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Monday, February 20, 2006

Miami Vice time again

February 2, 2005

Break out your white sports jacket with the rolled-up sleeves. Cue the Phil Collins. And ditch your socks.

Crockett and Tubbs are returning to TV Land for a 14-hour Miami Vice marathon on Saturday.

I know. I know. Simmer down.

As excited as I am, it’s been so long since I’ve seen an episode, I’m a little scared to watch. You know that feeling you get when you remember something being great, but then you relive it years later, only to be disappointed? I call it the Dynasty Syndrome. That’s how I feel when I see myself in old 1980s photos with linebacker-sized shoulder pads, teased Aqua net hair and stirrup pants.

Anyway, get ready to watch detectives Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs once again cruise the Miami streets fighting the good fight, while a Jan Hammer tune plays in the background. The fun starts at 4 p.m. Saturday and runs through 6 a.m. Sunday. The TV Land special is in honor of the show’s release on DVD, scheduled for Tuesday.

For those who don’t remember the series, you may be surprised at some of the guest stars. Believe it or not, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, Melanie Griffith, and Bill Paxton are among the familiar faces.

It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about Miami Vice. I think I tried to block it out after realizing it had single-handedly introduced pink and teal into the male wardrobe, a fact not lost on TV Land. It’s running a commercial cleverly touting the marathon as Pastel-a-vision.

Gearing up to write this column, I was inspired to dig out my old cassette tape collection in search of the show’s soundtrack. There between Lionel Richie and Madonna, I spotted the glowing pink case. (Please, like you don’t have one sitting in a box somewhere, too.) I put the music on to stir some long-forgotten memories. The minute that punchy, instrumental theme song started, it all came back.

The show was cool. That’s what I remember. Don Johnson lived on a sailboat. He had a guardian alligator named Elvis. He drove speedboats and thumbed his nose at authority. And he knew about things I’d never encountered. What little I know about illegal drugs, I learned mostly from Miami Vice. Colombian cocaine, drug lords, and seedy prostitutes were a far cry from my rural upbringing in the hills of West Virginia. For that and a million other reasons, Miami Vice fascinated my friends and me.

Today, I’m not sure why it is that my peers and I still love these 1980s TV shows. Perhaps they remind us of our fleeting adolescence, when our biggest worries were if Rosco P. Coltrane would ever catch up with the Duke boys, if Dave would fall for Maddie, or if we’d ever master the robot dance.

So go ahead. Kick it ‘80s style. Take a walk down memory lane with Miami Vice.

Just remember, shoulder pads aren’t a fashion-do in any decade. Word.

Originally published 2/2/05 in The Exponent Telegram Newspaper.


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