How Remington Steele ruined me for real (adult) life.

from http://www.bondsuits.com/remington-steele-80s-style/

Yes, this is a blog about British TV. But before I was a British TV addict, I was a just plain television addict. So today I’d like to pay homage to one of my very earliest TV addictions: Remington Steele.* More specifically, I’d like to talk about how my watching of Remington Steele, when I was ten or so, formed nearly all of my ideals and dreams about adult life. The rest of my life, sadly, has been about learning that watching Remington Steele gave me ridiculously unreachable expectations for my career and relationships. Let’s examine how:

  1. I figured men and women always worked together, with mutual respect. Of course, Laura Holt only created the fictional persona of her male detective boss Remington Steele because no one was hiring her agency when it was led by a woman (according to her introduction), but there Laura was, holding her own in the first season as Murphy’s boss, and in every subsequent season, showing Pierce Brosnan (who showed up to inhabit Remington Steele’s role) as the lightweight to whom she mostly showed the investigative ropes.
  2. It somehow made economic sense to be a private detective who had a beautiful office and regularly called for a car service, complete with professional drivers. I don’t know anything about Uber, or Lyft, but hiring rides through those services just can’t be as posh-looking as the big old 1980s cars Laura Holt called for.
  3. Remington cooks! All men cook for you, right?
  4. Laura Holt was in the thick of things, physically. She ran down suspects, went undercover, and kept up with any and all of Steele’s thieving and sneaking hijinks. And she did it all while wearing stylish hats!
  5. Men could look pretty (and also not be huge bulky muscular superhero specimens) and still be very manly. Look at Pierce rocking his jewelry! (And yes, I know that picture is making fun of his man-necklace. I don’t care. So cute!)
  6. Love relationships were all about delayed gratification and witty wordplay. For numerous seasons Laura and Remington flirted and verbally sparred and even made out a little bit, and then they mostly retired to their own quarters. For a totally immature preteen, that was the most exciting type of relationship possible. Frankly, even for this old married woman, it still is.
  7. Women could be hot even wearing eighties fashions, which were not revealing.
  8. Women lived in their own modernist flats which were totally awesome.

Let’s face it. I could come up with a lot more reasons why that show was the absolute best, but I’m just depressing myself and I need to get on with my adult life, which has less to do with Pierce Brosnan and crime detection than it does with taking family members to the doctor and calling the plumber. But if you’re looking for a little pick-me-up this weekend, I would highly recommend re-watching a few early seasons of this classic. Or, if you can’t re-watch entire seasons, use this handy dandy episode guide to relive your favorite episodes!

*I figure it counts as British TV, since it co-starred the Irish and utterly delectable Pierce Brosnan, and that was about as close as I could get to British TV with my four broadcast channels (five if you count the glory years when the Fox network first began).

3 Comments

  1. *nostalgic sigh*
    Remington Steele wasn’t quite my first TV crush — that would have been Carl Kolchak, no lie, I’m a sucker for world-weary tarnished knights — but he was definitely one of the most formative. And I’ve loved Pierce Brosnan ever since.

    But Laura Holt was a badass role model, and absolutely rocked her hats. And heels. I still cherish the little monologue about how “running fast in heels” was an essential kill for women detectives.

  2. Sigh, Hapax.
    Just thinking about Remington Steele (and Pierce Brosnan) makes me happy. Although always with a bit of guilt–I used to lie and tell my mother I had homework to do at night and couldn’t help her working in the garden, and then sneak into my brother’s room to watch Remington. Not much has changed. Given the choice of gardening or looking at Pierce Brosnan, I would still always choose the latter.

    I am off to look up Carl Kolchak forthwith!

    Laura Holt will always be a badass. Check out “Red Holt Steele” for the best Laura moments. Sure she’s vulnerable and stuff but mostly she wants to solve the mystery. And at the end she gets her totally badass industrial loft AND shows she can play classical piano. What a woman.

    At least in the 80s they admitted it was tough to run in high heels. Ever since Jennifer Garner and “Alias” it seems we’ve reverted to thinking women can be badass mobile spies wearing stiletto boots and skintight leather. Right. That woman’s get outrun every time no matter what she does.

  3. Hapax–I’m back! Kolchak as in Darren McGavin? I LOVE Darren McGavin. Watching “A Christmas Story” is always enjoyable because first of all, Jean Shepherd, classic stuff, but also because I always thought Darren McGavin (in that movie) looked awesome to be married to. Kind of funny, kind of stupid, but generally good-hearted and able to fight/fix furnaces with the best of them.

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