Episode #63- Steele in the Chips
Xenos1981 (Jan 4, 2008 )
|It's Friday again,
ladies! "Steele In The Chips" is our next SOTW! Post away!!!
|I have always
disliked "Steele in the Chips" because of the sheer silliness of it, and
I thought that its place in airing in Season Three made it even worse.
However, after recently watching
it, with and without the commentary, I realized that the order it was aired
had little to do with my dislike for the episode. I don't like it because
even though there were some funny parts, on the whole, the action/dialog
is out of character. And unfortunately, both Laura and Remington are made
to look like idiots.
How can Remington spend a whole episode
chasing after Ms. Dalrymple? It is so beneath him to act in such a stupid
way. And Laura telling Clay Pratt "nice backhand" when he pats her twice
on the bottom is appalling.
The commentary with Michael Gleason
and Stephanie Zimbalist was a show in itself. Just loved all the juicy
information that they gave us, like how Stephanie's pants split in one
of the shows and she had no underwear. Now THAT was funny.
|We disagree again!
I love it. Steele and Laura don't
look like idiots. Laura was at Havenhurst with a lot of sexist creeps.
In that situation, you make light of it or you explode in homicidal rage.
She behaves with Clay exactly as she behaved with Alan Grievey, with perhaps
the slight addition of an attempt to make Steele believe they were closer
than they really were.
Miss Dalrymple holds little appeal
for Steele. He's simply trying to charm her into staying around because
he wants to make Laura jealous. He also feels guilty when she gets hurt.
It's not the best episode, but it's
a good one. Personally, I don't think the cookies are that valuable, because
what good is a cookie without calories? What kind of joyless fool would
|This episode would
make more sense relationship-wise if NBC had aired it during the relationship
freeze. Even so, it's still got some fun moments and has (I believe) the
most-awarded guest cast: future Oscar-winner Geena Davis and future Emmy-winner
Jean Smart (to go along with future 5-time Emmy-winner Doris Roberts!)
- Laura trying to get Mildred to
do aerobics. While I can see Mildred bowling, I just can't quite picture
her doing the aerobics.
- Mr. Steele and Miss Dalrymple
flirting with each other while keeping things professional. Both PB &
GD do a good job of having fun without crossing the line.
- Watching Mildred doing exercises
in an attempt to stay away from the cookies' siren call. Doris does a great
job of making it funny.
- Good comic bit by Pierce of worrying
about Miss Dalrymple the first time the office is trashed. Wonder if stepping
in the box and shaking it off his foot was done on purpose or was a spur-of-the-moment
kind of thing.
- Sign of the times: The company
thinking of increasing sales of Booster Bars by hiring Michael Jackson!
That would only help sales plunge these days.
- Poor Mildred huffing & puffing,
always bringing up the end of the line in the chase scenes.
- Nice comic effect to have Mildred,
Miss Dalrymple, Gloria and the coach all squashed into the back of the
- Fun to watch Mr. Steele try to
control a bit of jealousy when they run into Clay. Even though we can tell
Laura has no real interest in him, she's obviously getting a kick out of
needling Mr. Steele by withholding details of her relationship with Clay.
(Heck, Clay's probably the reason she no longer wants to mix business &
- Even in their next scene, when
they're just walking down the corridor to the office, he's still a bit
miffed and she's enjoying the effect that it's having on him.
Sandy: How can you handle both cases
R: Don't worry, Miss Dalrymple.
I'll simply assigning my trusted associate to the Munzinger matter. Then
I'll be free to devote all my energies to servicing you. (Waiting with
anticipation for Xenos's take on that last sentence!)
S: Do you realize that since I've
met you, I've had a man die at my feet, I've been punched in the mouth
and nearly blown sky high, all in one day!
R: I know how annoying these minor
inconveniences can be. But from now on, it's smooth sailing. (MINOR INCONVENIENCES?!
Hair & Clothing
- I like Laura's suit with the dark
jacket and camel-colored pants. And she looks so good when she adds the
fedora to the ensemble.
- I've never liked that striped
dress of Mildred's
- I like Mr. Steele's brown suit.
I'd never have thought of the bright blue pocket square but, of course,
it brings out his eyes. And I still like the shorter haircut!
- Love that red dress on Laura!
Her hair looks good throughout the episode.
- Mr. Steele looks good in the jeans,
white shirt and blue sport jacket. He sure runs a lot better in those cowboy
boots than I run in mine!
- Extra kudos to Stephanie, Doris,
Camille and Jean for doing SO much running in heels this episode!
- I believe the polka-dot dress
Miss Dalrymple wears at the end is the same one Barbara Dannon (Jane Kaczmarek)
wore in "Altared Steele"
Goofs, Headscratchers & Misc
- So is Howard Baldwin (listed in
the writing credits) a pseudonym for Michael?
- Michael Bell (Bill Miles) does
the voice-overs for Zales Diamond Stores.
- So what was RSI going to do for
Miss Dalrymple? They couldn't provide her with a bodyguard service. Maybe
she just wanted to "audition" them to see Mr. Steele up-close-and-personal?!
- I think that's Stephanie's handwriting
on the check that Bill Miles gives to Laura. Wonder if it's Robin's handwriting
on the check Shirley gives to Mr. Steele?
- Since this script was originally
to air during the relationship freeze, it appears they had to edit one
scene a bit to alter its meaning. (Though perhaps that had been done even
before it was shot.) Once all three people have hired the agency to find
Walter, L & R are driving in her Rabbit and he remarks about wanting
to get back to going over Miss Dalrymple's itinerary. Laura remarks that
it should be an exciting trip. Then there's these lines from Mr. Steele
that were edited out:
R: Since you were the one who decided
to put our personal relationship on hold for the forseeable future, and
since we are both mature, consenting adults, we can't be expected to repress
our natural instincts and urges.
L: Need I remeind you, Miss Dalrymple's
R: She's more than that, Laura.
She's the ideal client.
L: How so?
R: She wants to mix business with
This reference to "mature, consenting
adults" makes an appearance again after Mr. Steele pushes Clay back into
the closet while he and Laura discuss her previously mixing business and
pleasure with Clay. It also makes the last line of the show make a whole
lot more sense.
What kind of joyless fool would
Uh, this fool. To have a good-tasting
dessert with no calories?! Heaven, pure and simple.
|I'd feel cheated
if there wasn't a little frisson of naughtiness about eating it.
|It's so obvious
that Pierce is having fun in this episode - I can see why he calls this
his favorite episode. It's such a pity they aired it *SO* far out of order
- shame on TPTB!
|Mickey wrote under
her favorite lines:
R: Don't worry, Miss Dalrymple.
I'll simply assign my trusted associate to the Munzinger matter. Then I'll
be free to devote all my energies to servicing you. (Waiting with anticipation
for Xenos's take on that last sentence!)
I think my take on that last line
is pretty well known already! Oh-ho-ho, yeh-heh-hes!!! Remington
could service me any time, any place, any where!!! *STEELEGASM*
I haven't had a chance to re-watch
"Chips" yet, but I will. But let me just get my problem with this episode
out of the way now. (BTW, I like this episode. Reminds me of the mad-cap,
screwball comedy "Rat Race"...Sorry, I never saw "It's A Mad, Mad, etc.
World" in its entirety. But "Rat Race" is my favorite of that genre. Check
it out.) My problem with "Chips" is this: It's unbelievable enough that
Laura would still be putting Mr. Steele off and that he'd still be chasing
her. (It's hopelessly cute and well-played by both Pierce and Steph...though
completely frustrating and incredulous and maddening beyond compare!) But
TWO women not jumping his bones when he's obviously interested?!?! It just
doesn't ring true...And it makes the female species look like freakin'
idiots!!! I seriously doubt a man like Mr. Steele would have to chase any
woman!!! (More likely, he'd have to beat them off with a shovel -- a stick
just wouldn't be sturdy enough.)
More later, ladies!
A woman who would NEVER EVER turn
Mr. Steele down,
Mamma Mia!!! Pierce Brosnan...Proof
that God loves us and wants us to be happy!
|I love Pierce's
favorite episode written by his distaff half. A zany romp where all the
main characters get to do quite a bit of physical comedy (even Mildred).
Apparently quite a few fans of the show consider it among the best episodes
of the show's run. Here's a link to a recent blog entry where the blogger
uses the term "cookie episode" to indicate when a TV show becomes a favorite
show. It's derived from Steele In Chips when that episode transformed Remington
Steele into his favorite show: http://danielstvblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/pushing-daisies-as-good-seco
>Apparently quite a few fans of
the show consider it among the best episodes of the show's run.
I think it's a fun episode and admit
it makes me laugh out loud (in spite of being dreadfully out of order),
but I've never known of anyone except for Pierce who claimed it as a favorite.
I read the blog mentioned in clervaux's
post. Did that person just make up the term "Cookie Episode"? I've never
heard of it or read about it anywhere. That "Chips" would inspire that
phrase is just. . . well, bizarre.
|Is someone going
to mention Steph and Robin's original draft of "Chips" with the aphrodisiac
cookies subplot? Or does everyone already know about that by now?
the great Roger Ebert. "I hate hate hate this episode".
I don't care when it was supposed
to air, it doesn't work for any time period because the characterizations
are cringe making, the pace is sloggy, the action consists of people running
around and acting like mindless idiots and the plot is too goofy to exist
without better characters and dialogue to support it.
I did like the idea that a former
astronaut had to shill stuff in a supermarket. Sadly, that wasn't out of
the realm of possibility when NASA was cut back. I also like Pierce's short
early filmed season 3 hair.
Compare this to a post Cannes episode
like Gourmet where they date other people. That episode shows us a couple
trying and failing to move on, who realize that what they think they want
in another person isn't what they want at all. It also manages to be quick,
witty, fun and even the action scenes are clever and fast paced. Chips
doesn't even make it as a mad cap episode. It's leagues beneath an episode
similar in screwball concept - everyone chases the same object - Steele's
Gold. The only real entertainment value from this episode are Pierce's
physical contortions as Steele -- and as fun as it is to watch him let
loose like John Cleese he is not served by the material surrounding him.
How could anyone actually write a
character like Clay, hire the perfect sleazy actor for it and think that
was a character that
a) Laura would have ever wanted to
mix business and pleasure with or even intimate that she did to try and
make Steele jealous or
b) that Steele would be jealous of
such a walking oil slick who hides in a closet?
It would be more realistic if Steele
felt mortal embarrassment for Laura ever sinking that low and hoping she
never caught anything contagious from him. Yuck! As repugnant as Butch
Beamis is at least he had some kind of tangible sex appeal. The lone payoff
of Clay's existence is Steele shutting the closet door on him. Oh, if he'd
only locked it and thrown away the key.
Laura's flirting with Clay is so
completely ham handed and out of character. It's unbelievable she'd let
anyone slap her on the ass and giggle about it - especially some sleaze
ball she doesn't even have to work for or placate and even then it would
strain credulity. She may have let Alan Grievey flirt a bit but he wasn't
slapping her ass - and he was her former boss/mentor, not some jerk who
once did the same job she did (not as well) and got paid 50% more. I kept
praying Laura would at least break one of his kneecaps, but alas it never
Though Laura's salary at Havenhurt
in the late 70s out of college is pretty darn good it's no where enough
to open two agencies -- one that failed and the other in a high rent district
that was in the red before Steele - and own a house. I always wonder if
her house is meant to be the old Holt house before her mother moved to
Connecticut to be near Frances. That might explain how she could save money
and open her agencies.
Steele flirting with the lovely Miss
Dalrymple... sigh. Well at least she's lovely and rather sweet, but jeez
could he be any more puppy dog needy? I know it's entering the 3rd year
of celibacy but come on! No man that looks, talks, moves and smiles like
that should ever have to work that hard or be that desperate for some casual
fun sex. He's this way when there's no Laura in sight so he's not doing
it to make her jealous. I'm not sure why it would make her jealous though
since he seems too damn pathetic. Though at least Geena's Dalrymple is
physically worthy getting jealous over unlike Clay. The only good thing
from this pairing is Pierce's physical comedy drawing attention to her
Amazonian stature by walking like Groucho Marx around her so it seems as
if she and her BIG hair and high heels dwarf him even though he's taller.
To add insult to character assassination she then goes off with Clay.
I don't like Laura grabbing the cookies
from Mildred and telling her they need to exercise instead. It's rather
rude and insulting. If no one asks for your opinion on their weight or
what they eat then keep your opinions to yourself.
Personally I'd love a no calorie/no
fat cookie that tastes great. I eat food for the taste not the guilt or
naughtiness. Otherwise I'd eat endangered species like in "The Freshmen"
(Marlon Brando, Matthew Broderick, 1990, TriStar Pictures) ;-).
The lead villain's motive makes no
damn sense. If he got the recipe for the cookie his business would be bigger
than ever. If everyone had the recipe no one's business would be impacted
except positively since people would buy even more cookies. Even if by
some stretch of the imagination that the recipe was just for chocolate
chip cookies and they couldn't apply it to other cookies there are few
people who'd be happy just with chocolate chip cookies -- they'd want variety
and damn the calories.
|I have to admit
to REALLY loving this episode - it's up there in my top 10!!! I love the
fact that it's so tongue-in-cheek. I don't think there needed to be any
romantic scenes (it wouldn't have fitted in with the slapstick humour anyway!)
- and I was too busy laughing to really miss the romance. It just showcased
the absolutely fantastic comedic talents of the whole team and especially
Pierce and Stephanie. (I've seen "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World" as well and
really enjoyed it). BTW I'm also a Fawlty Towers and Black Adder fan, so
maybe that explains it a bit - love the British humour. Only US shows close
were Friends (actually my alltime favourite), Mad About You and Cheers.
(As neither British or American I feel this is an unbiased opinion :-)
This episode more than any also shows
the mutual respect/liking between Pierce and Stephanie. For Stephanie to
co-write something so outrageous and for Pierce to rise to the challenge
and give the comedic performance of his life (imho) has to dispel some
of the rumours wrt ongoing friction between the two of them. I think they
really *liked* each other and it shows in this episode. I think it's only
normal to have *off* days and to irritate each other now and then - and
you'd have to be abnormal not to feel some jealousy/envy at times as well.
My DH and I once worked at the same company (he actually reported to me
- hmmm similar to Laura and Remington) and we fought A LOT at work (privately)
- there are egos involved even if you love someone (we were fine at home,
though, luckily for us!!!). I must admit to heaving a sigh of relief when
he moved to a different section, though :-)
(Of course an irrational part of
me fantasizes that Pierce and Stephanie were madly in love with each other
too, but, alas, it had to be an unrequited love because Pierce was married
at the time... In the same vein, in one of the DVD commentaries by the
writers (sorry, don't remember who), one of them said "Of course I knew
the difference between Laura and Stephanie" and the other comments "No,
I don't think you did!" - or something to that effect - thought that was
hilarious because I sometimes feel the same! How could she not fall head-over-heels
for Pierce as any red-blooded female would :-)
|i knew there was
a subplot with the cookies, but I don't know the details. Would you please
|I didn't even
feel like taking notes while watching (combination of tiredness and a disdain
for the episode), so I'll go by memory...
Not one of my favorite episodes...
too much running around and chaotic-ness (is that a word??) and fuss over
something so trivial. I mean, come on people, it's just a cookie! Granted
it doesn't have calories, but even still, the whole idea seems to have
been thought up by someone my age lol.
I don't really like how there arent
any real R/L interactions and yeah...
I dunno though, maybe the next time
I watch it, I'll be more open and see if I can pick out any good points
"Who watches the watchmen?"