The 80's were a time of intense political activism. And nothing embodied that activism more than The A-Team.
Although cleverly disguised as a cheesy TV action show, The A-Team takes a place among Roots, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Johnny Got his Gun as pinnacles of "art as commentary."
Yes, Tootie and Miss Garret taught the Nation important lessons about schoolgirl uniforms. But The A-Team was so much more.
Because of their bitchin' van?
The show was brilliant social commentary on the state of race relations in our country.
It was no wonder the Networks shut it down. The message was just too powerful:
White man is the brains, Black man is the aggressive muscle-bound work horse.
Need a plan? Get the old white guy with the cigar. Need a big log moved? Get the black guy.
Week after week the producers pounded our political consciousness with the harsh realities of the underground race war in America.
If the black man doesn't like the white man's plan, drug him up.
"I DON'T FLY, FOOL!" Sure, silly black man…why don't you just drink *this.*
Mr. T's portrayal of the Black man's struggle was inspired …the subtleties he brought to the role often moved me to tears.
If more people would have truly *heard* the message behind Mr. T.'s grunts, I wonder if we could have curbed the current drug problem in our country's inner cities. "I pity the fool," he would say….Yes, Mr. T…We should have listened.
And the other white characters completed the brutal race metaphor. The sly, manipulative Face Man and the clinically insane Murdock - painting white America with painful accuracy.
I particularly was moved by their show's strict adherence to a non-violent philosophy. Despite constant explosions and gunfire, no-one ever died. I still get teary thinking about it. Ya gotta admire the ethics of those producers.
We could all learn a lot from What The A-Team had to teach.
Who are our teachers now? Felicity? Dawson?
In a time when sensitive teen dramas dominate the screen, it's nice to remember when television *meant* something.
B.A. was the Team's mechanic and driver...coincidence?