80's TV series in which David Hasselhoff chases bad guys in a Pontiac Trans Am named Kitt. Kitt was capable of 300 mph, and had advanced sensors, turbo boost for leaping over obstacles, and a conversational but snotty computer.

Most American kids in the 80's owned lunch boxes with either a Knight Rider or a Dukes of Hazzard theme. For fun, incite a flame war over whether Kitt or the General Lee (car from Dukes of Hazzard) ruled more.

Knight Rider was a 1980's action series with bad stories, bad actors and bad wardrobes. I'd say it had bad continuity, but I can't have an opinion on something that isn't there to begin with. Let's start at the beginning.

Patrick Duffy or David Hasselhoff?

Michael Knight (not his real name at the time), a police officer, was shot in the face at close range while on an undercover operation and was left for dead. His face, but not his identity, was restored by the Flag Foundation, some mysterious government agency. Okay, I can accept that. I'm sure that kind of stuff happens all the time at some government agency. He's put to work for Knight Industries, only now Michaelh like Garth Knight, the dead founder's son (who by the way turns up later as Michael's evil twin, though since Garth was first, I think that it's only fair to refer to Michael as Garth's good twin). Okay, I can accept that; it happened to me just last week. Anyway, they ask him to fight crime and give him a car. Okay, I can accept that. You can't fight crime without a cool disco car. Oh, and did I forget to mention that the car can talk, think, withstand any form of gunfire, jump without a ramp (turbo boost), amuse comic-relief character actors and all other kinds of neat-o stuff that would come in handy if you are the recreated clone of some dead guy's son and sent out into the world to fight crime? Okay, I can accept that. I mean, my car has all kinds of cool stuff: rear defrost, flip-down sunglasses nook and decent cup holders. But I digress.

Sometimes, however, when Michael is out fighting various and sundry nefarious villains who want to do things like put a trucking company out of business, or put a construction company out of business, or put a race car company out of - well, you understand. Anyway, sometimes he needs the car's help, which is fine, because it can drive itself, use all of its functions by itself...in fact, I'm starting to think the car's only real weakness is Michael Knight himself! But still. It's okay; I can accept that. I'm sure my grandmother's car feels the same way.

What I can't accept is the fact that Michael, with his intelligent car, has to push the button marked turbo-boost in order for the car to turbo-boost. Why? The car can speak and understand English! It can use the turbo-boost when he's not there! Why doesn't he just say "Turbo-boost now!" Shouldn't the car just know when to turbo-boost? Why does this car need any kind of buttons at all? Why a steering wheel? Gas pedals? A PARKING BRAKE?! What the hell is going on?!? The only thing Michael should have to run is the 8-track!

I mean, is the turbo-boost button there just to placate Michael's big belt-buckle laden ego? Oh, and those belt buckles that change with the theme of the show each week! Maybe he should just get one that says "Dick" on it.

Excuse me. I didn't mean to change gears on anyone, but I do feel a little bit better. In fact, I think my fire has gone out for the time being. But at least anyone reading this will get a feel for what this kind of thing is all about. Maybe they'll even understand why I spend endless hours tossing and turning each night (even when I'm not making taffy). Or maybe, just maybe, they'll feel a little closer to my own neuroses.


Tune in next week, when we examine the fact that Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote was the only possible person that could have committed all those murders.

And thanks to the astute roninspoon for a number of Knight Rider facts. Any mistakes are totally mine and not his.

Wow, Flashback Alert!

Speaking of non-existent continuity, this reminds me of an argument I had with my brother when we were kids and Knight Rider was on the air. I forget the specifics, but we disagreed on the placement or arrangement of the special buttons on the panel where the Turbo Boost was.

Within a few weeks of summer reruns we each had pointed out evidence in episodes to support our points -- the real answer was that there was no consistent arrangement or list of buttons on that panel. It only had 10 or 12 buttons in two columns, and Turbo Boost was always there, but the others changed, often, even within an episode.

At the start of the next season we started writing down a list of all the buttons we could see on that panel. Without taping episodes and using stop-motion to get every single button shown even for an instant, but just writing down things we caught a clear view of, by the end of the season we had spotted over 30 buttons in that 10-button panel, and at least 15 of them had been used.

Another stupid inconsistency (or amusing quirk, if you like the show) was the IOU system: whenever Michael Knight had saved someone from financial ruin or some other horrible fate and was offered a reward, he'd decline and instead say that "you owe me a favor. One day, I'll come to collect it, and then you have to do it, no matter what it is". Now this may seem fine and dandy at first glance, but even if we ignore that this makes him sound like the villain in a fairy tale, it is also completely illogical, because in order to gain this IOU, he invariably used at least one, and frequently more, IOUs from other people he had presumably helped before. So how in hell is this system in which you continually use more of a resource than you acquire, supposed to work??

Glen A. Larson was king of the 80's action/sci-fi series. In an interview on the Sci-Fi channel "Sciography" of Battlestar Galactica he said that people loved the Cylons, especially the little red light that moved back and forth on the front of their heads. Not wanting to throw away a good gimmick, he reused that element with Knight Rider, giving KITT that little trademark "one-dimensional pong" light. It was by far, his coolest feature, it's how you knew he was super-intelligent.

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