Jan 23, 2011

Remington Steele Reminds Me of a Few Life Lessons

by Marsha Ward

I mentioned two weeks ago that I've been watching episodes of the beloved 1980s romantic comedy/mystery television series, "Remington Steele" lately. Mostly--grumble, grumble--when my Dish network conks out on me--which is a lot!

I've completed watching the third season now. Only two more, well, one and a half, to go. (After six episodes of the fifth season, NBC pulled the rug out from under MTM and Pierce Brosnan by canceling the show. Details can be found on the Internet.)

Anyway, I've remembered a thing or two from watching the show. The conversation below illustrates them. It's from an episode in the 3rd season written by John Wirth entitled "Springtime for Steele," and takes place between Remington Steele (Pierce Brosnan) and the world's worst singer, Rocky Sullivan (Lynne Randall), toward the end of the episode. 

After discovering that one of her backers had bought up all the tickets to her previous show and given them away so it appeared that she was a hit, but that her managers' plan was for her to fail since they'd sold "pieces" of her amounting to 500%, she has lost confidence and doesn't want to go out and sing. The elipsis indicates irrelevant dialog has been cut.

Rocky: I can't go on.
Steele: Of course you can.
Rocky: I'm a fraud...I've lost it.
Steele: You know, Rocky there have been times in my life when I felt as though I couldn't go on. As though I had nothing to live for anymore. When everybody I seemed to trust failed me.
Rocky: That's funny. That's exactly how I feel now.
Steele: Rocky, we're not always able to anticipate or affect the way people treat us. I suppose that's what makes life exciting and frightening at the same time. But still, there is one constant we can control.
Rocky: Yeah? What's that?
Steele: You. No matter what happens, you can be the best Rocky Sullivan there ever was. And no one can do a thing to stop you.

Okay! Awesome writing, awesome delivery!

Well, maybe I would have written one line differently: "When everybody I trusted seemed to fail me." Maybe John Wirth did, and Pierce Brosnan muffed it--the actors in this show were extraordinarily careful to say the lines as written, so I can only think he muffed it and the production crew missed it. But I digress!

The two things that stand out to me here are 1) everybody needs a cheerleader, and 2)  we have no control over how readers or relatives or critics or neighbors or reviewers or members of our faith community treat us. However, we can control one constant: we can be the best self/writer/friend/sister there ever was.

Thanks for reminding me of that, John Wirth.


  1. I needed to hear this today. Thanks for this post!

  2. You're welcome. Be your best Rebecca today!

  3. I used to love Remington Steele. That is a message I need to remember often. Thanks.

  4. Sometimes the muffed lines say more anyway. Aw Marsha now I'm gonna have to pull out my Remington Steele stuff. Darn it.

  5. Love your post, Marsha! Great message too. I had a similar conversation recently. I obviously needed to hear it again. Thanks! I will now go watch an episode of Remington steele before I go to bed!

  6. I didn't have much of a crush on Pierce Brosnan when he was James Bond, but I remember completely crushing on him when I was a kid watching Remington Steele.

    Great excerpt and great reminder, Marsha. Thanks!


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