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Route 66: 1x18 Sleep On Four Pillows (3/3)
Route 66

Mr. Bear and Trivers are following the paper trails to all the Hartlebys in the phone book.

Mr. Bear is once again playing pompous mentor.  He insists that Bear operatives are charming, suave, and never pushed around, because they know how to handle people.

Cue, of course, Mr. Bear getting punched out of the karate studio!  Ka-pow!

Back at UCLA!

Tod apparently wouldn't let Buz drive there from their Japanese man-hotel so now Buz has to play musical seats.  Do we ever see Tod in the passenger seat while Buz is driving?  Another one for the drinking game.  That'll be the "Drink whole bottle" entry.  This is why I didn't know Buz could drive until "Three Sides".

If you'd been in the passenger seat you'd have a shorter walk!  He looks a little like one of those sultry ladies who drag their fingertips suggestively across the bonnets of cars or Robot Wars or something.  ("That's a powerful machine you've got there.  How hard does it ride when you really open her up?")   The idea of Tod as a bonnet babe amuses me, so here, have a cap.

Tod says the computer can solve statistical problems, and he'd like to ask the machine about Jan.  Tod also grouses about how Buz isn't working hard enough to pay their rent while he's taking classes.  Tod is always whinging about something.  When he's laid up and doesn't want to pay for a room, when Buz wants to stay in a Hilton instead of a shack, even when Buz is pulling all of the weight, Tod will still whine about money.

Buz promises he's trying his best!  Jan says she'll help him. 

Buz and Jan drive off. 

Jan surreptitiously tosses a letter out of the car. 

Back at the manor, Stella and Mrs. Emmerson have a note and identify Jan's handwriting. 

The detective makes a phonecall and does a great Jack Webb voice.  He says Jan snuck out a message: "Mother.  They say I have only two more days.  Pray for a miracle."  Then he says, "Isn't that like a woman?  Sneaks out a message... no clue about where they've taken her, or anything we can sink our teeth into." Silly women.  They're absolutely useless. 

Jack Webb establishes for us that Mr. Emmerson will be back from his shady dealings with some men who can get a job done, if you know what I mean, tomorrow.  And then he tells the women -- silly, useless women! -- that when the kidnappers call, they should remain calm so they don't panic the kidnappers.  Silly women.

Look at their body language.  Stella is acting, as she knows the truth of what is going on.  Mrs. Emmerson looks just as helpless as Stella, and those short sleeves and that bow on her top give her this childlike association.  (This borders on subliminal.  You may not have noticed, but your brain did.)  She's gaping helplessly.  She's also a state senator, a position which I imagine requires a certain amount of self-assurance, ambition, and hardness.  It's touching that her daughter's disappearance is causing her such distress, but must she become a silent blob of helplessness?  ("Guide us, o Man!  O glorious avatar of your sex, take command, solve our problems, forgive us putting on senatorial aires because at our cores we are but weak women; state government positions aside, we're really only equipped to handle small crises, like fallen souffles!")

Buz and Jan drive about.  Buz explains that this is a bad block.  He worked it yesterday, and far too many people answered their doors.  Buz has been chastised by Tod but he is unrepentant.  They must have money in the bank!  Buz has gotten downright lackadaisical about this whole "earning our living on the road" thing now that he's in LA.  No wonder Tod hustles him back onto the road again.  They'd end up turning tricks for crumbs if they stayed in this city of sun and sin. 

Jan says they should try the apartment complex, since it's a lot of territory that can be covered quickly.

Buz is less than thrilled, but he's like, "All right."

While Buz is distracted by driving, Jan tosses a dress out the window... er... over the side.  Dun dun dun!

Back at Emmerson Manor.

The detective has Jan's dress.  So someone saw a piece of clothing laying in the road and thought "I better call the police!  They'll want to know about this!"?  I mean, maybe if this was a town called Population 14, North Dakota, but in Los Angeles?  Maybe there was a really detailed description in the APB...

Mr. Bear, meanwhile, is getting proper results by tracing clues from the piece of paper Jan dropped.  He calls the sales agency whose... logo, I guess?... is on the piece of paper and demands they tell him the name of the employee whose sales book matches the paper (with an employee code, apparently) that he has in his hand.  The sales agency tells him that one Buz Murdock is assigned the sales book.  There's a musical sting!

Buz and Jan are going about with the lotion kit.  Buz starts fixing his tie.  Jan tells him he's handsome enough already.  Sorry, Jan.  You're like sixteen.  Buz only goes for classy women in their mid 40s and parrot strippers.  You're too innocent!

Buz says that it's practice, you have to do something dynamic.  It's what salespeople call "the hooker". Yes, Buz, practice your door-to-door hooker techniques. 

A hot older woman answers the door.  She's probably a bored housewife, a group that was numerous in the early 60s.  She's so up for it that she immediately says she'll buy a dozen of whatever he's selling and asks Buz to tell his partner to buzz off so he can come in to give her a demonstration.  My God, he is a door-to-door hooker.  Sorry.  "Independent housewife amusement contractor." He's driving a bus in the next episode, so I bet Tod found out what he was up to and made him switch jobs.  Tod is such a spoilsport.

The woman tells him to have his assistant get lost for awhile, while they go inside for a demonstration.  Man.  Free love was getting underway, apparently, and it's only the first season.  The times they are a-changing way too fast!  We should be glad Tod and Linc didn't finish the show by driving their ugly orange and neon green VW into San Francisco with flowers in their hair.

Jan isn't impressed by this old hag who wants to sleep with Buz.

When they both tell her to take a hike, Jan runs off.  Buz follows, so the poor vixen goes back to whatever they did in those days.  Daytime television, presumably, and darning socks?

Jan doesn't run far.  She runs and stands by the car.  Come on, you can do better than that, girl. 

Oh, it turns out she has to stop there so we can have the two plot threads intersect.  Mr. Bear and his assistant are driving by and spot the "salesperson" and decide to have a word.

Buz has caught up with Jan and sort of apologizes for trying to get it off with that random woman right in front of Jan even though her crush on him can practically be seen from space.

The pompous music tips Jan off and she looks down the street.

Mr. Bear's Pompous Marching Music plays. 

Buz and Jan are afeared.  Come on, Buz, can't you hear it?  Nobody with that kind of musical cue is evil.  It's just not done.  Now, if it was the
Imperial March...  *plays it over the scene*  Ah, yes, that is much scarier.

Mr. Bear asks Buz if that is his car. 

"Who's asking?" Buz asks defensively.  He has to be, because I doubt his name is on the papers.  Who's going to believe Buz when he says "My buddy is at school and I'm driving it with his permission"? A traveling salesman in a Corvette probably looks a bit odd.

Mr. Bear asks about his little friend.  Buz says "he" has a bad throat. 

Mr. Bear yanks Jan's hat off. 

Buz punches!  They all go down.

For the second time in the episode, Buz performs his leap of (this time panicked) justice into the Corvette.  Jan scrambles in after him, and they peel out. 

Some comedic tangling of limbs.

Burn rubber!


Buz says he owes her an apology!  Jan says she's sorry too.  Buz says he and Tod are behind her all the way.  I'm sure Tod is thrilled to be enlisted in some kind of Mafia war.  No wonder he's so grumpy all the time.

Jan is sorry because her little "do my parents love me" game has escalated beyond her control.  Well, duh.

That ... night?  I guess?  It's well past four, the time Tod gets out of class, since it's pitch black.  I don't know what they've been doing between four and now, but Buz and Tod are rather desperately trying to figure out what to do with Jan.  Tod still wants to go to the police. 

Jan comes clean.  She says she's a liar!  But she wants their help with one last thing. 

She wants to meet her mother somewhere private, maybe in the computing room at the school.  No, that's a terrible place.  It's going to be full of nocturnal nerds getting Cheeto powder all over their stacks of punch cards while they program the first video games. 

Tod says he can try to arrange access, since he "knows the watchman, Fergie".  Tod... knows the night watchman... at UCLA, where he has been taking one class that gets out at four in the afternoon.  Maybe Buz forgot to pick him up a few times, since he was out having sex with strangers whose husbands were out of town?

(It's very nice that Tod is on such friendly terms with the night watchman, but it's heavy-handed the way that Tod is, on the surface, portrayed as antipode to every unflattering rich boy stereotype.  Consider:  What about all of those classmates he has?  He's not friendly with any of them.  He doesn't acknowledge them when he's in class, or as class lets out, and never, to our knowledge, joins a study group, even though he's having a lot of trouble with the course.  They're young men like himself, probably less experienced, but clever, like Tod, and they prize education, like Tod.  Yet Tod doesn't befriend any of them.  He never even gives any of them a second look.  He "knows the night watchman" though.  If I were a cynic, I'd suggest that Tod believes the night watchman would be grateful for the attention, grateful that someone among the clever, well-off, middle-class white student body would take notice.  Bearing the Upper Class Man's Burden, if you will.  It's just so strange that when Tod is among his "own kind", so to speak, he still looks for the marginalized people.  Again, that's great if your motives are pure, but less noble if it's because you're uncomfortable in your own skin and are trying to co-opt life experiences.  He doesn't turn to any of his university friends with similar class and status when his father's business starts tanking.  He runs away with Buz, from the wrong side of the tracks.)  

Jan calls her mother and, though she's just realized people could get hurt if she keeps playing games, she carries on the charade a little longer by failing to mention that she's a free woman. 

Jan says they're to meet at the school. "There's a computing machine there."  Like it's a mythological oracle, at Delphi or something.  "Journey west, my brave sons!  Follow the dying sun to the land of golden eagles and mountains of pearl.  Ask the dusky-skinned peoples where one can find the holy grove of their sacred deity, the 'computing machine'!"

Since Jan was so vague, naturally, the detective and Jan's mother believe they're finally going to meet the kidnappers.

Outside the computer labs, Jan says goodbye to the boys who have been so helpful!  Good luck, Buz and Tod!  The LAPD is scary and they think you've been holding a pretty white girl hostage.   Tod preemptively plasters some dialogue over any "where's Fergie?" plot hole by commenting that it's weird that the labs are unlocked and that Fergie's not there to meet them.  We all nod in approval because the writer was on the ball.

Jan enters the building and the police rush Tod and Buz.  They look surprised, and more irritated than concerned.  Buz seems to be looking at Tod like it's Tod's fault.  They don't even put their hands up, which I think is like the first thing you do when dealing with the police (and the LAPD has a certain reputation, and it's not for treating suspects to tea and biscuits).

Mrs. Emmerson arrives in the computer room.  Alone.  I don't know the first thing about handling a kidnapping, but shouldn't some cops be making sure that Mrs. Emmerson isn't going to be injured?  Like, if the kidnappers had guns, and one or two of them were with Jan in the computer room?

Mother and daughter are reunited tearfully!

Jan explains that she orchestrated all of this to get some tangible sign of affection from her parents.  Mrs. Emmerson explains that they always believed in hands-off parenting, in not smothering.  Jan just wants to be loved by her mother!

Mrs. Emmerson assures Jan that they love her, and they hug again!

It feels like Stella really gets short-changed in all of this.  Jan is polite to her, and even though Stella raised her and was possibly more frantic than Mrs. Emmerson, there's this distance between them because Stella is just the help.  Jan seems to take all of that for granted and is solely focused on her distant, kind of crappy biological parents.  Hey, kid!  Your mother is right there!  The one who taught you to speak Italian and imparted her life history!  

At the Emmerson manor, Tod is playing tennis and Buz is wandering into frame in his tight black swimming shorts.

Mr. Bear and his two associates are spying on them.

Mr. Bear decides to give his assistant a raise, and also to introduce some dynamic changes into the detective agency. 

He says that they need trenchcoats with the collars turned up, since they're on the front lines.

Ha!  They win.  They get to be PI pastiches.

"Trevors, cut out!" Mr. Bear orders.  The car, presumably, zooms away.  I like Mr. Bear.  I think these three need their own show too.  The list of "one-episode characters whom I would follow into spinoffs" continues to expand.

Tod and Buz settle into their circle of nubile female acquaintances.  I bet these are all women Buz met going door to door.  (I think that woman on the left is Desperate Housewife.)  They've got a nice little harem.  Notice, too, that there are no other men at this party.  I can't decide if that's kind of creepy or not.  At the very least Fergie the night watchman at the school should have been invited, since he and Tod are close enough that Fergie was willing to do favors like let unauthorized people hang around the incredibly expensive computing machines after hours. 

Two options:

They're having a
Stewie Griffin sexy party!

Or a
Douglas Renholm-style iPod party.  Either way, you know what telegraphs the slightest hint of unsavory?  The terribly unbalanced female to male ratio.  Why are there no other men at this party?  It's like we're looking right into the id. 

People in swimming garb, if you're into that sort of thing!  Buz explains that the Emmersons went on vacation to bond, and left them in charge of their incredibly lavish house.  And Mr. Bear to spy on them, apparently.

Tod says they should swim!  Come on, girls, the man has spoken!  Line up so he can rank you by attractiveness and later tonight he'll probably take turns with all of you one by one.  Well, whichever ones Buz hasn't called dibs on.  Right, I'm getting totally creeped out.  Let's just go to the credits:

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(Deleted comment)
Heheh, thank you! It's all Mystery Science Theater's fault. ;)

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