Thursday, February 11, 2021

Revisiting the Wild Wild West: The Night of the Gypsy Peril

"The Night of the Gypsy Peril" 
Written by Ken Kolb
Directed by Alan Crossland, Jr.
Synopsis: West and Gordon must infiltrate a troupe of traveling entertainers to regain a missing elephant at the center of an international incident.

Trey: So, to get the elephant (heh) in the room out of the way, this episode is another (like "Golden Cobra") that has some depictions that are of it's time, and not the sort of thing that would fly today. It's portrayal of the Romani people leans hard into some stereotypes. It's vaguely Arab folk aren't served any better.

Jim: Flashback Disclaimer: Anybody who wades into discussions of old television shows is eventually going to run afoul of all sorts of stereotypes. I suppose some argument could be made that television allowed for the exposure of different cultural perspectives which has gone a long way to undercutting such stereotypes, but we're not here to defend it, only to put it in it's context.

But yeah, these are the standard "Gypsies with Bronx accents" that were popular on television at this time.

Trey: All that said, the title is a bit misleading. The Romani aren't really the villains here. In fact, this episode zigs a lot when you think it might zag, which is perhaps its only saving grace.

Jim: The elephant is a cute addition, too. Its introduction and some of the dialogue at the beginning sort of sets the tone for this being a more comical episode. And again, I swear I heard some Gilligan's Island music cues in there!

It's dubious ethnic portrayals aside, this episode really charmed me. It reminded me of some humorous Bonanza episodes. And the plot with the competing factions of bandits and "gypsies" allowed for some fun deviations. (Artemis' ruse with the firecrackers, West's trapeze audition, the Gypsy Dance of Death, etc...)

Trey: Yeah, its got some fun stuff. This gang of robbers has to be the toughest West has ever faced. No matter what he does, there always seems to be one ready to get the drop on him in every single encounter!

Jim: Dr. Loveless should hire these guys!

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails