This probably should have been a weekend post if anything, but I wasn’t able to post that weekend, so here it is: after Jack Klugman died, I looked for the infamous Quincy episode “Next Stop, Nowhere,” where the good doctor and his only somewhat age-inappropriate girlfriend (Anita Gillette) take on the menace of punk rock. Airing in the last season of the show, when it had de-emphasized mysteries in favor of preachiness, this one became instantly legendary as the purest example of TV’s inability to deal with youth culture. “The Quincy Punk” became a term for a fake Hollywood-ized version of a punk.
The episode is on Netflix in the U.S., but not, I think, in Canada, so here’s an upload of the episode I found on the Vimeo website; it was recorded in the UK and is therefore a little sped-up, but that just makes it easier to appreciate the speed with which “that violence-oriented punk rock music” can take an innocent girl like Melora Hardin and ruin her life.
I once heard a theory that this episode was sort of an attempt to diversify the issues being dealt with on the show: a bit like Asner on Lou Grant, Klugman had gotten a reputation for making his show one of the last bastions of liberal causes in a TV industry that had run screaming away from such causes. In this theory, an anti-youth, anti-rock episode might have been a way to prove the show wasn’t so out of step with the culture after all. But I’m more inclined to think that the bashing of these kids today and their music (“Why listen to music that makes ya hate when you can listen to music that makes ya love?”) is all of a piece with the usual formula where Klugman becomes outraged by something and won’t stop talking about it until everyone agrees with him.