Hi Everyone! As we start this episode- I’ll give a big shout out to Karyn – who has transcribed this episode for JWWM and Operation Sandstorm – what a great effort!!! Karyn – JWWM and all it’s readers Salute you!!
Does this title win the ‘weirdest smk episode title’ award? anyone got any ideas what this could be referring to before we dig into this ep? Is it a well known play? piece of literature?
This episode was aired back on 6 January, 1986- the first smk episode of 1986!
Anyway, this episode starts in the dark.. with a sign:
Hmm this seems to be a car licence plate? sticker?! Is it? Seems to be saying he has clearance for years 1985-1986?
This man in the car is looking nervously about.
Holding a large envelope, he gets out of the car and watches another car approach and stop on the other side of the street.
Man: Mr. Stetson?
[Don’t you know about Lee’s famous corvette??!!]
A man gets out of the car…
Nervous Man: Mr. Stetson? That you?
[Either this guy needs glasses, or he doesn’t know what Lee looks like]
The other man draws out a large gun- he seems to take his time, and slowly raises his arms to aim at the man..
The guy rushes back into his car.. We see the corvette pull up.. and the guy with the gun looks regretful that he can no longer take the shot and he leaves.
Lee gets out of his car and looks around.
Oh my.. he looks.. really good!!! Jeans.. nice shirt I can cope with.. Jacket that’s not clearly plastic.. Mmm.. good!
[Oh dear.. this ep seems to be one of those that seems to produce lots of blurry images.. I’ll do my best!]
Tyres squeal and a car with no lights on zooms down the street nearly knocking Lee over – Lee stylishly somersaults out of the way whooooohooo! Is it just me or would it have been quicker for Lee to just step to the right?! but okay.. much less stylish! After all Lee is a champion from the Gymnastics Olympics!
Lee pulls his gun.
Nervous Man: Mr. Stetson?
Lee: Yeah I’m Stetson. What’s the matter with you man?
Nervous Man: They’re watching. I’ll try to get back to you later.
He throws a manila envelope at Lee and speeds away.
LOL love how he doesn’t mention there’s a guy back there with a gun.. ha! Oh well I guess he figures Lee can take care of himself.. he’s gotta get out of there!
Whoever this guy is he has guts, he nearly got shot, but still managed to find Lee, stop, throw the information and flee. Kudos!
Lee looks around, then gets back into the Corvette and leaves. We see the other car with the gunman follow.
So is he following Lee? Or Gutsy nervous guy?
So anyone know where we’ve seen the gunman before? It was bugging me.. so thanks to IMDB I narrowed down the episode.. and found him in Dead Ringer – no character name..
In Dead Ringer, he’s a random agent! Here he is!
He comes to Billy’s office door to say Francine did good lol.. Has this agent gone dirty? LOL.. or is he not an agent and a completely different character? Me confused! lol..
We see a view of Washington DC..
looks like they are heading into winter..
Then, the exterior of IFF.. looks like it’s still spring or summer?
We find Lee, Francine and Billy meeting in Billy’s office. Interesting that these setting up the plot scenes lately have all been Lee, Francine and Billy – Amanda is still not a fully fledged part of the team. Sometimes I forget that!
Lee: Jerry, that’s the only name he gave me on the phone. Said he wanted to do something for his country. That his company was cheating on contracts.
Billy: A whistle blower.
[you know what- I have zero recall of what the company is.. and who’s cheating what! How about you?
but Kudos to Jerry! Oh hey what about the number plate thingy we saw ‘Aero-North Corp.’ is that the company he works for?? did Lee see that??]
Billy: You have any theory on why he ran out on you?
Lee: No, no I didn’t see who was driving the other car and I didn’t know what happened when I got there.
[I gotta say, Lee didn’t even try and find out who was in the other car.. he just left! If only he knew it was a former agent –orr.. maybe not man my head hurts]
Billy: And you have no idea how Jerry got hold of whatever that is? [How do whistleblowers get hold of Lee Stetson? that’s what I want to know.. I want that phone number 😉 ]
Francine: This is the full text of three recent Soviet debriefings on their latest weapons prototypes. Everything we got from Cherniov and Valeska last year year, and Stanislav in January.
[Poor Francine.. she has lots of important things to say.. I just see stars! Nooo Moons!! but this outfit, for her, is actually not bad! the pointy ends of those moons on her earrings look sharp. Ouch! Now they are weapons!!!
Maybe they should be facing outwards?]
Billy: Damn! We’re already catching flack on our defectors program…. [lol me thinks Billy needs a ‘deflector program’ whahahaah] …This is the kind of intelligence that any defence contractor can use to make a billion or two!…
[Love Lee’s little ‘Mmm!’ agreeing with Billy..]
…What about Andrei Zernoff?
Lee: Well we’ve still got him at the debriefing center. We’re finished with the others.
Francine: But we’re about to kiss him goodbye and resettle him in DC. [Me thinks Francine is not ummm ‘over the moon’ about this!]
[Lee does another one of his: Mmm! lines of dialogue.. rofl!]
Billy: Good, cover all the Russians we have while we watch Zernoff. If anyone gets to him we’ll know about it.
Francine: And if nobody does and HIS transcripts show up?
Lee: The leak’s in our plumbing then.
Francine: Right, so where do we put Zernoff? If the leak is inside then we can’t put him in one of our safe houses. [‘safe house’ how ironic!]
[I think this is one for Francine.. for once Lee is just going along and Francine is taking the lead here. Go Francine! ]
Billy: It’s got to be an average neighborhood. He’s got to believe it’s genuine. Any ideas? [Someone say ‘Average’?!]
ROFL straight away Lee is looking like he knows where this is headed.. Billy doesn’t need to spell it out..
He looks at Francine. Francine looks at Lee.. Hmm! I think she doesn’t need it spelled out to her either. That’s progress no?
No Lee, Francine isn’t that good a friend of Amanda’s!
You’ll have to tell her..
Soooo why do you think Lee is a little bit uncomfortable or unsure about Amanda getting involved in this is some way? At least, he seems uncomfortable to me.. what do you all think? Do tell!!! byeee for now!
Re: the title – I think I know this one! I really enjoy the titles of the SMK episodes. So many are derived from movie titles, song titles, famous quotes, literary references… It can be a lot of fun figuring them out.
So, first off, the “dancing bear” is clearly a reference to Russia. Cultural Russia, not geopolitical, not the USSR. There is much in the episode about Zernov’s Russian heritage, so this makes sense. The bear itself is a well-known symbol of Russia, and dancing bears were a Russian cultural tradition.
For a long time, that’s as far as I got. The rest of the title really had me stumped, until I read the original script on Petralit’s smk-land site (such a fantastic resource). The key is in the original title of the episode: “One Bear Dances, the Other Doesn’t.”
There is a French movie from 1977 called “One Sings, the Other Doesn’t.” The title is too similar for this to be a coincidence. It’s a feminist film by Agnes Varda, and it got some play in the United States. You can still find Roger Ebert’s review online, for example. The plot centers on the lives of two women who meet when they are quite young and form a bond when one helps the other obtain an abortion (very un-SMK, I know). Over the next 14 years, they live their lives mostly apart, reuniting a decade after they first met, then keeping in touch by postcard. We learn about their lives in flashbacks, and about how they have taken very different courses against the background of the women’s movement. One is a free-spirited, activist singer; the other is a single mother who raises her children on her parents’ farm. Ultimately, it is a film about each remaining true to herself as they embark on parallel roads to womanhood.
So what does this have to do with SMK, other than that the writer, Whitney Wherrett Roberson, was apparently a French film buff? I think she must have been thinking that both Amanda and her mother play important roles in this episode, and to some extent, the episode highlights the contrast of the path that Amanda has chosen to take with her career at the Agency versus that of her mother. Amanda loves being a mother, but she finds that this is not enough for her to realize a truly fulfilling life. She needs her work at the Agency. Dotty is content with her life as it is.
After that, it gets pretty attenuated. “Sings” becomes “dances,” “dances” leads to “bears” (Russia), and we are left with “One Bear Dances, the Other Doesn’t.” Pretty obscure, obviously; it should be the women who “dance,” not the bears. So obscure, in fact, I’m guessing that the producers didn’t feel compelled to keep the title as it was, and adjusted it to “One Bear Dances, One Bear Doesn’t” – a phrasing that itself doesn’t reference anything at all.
There’s another interesting thing in the original script that they cut from the episode. When Amanda drops off the picnic basket at the house, Francine says, “You look like Little Red Riding Hood! But don’t worry, Lee and I will protect you from the big bad wolf.” In the original script, she says, “But don’t worry, dear, Lee and I will protect you from the big bad wolf … or should I say, the ‘big bad bear’?” That would have been the one actual use of the word “bear” in the entire episode, but they cut it out.
In the end… we are left with quite a conundrum of a title!
Other SMK titles derived from movie titles: “The ACM Kid” > The Karate Kid. “Filming Raul” > Eating Raoul. “The Three Faces of Emily” < The Three Faces of Eve. “Car Wars” > Star Wars. “You Only Die Twice” and “The Man Who Died Twice” > You Only Live Twice. “To Catch a Mongoose” > To Catch a Thief. “Billy’s Lost Weekend” > The Lost Weekend.
There’s also a 1949 movie starring Clark Gable called “Any Number Can Play,” and a 1985 TV movie starring Robert Mitchum, his son and grandson called “Promises to Keep.” Those might be coincidences, though.
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So Morley’s revised episode order has this ep following Wrong Way Home, and I love it in that order! I have really grown to appreciate Wrong Way Home in many ways, especially for both Lee and Amanda’s development, and to tie a Dotty-centric episode – another Amanda’s family centered episode – right after WWH fits really well in my opinion. I have always liked this episode – especially the scene in the car at the park and also the tag. But the flow going after WWH makes it even better to me.
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I think Lee looks gorgeous too … and decidedly squirmy in the screencap. It does seem like an odd reaction, but it makes me think back to FTFreedom where Billy is proposing the idea of Lee and Amanda sailing the boat. I got the distinct impression there that Billy was messing with Lee a little, that Billy knew of Amanda’s past experience with sailing, and that he used that to categorically shoot down Lee’s protests and maneuver him into setting sail with Amanda firmly by his side. (Billy might have even gotten Amanda in on the way the conversation would go beforehand, it, but that is debatable.) From the look that Lee gives after the FTFreedom set up, he knew Billy had set him up, and with great amusement (for Billy, NOT for Lee). With FFFThought now having done nothing but fuel Billy’s fire where Lee’s professional and personal sense of Amanda is concerned, I think Lee is experiencing deja vu all over again as he hears Billy’s plan unfold. Billy acts all professional on the outside, but I bet inside he is giggling with delight (or maybe more than giggling, I picture that lovely laugh at the end of FFFThought!) at his idea, not to mention his cleverness … and his authority!
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And also, as was suggested previously, I do agree there is a little bit of the “and guess who they will want to break this idea to Amanda?” in Lee’s expression as well!
Ok. Finally making time to sit down with JWWM. Ahhh! As long as kids, chickens, dogs and cats behave I may be able to catch up…
I think this episode comes right after TWWH, so I don’t think that Francine really has a clue that Lee is thinking that Amanda’s neighborhood would be the logical place to stash the Russian defector, but I do think Lee is liking the idea. Whereas, he might have been a bit surprised that he had the idea to temporarily move into the neighborhood back in VM, I think he is happy to feel the excitement about being a bit closer to Amanda house. I wonder too if he might also be able to watch and make sure that Joe isn’t popping by too often?
I also think it fits to have Lee, Billy and Francine working together on this before the opening set up of FFFT when Francine was taken aback when Lee chose to work with Amanda instead. In this opening scene Lee, Francine and Billy are the team, Amanda is still some sort of clerical back up. Only to Lee is she more than that.
And I like the title explanation that BJo offered. It will be interested t see who is doing the dancing and who isn’t.
And about the title – I forgot to put this in my other comment. For me, the image of a dancing bear is a symbol of Russia. For some reason I can picture a cartoon bear in a traditional Russian costume with his arms folded across his chest and doing that bend and kick the leg out dance. What is that? I was wondering why on earth I have this cartoon image in my head. So I started to do some digging. Here is a link to an article about the history of dancing bears in Europe. And since it is an academic article (read very dry and fact-filled) I’ll just quote a line from it, “With a long-standing circus tradition, Russian lands have been a leading site for the dancing of bears, ‘that most Russian of all animals’ as Jane Costlow puts it. In addition to playing a ritualistic role in villages, bear performances, or ‘bear comedies’, for centuries have amused the Russian public who have in their language ‘at least twenty-seven nick-names or terms of indirection to use for the ‘one who knows where honey is’.” It’s on page 53 of the article. (am refraining from using APA format for citing and referencing my find…so no comments from the peanut gallery, please lol.)
Anyway, I think the title is to let us now we are moving away from the greedy and fast-food loving, amateur all-American baddie back toward the sophisticated tea-sipping Russian baddie. At least that’s my guess. It’s got something to do with the Russians which this scene in Billy’s office would confirm. Now we just need to figure out which one dances and which one doesn’t!
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“… doing that bend and kick the leg out dance. What is that?”
Pssttt… isn’t that Cossack dancing?
Oh, and I always associated the Russian bear with the title of this ep too… of course you had deeper thoughts about it than I had, and explained it so much better than I could. 😀
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Lee does look good! And I think his jacket might actually be the real thing! In that close up you can see little wrinkle lines – so it’s real a good imitation. Much better than that blue plastic thing he was wearing in the last episode. Actually he is looking quite relaxed here as he gets out of his car. Coming from a casual dinner with Amanda?
I like most of Francine’s out too, iwsod. She looks good in cream. That moon pin though….ouch! And I bet she has bruises on her neck when she takes those earrings off at night.
I see Lee’s look here at the end differently, iwsod. I see him actually thinking they could put him in Amanda’s neighborhood. This look on his face is that he can’t believe he is about to actually suggest it! Billy has done the suggesting in the past, and now he is about to! I bet he’s worried about what Francine will say in reply.
Nighttime Lee is looking pretty good and so is daytime Lee. There’s an awful lot of beige and brown in that office, that includes the clothes and the decor. I do like Francine’s hair.
Lee’s got that nervous, hesitancy thing going on. I agree with LAAL in that he might be having a flashback as to how things went down in VM. Then again he knows he’s probably going to have to be the one to ask Amanda and she may not like that possible danger is going to be that close to her and her family.
I know Billy said average, but he also said genuine, which describes Amanda more than average I think.
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Maybe Lee is thinking about the last time they used Amanda’s neighborhood (VM) & the awkward situation after Amanda’s comment that they could just go to dinner.
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Lol! Forget about that scene LAAL, one of the simultaneously funny and cringeworthy moments in SMK!
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Jerry had time to move the white “clearance” on the front of the car before he encountered gymnastic-Lee. At first it is to one side of the hood emblem, and then directly under the hood emblem when we next see it (or is that just the license plate?).
I wince when I see Lee throwing himself on the asphalt when he’s wearing good clothes.
Since I’ve started down that track I might as well do a brief wardrobe commentary.
Casual Lee – stunning from head to foot. 😉
Suited Lee – very classy, and even though he has gone with the beige/brown combo it actually looks very stylish. Having said that, maybe it’s a little boring on him. I like the tie – it looks like silk!
Francine outfit is great – restrained (apart from the earrings) and elegant. And her hairstyle is lovely too.
Billy’s in his standard boring 3 piece suit, but all together they are very co-ordinated.
I wonder if SMK had a change of personnel in their wardrobe department at this time? I could check the credits, but I’m too lazy to do it at the moment.
I think it is supposed to be early winter in this episode but maybe those trees in front of IFF are evergreen, and that lady in the short sleeved blouse and summer skirt is particularly hardy. Or maybe they just had their intern set up that establishing shot. Time for us to use our SMK imaginations again…
And the weather can change so quickly in DC 😉
I see a combination of things from Lee here – a little embarrassed bemusement at what Billy is so clearly suggesting, but also a little nervousness (will Amanda be endangered by this?), and some excitement or at least some anticipation at having the potential opportunity for him to spend more time with Amanda as part of this case.
I should explain that when I say “embarrassed bemusement”, I mean that it’s maybe Lee’s beginning to suspect that Billy is deliberately nudging him towards more involvement with Amanda. Lee’s more than okay with more Amanda-time but I think he feels a little embarrassed that this little scene is all happening in front of Francine.
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Oh wow – Lee is looking mighty fine! And I’ll will say more when I get a chance to see this episode again.
Also feeling a bit distracted at how good Lee is looking.
Francine, on the other hand, is looking tired. Insomnia 😉 Or over-indulgence in the Ecstacy selection? Backgammon with a pirate (those ear-rings?)
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Maybe she’s moonlighting as a gypsy fortune teller. The pin and earrings look like crescent moons. Kind of mystical-looking for the white suit she’s wearing.
Insomnia over trying to figure out what’s going on with Lee and Amanda … 😉
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