Top positive review
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... and loving it!
on September 14, 2009
First came love, then came marriage, and now come baby Smarts in the baby carriage!
And the fifth and final season of the classic spy spoof "Get Smart" focuses on that new complication for bumbling spy Maxwell Smart and his new wife 99. The baby focus is a bit tiresome at times (even if it does produce the Chief and Larabee babysitting!) but it's still a pretty hilarious series with plenty of long-running gags and catchphrases, and an endless stream of bizarre conspiracies to destroy the free world. Would you believe...?
Max and 99 are sent to rescue a professor who is being kept under an unbreakable glass dome, but as they're being chased off the premises, 99 drops a bombshell on her husband -- she's pregnant. Max is so elated by this that he not only runs through a brick wall, but blabs his secret identity to a nearby reporter, putting the mission in jeopardy.
And of course, their impending parenthood becomes a part of the new missions -- defeating Ironhand with Operation Baby Buggy Switch, dealing with a bunch of explosive dolls, and Max must even "marry" a KAOS black widow on his anniversary. Worst of all, a mixup with some trenchcoats causes Max and 99 to end up heading for a KAOS clinic when 99 goes into labor -- not to mention going up against the deadly Simon the Likable.
Among the other weird cases: the treasure of C. Errol Madre, wounded gangster who thinks he's a doctor, serial killings with banana peels, rapid aging, acid in the Washington water supply, inexplicable weather changes (snow in Miami?), a wax museum with very lifelike residents, a house of crazy gothic secrets, attempting to keep an informer safe from the Exterminator, a devious 99 doppelganger, security leaks via pseudo-Roman spas, spying plants, a descendent of Christopher Columbus who has inherited the United States, and Max going undercover as the worst butler the Bulmanian Embassy has ever seen.
"Get Smart Season Five" isn't quite the best that the series had to offer, and the baby focus is a bit offputting at times (since it's so far removed from the World of Spies). But considering this series had been running in the same basic groove for four seasons before it, it's still remarkably fresh and funny -- still has plenty of movie spoofs ("Witness for the Prosecution," "Spartacus," "House of Wax," "Treasure of the Sierra Madre"), classic running gags, and general strangeness.
Along the way, there are plenty of bizarre plots by the evil KAOS (being attacked by a wax werewolf!) and bizarre puzzles that Max and 99 somehow work out, often by putting themselves in comical danger, ranging from Vincent Price's hallucinogenic plan ("Of course! Everyone will think it's a folk rock festival!") to very odd plastic surgeries. But there are also some more down-to-earth problems that the newlyweds face, such as Max and 99 having to leave their babies in the care of Chief and Larabee.
And the dialogue and comic relief are absolutely priceless ("That's just what we've been waiting ten years to hear. Larabee, You got your tape recorder?" "Right here, Chief. When do you want me to turn it on?"), and the babies don't stop the hysterical physical comedy (Max's inability to buttle).
Don Adams is the heart of the series, with his quirky face, nasal voice, odd body language and confident catchphrases ("And loving it!"), and while he's still a bumbler as an agent he makes a great dad. Barbara Feldon gets to play out some pregnancy cravings and insecurities ("Fat fat the water rat!") while still sometimes doing some solid agent work (the ultimate working mom! She saves the free world then goes home to babies).
Edward Platt is just wonderful as the long-suffering Chief, and Bernie Kopell gets in a last laugh as the delightfully uptight villain Siegfried -- and with Max being more competent, Robert Karvelas' Larabee takes over as the resident clueless weirdo ("Larabee, confiscate that plant." "I can't do that, Chief. I'm not a priest!").
It's the final season and got a bit worn around the edges, but "Get Smart Season Five" is still a hilarious spoof-fest. Still Smart after all these years.