The 99.44% Purity Problem
Was Get Smart Chaste? Was it Squeaky Clean? Was it....... P. C.?
Whether or not Get Smart is worthy of a slot on the PAX network, or should be endorsed by Pat Robertson, is entirely a matter of personal judgment -and that is where this matter should be left! However, for those that think Get Smart was all lollipops, roses, and clean-cut fun; here's a list of brow-raising Smartian incidents worth a shot on E! True Hollywood Story (or would you believe "Where Are They Now?" on VH1? Umm, ok, how about a chat discussion?). Keep in mind, while reading this list, some of these items were actually considered "issues" during the 1960s. Also, keep in mind that there are people (and this isn't bad or good -it just is) that currently consider the following.... issues.
(Disclaimer: This is nothing more than a catalog of censor slipping events & show related incidents. This is not any type of an attack or proponent of anything. At best, this listing is a call for less naivety and close-mindedness. If you can't read this without having a fit of some sort, do yourself a great service and leave)
That is nudity as in, namely, Dr. Steele's revealing dance costume in the "Groovy Guru". Aside from a few pieces of glitter, Dr. Steele had totally lost her cover! (ok, maybe it's more than a few pieces of glitter or a very shear see-through blouse. From the fuzzy pic a the left, it's hard to tell exactly what's what.) Still, how, (when Max was not even allowed to say the word "nut" in one episode) did something this close to a full fledged birthday suit get past all the nitt-picky censors?
Maybe Buck & Mel could've got away with using that "other" number. . . . .
2. Transsexuals and Cross-Dressing
Some agents really do a number for their nation! Three cheers for Charlie Watkins and Kitty Karvalas who, in a few episodes, masqueraded as women for the sake of the free world. Rupaul would be proud! For added cross gender notation, Get Smart's civilian world was blessed with a half man and half woman sideshow freak named Gertrude/Gerald. All hats should be tipped in the direction of one Mr. Buck Henry for the creation of this... er character.
**Max, when told by Hans Hunter that he's a homo sapien, confuses his vocabulary and claims he's perfectly normal (you figure out the reference)
**Mr. Bob (is he or isn't he?)-----Does it matter? Sheez! The man made the red, white, and blue theme really work for the Smarts' apartment, so isn't that enough here? Apparently not. Mr. Bob portrayed the typical stereotype of a homosexual male to a complete tee until he dropped his voice and belted Max in the kisser (that was with a fist, folks). Could we now assume that Mr. Bob is heterosexual because of his sudden display of tough-guy violence? All I have to say on this subject is: "Harrumph! Who cares!"
4. Substance Abuse
Would you believe that Don Adams smoked three packs of cigarettes a day? Believe! I don't know why this is an issue for some people, but it is (maybe it's the "kiddie" factor, but keep in mind that TV still had cigarette ads at this time). To add to this, (and make the saints cringe) Barbara Feldon, according to defunct the Smoker's List and the Casablanca episode, smoked too. Adams eventually did break his habit in the 80s and Feldon fans can breathe a sigh of relief that Barbara also quit smoking.
5. On-Set Romance!
Yes, man and woman of Get Smart knew that they were destined to be together and thus they were --after Barbara Feldon's divorce, rather. No, the man in the picture is not Don Adams, who was happily married to Dorothy at the time. Barbara spent the later half of the sixties divorcing Lucien (Mr. Feldon) and dating Get Smart's producer, Burt Nodella.
6. Violence and Censors
Okay, an action show, especially a spy one for that matter, is not complete without some gun play. Get Smart's version of violence was pretty darn retarded, but, since even a tweak of the nose is enough to make a PTA group flinch, the GS crew had to abide a few censor notes.
Oooohh, here's another dart for the bull's eye! Eyebrows did indeed raise at the barrage of physically challenged and minority Kaos agents (Kaos baddies included numerous little people, the wheelchair bound, and a variety of foreigners). Now, is this to present a view of minorities as being rotten or is Get Smart trying to show that Kaos, unlike Control, is an equal opportunity employer?
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Does all this make Get Smart controversial -or *gasp* politically incorrect? Probably, but so what? Big fat hairy deal! Get Smart was a hot piece for its day and it's viewership came from an interesting set of cliental: college kids. Yes, sir, possible student protesters and the like kept Get Smart kicking while the establishment continued with its weekly dose of Get Smart's rival The Lawrence Welk Show. The outlandish and questionable antics of Get Smart were fodder for social comment in the politically and socially terse 60s.
Where am I going with all these far out remarks and claims? The answer is to an oasis that is in touch with objective reality. Considering that, would Get Smart survive in the 21st Century? At this point in time, no, and that is entirely because it is not a prepackaged work that requires little, if any, analytical digestion. To understand the humor in Get Smart, the viewer must engage the brain and since the viewer has become increasingly lazy and non-discriminate in what they watch (if this is not the case then how does TV's present garbage get such high ratings?) the jokes of Get Smart will not be understood. In the late 1960s Get Smart was not just asking Max to brighten up -it was urging the nation to get with it and take a closer look at the current social and global affairs. Much like the late 60s, the citizens of this decade need, now more than ever, to ...... Get Smart!
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