Smart. Maxwell Smart. The dumbest spy in the world, who fights on behalf of the forces of goodness and niceness, and succeeded in making democracy vs. communism a lot more entertaining. And the first two seasons see this classic spy/comedy series blossom from a solid comedy to a brilliant one, even as it adds supervillain nemeses, KAOS masterminds, and the occasional overweight Arab prince.
Don Adams is Agent 86, Maxwell Smart, a not-so-bright spy with an endless arsenal of strange devices and odd sayings. The bumbling spy at a top-secret government agency called Control, which is responsible for keeping the free world free. Backing him up is his beautiful partner/love interest Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon) and his long-suffering Chief (Eward Platt) who puts up with Smart’s constant mistakes.
Together with 99 and the Chief (and his faithful dog Fang), Max battles the forces of badness and rottenness — namely, the anti-Control called KAOS. Among the enemies the Control agents face: the dwarfish “Mr. Big,” the fashion forces of evil, a likable killer robot, a Chinese mastermind called the Claw, and explosive paintings. And that’s only the first season.
The second season starts off rockily, with KAOS reprogramming Hymie to murder the Chief, and soon they step up their attacks against CONTROL: KAOS’s new leader Siegfried (Bernie Kopell) kidnaps the Chief, and Max responds by kidnapping KAOS’s top assassin… unfortunately sparking off a bunch of revenge kidnappings, until nobody is left at either organization.
As the season goes on, Max encounters new obstacles and plots against the free world — he fakes his death, impersonates a safecracker, goes to Casablanca, tries to solve serial killings in the tropics, works in a circus, suffers amnesia, and is pursued by an evil big game hunter, a la “The Most Dangerous Game.” What’s more, he and 99 have to deal with art thieves, submarines, mummies, beauty pageants, Arab princes, mouthy KAOS parrots, CONTROL being closed down, smiling killers, bronze paint, the Choker, going to jail, and a seductive woman who may be the dismantlement of Hymie.
The first season of “Get Smart” is obviously where it all started (with a black-and-white pilot episode), introducing the main characters and the fight between Control and KAOS (with suitably hilarious Evil Villains and Evil Plots). And the second season is when Mel Brooks and Buck Henry polish everything to perfection, and introduce a nemesis for Max and the perpetually unlucky Agent 13.
Along the way, the entire series is packed with slapstick antics, delightfully weird problems (Max as head of the CONTROL workers’ union?), and movie homages (“Goldfinger,” “The Most Dangerous Game,” “Casablanca”). Not to mention those wonderfully improbable gadgets (“Why hide a tape recorder in a camera and a camera in a tape recorder? Why not just take pictures with the camera, and record with the recorder?” “Because my mind doesn’t work that way, that’s why!”). And it’s smeared with a parody of the political climes of the 1960s, although it gets rather politically incorrect sometimes.
Don Adams is the heart of the series, with his quirky face, nasal voice, odd body language and confident catchphrases (“And loving it!”). Max is not your usual inept spy — he’s confident that he’s suave and competant, and somehow this carries him through to the end. Barbara Feldon plays a wonderful straight woman to Max’s goofiness, while Edward Platt is just wonderful as the long-suffering Chief.
Furthermore, Kopell is hysterical as “Zigfried,” an excitable Germanic KAOS agent who is constantly thwarted by Max, which tends to upset him. David Ketchum is the aptly named Agent 13, an unlucky guy who is always hiding in tiny unpleasant spaces (garbage cans, freezers), and Richard Gautier makes a likable robot sidekick with too literal a mind.
“Get Smart-Seasons 1-2″ introduces a hilarious spy-comedy and sees it blossom to its full potential — with plenty of mad supervillains, totalitarian plots, and the occasional mummy. A glorious antidote to James Bond.
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I remember watching these on TV Land when I was a kid, and always loved them. I found out a few years ago that Mel Brooks was one of the creators, and realized why I liked them so much. I bought them as a reward for walking on the treadmill. Great value.
I love this guy. I remember this TV show when it aired and I really enjoy watching it now all these years later. Would You believe it?