Spoofing spies proved to be a good business in the mid-’60s. The world was engrossed in the James Bond-mania. It was only natural to tap into the laughs in the world of cloak and dagger. Get Smart dared to mock the espionage machine which was in full force at the time. The Cold War was running hot at this point with the CIA and KGB in stealth competition. Get Smart could have easily been a too-smart for-the-TV-dial-canceled comedy. However America was ready to laugh at gadgets and agents. Get Smart became a Top 20 hit on Saturday nights instead of being steamrollered by Lawrence Welk. For is second season, there’s not much tinkering with the formula. Agent Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) is the top agent for Americas CONTROL. He reports to the Chief (Edward Platt) with his main assistant being Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon). His job is to defend the world from the evil KAOS. Agent 99’s assignment is to save Smart from his dumb moves. Their most lethal weapon is to make the bad guys die laughing.
“Anatomy of a Lover” brings back Hymie (Dick Gautier), the robot agent. KAOS has snuck into his central processing unit to make him kill the Chief. Smart stops the mechanical assault. He hides Hymie in his apartment and disguises him as his cousin. Things go goofy when the Chiefs daughter falls for the cyber love machine. To complicate things, the KAOS agents once more crack into Hymies computer to make him a killing machine against CONTROL. “Strike While the Agent is Hot” gives insight to the dirty truth about espionage. Smart becomes the head of the Spys Guild. Hes got to hammer out a labor deal. Who knew they were in a union? “A Spy for a Spy” has KAOS and CONTROL go out of control kidnapping agents to the point that theres no more free agents in the field.
Theres plenty of Bond spoofs this season including “Bronzefinger” which pokes fun at Goldfinger. “Cutback at CONTROL” has the agency get its budget slashed by the senate. Max gets called onto the carpet for killing an enemy agent with four bullets instead of the mandated one. The beancounter madness gets to be too much. Will Max take a gig with KAOS in order to stay in the spy game with his normal benefits? Maybe we laugh at this nonsense now, but theres probably somebody at the CIA upset that someone was liberal with their truth serum dosages.
“The Man from YENTA” wraps Max up in a sheiks garb to protect an Arab prince. They were worried about the price of oil back in the 60s. “The Mummy” uncovers a smuggling ring at a museums Egyptian exhibit. Its up to Max to unravel this KAOS plot. “The Girls from KAOS” exposes a plot to infiltrate the Miss USA pageant. Its up Max to save her and expose the fake contestants. Its pretty easy to spot the KAOS agent thats pulling the strings since he makes a really ugly middle-aged chaperon. The season wraps up with “A Man Called Smart.” This three-episode story arc was supposed to be a theatrical film. The studio decided to just save on the production budget and make it for the small screen. This is noted for being the last batch of episodes that had Buck Henry as the story editor.
Get Smart: Season 2 continues the espionage laughs. Maxwell Smart is still the biggest icon in the spy game. His catch phrases including “Missed it by that much” are worth repeating after all these years. His relationship with Agent 99 is growing at this time. Hes a little bit oblivious to her attraction to him, but hes not quite a guy who observes the little things in a room.
“Anatomy of a Lover,” “Strike While the Agent is Hot,” “A Spy for a Spy,” “The Only Way to Die,” “Maxwell Smart, Alias Jimmy Ballantine,” “Casablanca,” “The Decoy,” “Hoo Done It,” “Rub-a-Dub-Dub . . .Three Spies in a Sub,” “The Greatest Spy on Earth,” “Island of the Darned,” “Bronzefinger,” “Perils in a Pet Shop,” “The Whole Tooth and . . .,” “Kiss of Death,” “It Takes One to Know One,” “Someone Down Here Hates Me,” “Cutback at CONTROL,” “The Man from YENTA,” “The Mummy,” “The Girls from KAOS,” “Smart Fit the Battle of Jericho,” “Where-What-How-Who Am I?,” “The Expendable Agent,” “How to Succeed in the Spy Business Without Really Trying,” “Appointment in Sahara,” “Pussycats Galore” and “A Man Called Smart” (three-parter).
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers give off a lot more detail than the prints shown recently on RTN. You can make out quite a few slight sight gags that probably were fuzzed out by folks watching on rabbit ear antennas back in 1966. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0. The levels are great. You can hear the safe click when Max opens up state secrets.
Audio Commentaries are on two episodes. Bernie Kopell gives us a briefing on “How to Succeed in the Spy Business Without Really Trying.” The first part of “A Man Called Smart” gets exposed by creator Leonard Stern.
Audio Introductions from Barbara Feldon are before each episode. She gives just enough details to make you remember if youve seen this particular episode.
Get Smart: Season 2 keeps the espionage weirdness coming. They dont try to over complicate the scripts to make it more real. They stick with the humor over building tension. There are plenty of minor characters that die on missions. This is still a dangerous profession. Smarts battles with KAOS are legendary in their comic observations. When Smart is scolded for using too many bullets in a gunfight, it seems like something that would be done in todays budget conscious CIA. Get Smart: Season 2 is the perfect solution for a day when youve absorbed too much intelligence.
HBO Home Entertainment presents Get Smart: Season 2. Starring Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, Edward Platt and Bernie Kopell. Box set Contents: 30 Episodes on 4 DVDs. Released on DVD: March 10, 2009. Available at Amazon.
Tags: Get Smart, James Bond