have brain, will travel
» Spoiler Warning: details on this page could spoil any surprise(s) in the story if you have not seen this complete TV series.
Richard Dean Anderson is probably best known for his role as MacGyver for seven seasons on ABC. Using science and his wits, rather than violence, MacGyver could solve almost any problem. MacGyver was a former Special Forces agent now working for the Phoenix Foundation, a "think tank" dedicated to righting wrongs and defeating bad guys around the world. The action-adventure format addressed social issues as well, and MacGyver became a role model praised by critics, parents, and teachers alike.
» See our MacGyver fan site - Live and Learn - for more show facts and fun.
MacGyver: Recap and Review
What makes it so notable? MacGyver exemplifies what I love about my favorite (80's) shows: an upbeat, intelligent main character who remained positive in the face of repeated challenges and exciting action that was not unwatchably violent.
What are its weak points? After the first few seasons, Mac didn't travel as much, and some fans thought the show suffered creatively.
Verdict: Casual Fan or Big-Time Fangirl? Big-Time Fangirl
Comments: MacGyver is my ideal man: smart, tall, handsome, and charming with a can-do attitude. Watching the show now, I can't help comparing it to what's on today, and the current offerings fall WAY short. Thank goodness for DVDs!
- Quotes -
The good, the bad, the sad, the funny: the things we wish we'd thought to say first.
Gantner: They calculate the chances of anyone getting through to Marlow and Stubens are . . . not great.
MacGyver: Give me "not great" on a scale of one to ten.
Gantner: Minus three.
Yanna: Why do they hate us?
MacGyver: Some people are scared of anybody who runs free.
Kate: How are you going to start a fire? Make lightning, or rub two sticks together?
MacGyver: Well, I thought I'd use a match.
MacGyver: I've found from past experience that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something . . . unpredictable.
Bill: Pure nitro. That stuff'll go off if you sneeze.
MacGyver: Let's try not to sneeze.
MacGyver: You haven't changed.
Harry: Haven't had to, and I don't plan to.
MacGyver: Like the magician said: a little misdirection never hurt.
MacGyver: Always had to say how great you were, didn't you, Quayle? Afraid maybe people wouldn't notice.
Quayle: You'll be the last one to die.
MacGyver: That's what I figure, too . . . of old age, hopefully.
Pete: I thought we could rely on each other; I thought we were friends.
MacGyver: We are friends, Pete. Were friends, shall be ever more - after my vacation!
Ms. Collins: How come you're not scared?
MacGyver: Well, you know that old saying "Lord, give me the strength to deal with what I can and endure what I can't"? Well, I'm enduring.
Ms. Collins: You know, in a weird way, you're a comfort.
Joanne: Oh, I've heard about you! You're the one that does the whatchamacallits. You know, MacGyver-isms. Turns one thing into another?
"Old Minnesota wisdom: if you don't want to be touched, look downright untouchable." Mac, covered with grime to disguise himself as a ship mechanic
MacGyver: Somebody want to fill me in?
Ramon: Nothing to fill in. The man's got a problem. We've all got problems. That's life, White Bread.
Jack: You haven't changed - not a bit!
MacGyver: Neither have you, Jack.
Jack: Yeah, thanks!
MacGyver: That wasn't a compliment.
Debra: I've never been able to figure out how your mind works. How do you think of these things?
MacGyver: Well, if it comes down to me against the situation, I don't like the situation to win.
June: If we leave the money here will they leave us alone?
MacGyver: They don't strike me as the type to let bygones be bygones.
Harry: Maybe your friend Pete took 'em.
MacGyver: Nah, he doesn't like hockey.
Harry: How can you work for a guy like that?
Elaine: You really think this is going to work?
MacGyver: I think if you try hard enough and make the best of a situation, the situation won't get the best of you.
Pete: You know, one of us needs to have his head examined, and I'm sure it's not you.
MacGyver: Come on, Pete, admit it. You're having the time of your life.
Pete: Oh, sure. I love having two pounds of snow in my pants.
Jack: They think I know too much; they think I finked to the CIA.
MacGyver: Did you?
Jack: Of course!
Pete: Murdoc is an international terrorist. Specializes in disguises. He's half-chameleon, half rattlesnake. When he makes a hit, he always takes a picture of his victim. Dying.
MacGyver: Keeping an album, is he?
Pete: No. One shot goes to whoever paid for the hit, as proof. And a copy to us, the DXS, just for fun.
MacGyver: When I was a kid, my grandfather used to say to me that . . . a fellow's life wasn't worth mentioning if he hadn't shared it with some folks along the way. That is what you said, isn't it, Harry?
Harry: Yeah, only I said it shorter.
MacGyver: Where did you learn how to speak Czech?
Diana: Correspondence school.
MacGyver: Oh. Like "the Czech is in the mail"?
General: I like you, MacGyver, but I can't let them go. As for glasnost, I don't agree with the current Soviet administration, this new openness. Weak. Foolish. Impractical.
MacGyver: And you think killing three people is more practical. That's amazing.
MacGyver: We have to steal the dragon.
Jack: What you mean "we," Kemosabe?
Jimmy: In the old days, I would've had a piece to even up the odds.
MacGyver: That's not the only way.
Jimmy: Yeah, and a couple of grenades, too.
MacGyver: One of my biggest problems is I can never leave a puzzle alone.
MacGyver: I didn't get it. I couldn't get him away from his locker.
Nikki: I thought you were supposed to be good at this.
MacGyver: So did I.
Nikki: You were real smooth with that border guard back there. How did you ever manage to ask him about his sister's feet?
MacGyver: Alright, my German's not so good; we got through, didn't we?
Jack: There's a fifteen percent reward for the return of the money.
MacGyver: I don't give a rat's pajamas about the money!
MacGyver: You're my best friend. Mike, we've always been there for each other; isn't that the most important thing?
Mike: All those women in your life and you never learned a thing, did you.
MacGyver: He is a kid who is begging you to listen.
Ryman: Nonsense, MacGyver.
MacGyver: Pressure turns coal into diamonds. Is that it?
Ryman: Well, that is a physical fact, MacGyver.
MacGyver: It can also crush it to dust!
MacGyver: Excuse me, can you tell me where I can find some eucalyptus leaves?
Stock Boy: Australia.
Dr. Millhouse: I suppose you think I'm a crackpot, too.
MacGyver: No, I think you're a dedicated scientist - who's gone too far.
Elena: Did you see them on television?
MacGyver: Oh, yeah.
Elena: And what did you think?
MacGyver: I think it's kind of a flashy way of tellin' people you're rich.
Elena: Ah. You don't approve.
MacGyver: Probably just jealous.
Jack: Where's your sense of adventure? What happened to that will-of-the-wisp guy I've come to know and love?
MacGyver: He's going skiing at a resort where the greatest danger is an overpopulated hot tub.
Jack: What do you think a kid like this eats? You know about these things, Mac.
MacGyver: What, do I look like Dr. Spock?
MacGyver: So, how many grizzly you got up here?
Karen: About a hundred - or one for every three thousand tourists.
Karen: Meaning they're almost extinct. Just like every other animal that's mean-tempered, feels soft, or can't do tricks.
MacGyver: He's wearin' a tie.
Pete: What's wrong with a tie?
MacGyver: It's a tie.
"Another morning, a whole new set of possibilities." - MacGyver
"That's what makes you so hard to beat MacGyver. No one knows what you're going to do next; including you." - Murdoc
"You fly-by-night dictators are all the same." - MacGyver goading the bad guy into making a mistake.
- Lessons Learned -
What can we learn from this series?
* There's nothing you can't do if you have a Swiss Army Knife, a roll of duct tape, and your wits.
* Watch out for one-name people who are masters of disguise.
* Always dress both stylishly and comfortably. Be aware of the kind of shirt you have on. A '70s shirt on a late '80s kind of guy always gets comments, usually negative ones.
* Nice guys don't always finish last.
* Any problem can be solved with a little ingenuity.
* One person can make a difference.
* Never underestimate the power of chocolate.
* Hockey is a lot like life. It's a team sport, you have to work together, and no matter how hard you try to play by the rules, not everyone will play fair.
* Friends are the adventures of life.
* A paper clip can be a wondrous thing.
* A good relationship is a lot like a car, it'll work if you put some effort into it.
* A little dirt never hurt anybody.
* It's not so bad being special.
* Everybody makes mistakes once in a while.
* Sometimes you just have to have a little faith.
* Life has a way of making its point.
* Leather jackets are always in style.
* A little research beforehand can go a long way.
* Sometimes your life may resemble an Indiana Jones or a James Bond movie.
* If you want to be a troubleshooter, make sure the organization you work for has a good health insurance policy.
* You may really hate heights, but sometimes you still have to climb that mountain.
* Even your worst enemy might need your help sometimes.
- Favorite Scenes -
Also known as "moments"
In one episode Mac has a dream where he is transported back to the time of King Arthur. Merlin is jealous of MacGyver's practical wisdom and accuses him of trying to steal his job. Frustrated, Mac announces, "I am *not* trying to steal your job! Be-lieve me!" The way he emphasizes the second half of the word believe is so funny, and it really conveys his annoyance at Merlin's paranoia.
In another episode, Murdoc is trying to trick a woman into helping him by pretending to be MacGyver. The woman tells Murdoc that the phone isn't working, and she shows him the problem. He replies, "The wires have been cut. I could fix it if I only had some duct tape."
[Jill and Mac escape from a robot in a garbage shoot.]
Jill: This was a bad idea.
MacGyver: Why is that?
Jill: Excess waste is automatically dumped into an acid bath. How much do you weigh?
Jill: This is programmed to 280.
MacGyver: So if you weigh more than 105, we're in trouble.
Jill: I think we're okay.
[The floor starts to open.]
Jill: I lied . . . 108!
- Afterthoughts -
Credit: the description and the Lessons Learned are from katsku's page; it closed years ago, but you can still see it here at the internet archive. That feature at Katsku's page is where I got the idea of including "What I've Learned" from other shows and movies on my own sites.
* Find more quotes, favorite scenes and lessons learned along with trivia, character information, a photo gallery and much more at my MacGyver site: Live and Learn.
* Links to other MacGyver websites can be found: here.
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