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04 October 2011 @ 11:30 pm
The Rise of the Dark Side  
Okay, so a few months ago I made a playlist for Best Beloved (based around the theme of heroes and saving the world, additions still gratefully accepted) featuring the song Michael (Jump in), which is actually written (Jumpin) in the version I bought, but I refuse to believe that. Anyway, what I didn't realize when I put the song on the mix is that it is, at least according to BB, a song written by a car to David Hasselhoff.

Best Beloved spent some time explaining this concept to me - apparently, the car was an artificial intelligence, and together he and Michael (played by David Hasselhoff) fought crime. And then I asked her about the line in the song that goes:

"It's not like you/To turn your back and let the dark side win"

Obviously, this gave me a mental image of the show as a kind of Star Wars crossover, where Michael was a Jedi and the car was his - trusty, um, whatever. Racer-thing, maybe. Basically, I was sort of envisioning David Hasselhoff as Anakin Skywalker, which made my brain hurt.

BB explained to me that, no, it wasn't about Michael's dark side. "Because I don't think he really had one," she said.

"But without angst, what do you write about in the third season?" I asked her.

She didn't know. Apparently her television knowledge is not that encyclopedic.

Thinking about it, though, I'm not sure I can imagine this concept. He's a lone wolf white guy out to save the world with just his car (and, I'm guessing, his fists or maybe a gun, although BB did not go into that part)! Surely he must have:
  1. Angst, including a tragic back story.
  2. A dead wife or girlfriend or kid something, or maybe just one who left him with prejudice after she found the photos of him with a puppy on his dick. (Warning for a dude with a puppy on his dick. NSFW, is what I'm saying. Also possibly not all that safe for your brain.)
  3. A constant struggle with the dark side, whether it be his alcoholism or his desire to eat people or his evil twin or his general dickishness or whatever.
You can't have TV without those things, is my understanding. Even in Sports Night, a half-hour comedy show, Danny had a dead brother, a bad relationship with his parents, and some kind of major emotional breakdown including acting out on air. He had plenty of angst! He had a dark side! He was a news anchor on a half-hour comedy show. So I really don't see how a crimefighter with an intelligent car could get out of this. (BB does recall that the car apparently had some angst. And an evil twin.)

Except, as previously documented extensively in this space, my understanding of TV is limited and narrow. So - can you have TV without those things? I mean, are these the actual requirements, or am I just confused? And if those are the requirements, was it always that way? Can you pinpoint an era as the Rise of Main Character Angst? What about Main Character Dark Sides?

Tell me about angst and dark sides on TV, is what I'm saying!

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on October 5th, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)
...Should I feel left ou,t, then, because I don't have an evil twin?
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(no subject) - thefourthvine on October 5th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - stillane on October 6th, 2011 03:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - corvis_corvax on October 6th, 2011 04:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - innocentsmith on October 6th, 2011 12:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
tinx_rtinx_r on October 5th, 2011 07:21 am (UTC)
Oh, Michael has a total tragic back-story! For starters, he has a new face and is dead as far as the rest of the world is concerned. His partner was shot down beside him (pre-series), he was a Green Beret and was in Vietnam as a spy or intelligence or something like that. The angst potential is endless... hence his partner is a car, not a human :)

(There is guy/car slash for this fandom.)
tinx_rtinx_r on October 5th, 2011 08:00 am (UTC)
Oh! I forgot to mention! He totally has an evil twin in a couple episodes!!
(no subject) - madripoor_rose on October 5th, 2011 01:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jeanniewal on October 5th, 2011 08:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on October 5th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tinx_r on October 5th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tinx_r on October 6th, 2011 01:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
Loriel Erisloriel_eris on October 5th, 2011 07:22 am (UTC)
Years, since I've seen Knightrider, but Michael totally had angst! I think Michael was actually dead (not in zombie way!). Michael Surname-I-Can't-Remember was this ordinary guy, and then one day there was an accident? (attempted) murder? something involving fire? involving Michael and everyone thinks he died, but he's actually rescued by ythe Knight Foundation. Michael wakes up hours? days? months? years? later and discovers that his previous life has gone and he's now Michael Knight. (And I think there was some sort of plastic surgery - he doesn't look like his old self - which is why I think there was fire (and a badly burned Michael) involved.)

I can't remember how Devon (the Guy In Charge Of Knight Foundation) got Michael to start Fighting Crime; whether Michael agreed because he didn't have anything better to do, or if there was A Vendetta (see above re: murder?).

Also. I think Michael had a Love Of His Life when he 'died' which was also cause of some angst.

And all of this is what I remember of the proper Knightrider. I know nothing of the new one.
jeanniewaljeanniewal on October 5th, 2011 08:06 am (UTC)
And didn't said "Love of Life" reappear some time and have to saved from some bad guy, by Michael, and he couldn't tell her who he really was?? Oh, the heartbreak!

(It was the 80s, ok??)
(no subject) - loriel_eris on October 5th, 2011 07:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - corvis_corvax on October 6th, 2011 04:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - loriel_eris on October 9th, 2011 04:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - corvis_corvax on October 9th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jeanniewal on October 6th, 2011 04:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on October 5th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - stillane on October 6th, 2011 03:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - corvis_corvax on October 6th, 2011 04:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - stillane on October 6th, 2011 04:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - corvis_corvax on October 6th, 2011 06:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - loriel_eris on October 9th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Fetchvardoger on October 5th, 2011 07:33 am (UTC)
You COULD have TV without those things, as long as it was back before about 1995 or so. Then they released an upgrade and now TV no longer functions without the angst plug-in.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on October 5th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
Man, someone needs to make an instant TV hero generator. Here's his tragic back story! Here's his angst! Here's his dark side! Now give him a common name and an uncommon job and you are ALL SET.
Daegaer: The horror! by makesmewannadiedaegaer on October 5th, 2011 07:44 am (UTC)
Even the mention of the puppy/Hasselhoff picture is giving me flashbacks. I now have to go and be a responsible adult at work, and all I can see is that image, burnt into my brain. (Hee!)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on October 5th, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
It is one of those things that you can never forget. I mean, before last night it had been years since I'd seen that picture. And yet, as soon as BB mentioned that Michael was played by David Hasselhoff, my brain went to the Puppy Place.

jeanniewaljeanniewal on October 5th, 2011 08:10 am (UTC)
OMG that picture :( Those puppies look like they'd stretch out all those wrinkles if they got aroused - yuck!! David Hasselhoff has ruined wrinkled puppies for me!
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV Katamari Damacythefourthvine on October 6th, 2011 05:49 am (UTC)
David Hasselhoff has ruined wrinkled puppies for an entire generation. In nursing homes in forty years we'll all be talking about David Hasselhoff with puppies on his dick.
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV lettersthefourthvine on October 6th, 2011 05:54 am (UTC)
If I can figure out 8tracks - it is currently fighting me - I will do so!
Minerva Greygreyminerva on October 5th, 2011 10:04 am (UTC)
Ok, I was going to be all sensible and wiki the show (because my memories from the 80ies are as blurred and uncertain as the rest of the posters here ;) ) but lo and behold - someone (who has seen your puppypic?) has spoofed the entry!

As far as I remember (but no guarantees), the hero was shot in the head/face, therefore requiring extensive plastic surgery. I don't really remember all the stuff from the rest of the series, except the decided (b)romance going on between KITT and Michael. :)

However - you mentioned "season three angst", and now I can't get the concept out of my head; I'm thinking through all my tv-shows and trying to remember if they all turn angsty in the third season! :D
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV menorahthefourthvine on October 6th, 2011 05:58 am (UTC)
First, I just need to state that it is totally not my puppypic. I think it was who originally linked to it. HER FAULT, in other words. I am as much a victim as you are.

That said, yeah, I think whoever did the Wiki vandalizing had totally seen that picture. And was possibly scarred by it. As one is.

However - you mentioned "season three angst", and now I can't get the concept out of my head; I'm thinking through all my tv-shows and trying to remember if they all turn angsty in the third season! :D

See, I wouldn't know enough about TV to be sure that it happens in a certain season. I just know that in the first season, they're establishing. And in the second season, they tweak, unless it's a runaway hit (I have no idea what they do then). But by the third season - what is there to write about, if there isn't a mopey white guy hanging around with a tragic past?
the pirate queen of norwayashkitty on October 5th, 2011 12:48 pm (UTC)
Dude, you've never heard of Knight Rider?

(Maybe it is because my name is Kit, which is very like KITT the talking intelligent car, because TO THIS DAY when I introduce myself people say 'you mean like the car in Knight Rider?' I am not sure how you escaped this knowledge.)

He had a tragic backstory; he and his partner were shot, and they saved his life but he had to go totally undercover so everyone thinks he's dead. And his son became a bad guy.
Imaginary Researcher: Allison Cameron - hollow_arthannahrorlove on October 5th, 2011 12:51 pm (UTC)
Eureka didn't start out with any particular angst for the major characters. Even the main character's relationship with his wife, which ended in divorce, was treated fairly realistically and lightly: they'd grown apart for different reasons, and he was working on becoming a better person, and neither of them hated the other and were happy to move on with their lives. As the show went on, there was some angst and dark side struggling, but it was mostly because of what happened on the show, not what came beforehand.

Journeyman didn't have an unrealistically or outlandishly sad backstory, but rather something more in tune with what would go on in reality. The main character did have some conflicts over what he was supposed to do with his time-traveling abilities, but grew to accept them. Also, he opened up to his wife about what was going on instead of going through lots of elaborate lying, so she knew what was happening if her husband disappeared during a dinner party. It's only thirteen episodes long, and it's all on Hulu.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has no angst to speak of. There are conflicts and problems to solve, and the occasional episode where someone worries about how to act in certain situations, but they're all resolved by the end of the episode. It's very charming. The whole first season's on Youtube.
an_sceal on October 5th, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
I think the simple explanation is- Knight Rider was a show that made an entire generation question whether or not it was okay to have a crush on a sentient car. I always found Michael less interesting than KITT.

Though, in fairness, KITT was BITCHY, and I tend to be amused by snippy, bitchy male (um... some arguable factor of male) characters.
starfishchick on October 5th, 2011 05:15 pm (UTC)
Knight Rider was a show that made an entire generation question whether or not it was okay to have a crush on a sentient car.

It's totally OK!! At least, it is to me!

And KITT was a bitchy car voiced by WILLIAM DANIELS, who is AWESOME.
(no subject) - an_sceal on October 5th, 2011 05:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - boogieshoes on October 5th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - an_sceal on October 6th, 2011 02:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jeanniewal on October 6th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - an_sceal on October 6th, 2011 01:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - travels_in_time on October 6th, 2011 12:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - starfishchick on October 6th, 2011 05:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The sanest lunatic you've ever met: misc: festivids!sdwolfpup on October 5th, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
You know, I'm asking for Knight Rider as one of my Festivids requests; clearly I'm going to have to suggest this song in particular. Thank you!
Sylvia: sh confusion has his masterpiecerheasilvia on October 5th, 2011 09:49 pm (UTC)
Actually, in this story - the *car* has an evil twin (or at least an evil older brother).

I am not joking. That's canon right there.
corvis_corvaxcorvis_corvax on October 6th, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
SERIOUSLY!!! They -ALL- had evil twins! the car, the guy, the chick, and the old guy!
(no subject) - rheasilvia on October 6th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
boogieshoesboogieshoes on October 5th, 2011 10:50 pm (UTC)
in addition to Micheal having angst via Viet Nam, most of the angst for the A-Team, Magnum PI, Simon and Simon, Hunter (cop-buddy show) came from Viet Nam backgrounds for many of the characters.

the main character for Equalizer was a bit too old for Viet Nam, but did the Cold War Agent thing. Spenser and Hawk from Spenser for Hire almost certainly did Viet Nam. and even Macguyver(have duct tape and swiss army knife, and you too can save the world!) has Viet Nam in his background.

specifically regarding Knight Rider - i didn't know Micheal had all that angst sitting there - i always thought the car was the main character, hah!

spiffikinsspiffikins on October 6th, 2011 05:33 am (UTC)
Forever Knight was pretty much my first introduction to a tv series with angst and darkness. While I grew up with Knight Rider, I was too young to really notice anything but the WAY AWESOME CAR :D

Forever Knight had Nick Knight, an 800 year old vampire, who was living in 1990's Toronto and working as a cop - trying to a) help people to atone for his centuries of being a horrible blood-sucking fiend and b) find a way to become human again

Points of angst:

1) he keeps using his dark nature to solve crimes! Mesmerizing people to tell him the truth! Flying through the air to capture crooks!

2) He *wants* to have a relationship with the human female coroner - but his dark nature comes out whenever he gets near her, romantically, so he has to keep it platonic

3) His ex-wife, a gorgeous vampire, is in town, and keeps trying to remind him of how wonderful it is to be true to your vampire nature.

4) He tried to kill his vampire sire, Lacroix, but failed. Lacroix shows up in town, and tries to alternately kill him, and lure him back into the fold.

So much angst! Denial of his dark nature! Flashbacks with really terrible hairpieces! Oodles of brooding and tortured looks! Intimations of a *deeper* relationship between sire and son (soo much slashy fiction!)

I really need to dig out my dvd's and rewatch this series!
Ide Cyan: ab imo pectoreide_cyan on October 6th, 2011 10:41 am (UTC)
And the show had these awesome angsty/cheesy original rock songs on its soundtrack with vocals by Lori Yates (mostly).