If We’re Playing ‘The A-Team,’ I Get Dibs on Murdock


“Face, you’re the kind of guy everyone wants to invite home.”  ~Hannibal Smith, The A-Team

 

With special guest stars, Mr. T’s gymnastics troupe!

As some of my readers might know, I’m currently plugging away at a manuscript. Make it more like four manuscripts. The one to which I refer is about how The A-Team literally changed my life.

Laugh if you will. It’s done a lot for me, least of which is to help me understand how, in any successful group, many different personality types have to work together and look past their differences. This is a show about four guys who, unless they’d been forced to fight together as a unit, might have never talked to one another, let alone become friends. It’s one of many examples in fiction of adversity and circumstance creating friendship.

Because I didn’t actually get to role-play The A-Team with friends as a kid, I have to make up for it as an adult. There were reasons for this. One, Mom and Dad didn’t let me watch the show, claiming it was “too violent,” even though my mom was a Magnum, P.I. addict. At that age I mostly lived out in the middle of nowhere, at least half a mile from the nearest neighbors. And the main problem was, I had little interest in playing with other kids. When I did, it usually ended in screaming, hair-pulling, and/or creative name-calling. I knew what I liked, and if I were role-playing, I could play all the characters myself.

 

"Murdock, it's Rock-Paper-Scissors. Not just Rock."

One thing that’s never deserted me from my earlier years is my desire to role-play to explore different parts of myself. Although introverted and rather shy by nature, I can be very theatrical and expressive when playing a role. (Think of it as the Holodeck, if you will.) Something I used to do when I was a frequent flyer would be to slip into some random character and see how long I could sustain it. I never got caught…or questioned. Maybe there’s more of a “Facewoman” side to me after all?

Since the main chunk of my book is going to be about the four major archetypes and how I’ve experiences them, I thought I’d take a short look at each of them today as if I were watching the show for the first time. Better watch out, sucka!

 

I love it when a stunt explosion comes together!

Col. John “Hannibal” Smith: The leader, who’s also 10-15 years older than the others and lends an air of maturity and experience. I’ll admit to wanting to channel his energy a lot more than the others. This is the kind of person who can not only look death in the eye, but think of a funny poem on the spot and recite it for levity.

I wouldn’t wish for his love of cigars, but I could use his assertiveness, his cool demeanor under pressure, and his ability to bring out the best in his men. (He’s obviously a great leader because, in 15 years of being B.A. and Murdock’s commanding officer, he never let them actually kill one another.)

The other quality I’d love to borrow from Hannibal? “The Jazz.” If you’re not a regular A-Team fan, you may not know this phrase. If Hannibal happens to be “on the Jazz,” he’s pumped, excited, in love with life. Usually when this happens, MPs are shooting at him. We could all use a little adrenaline every now and then. It keeps life interesting.

 

Faceman loves his big guns.

Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck: Watching Toy Story 3 the other day, with its charming Ken doll, I was reminded how much Face reminds me of Barbie’s boyfriend. He has a Corvette, an outfit for every occasion, and a smile that could thaw Greenland. He’s also a Special Forces soldier, so I guess the Ken comparisons have to stop there. (Did they ever make Special Forces Ken? No, wait, that was G.I. Joe.)

I really wish I could be as effortlessly beautiful as Faceman. (Yes, I think Dirk Benedict was and is a beautiful specimen.) Few of us are in real life. But, as Face once memorably advises Murdock, “it’s the singer, not the song.” He’s helped me see that while I may not be a perfect 10 in terms of looks, I can use the gifts I was given to help better myself and others. Another great thing about Face? He understands that diplomacy and charm are often the best ways to solve problems. He’s the only member of the A-Team to specifically worry about getting hit in the face. And why not?

Just one other thing about Face that’s always struck a chord with me: the fact that he’s an orphan and is always subconsciously searching for acceptance. As an adoptee myself, I can relate to this. No matter how much I think I’ve proven myself to my adoptive family, I still wonder what life might have been like with my biological one. It never goes away (and neither does Face’s need for acceptance.) But in the end, he finds his niche in the world…just as I have. I just don’t want a spiffy penthouse and a shiny new Corvette. Not my style.

And for my next trick, I'll turn invisible!

Capt. H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock: There’s very little about him that I have not said already in one shape, form or fashion. He is not just a fictional hero to me, but in many ways, a role model. (Note: this does not include shaving my own head, taste-testing white paint, and/or walking my invisible dog in public.) But I’ll try anyway.

The main difference between Murdock and myself is the basic MBTI stuff. He is almost pure extrovert; I’m much more a classic introvert. He never meets a stranger, and my world is full of strangers. Murdock is a lot like a loyal German shepherd. He likes to wag his tail and share his tennis ball with you. But if you lose his trust, or threaten his friends, you’d better look out. Anyone who’s already in my circle of friends knows that I think of my friendships in much the same way. They’re important to me, and my word is my bond.

Though slightly nervous by nature, I like to think I’ve kept some of Murdock’s playful tendencies and his wonderful, wacky sense of humor. Being a grown-up doesn’t mean we have to lose our childlike spirit. Funny t-shirts? Chuck Taylors with dressy clothes? Randomly doing celebrity impersonations to suit the situation? Been there, done that…all in Murdock’s honor.

B.A.'s his name, pitying crazy fools is his game.

Sgt. Bosco A. “B.A.” Baracus: Here’s the funny thing. In the past year, I think I’ve learned the most from the Big Guy. He is perhaps the most grounded of the A-Team members, symbolized literally by his fear of all things aeronautical. He puts the brakes on Murdock’s wild flights of fancy, Face’s neuroticism, and Hannibal’s Jazz. He may be a big tough guy…but in a lot of ways he’s actually the A-Team’s “Team Mom.” (He even owns the van.)

My mom looks nothing like B.A., but she also does good deeds for children and senior citizens, loves milk, and has a penchant for certain kinds of jewelry. Both of them have shown me that there’s a time to fight and be an angry mudsucker, but also a time to be gentle and kind.

B.A. is also the most direct opposite to Murdock. In my working life I’ve often had co-workers with whom I’ve had absolutely nothing in common. Many of them I thought to be “crazy fools.”  But with a little time and patience and hopefully, a wise mentor like Hannibal around, those differences can be overcome. Chew on that, sucka!

So yes, I’m admitting to being a thirty-something single woman in love with a TV show that went off the air by the time I turned eight. I know it’s weird. But in this world of ours, weird often gets things done, and plans really do come together.

Next time I cosplay, I’ll just need a B.A., a Face and a Hannibal. I’m currently taking applications, so inquire within.

Van not included!

Be sure to “Like” P&Q if you enjoyed this post! A-Team book (hopefully) coming soon to an independent retailer near you!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on January 26, 2011.

7 Responses to “If We’re Playing ‘The A-Team,’ I Get Dibs on Murdock”

  1. This is Leanne, finally remembered my log in lol! Once again you’ve written something amazingly insightful yet delightfully filled with humour. I love your summaries of the guys, I think you’ve captured them well. I look forward to reading that book if you ever get it published 😀

  2. I really hope you get that book published! I’d love to read your analysis of the guys–these are very good as it is; I really love what you said about Face especially in this entry; very nice. It’s great to see the Team observed in this way. Keep it up!

  3. I get dibs on playing Hannibal!

  4. To kind of spoil my answer to your previous question, I’m totally taking Face. He was always my fave!

  5. This is such a great overview of the characters. I did grow up with the show and loved them for the same reasons…. Excellent!

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