A few weeks ago, Buy.com had an amazing deal on the Miami Vice TV series. For only $39.99, you could get the entire series. All five seasons! Oh, you damn well know I partook in that deal. Less than eight bucks a season? Hell to the yes. Even though I already owned the first two seasons (which I need to get around to selling), it was still well worth it for some 80s goodness.
Since I got the box set arrived — in, might I add, a snazzy little case — I’ve been watching an episode or two about every night before I go to bed, and been completely digging it. Ironically, I’ve been enjoying it for reasons I would not have expected because, for all intents and purposes, it doesn’t hold up that well. At all. But it’s still fantastic. Let me explain.
I loved Miami Vice when I it was a young teenager. Loved it. The fast cars, the flashy clothes, the downright awesome soundtrack, hell, the overall slickness of it all. This show was the absolute shit for me in its first run, and I ate up every episode.
Watching it now, having not seen not more than three episodes in 20 years, shows how just incredibly flawed this show was, but ironically enough, it stands as a perfect analogy for the ’80s. It’s all style, but no substance. As much as I love ’80s music and movies, it was a very selfish and hollow decade, where flash and style were all important, and Miami Vice personifies that like no other TV show I’ve watched from that same era (in recent memory).
The music still rocks…I mean, the songs that show up in the show still surprise me. Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Glenn Fry, Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner and on and on. Regardless of how you feel about those artists, these cats were HUGE in the ’80s and to have that caliber on a TV show, on a weekly basis no less, is still damn impressive. I suppose Supernatural has the same caliber of music artists, but, at the same time, the songs played on that show are from Warner’s back catalog and rarely anything current (not that I’m complaining).
Also, the guest stars that pop up on Miami Vice is impressive as hell. Some weren’t huge stars at the time, but are definitely more-than-recognizable now and some who are timeless: Michael Madsen, Pam Grier, Ving Rhames, Charles Dutton and Luis Guzman all come to mind immediately (and I’m only in the middle of the second season). And, my personal favorite guest star to date: Julian Beck. He does an amazing cameo as an evil businessman.
Now, even though the music still holds up and the cameos are a lot of fun, those aren’t the reasons I’m watching the show anew and enjoying it. It’s something else altogether…I’m convinced Rico Tubbs (the character) is a goddamn sociopath — not unlike Dexter. While you don’t see him slaughtering people (like you do on Dexter), there is something completely off about Tubbs that just isn’t trustworthy.
In the Dexter novels, and to some degree the show, Dexter talks about how he out of place he feels around people, and how he practices laughing and such to appear normal. He also talks about how he thinks his co-worker, Masuka, could very well be a sociopath like himself because he is so phony (this is more so in the books). And that is exactly how Tubbs is on the show. When he laughs, it’s uncomfortable and surreal because he always seems to laugh too hard at something, as if he’s forcing it. Same when he gets angry…he overdoes it. Now, I’m quite certain that this is just an acting issue probably more than anything else, but watching the show with the mindset that Tubbs is killing people on his days off makes it that much better.
A good example of Tubbs’ creepiness is from the first episode, where he’s at a strip club:
Okay, I can see you acting like that if you are around your goofball friends. But when you’re by yourself? Yeah. Creepy.