Having just returned from two weeks in splendid [self imposed] isolation, I’m tempted to declare that I was on a spiritual retreat, or writing the next Great American Novel.
The truth is that a dear friend of mine found herself in the dilemma of her adopted dad about to shuffle off this proverbial mortal coil(e), and her property caretaker unable to delay personal business.
I’d planned to write my next blog entry on Eureka at that time. I was instead thrust into a remote homestead in the Arkansas Ozarks, careening about spiraled mountain roads, channeling Shakespeare snippets. “Once more into the breach, dear friends!” Melodramatic? Perhaps. But it was, at least, a metaphorical breach.
Wrenched from the epitome of a relatively modern South Carolina dwelling into a land where the closest gas station was 10 miles distant, I was hauling firewood up a hill to stay warm. And I was in a quandary: How to get into Eureka mode? Even the Rube Goldberg style woodstove, reminiscent of some Eurekan failed experiments, didn’t inspire me.
Wild Pigs [sic] Couldn’t Drag Me Awayyyyy
Then it happened. I was hiking across a ridge with my digital camera and saw some strange tracks. I took photos of them that day, and matched some with online deer and wild pig tracks (duh, I was in razorback country), as well as a very large canine track. The next night, after an all day frog strangler complete with dense fog, something ran into the side of the house. The crowd of dogs in the kitchen went wild. All the miscellaneous tough outdoor cats that usually keep the outbuildings rat-free slept on the upper porch for several nights after that. Even the dog-sized opossums couldn’t have shaken the upper porch. Rumors abound of Ozark phenomenon. A thorough examination the next morning revealed no evidence. I never solved the mystery. Errant nearsighted wild pig? I found myself wondering, “WWTD?” (What Would Taggart Do?) And in that moment, I had the subject of this post on Eureka. James Taggart is Eureka’s resident “biological containment specialist.” Some have lovingly referred to him as Eureka’s dogcatcher. Indeed he does occasionally play dogcatcher, such as when LoJack — early described by Frewer as Taggart’s Moby Dick — is on the loose. He apparently doubles as the local veterinarian as well. When LoJack is injured, Taggart nurses him like a child.
Taggart, Man & Myth
But like many of the folks in Eureka, there’s more to Taggart than we see in any given episode. He’s another Global Dynamics mystery. He has an array of smart cages, weaponry, and yes, even “smart cheese to catch smart mice. Taggart is a man of many talents, notwithstanding his mediocre paintball playing. He’s like Tarzan with a larger vocabulary and less hair. Some have said that Taggart is just “useless comic relief.” Yet Taggart enacts a nearly archetypal Trickster role in Eureka.
He’s often portrayed as the Fool, the Coyote, the buffoon, however comic allusions to a darker side of his transformative nature are revealed in the webisodes of Hide and Seek, with his Bigfoot meets Jekyll & Hyde style “missing link” experiments. What is Taggart’s story?
Let’s face it; Taggart is also sexy in a romanticized Wild Man of Borneo style.
Of course, the “real” Wild Man of Borneo is actually an orangutan, mistaken by some for a wild jungle man. Taggart is no orangutan. He’s that wild guy who’s crazy and brilliant…the one you’d definitely want to take with you to the island on Survivor. My friend, Rinda, the anime queen, said, “I’ve always thought Taggart was crazy and oddly sexy but I’m attracted to the odd, crazy, violent and anti-social ones!” (Ed. Mature readers and fans of Bleach can confirm this by reading her Zaraki fanfic)
I’m not sure how I feel about that particular sentiment, but attraction to Taggart, like many other things in Eureka, is complicated. He can be the slightly scary storytelling uncle, as in the opening scenes of Phoenix Rising. Naturally, he then morphs into mad scientist mode with the “human bits” and the unidirectional particle emitter. He may even have a nuclear bomb. But we all have our faults. He loves animals, perhaps most especially cybernetic ones.
Sentiment for AI (artificial intelligence) may be genetic or behavioral. In my own case, just last month my elderly mother spent hours walking behind my IRobot made Roomba vacuum, encouraging it to greater suction and tenderly correcting it when it missed a spot. Ah well, Birds of a feather, as they say…
Being a master plumber’s daughter, I was oddly fascinated with the Taggart and Jo during the H.O.U.S.E. Rules episode. Taking a seminal groping scene from a movie such as From Here to Eternity, and lampooning it in the bowels of SARAH’s bunker was en-grossing. My mind was a riot of wild sensory extrapolations right after Taggart said to Jo, “Good on ya, mate,” and I washed my hands with anti-bacterial soap as soon as the scene was over.
Last but not least, in his favor as a romantic barbarian sort, Taggart even cleans up fairly well, and he can dance. I ask you…What’s not to love?
Some have said that Taggart’s bad Aussie accent grates on the psyche. I don’t know, since nearly everyone where I come from has a bad accent of some description. One thing I can say with certainty:
James Taggart, aka the former Max Headroom, is always entertaining, if eccentric. He can p-p-p-p-ark his b-b-b-boots in my laboratory any time.
Shiny1 is sometimes known as Patricia deVarennes
[tags] Max Headroom, Eureka, sci-fi, fan, Taggart, Matt Frewer [/tags]