The Rockford Files (1977) – Quickie Nirvana & Irving the Explainer

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Jim Rockford (James Garner) finds himself in all manner of trouble in this week’s episodes.

First up is Quickie Nirvana, which aired 11 November, 1977 and was written by David Chase. The phone gag this time around featured someone calling, complaining about having left a message a few times, and wondering if Jim still has those goats for sale.

Jim finds himself mixed up with a flakey new-age hippie type, when he lets Sky (Valerie Curtin) into his life. While she’s trying to avoid bill collectors, she’s lounging in co-ops, trying to find her inner peace, and falling for one new age con after another. It seems though, the bill collectors aren’t really bill collectors and are actually a couple of thugs looking to find a bundle of money that Sky failed to deliver one night.

Jim gets pulled in against his will, and bounces between new-age rackets, drugs, rock’n’roll and booze, all of which may have led to an incident that someone in the music industry is trying to cover up, and everyone seems to want the money, no matter what it will mean for their karma.

I feel a little bad for Sky, who seems to be a bit of a lost soul, who just wants something to believe, and for someone to tell her what to do, as if she’s a bit incapable of making decisions for herself.

But my favorite part was in the last moments of the episode when Sky, under a new name now, asks Jim if he’s heard of Jesus. His answer is priceless and I laughed out loud.

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The second episode this week, Irving the Explainer, screened for the first time on 18 November, 1977, and was written by Chase again, perhaps that’s why the phone gag for this episode is yet another person calling to ask about the goats for sale.

This one is a dense, convoluted episode that involves films, unusual names, paintings, a thirty year-old murder, and Nazis.

Jim starts looking into this mess when Karen Hall (Barbara Babcock) approaches him for help. He quickly learns that she’s being tailed by a number of people including the French Surete, and that the people he’s looking for may in fact have been working with the Third Reich back in the 1940s.

There is a lot going on in this episode, and if you wander away for a moment, you are going to be lost for the rest of the story. Heck, even Jim brings in assistance from the local university in the form of a student named Daphne (Irene Tsu) who is laying out a board of chain of events, victim, suspects, missing items, and trying to apply logic to all of it.

I personally liked the beginning of the episode when Karen is talking to Jim about all these old movies that were supposed to have been made, their names subtly changed to evoke the name of classic films, but changed just enough to sound like they may have come from the same era, and contain similar stories.

More fun next week!

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