Pom Pom Angels
After a extremely un-exciting stock footage football game played by the Bulldogs, cheerleader coach Beverly Casey is interrupted in the womens' locker room - first by some guy named Eddie (more on him later), then by Belle Asher, the manager and judge of the Bulldogs cheerleaders - The Bow Wows - and her creepy son. The parade of peeping toms ends with the monstrosity Tasker who walks in demanding to see "Marianne”, who apparently is a missing cheerleader. Later, while locking up, Ms. Casey is visited by yet another unknown locker room intruder. This one grabs the hapless cheer coach and we are off and running!
Back at the office, Bosley is reading a threatening note filled with religious rants. It seems three such notes have been sent to Dan Abner, owner of The Bulldogs and the latest note makes an indirect reference to the missing Beverly Casey. Charlie suggests that at least two of the Angels become Bow Bows (we never saw that coming) and that Sabrina take Beverly Casey's place as the cheer coach because on top of quarterbacking the football team at the police academy (see Angels in the Backfield) Sabrina was also a cheerleader in high school, evidently in various army bases her dad was stationed on, but whatever.
Kelly and Kris actually have to try out for the squad (the Bow Wows) because client Dan Abner is an old lush and Charlie is afraid he may blow the Angels' cover. Sabrina proceeds to whip Kelly and Kris into shape. Sabrina chats up Abner before the try-outs and learns that he doesn't like girls who mess with their hair (Jill would have been screwed); she uses this "tip" to get two competitors disqualified for fussing with their hair. Kelly and Kris, of course, get hired. (Out of guilt, Bri offers the rejected pair of cheerheads future work.)
Kris and Kelly suit up after their performance (and of course they did well - they got to try out to music similar to the Charlie's Angels action theme so they already had the groove) and start complaining about how tight their Bow Wow uniforms are. That's right, Kris and Kelly bitch and moan about having to wear tight, revealing clothes. As if all this was not banal enough, newsman Sam shows up at the tryouts with the creepy peeping tom Eddie from the locker room earlier and oh, guess what? Tasker shows back up as if on cue asking about “Marianne”, “Marianne” in much the same way a zombie might moan “brains, brains” in a Living Dead flick.
A sports writer interviews the Angels in order to plug the Bow Wows in his column. Kris and Kelly introduce themselves as slightly altered versions of characters they created in Season 2's Pretty Angels All in a Row. Kris, country girl from Macon, Georgia becomes a country girl from Atlanta and Kelly's aloof heiress now hails from Philly and sounds an awful lot like her impression of Katharine Hepburn. It's at this point in the episode where every character the Angels interact with makes some sort of religious reference in an attempt to create red herrings. This dialogue is handled so sloppily that it becomes ridiculous and tedious. To wit:
Sam: “Not that you ladies aren't absolutely adorable but I would much rather meet you at a church social.” Sabrina: “A church social? (Wink wink nudge nudge to Kelly) Um, tell me, are you a religious man?"
To break up all this nonsense, in the next scene, Kelly is accosted by the giant Tasker who always seems to appear throughout the episode in the scene directly after Eddie and Sam are on screen. What this means we don't know, but the fact that the mind was wandering to scene compositions and screen times tells you how poor the writing was on this one. Thankfully, Bosley rescues Kelly from Tasker's parking lot assault.
Kris gets chatty with a fellow cheerleader who fills in the blanks on the Marianne/Tasker/Belle Asher situation. It seems Marianne had some contract disputes with that mountain of a woman, Belle Asher. Kris then goes to see Belle but encounters her twitchy son Timothy instead, who tries to make moves on her and mentions that he is studying theology, prompting Kris to flash another one of those “dum dum dum" looks that just serve to further insult the intelligence of the viewer. All of this is interrupted rather abruptly by the senior Mrs. Asher and Kris asks her to represent her as her agent.
Meanwhile, back at the cult…wait a minute… no cult has been introduced, but in the next scene, out of nowhere we are treated to TV's Honey West herself (Anne Francis) gowned in a sackcloth and holding court over Beverly Casey and two bewildered female hostages, prattling on about her past as a former prostitute and how "The Good One" saved her life. Hey! Do you suppose one of these hostage broads is Marianne? Good for you. That's one mystery solved; actually that's two mysteries solved because momentarily "The Good One" lowers his hood to reveal he is … Eddie, the creepy locker room newspaperman!
Now all we have to do is wait around for the Angels to figure that out and kick The Good One's ass. Bosley distracts Timothy's mom by spitting game in that way that only Bosley can while Kelly, Kris and the Bow Wows perform that same horrible routine they tried out with. If that is the only routine they know, watching the Bow Wows could get extremely tedious.
Eddie makes his move on Kris (didn't see that coming) and asks to meet her for dinner. Kris declines because she has to go out with Timothy, you know, the guy revealed NOT to be the bad guy. So Kris' instincts suck is what the writers are trying to say, evidently. Eddie questions Sabrina about Kelly in an awkward and uncomfortable scene. Why the Angels have not pegged creepy-stalker -walking-into-the-locker-rooms-smudge-on-his-jacket Eddie as a bad guy is baffling.
During her date with Timothy, Kris goes to freshen up and phones Sabrina to check in. When she returns to the table, Timothy is gone and Eddie appears (Seriously, he is so creepy throughout the entire ordeal; why the Angels don't immediately suspect him makes no sense.) Eddie drugs Kris' coffee and then drags her out of the restaurant, and although a waitress seems to witness all this, she simply turns the other way and appears to go about her business.
Back at the office, it seems the waitress did at least tell the Agency about Kris' abduction and now Charlie suddenly suspects Eddie. Kris comes to and finds herself in The Good One's lair (a cheap rip off of the cult setting from Satan's School for Girls) where and Anne Francis explains to her that she needs to don her sackcloth and get with the program before The Good One returns. At this point, Kris displays that Munroe confidence in being able to kick Anne Francis' ass and get herself, Beverly and the other kidnapped cheerleaders out of there before her own hair is sacrificed.
While all of this is going on, Sabrina and Kelly notice a smudge of the same kind that was visible on Eddie's jacket the previous night, whereupon they deduce that evil Eddie is keeping the women hostage at an old printing plant. Why? It seems Eddie went off the deep end after the death of his sister. That doesn't have anything to do with.. you know what, whatever.
Kelly and Bri ride to the rescue as fast as the Pinto can carry them, and Kris decides she ain't signed up for all this hostage-with-a-haircut crap, courageously kicking and head-butting her way to freedom, leaving half a dozen toppling candles in her wake. Bri and Kelly show up in time to help coax crazed Eddie out of the now flaming building. Yes, it's burning because Kris set it on fire. If you kidnap Kris Munroe and threaten her hair, she will not only kick all her captors' asses and rescue her fellow hostages, but she will burn your shit to the ground and still look good in a sackcloth.
This episode concludes with an extremely unfunny and annoying scene in the office in which the Angels sort of pimp themselves out for a free vacation to somebody over the phone, but it turns out to be - surprise!!! - CHARLIE!
• Why was everyone okay with male visitors wandering into a girls’ locker room while they were showering?
• Co-owner of the Bow Wow's Mrs. Asher is a judge at the cheer tryouts yet she is also sponsoring two of the girls trying out. That seems fair. How Miss Chrysanthemum Pageant of her.
• By what authority or ability does Sabrina plan to make good on her promise of future cheer jobs for the two girls whose auditions she sabotaged?
• Kris and Kelly's cheerleading persona/covers seem an awful lot like the covers/personas they used in Pretty Angels All in a Row.
• What's with the way Kris physically half passes out when her coffee is drugged? Eddie acts like he's carrying her out, but he isn't really, she's just walking on her own but then seems passed out from the waist up.
• Kris' nails are unpainted when Eddie drugs her coffee, and purple when she wakes up. Guess Anne Francis has a lot of spare time on her hands.
• What are the odds of so many of the suspects mentioning/being affiliated with religion (Timothy used to be in a seminary; Sam makes a comment about a church social; Eddie wrote a newspaper column) when the topic is usually a non issue.
• “The flames of purgatory?” Traditionally, purgatory is where Catholics believe souls remain before going on to heaven so why would there be any flames ... oh, never mind, Kris.
• In an early precursor of her Season 5 trance-like state, Kelly seems to stand there with her gun covering the hostages until Sabrina yells at her to watch Margo who was trying to re-enter the burning building. Pay attention, Kelly, stop guarding the victims!
BAD GUYS BEAT DOWN
SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS
SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS
DAYS TO SOLVE CASE
When Kris keeps going on about how tight the Bow Wow uniforms are, "I can't breathe," and Kelly quips, “What's wrong, something not showing?”, you can't help but think both Angels routinely wear much more revealing and tight attire. Check out Kris' skin-tight pants she sports at the end of the episode. While she is on her own time. That being said, the tight blue with yellow fringe Bow Wow outfits aren't nearly as tacky as the Feline costumes were.
Sabrina manages to incorporate a turtleneck into her cheer-coach gear and why Kris wears lilac colored denim overalls to an upscale dinner date with Timothy is never explained.
Look, some episodes show you the bad guy right from the beginning, and it's fun to watch the Angels figure it out. Some episodes keep it a secret and you have to solve the case along with the Angels, and that's fun too. This episode was neither here nor there; why they randomly revealed the identity of the antagonist halfway through, thus making all of the remaining scenes featuring the other suspects completely irrelevant, is beyond us, but that's what happened. This ruined the reveal that the first part of the episode had been setting us up for - why not just let us be surprised along with Kris when she finds out who the bad guy is? It's like the bad guy blew his cover to us, the way Angels often do to potential suspects!
When Mr. Brown says he would much rather meet the Angels at a church social, the normally cool as a cucumber Sabrina double takes at Kris and Kelly like "CLUE??!!?" in such a fashion that you'd expect Dan Brown to say, “What are you - three cops or something?” (If this was Season 1, they probably would have played the Angel Chime just to make sure we got the idea.)
SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS
Kris wins. Surprise!
- HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 81%
This is one of those episodes where the quality of the final take-down saves the entire show in it's awesomeness. Kris talks much smack before disarming and flipping Honey South and then proceeds to show the Good One that she is the Bad One.
It seems Kris is the only Angel plucky enough to take on a bad guy by running at him head first - kamikaze style - knocking him into an altar of burning candles. As soon he gets up, she knocks him right down again. Sabrina also got to re-disarm Anne Francis before Kris dragged her ungrateful butt to safety.
Timothy Asher was played by CA super-guest-star Rick Casorla, who also appeared as Joe Marshall in Antique Angels, the voice of Martin the ghost in Haunted Angels, bad guy Burke in Angel's Child, and bad guy Hank in Angel on a Roll.
Anne Francis later returned to play Cindy, the lady who buys weed from Sonny Bono, in Angels of the Deep.
Fran Ryan: Belle Asher previously played Nurse Fager in Terror on Ward One.
Sandy Ward: Dan Abner previously appeared as Stone, one of the bad guys from Antique Angels.
Cis Rundle, Cheryl Ladd's friend, played her biggest role in this episode as Ellen the cheerleader. She appeared many other times on the show as an extra, first as Charlie's Casey Jones-themed bimbo in Circus of Terror, tai chi chick in Angel in Love, waitress in Angels in the Backfield, random crowd extra in Game, Set, Death, camera chick in Antique Angels, football chick in Sandcastle Murders, random casino extra in Angels in Vegas, waitress in Angel Come Home, random dock extra in Love Boat Angels, the not-Kris pirate in Of Ghosts and Angels, and the librarian in An Angel's Trail.
Cliff Bole also directed Dancing in the Dark, Hours of Desperation, Winning is for Losers, The Prince and the Angel, Of Ghosts and Angels, and Let Our Angel Live.
Richard Carr also wrote Counterfeit Angels and Angels Go Truckin'.
Greg's Rating: There was no way in hell this show was going to run five seasons without a cheerleading episode being produced. Especially in the late 70's when The Dallas Cowboys and LA Rams had squads who were at least as popular as Barkers Beauties. That being said, the plot was as ludicrous as it was entertaining, which was plenty - but then most of my favorite Charlie's Angels eps have dumb plots. Not saying this is a favorite though ...
Sabrina and Kelly had little to do but ask dumb questions, although Kelly especially seemed to do the most with what she was given. The cheesiness and fun of Kris' third act capture and escape from the hooded “Good One” and his Honey West sidekick almost made up for the 45 minutes of boredom and occasional laughs that preceded it. Almost. Any episode that features a hair fetish will star Jill or Kris because - well, because it just does, and this felt very much like Little Angels Of The Night. Am I the only one who secretly wished this was Season 4 and Tiffany had to be a cheerleader? Just the tryout scene alone would have provided five times the awkwardness of Angels On The Street.
Anna's Rating: And here's where we're really starting to scrape the bottom. It's like they ran out of ideas for regular crime-based plots and instead just started having weird stuff happen to the Angels (ok, usually Kris), and all of a sudden we start getting this culty hair-cutting, alligator wrestling, desert island, amnesia, haunted house, doppelganger sort of stuff. Luckily, plot quality doesn't necessarily have anything to do with enjoyment, and this one's just bizarre enough to be entertaining. You knew there was gonna be an obligatory cheerleading episode at some point (I cannot believe it wasn't written by Ed Lakso), and that aspect of it was just as mediocre as we all expected, but the bizarre Mad-Libs-generated subplot of the Anne Francis hair-cutting cult made the episode memorable. I'm not gonna say "guilty pleasure" because memorable doesn't necessarily mean good, but if you're looking for a fun-bad episode, here ya go. I really enjoy the 3rd season Kelly/Kris/Sabrina dynamic, so there's something for me to enjoy in even these most shameful episodes.
Joshua's Rating: This episode frightened me so much as a kid. This Eddie was creepier than Freddie in Little Angels of the Night. The whole aura given off with the candle lights, the monk outfits, and chopped hair would scare the daylights off any 7-year-old kid. Looking at it now, I just laugh at the absurdity of it all. It should be noted however that the third season was amidst a time when many prime time series plots where a little outlandish. Charlie's Angels was just trying to keep up with the wacky plots of The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, and Nancy Drew to pull in viewers.
This episode is enjoyable if you get past the fact that there is no gritty plot compared to early seasons (The Big Tap-Out, Dirty Business). The character acting brings this episode to three stars - Mrs. Asher is hilarious as a rich, pompous broad who has a girl-crazy son. However, whose presence elevates this episode to three and a half stars is Anne Francis of TV’s Honey West.
The 70s clothing always amazes me and Kris looks adorable in purple overalls. The only problem with this episode and the reason it doesn't receive a full four stars is how the bad guys capture Kris for the umpteenth time. How to capture and Angel? Drug her coffee. It should be noted even though Kris got drugged, she still won out in the end escaping with all her hair intact and setting the cult-like hangout on fire.
Brolly's Rating: As if cheerleading isn't camp enough, a fake monk goes after assorted cheerleaders with hair-cutting intent. '70s escapism galore, but not an episode with the trappings of a classic. Although, it does feature one of my all time-favourite Angel background tidbits: Once upon a time...Bri was a cheerleader!