Friday night’s premiere of “MacGyver” prompts a question only dedicated fans of “The Simpsons” would consider: Is Lucas Till, the actor playing the crafty secret agent Angus “Mac” MacGyver, kidnap-worthy?
To answer this question, first understand that Patty and Selma Bouvier, twin sisters of Marge Simpson, are defined by a handful of traits: their low voices, raspy from a smoking habit, their jobs as public servants at the DMV, and their undying love for “MacGyver” and its original star, “the three greatest names in the history of television,” Richard Dean Anderson.
Their obsession with the show led them to hold their own “MacGyver” convention and, when Anderson wanders into it looking for the convention for his other show, “Stargate SG-1,” he disparages “MacGyver” as “just a paycheck .. and nothing more.” Incensed, the sisters swoop in to the “Stargate” event, kidnap him, tie him to a chair in their kitchen, and suggest he use his special skills to try to escape.
A funny thing happens on his way out of Patty and Selma’s window: Anderson finds the act of designing an escape – using a contact lens, the rope that holds him to the chair, and a sturdy brassiere – awakened his inventive senses and he asks to be tied up so he can do it again. The ladies love the idea, until Anderson starts bothering them at the DMV and dictating the terms of his next escape. When he starts wearing the MacGyver mullet wig and offers them a dinner of MacGyver Burgers – “Slim Jims, a cheese grater, and rubber bands to hold it all together” – Patty and Selma decide it’s time to force their victim to escape for good: They show him their vacation slides, and he jumps out the window.
Granted, the Bouvier twins are fictional characters, but MacGyver’s feats on the (equally fictional) show made his name shorthand for creating an ingenious solution under pressure, as in, “Get me some Mentos and a bottle of Diet Coke and I’ll MacGyver a small explosion.” It’s not an unprecedented TV trope; the Professor showed some MacGyver-like skills on “Gilligan’s Island,” as did Jack Bauer on “24.” The entire “Scorpion” team relies on scientific and mathematic solutions that use ordinary – or at least easily accessible – objects to facilitate spectacular rescues.
And “Saturday Night Live” did its due diligence with “MacGruber,” a “MacGyver” spoof that made fun of the late-’80s clothing and hairstyles as much as the unlikelihood of his nick-of-time, death-defying escapes. “MacGruber” even made it to the big screen, starring Will Forte, Kristin Wiig, and Val Kilmer.
So as to whether the new MacGyver is worthy of kidnapping, let’s assess how he stacks up to the original. Till, whose previous credits include the X-Men series and “Hannah Montana: The Movie,” has the right kind of sandy blond hair cut to look stylishly unkempt. He sports a beat-up brown leather jacket, he’s got pockets filled with useful tools, and he isn’t afraid to hop out of a helicopter onto a moving truck. He moves to an upbeat, rock-and-roll soundtrack, and he’s quite a charmer with the ladies. Patty and Selma Bouvier might have a new old favorite TV show to schedule their lives around.
“MacGyver,” which also stars George Eads (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”) and Sandrine Holt (“House of Cards”), will be on at 7 p.m. Friday's on CBS.
Easy like “Sunday Morning”
When “CBS News Sunday Morning” began in 1979, it was hosted by Charles Kuralt, the man who could sniff out a story from anywhere he went and spin it into a tale to fascinate anyone. The aim of the weekly 90-minute broadcast was to offer something a bit different from politics and hard news, leaning more toward stories that dove deep into the arts, scientific discoveries, notable personalities, and the various oddities of the world around us. Kuralt held the helm until his retirement in 1994, at which point Charles Osgood stepped in, signature bow tie in place.
His TV duties augmented his radio gig – the syndicated “The Osgood File” – and his writing jobs, which include a syndicated newspaper column and several books. Come Sunday, though, Osgood, 83, will host his last episode of “CBS News Sunday Morning,” stepping down after more than two decades.
The show will honor not only his 45-year career with CBS, but his legacy as a journalist and a broadcaster. Osgood isn’t quitting everything though; he may not be on the screen each week, but – as he often reminds us – we can see him on the radio. “CBS News Sunday Morning” airs at 8 a.m. on CBS.
What else is new?
In addition to “MacGyver,” the following new shows premiered Friday:
Friday: “The Exorcist,” 8 p.m., Fox. Sunday: “Son of Zorn,” 7:30 p.m., Fox.
The following returning shows also premiere this week
Sunday: “Bob’s Burger’s,” 6:30 p.m., Fox; “Once Upon a Time,” 7 p.m., ABC; “The Simpsons,” 7 p.m., Fox; “NCIS: Los Angeles,” 7:30 p.m. (two-hour episode), CBS; “Secrets and Lies,” 8 p.m., ABC; “Family Guy,” 8 p.m., Fox; “The Last Man on Earth,” 8:30 p.m., Fox; “Quantico,” 9 p.m., ABC.
Wednesday: “Criminal Minds,” 8 p.m., CBS; “Code Black,” 9 p.m., CBS.