Judge Cynthia Boris is disheartened that Venice Beach PI's have been replaced by "your name on a grain of rice" vendors.
Our review of Simon & Simon: Season Three, published August 18th, 2009, is also available.
Dwyer: "Vietnam is just another old show they watched years ago. Eat your TV
dinner and watch the kid next door face down in the mud. Pass the fish sticks
and sleep like a log."
Rolling into its first full year, the second season of Simon & Simon is where the series finds its footing. There's a new theme, action packed credits, an office on the beach, and a step-up in the professionalism of the brothers. A staple from '80s TV juggernaut Universal Studios, Simon & Simon: Season Two is the real beginning of this show's well-deserved eight season run. Happily, Shout Factory got hold of the rights to produce this set, after Universal walked away from the project, presumably because of low sales on Season One. For that, Shout Factory, I thank you.
Facts of the Case
Rick and AJ Simon are brothers and partners in their own San Diego private investigation firm. Rick (Gerald McRaney, Jericho) is a former Marine, a Vietnam vet who enjoys his Tequila, a boat that doesn't float, and has no problem using his fists when needed. AJ (Jameson Parker, JAG) is a college-educated preppy who favors Dockers over jeans and French wine over beer. Together, they're working as hard as they can to earn a living, recovering stolen items, locating missing persons, and occasionally tracking down a murderer.
This season has a slight change in their supporting cast which came with the move from the bungalow (on the Universal lot) to the new office on Venice beach (a real location; I've been there) which is close to AJ's canal-side house (also easily spotted if you walk around town.) Myron (Eddie Barth), who we met in Season One, has retired from the PI business and pops up now and again to do legwork for the Simons. Myron's daughter, Janet (Jeannie Wilson), is now the Assistant DA which gives the boys access to police information they couldn't get otherwise.
The boy's mother, Cecilia (Mary Carver), is also with us for the run of the show and let's not forget Rick's dog Marlowe. Sadly, AJ's classic 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible has been relegated to the garage, as he takes up driving a spiffy new custom red Camaro. Rick sticks with his dirty Dodge Power Wagon. And yes, the cars might as well be characters in the show, too.
After a dismal first season, CBS moved the series to Thursdays at nine following Magnum P.I. and there it became a hit. The show was given a nice boost that fall, with a two-part episode that began on Magnum P.I. and ended on Simon & Simon. That episode is included on this DVD as the only bonus.
Supernatural, Numb3rs; I do love my brother shows. It takes the buddy show bond and shoves it that extra step to make it okay for two men to hug and roughhouse without anyone suggesting there's something untoward going on. (Just ignore the sniggering of the fangirls in the background.)
In this season, you'll see more of the differences which divide the brothers, including several episodes that deal with Rick's time in Vietnam. This is one element of Rick that AJ really wants to understand and one Rick knows his brother never will. It's a serious sore spot between them, and will pop up over and over throughout the run of the series.
There's lots of humor here, with most episodes leading to an action-packed conclusion and plenty of danger. The other thing you'll find plenty of is compassion. At the risk of sounding like a total girl, I get a real thrill out of seeing Rick's protective streak. When he rescues the damsel in distress, whispering calming words as she's shaking in his arms, that works for me. I suppose I should be offended by Rick's chauvinistic behavior but there's a southern charm to his rough edges that makes me a Rick girl first and always. AJ may be the pretty one, but Rick's the one I'd want to have protecting me if I was in trouble. (And yes, I've thought about this way too much. It's called fan fiction.)
In looking at each of Season Two's episodes, there are two important bits of information—the plot and the brother quotient. If you're a guy, you probably won't get it, but if you're a fan girl, you'll be smiling all the way.
• "Emeralds Are Not a Girl's Best Friend"
• "Mike & Pat"
• "Guessing Game"
• "The Ten Thousand Dollar Deductible"
• "Rough Rider Rides Again"
• "Sometimes Dreams Come True"
• "Fowl Play"
• "Thin Air"
• "Murder Between the Lines"
• "Pirate's Key"
• "The Club Murder Vacation"
• "A Design for Killing"
• "The List"
• "What's in a Gnome?"
• "Room 3502"
• "Red Dog Blues"
• "The Skeleton Who Came Out of the Closet"
Shout Factory did a great job with the packaging. Three color-coded snap cases fit into the sleeve. Each disc begins with an action pack clip from an episode, rolling into a fun clip loop that plays under the main menu. They're small details, but I appreciate the effort.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
There's not much to complain about here. The video quality isn't the best. The episodes look hazy and grainy in spots, but I don't ever remember seeing these shows being sharper than that. There are no bonus materials, but I'm so glad Shout Factory took over the release of this show, the lack of features doesn't bother me at all.
If it weren't for the brother element, Simon & Simon would be just another light-hearted PI show like Magnum P.I. or The Rockford Files. If McRaney and Parker had anything but love and respect for each other off camera, you'd be hard-pressed to notice it. Like real brothers, they argue, pick on each other, and label one another for having an easier life. They also love each other and you can see it in the hidden smiles and compliments they pay when the other isn't listening. As the original theme song said, "Rick and AJ, they're not just brothers, they're best of friends."
This court finds Simon & Simon: Season Two not guilty and, as a result, has canceled all outstanding warrants on the Simon brothers for theft, breaking and entering, assault, and battery. A PI's gotta do, what a PI's gotta do.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
• Magnum PI crossover
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