Saturday, February 05, 2005

Miami Vice

It’s Saturday night and one of the cable channels is playing a mini-marathon of Miami Vice. The colorful cop show is as entertaining now as it was back in the late 70’s when it was one of the hottest shows on TV. Legend has it that one of the major channels needed a hot ticket to compete in the ratings. A bloke who is responsible for creating many mega-hits was brought it and big money was put on the table. The executives were ready to be dazzled by a major dog-and-pony show presentation. The idea man picked up a pad, scribbled on it, slid it across the table and picked up his check. Scrawled on the paper was two words that changed television history: MTV Cops.
Miami Vice was a huge piece of pop culture. Police shows had good history in television ratings for years, and this show was cutting-edge with flashy cars, beautiful women dressed to kill, rock n’ roll soundtracks, seedy criminal elements and good old American ultra-violence.
The Hardy Boys dipped in expensive trendy pastel couture were Crockett and Tubbs leading undercover cops, working with an unlikely team of crime busters that took out cocaine smugglers and major players on a weekly basis. Miami vice was as corny as the 1960’s Bat-Man TV series and had the big Hollywood guest names as well.
Those that had never been to Florida got to see the beauty of the architecture during chase scenes and long shots. Car fanatics got an eyeful of autos that broke the $100K price tag. Land locked snowed in work weary young adults tuned in and saw high power speed boats cutting across the sun drenched waters. Best of all were the women. Great looking hotly dressed women.
Those that lived through the Miami Vice phenomenon all too well remember the clothing copy cat craze that swept the country. Cheap knock offs of instructed suits, soft pants and light sandals were worn by young fellows on the prowl. I guess it was better than dressing like a disco duck, and it’s not like clothing manufacturers really give people a big choice on what to wear. They make it, we by it. As long as clothing in public is not an option.
There were even kits sold so you could make your ‘affordable’ Corvette look like a Ferrari. America had clearly lots it’s collective mind as Vice mania took it’s toll. Coke was as trendy as ever, and the drug of choice began cropping up in more remote regions to satisfy demands of the adventurous. Some things never change.
The violence of Miami Vice was an all-time high for TV. It was like the Depression Era in Chicago. Automatic and sub-automatic weaponry of the highest caliber (sorry, bad pun) was used and carried by the bad guys as if they were pocket knives. The police carried huge hand cannons and shot with deadly aim. And when the evil went down, it was no easy death. Head over heels, off the top balcony, from the ship to the pier, Miami Vice was a dream come true to stunt men and women to show their stuff.
Well, I got to go. Another episode of Miami Vice is about to come on.


Blogger Steve said...

Ah, Dan, there were some great shows in that series. As repulsed as I am by all that is southern Florida, it served as a setting for some great stories. "Miami Vice" is my secret vice. "Back in the World" and "Stone's War" were great. Not because G. Gordon Liddy was in them, but despite the fact.

"Bushido" was fantastic. I've always liked E.J. Olmos.

But all that is so '80's. If you want to really connect to southern Florida, google "Carl Hiaasen", and read his Miami Herald columns, and his novels.

February 26, 2005 at 10:43 PM  

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