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“Bionic Beauty”

S1 E7

Production 44412
Original Airdate: March 17, 1976
Miss california
Jaime is crowned Miss United States
Produced by
Kenneth Johnson
Written by
James D. Parriott
Directed by
Alan Crosland
Guest Cast
Guest Star(s)
Bert Parks as Ray Raymond
Gary Crosby as Brady
Special Guest Star(s)
Martha Scott as Helen Elgin
Co-starring
Helen Craig as Mrs. Belding
Cassie Yates as Sally Bartell
Charlotte Moore as Lady Reporter
Henry Polic II as The Man
With
Katie Hopkins Zerby as Miss Oklahoma
Lisa Parkes as Miss Tennessee
Broadcast Order
Season 1
← Previous Next →
"The Deadly Missiles" "Jaime's Mother"

Jaime Sommers is entered in the "Miss United States" Pageant in order to find out if the beauty contest is rigged, while Oscar Goldman attempts to uncover the disappearance of a micro computer circuit.


Summary

Jaime Sommers is home in her apartment cleaning the fireplace and chopping wood when Oscar Goldman arrives to enlist her help. Oscar explains that he has worked night and day for the last two days on a missing micro computer circuit that is of vital importance to the national defense system. Then the real reason for his visit becomes clear as he informs Jaime that a new problem has arisen in the form of a cryptic message sent by one of the OSI's leading agents in Europe. The message states that the next winner of the Miss United States beauty pageant will be Miss Florida. Oscar wants to enter Jaime in the beauty contest as Miss California to find out if the contest is fixed, who's involved in it, and how it is connected to the OSI. Jaime has never been interested in the beauty queen business, and immediately objects to the proposed mission. Oscar argues that the security for beauty contests is incredibly tight and that he can't send a man in. However, Jaime continues to reject the idea of parading around in such a way that she would make a fool out of herself. Oscar counters, stating that she is the most beautiful and qualified agent, someone who could go in alone and handle the unexpected. He quiets her last arguments by explaining that the agent who sent the message was found dead, floating in the River Seine, and suggesting that Helen Elgin go with her as a chaperon.

At the Ambassador Hotel, Jaime registers in the lobby for her room assignment as Helen gives her advice on how to wear her name tag. The two ladies share a room during their stay, and as Jaime unpacks, Helen reads about the pageant. She is excited to read that on her first night, Miss United States flies on a private jet to Paris, France for a goodwill tour. However, Jaime is not thrilled by the rules, which state that there will be no liquor, no male visitors, no smoking in public, and no phone calls outside of the complex without permission by the Director. The contestants are to be supervised at all times. Helen thinks the guidelines are reasonable, and is just glad that she was invited. She had always wanted Jaime to enter a beauty contest in high school, and is confused as to how Oscar was able to convince her to enter. Jaime quickly explains that the winner is picked by a state committee, and that she had come in second place. Helen still seems confused as Jaime continues, saying that the winner came down with the flu, and so as runner up, she was the replacement. This satisfies Helen, but the room does not. She complains that their room is stuffy and attempts to open the window, but needs help. Jaime, misjudging her bionic strength, lifts the window with too much force, causing it to slam back down and shatter.

Jaime and Helen attend an orientation for the contestants conducted by Mrs. Belding, in which she explains that the ladies will be judged on qualities that distinguish an ordinary girl from an extraordinary women, and wishes them all luck. She next introduces Ray Raymond, who is the Master of Ceremonies and Pageant Director. Raymond briefly speaks about the schedule before instructing the women to split up into their "family" of five contestants to get acquainted. Jaime learns that she is assigned to the same group as Sally Bartell. Bartell is Miss Florida, and as Jaime tries to engage in friendly conversation, Bartell quickly shoots her down, explaining that every girl wants to win the crown and is not willing to become more than friendly enemies. Jaime witnesses Miss Florida walking away with Raymond, and uses her bionic ear to listen to their conversation. She hears Raymond ask Bartell if they have a deal, and upon her agreement, states that he will give instructions when the time comes.

Jaime makes her way to the lobby in an attempt to contact Oscar. However, she sees Raymond making a phone call, and listens bionically as he confirms Miss Florida's participation and makes plans for a meeting during the 11:00pm bed check. While the other girls perform their "talent" in a pre-recorded segment, Jaime breaks the pageant rules by placing a phone call to Oscar. As Jaime is on the phone, Helen searches for her, knowing that she is next to record her talent. In a rush, Helen passes through a Lady Reporter taping a news report about the pre-recorded talent segment, which is utilized as a time saver allowing the women to rest as they change from their swimsuits into their formal gowns. Still unaware, Jaime informs Oscar that the Pageant is rigged, but that she hasn't yet discovered the motive. Oscar is pleased, but also frustrated at the lack of progress in finding the micro computer circuit. He notes that Steve Austin is in Brussels, and hasn't had any luck in recovering the device. Jaime pauses at the mention of Steve, and asks Oscar if he ever asks about her. Oscar tells Jaime that Steve always asks about her and if she is seeing anyone. This evokes a startled response from Jaime, who questions if Steve is seeing anyone. Oscar quiets her concerns, saying that there is no one special. Jaime expresses her confusion to Oscar just as Helen comes to warn her. But the warning does not come in time, as the stage manager Brady admonishes her for using the phone.

Brady rushes Jaime through the backstage area, and past a nagging Mrs. Belding, just as Miss California is introduced by Raymond. Jaime walks onto the stage and dedicates the song "Feelings" to someone she grew up with, hoping that Steve will see the performance. As she sings, Helen watches, knowing the true meaning behind the song. But she is not alone, as the other beauty contestants gather just off the stage to watch. When Jaime finishes, she rushes to Helen and the two hug before rushing off. Brady and Raymond witness the exchange, with Brady warning the Director about Jaime's phone call. Raymond brushes the incident off, but Brady reminds him that she was added as a replacement and could be a plant.

Back in their hotel room, Jaime opens the window to make a hasty exit. This concerns Helen, who wants to know what she is doing. Jaime is forced to explain that she is in the Pageant as a spy and is about to follow Ray Raymond. After jumping from her window, Jaime makes her way to where the meeting is to take place, but only after being spotted by Sally Bartell. Once behind the hotel, Jaime listens to Raymond as he meets with The Man who is identified on his radio as "Falcon One". The Man tells Raymond that the "package" must be in Paris in two days. Raymond instructs The Man to give him the package, which will then be carried by Miss Florida onto her private jet. The Man believes this to be a perfect setup, with Miss United States being the ideal courier.

As Mrs. Belding circulates during the bedcheck, Bartell informs her that she saw Jaime outside. The two ladies make their way to Jaime's room, where Helen explains that Jaime is in the shower. While they wait, Helen tries to cover for Jaime, urging her to hurry, as if she were really there. When she sees Jaime approaching from outside, Helen pretends to go in the bathroom to check on her, but instead warns her that Mrs. Belding is waiting. Just as Mrs. Belding is getting impatient, Jaime appears in a bathrobe with her hair wrapped in a towel. However, Bartell is not to be fooled, and removes the towel, exposing Jaime's dry hair. Although Jaime maintains that she was in the shower, Belding cites her prior tardiness and confines her to her room until the pageant begins. Belding then notifies Raymond of the contestant's misbehavior, which in turn confirms Brady's prior suspicions.

The next morning, Jaime's room is being monitored by security, from inside the corridor of the hotel and below her window outside of the hotel. Yet Jaime needs to talk to Oscar to inform him about Raymond. Helen offers to help, and once in the lobby, makes the phone call. As Oscar answers, he instructs the caller to hold while he explains the dimensions of the missing micro computer Falcon Circuit. Finally able to talk to Helen, their conversation is interrupted by Raymond and Brady before she can relay the information. Back in the hotel room, Jaime is upset that Oscar didn't get the message. Helen struggles, but recalls what Oscar said. This sparks Jaime's memory of Raymond's conversation with The Man. Jaime slams her hand on the small table next to her, as she makes the connection between Raymond and the Falcon Circuit, breaking the table. Not letting the table faze her, Jaime thinks she'll be able to slip out to contact Oscar once the finalists have been chosen.

That night, as the show is about to begin, the ladies are lined up in their swimsuits waiting to go on stage. Jaime complains to Helen that she feels like a side of beef, but also notes that she liked her old legs better than her new legs. Then it begins, with each contestant being called out by their state. Once all are lined up, the five finalists are announced: Miss Oklahoma, Miss Hawaii, Miss Tennessee, Miss Florida, and much to Jaime's surprise, Miss California. The girls all go backstage to change into their formal gowns, while the audience views taped highlights of the talent competition.

After getting dressed, Jaime leaves Helen to cover for her so that she can contact Oscar and locate the Falcon Circuit. Backstage, with her own song playing in the background, Jaime bionically hears Raymond and The Man discussing the Circuit. As they head off to hide it, Jaime uses her bionics to jump up to a catwalk above the stage. Just then, Brady comes out and sees her on the catwalk, spying over Raymond. Just after Jaime jumps from the catwalk, Brady comes back with a white cloth soaked with chloroform. Waiting for the right moment, he rushes after Jaime, takes her from behind and clamps the chloroformed cloth over her face. She's almost immediately knocked unconscious. Raymond and Brady take Jaime to a small room backstage. Along the way, Belding questions them as to what happened, and Raymond responds by suggesting that Jaime is on drugs. In the room, Brady uses a syringe to administer a drug to ensure that Jaime would not wake up until it is too late. However, he does so in her right arm, rendering the drugs useless. At the same time, Oscar learns of the flight to Paris by the private jet of Miss United States, and listens to the Pageant on the radio. He hears the announcement that Jaime will not take part in beauty contest, and orders a car to take him to the Ambassador Hotel.

Jaime wakes to find herself locked in a room. She uses her bionics to break through the door and escape. While the other finalists are engaged in the interview portion, Jaime rushes back to the auditorium. She arrives and stands to the side of stage. Brady sees her and pulls the curtain back in order to reveal her presence. Raymond pulls her onto the stage to ask her an interview question for the judges. Jaime is able to twist the answer into what she hopes is a code for Oscar. Then the moment most contestants dream about, the naming of Miss United States.

Fourth runner up is Miss Tennessee, third runner up is Miss Hawaii, second runner up is Miss Oklahoma, and the first runner up is Miss Florida. Jaime is shocked as she realizes that she is the next Miss United States. Yet, Jaime is even more shocked to see that Brady is standing next to Helen with a gun pointed at her side. Raymond comes along side Jaime and walks her forward as he warns her not to make a wrong move. Jaime continues to walk forward along the runway as Ray Raymond begins his serenade with the Miss United States Theme Song. Jaime sees Oscar enter the auditorium. She listens bionically as he asks if she needs help, and she nods that she does, but emphatically shakes her head when he offers to make a move. Raymond returns to her side with a gun. He and Brady escort Jaime and Helen out to the garage, where a car is waiting for them. Bartell follows them to the garage, demanding to talk to Raymond. This provides a distraction, which Jaime uses to push the car door into Brady and knock Raymond to the ground. Jaime tells Bartell to leave, and once again goes after Raymond, who is trying to retrieve the Miss United States scepter that fell to the ground. Throwing the scepter to the side, Jaime reacts in time as Brady attempts to back the car into her. She uses her bionics to stop the car and hold it in place just as Oscar arrives. Helen emerges from the car unscathed, and Jaime hands Oscar the scepter, which contains the Falcon Circuit.

Jaime returns to the auditorium, where she finds Bartell sitting alone on the stage as the set is being dismantled. Bartell is ashamed of herself for almost selling out herself and her country. Jaime comforts her, and shows her the final ballot, which was found in Brady's pocket. Miss Florida had won, fair and square.

Deconstructed

Quotes

Jaime: What is this?
Oscar: Your sash.
Jaime: My s...?? Oscar, if you think I'm gonna go in there and parade around in...
Oscar: Jaime, I can't over look it. I've got to find out what this is all about. I've gotta find out if this beauty contest is rigged, and if it is, who's on top of it and what does the OSI have to do with this. Jaime, these beauty contests - the security's incredible! I can't send a man in! It's got to be this way. And since you are... the most beautiful and qualified agent at OSI, I thought maybe you'd enjoy being... (drapes the sash over Jaime's shoulder) ... Miss California.
Jaime: (sourly) I hate it.


Jaime: Oscar... look, before I put on this sash and go in there and make a fool out of myself, why don't you call this agent and make sure he wasn't joking - I mean, this is a pretty silly message.
Oscar: I can't do that.
Jaime: Why?
Oscar: They found this agent this morning, face down in the River Seine.
Jaime: Snorkeling?
Oscar: Dead.


Sally: Miss California. You're the replacement, aren't you?
Jaime: Yeah... second string. We can still be friends, huh?
Sally: "Friends?" There's no Miss Congeniality award in this contest, honey.
Jaime: Well, I...
Sally: Look, every girl here wants that crown — badly. You're not gonna make friends, just friendly enemies.


Brady: (about Jaime) She was talking on an outside line to somebody called Oscar. There's an Oscar Goldman, you know, who works for the OSI.
Ray Raymond: There's also an Oscar Mayer who makes wieners. Probably just a boyfriend.


Jaime: I didn't want to have to tell you this, but Oscar sent me here to get some information. It's very important, and it could be dangerous.
Helen: Dangerous? Are you here as a spy? (Jaime nods) I guess I never believed that runner-up story of yours. You always hated beauty pageants.


Brady: (Helen has been caught using an outside line) Who were you talking to? Oscar who?
Helen: Oscar Lipschitz, he's an old beau of mine from college, whenever I'm in his area I always call him up, and...


Jaime: (readying for the bathing suit procession) I feel like a side of beef. How do I look?
Helen: Terrific.
Jaime: Y'know what? I really liked my old legs better. They were better.


Brady: (prepares to inject Jaime with knockout drug) There's enough in [the syringe] to keep a horse out for a week. (tries to puncture her right arm) Cheez, you've got a hide like an armadillo!


Ray Raymond: You feeling better, Miss California?
Jaime: Yes, I needed a rest. You know, the excitement of all of this kinda snuck up and grabbed me from behind.


Jaime: Anyway, the proverb is: as the queen flies to Paris on her falcon, so must we continue the search for our goals.
Ray Raymond: This doesn't make sense.
Jaime: I certainly hope it does to someone.


Oscar: And all this time I thought you were just a pretty face.
Jaime: Oscar, I am Miss United States!

Trivia

Cast
  • Beginning with this episode, Lindsay Wagner (and, by extension, Jaime) sports a noticeable scar on her upper lip. This is the result of an automobile accident that occurred to Wagner (some Internet sources such as the Internet Movie Database have stated the accident occurred in 1977, but this is incorrect given the broadcast date of "Bionic Beauty"). The series does not attempt to explain how Jamie got the scar, although it could be surmised that it occurred during an untelevised mission.
  • Bert Parks was at the time best known as the host of the Miss America pageant, and many elements of this episode parody that competition, including the tradition of Parks serenading the winner (in real life, his song was "There She is, Miss America").
Story
  • Brady, with some difficulty, injects a sedative into Jaime's bionic arm, which of course has no effect on her. A similar mistake is made regarding Steve Austin in "Wine, Women and War", although no one complained then about Steve having tough skin.
Soundtrack
  • Featured prominently during this episode is Joe Harnell's new "Jaime's Theme" which would later become the closing creditsBionic Woman theme, replacing the original Jerry Fielding theme in use at this point. Harnell's theme would also be used on the opening of "Kill Oscar" for syndication (the episode premiered with a truncated title with Fielding's theme).
  • This is one of several episodes to receive a soundtrack release, as 'The Bionic Woman- From the Episodes "Bionic Beauty" • "Deadly Ringer" • "Once a Theif"' by Joe Harnell, available on Audio CD and via digital downloads.
Real World
  • At the time, "Miss United States" was a fictional pageant, but a real Miss United States pageant was inaugurated in 2001, while a similarly titled Miss United States International has been awarded since 1991.
  • Miss United States was the title of the scholarship program / beauty pageant in the movie Miss Congeniality (2000). The term "Miss Congeniality" is also used in this episode.
  • Mrs. Belding is named after Richard Belding, who is credited with "Editorial Supervision."
  • The song "Feelings" was originally recorded in 1975 as the title track of Morris Albert's album. Over the years, the song has been sung and parodied by various artists.[1]

Gaffes

Storyline
  • Considering she entered the pageant under her own name, it's unusual that at no point (at least on screen) does anyone reference the fact Jaime is an internationally known professional tennis player. Or the fact that newspapers had reported that she had died some time earlier.
Credibility
  • Outdated stock footage is used for the audience in several scenes (some scenes date back to the 1950s). Some of the same stock footage will also be used in the second season episode, "Road to Nashville".
Editing
  • As Oscar explains that the Falcon Circuit is missing, Jaime is sitting on the fireplace. As he begins to explain the message from the agent in Europe, she is sitting directly in front of him. Next, when Oscar hands the message to Jaime, she stands up from the fireplace and crosses over to him, and sits directly in front of him.
  • The "Miss California" sash mysteriously disappears after Helen drapes it over Jaime's shoulder while in their hotel room (discussing how Oscar talked Jaime into entering the pageant).
  • it's easy to tell that filming stopped momentarily after Jaime jumps out of her hotel window because the bush that she lands behind looks like it moves unnaturally when she comes out from behind it.
  • After Brady uses chloroform to knock Jaime unconscious, Lindsay Wagner moves her left arm and pulls at her dress.
  • When Jaime gets up from the couch where Brady and Raymond have left her, her shoes can be seen sitting on the floor next to the couch. She then walks over to the door and knocks it down. When Jaime exits the room, she is now wearing her shoes.
  • Brady is really gunning the gas when he tries to run Jaime down, but when she lifts the back of the car up, there aren't any skid marks on the floor like there should be.
  • In the garage, Jaime picks up the scepter and hands it to Oscar. In the next shot, a close up, Jaime once again hands the scepter to Oscar.
Sound Effects
  • When Brady tries to drive the limo into Jaime Sommers, she puts her hand down to stop it, and the rather distinctive "clunk" sound of metal hitting metal is heard - only since Jaime's arm is technically supposed to be covered in plastiskin, you shouldn't hear anything - or, at least, only hear more of a muffled "thud". In fact, this is more in keeping with Martin Caidin's original concept of Steve Austin's bionic arm being a steel bludgeon.
Visual Effects
  • When Jaime jumps down from the catwalk, the cape/scarf on her gown can be seen floating upward, behind her. When she lands, the cape/scarf is below her shoulders.

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