Monday, November 28, 2016

An Important Life Lesson From Miami Vice

Miami Vice, the classic 80's television series and not the thankfully forgotten movie, taught me an important life lesson once. One of those lessons that every young Nerdling has to learn at some point. That lesson? Sometimes the bad guys win.

It involves Tubbs, a car and a young John Leguzamno. Legazomano. Sid from Ice Age! Just hit the jump!

The season finale of Season Two, which aired on May 9th 1986 so clearly I caught this on a cable repeat at some point, changed how I watched TV and movies forever. John Legozamno plays Orlando Calderone, an up and coming drug lord with an axe to grind against Tubbs. Orlando's half-sister is also a former lover of Tubbs and the mother of his child which completes the trifecta of "Ways To Piss Off A Drug Lord". Angelina, Tubbs one time hook-up, tries to get Tubbs to leave down with her so that Orlando won't hunt him down and kill him. Not even a payment of $800,000 (which is about $8 in today's money), gets Tubbs to abandon his hook-up from two years ago and the son he never knew he had until literally 3 minutes beforehand.

Angelina and her son wind up being kidnapped by Orlando and trapped in a car rigged with explosives. The explosives are controlled by radio waves and thus any police communication might set off the bomb. As Tubbs approaches the car to rescue his one-time forbidden fling, Angelina breaks free of her gag and slams her head on the car horn, activating the explosive through the radio waves of a car horn...I guess....and killing both herself and her two-year old son.


This was the first time that I ever saw a villain on a prime time show, or any show really, win. I had never seen a character die like this! It was so senseless, so needless, so out of the norm for me. The bomb is always stopped just in time and the hero's family never actually dies. Until they do.

Miami Vice taught me that sometimes, characters can die when we expect them to survive.

Years later, George R.R. Martin taught me that sometimes authors just hate their audience. That's a slightly different lesson, but the explosion of Angelina helped prepare me for the many, many ways people die in Westeros.

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