Space Ramblings

Holmes and Yo-Yo

What do you get when you create a parody of Dragnet using classic slapstick and set around a SciFi premise? You get Holmes and Yo-Yo where Joe Friday is a bionic robot named Yo-Yo with a Polaroid camera in his mouth and a tape recorder in his chest. A bionic robot played by John Shuck.

Holmes and Yo-Yo was an experiment six years before Police Squad and ten years before Sledge Hammer. Like them it did badly. But unlike them it didn’t go for the surrealism. Holmes and Yo-Yo was pure slapstick. It didn’t bother setting up a leading man police officer to mock the way they did. Holmes and Yo-Yo were both aging, overweight and out of shape. Their rapport was natural and the comedy was pure vaudeville, without the surrealism that Police Squad and Sledge Hammer added to their physical comedy.

Holmes and Yo-Yo wasn’t great television, but it was entertaining, especially if you thought that everything else on television was just as dumb, but didn’t know it. Which might be why Holmes and Yo-Yo was hated so much. You won’t find a TV critic then or now with a good word for it.

In the year of Baretta, Welcome Back Kotter, Kojak, the Bob Newhart Show, Chico and the Man, and the Rockford Files, there was no room for a show that mocked the cop show and the blandness of television. It was a little too close to mocking the viewer. Police Squad and Sledge Hammer got by on including the viewer in the joke. Telling him that he was intelligent if he watched it. Holmes and Yo-Yo didn’t pretend to be smart. Like a clown they were ridiculous. Shamelessly ridiculous, gloriously lame and enjoying every minute of it.

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