage – takedown – winning the game
Day 9 – Office wrap-up
• Watch Sabrina trip on a thing on the ground as they come up the steps after practice.
• The gold van has Kelly’s traditional 356 CFX license plate, and Kelly has a different one.
• How long does it take Grinelda to stabilize her towel before attacking Kris?
• Why does the suddenly-helpless Grinelda wail like her skin is being burned off when Kelly has simply turned the shower on over her head? Is water her kryptonite?
• When Kris and Kelly are driving toward the Coliseum, look at the cars parked alongside the street: is that AN orange Pinto, or THE orange Pinto?
• Kris steals a large blueprint from Joe’s garage, but in the car, she’s looking at a standard-sized piece of paper. Once at the coliseum, the blueprint has grown back to its full size.
• When Sabrina shoots one of the thieves, he acts like he’s been hit in the stomach, but when the cops take him away, it’s his arm that’s bandaged.
Gary Wood was the only guest star to work with every Angel trio. He played the peanut-popping kidnapper Paul in , porn mogul Joe Willis in , and finally the guy who shot Kelly in the final episode, .
Nancy Fox: Childhood friend of Jaclyn Smith’s also plays a hooker in , the maid in One Love…Two Angels and a dancer in .
Prolific writer Ed Lakso brought us roughly one third of the series, including , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Dancing Angels, , , , , , , , , , and .
|Locks Picked:||1 (Kelly)|
|Turtlenecks:||3 (Sabrina, Kris, Kelly)|
|Chick fights:||1, Kelly v Grinelda|
|Shots fired by Angels:||1 (Sabrina)|
|Shots fired at Angels:||0|
|Criminal Charges:||Theft (Kris)|
TOWNSEND AGENCY COMMENTARY
Ever notice how sports are fun to play, but boring to watch? Cheryl Ladd naming this as her least favorite episode sort of makes sense as the opposite of real sports – fun to watch, but horrible to be in. Kelly v. Grinelda is one of the classic fights of the whole show. And wow, I just can’t get past Sabrina and Julia Smyth with a Y.
Block that pass, yeah baby, yeah baby. Just witnessing Sabrina flit around the various fields as a free agent while Julia Smyth (with a Y) makes incessant non-football-related passes at her makes this a must-see episode. I love how at home Kate Jackson is in this episode – she’s at her most cute and energetic. The very idea that all the Angels are forced to take part in the game(s) is ridiculous. Bri, maybe; but Kelly and Kris look like delicate, absent-minded junior models with dirt smudged on their cheeks – here’s a suggestion – get back to the Bow Wows – they’re mildly adept at cheerleading, even when it puts their hair at risk.
The plot is a simple one. The Angels are thrown onto the football field to uncover who is threatening a womens’ football team.
Different factors help different episodes garner a ranking. Here’s the rundown on why “Backfield” receives three and a half stars: “Julia Smyth with a Y”. You’ll have to hear it to understand why it’s a factor. Girl power in the form of a football league and the anti-feminist Mr. Jarvis who says, “You know where I think these girls ought to be spending their time including my daughter?” To which Kelly mouths and Sabrina answers, “in the kitchen” gives it the endearing-sympathy sub-plot. Also be on the look out Sabrina is not standing behind the bar. She also wears something other than a turtleneck or pants suit as a matter a fact it’s a dress.
Girl-Power! The Angels play football and on top of that Kelly valiantly mops the floor of the shower with big ole’ meanie Grinelda. Not a nail-biter by any means but an okay episode.
What could be better than Angels in prison? Angels playing all girl football! This episode impresses me more now than back then because the idea of an all girls football league during the 70s seems like a complete fabrication. However, according to Wikipedia, there was in fact a female league at the time, the National Women’s Football League. But back to the show.
Girls are being threatened as they prepare to play an exhibition game and the Angels have to find out why. Sabrina and Kelly played football at the Academy (of course) and Kris, well she’s gonna fake it. Whenever I set out to watch this I feel it’s going to be a boring one, but it has some good moments including Sabrina’s alpha female confrontations with Panthers (that’s a team) honcho, Julia Smyth with a Y; motorcycle scare tactics, locker room intimidation; dumb jock with a heart of gold winning the day; Sabrina dragging Kelly and Kris through an actual game after the case is solved (because she spells Smith with a I) to pull off the last minute win for the lowly Ducks (that’s the other team). As said, because of lines like, “How did a flower like you get mixed up in this garden of thorns?”, I think of this episode as more of a 3. Nevertheless, I’m going 4 out of 5.