I remember watching this battle about 2 weeks before my 13th birthday. I still remember my Mother passing through, noticing Lisa Whelchel stretched out on the ground during the tug of war, in total agony, asking me "what's wrong with Blair?" That still amuses me. I watched this episode again recently for the first time since it originally aired. All three teams were out to win, obviously. ABC was conceited as always, but seemed somewhat unsure of themselves this time around. John James of "Dynasty" was team captain again, while new faces included C. Thomas Howell and Ted Lange. CBS was unusually cocky, and overconfident. William Devane was team captain once more. I was most delighted to see Celia Weston from "Alice" as a part of the CBS group. NBC was my personal favorite of the teams. I really liked this group. Then again, I always found myself rooting for the NBC team in the mid to late '80s. The disappointment in the equation is the rapport between captain Flip Wilson and his team. He did not seem to know quite how to relate to them, nor did they appear to know how to relate to him. There was an obvious barrier between them, which was uncomfortable to watch. While John James and Bill Devane were easily interacting with their teams, Flip was mostly to himself, or awkwardly standing by. At the beginning, when their team was being introduced by co-host Debby Boone, he complained no one had said anything to him. I am assuming the "no one" was his team. When he would attempt an interaction with them, it was strained and tense. This took away from NBC, and might have contributed to their inability to clinch the victory in the end, much to my personal dismay. A good rapport between a captain and their team is essential to achieving a win. Other than his baseball dunk interaction with Shari Belafonte-Harper, in which he got dunked, he seemed totally out of place, as if he was wondering what was he doing there. Howard Cosell later criticized his treatment towards Debby Boone at the end. When he said he did not appreciate his attitude towards her throughout the entire competition, Flip's response was to silently walk away. Makes you wonder what he did. Another annoying, and highly bizarre event belongs to Charlene Tilton during the bike relay. She and Richard Dean Anderson were the third group of the CBS team to race. At first, she was pedaling normally, then all of a sudden, she stopped for the remainder of the race. Go figure on THAT one... Who knew Lisa Whelchel was so athletic! She made a superb catch in 3 on 3 football, and owned the obstacle course, along with Mark Harmon. Meanwhile, poor Kim Fields looked like she wanted to cry each time she went underwater in the baseball dunk. During the running relay, NBC was in third place, until Michael J. Fox came on strong, causing them to finish second, and giving them a place in the infamous tug of war. Although they made a big comeback with the bike race and running relay, ABC came in third place this time. When they realized the competition was over for them, and had it finalized by Howard, they all looked so pitiful, I felt sorry for them. One humorous moment came prior to the tug of war, when both Heather Locklear and Ted Lange showed their support for the NBC side. Heather appeared to be giving Flip words of support, while Ted was standing on the sidelines cheering them on. CBS won, with Charlene Tilton jumping up and down like a 5 year old. In regards to NBC, when I saw Mark Harmon was NOT going to be a part of the tug of war, but stood on the sidelines instead, I knew a huge mistake had been made. This definitely cost them the victory. All in all, watching this again brought a huge smile to my face. Seeing snooty Blair, and ultra-conservative Alex P. Keaton, along with Tootie, and Mother Harper from "Mama's Family" on the same team??? Priceless! That's what made these battles so much fun to watch- and still does.
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