The Whole 'One Man . . .' Question

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The Whole 'One Man . . .' Question

Post by knightshade » Mon Sep 01, 2003 8:30 pm

A comment in the Michael Knight Question thread had me thinking about the whole 'one man . . .' thing again. And the more I think about it, the more I think it doesn't mean exactly what it seems to mean, or maybe it was supposed to be a literal interpretation, but it just didn't evolve that way in the show. Michael Knight, lone crusader, well, he didn't really fit that mold for all the reasons that Kirin mentioned and more. He had Kitt, he had the Foundation. Contrast that to something like the Incredible Hulk where David Banner was forced to live his life alone and he was miserable for it. I don't think there's a more forelorn character in 80's action TV. That sort of 'one man' theme has run through other shows too -- The Pretender, John Doe, etc. And Michael Knight just wasn't that kind of character. He wasn't a loner either by necessity or by nature.

Now the whole 'one man' thing has been raised as an argument for why TKR wasn't as good -- they betrayed the One Man ideal -- but that argument never seemed to fit with me. Michael and Kitt were a team and really Devon and Bonnie contributed too. It was never, in my opinion, one man making a difference by himself . So, in pondering I was thinking about a little more abstract meaning to the phrase 'one man can make a difference.' (okay, okay, the army comercials with the 'one soldier' line had its part in this too) Whether someone is working by themselves or as part of a team or as part of a whole army, that one person still has to step up. One person has to decide that s/he is willing to sacrifice to make a difference. So I think that phrase is not so much that Michael has to do it alone, just that he was willing to make the choice to try to make a difference and that choice is an individual one.

I don't know why I felt compelled to start this discussion, but the whole 'one man' thing has always bothered me, and I know that it's very meaningful to some people. Some people feel it's the lifeblood of the show, so I was just curious what everyone else thought. Or how people who are really moved by that aspect of the show reconcil it with Michael's character.

Curiosity killed the cat.

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Post by neps » Mon Sep 01, 2003 8:56 pm

Some interesting points there, some which is near to my interpretation. The "one man" is Michael. He could be supported by the whole worlds technology and funds, but in the end it is him alone that has the balls/courage/sense of duty to get the job done. He is the conduit in which the foundation gets what it needs accomplished.

The thought behind TKR, was that times had changed, and no longer could one man alone get the job done. So the foundation had to change their beliefs in order adjust to the change of the times.

But weither it is a group of one or five, it comes down in the end to the individuals carrying out the deed. Devon and the Foundation could order Michael all they wanted to do certain things, but in order to get them done they had to rely on the individual, or the one. And in that sense one man made all the difference.

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Post by Michael Pajaro » Mon Sep 01, 2003 9:34 pm

Another odd perspective on the "one man" concept is that Wilton tells him "on man can make a difference, Michael, and you are going to be that man". Wilton is sort of going against the idea of any one person being important and instead saying that Michael specifically will be the person to bring about change.

It never bothered me that TKR wasn't about "one man making a difference", because there have been dozens of TV shows with that same basic theme. It was the car that primarily distinguished Knight Rider from other hero shows, so having 5 heros wasn't a problem for me.

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Post by knightshade » Mon Sep 01, 2003 11:23 pm

Michael Pajaro wrote:Another odd perspective on the "one man" concept is that Wilton tells him "on man can make a difference, Michael, and you are going to be that man". Wilton is sort of going against the idea of any one person being important and instead saying that Michael specifically will be the person to bring about change.

Mike


That is interesting because Wilton didn't know him very long, or didn't seem to at that point. I guess you could argue that older and wiser people might be quicker and better judges of character, but he did seem to have made up his mind shortly after meeting Michael. That's a lot to assume about someone, especially someone who's just been through a tramatic event.

I know, they researched him and all, but that seems more like something you would bestow on someone who had fought along side of you, not some random cop you picked up off the street, or desert as the case may be. :D

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Post by Rockatteer » Mon Sep 01, 2003 11:38 pm

I think the key here is that in the end it was only one man out on the front line taking the risk and doing the job...

Kitt was there to serve and protect Michael, Bonnie and Devin where there to support Michael and Kitt....

But it was Michael who did the actual risk taking...It was Michael who went from town to town on the assignments

One man making a difference.... with a little help from his friends. :)
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Post by Supersonic Lorry » Tue Sep 02, 2003 7:38 am

I guess if we be pedantic about it, then Michael wasn't one man making a difference. As others have pointed out, there was Devon and Bonnie so from that point of view, they too were contributing to their cause (in much the same way that the mechanics who fix police cars have an integral role in any Police Force).

I guess if we don't take it literally, then Michael was indeed alone, out on the road battling injustice. Sure, he met the occassional character who helped him out or aided him in his investigation but overall, it was up to him to bring the bad guys to justice. So from this point of view, he was definitely one man making a difference.

Good topic though and certainly food for thought, Knightshade.

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Post by tkr9 » Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:08 am

It was a bit 'one man can make a difference - provided one has a state of the art hi tech masterpiece of engineering and an extremely well-funded billionaire foundation behind you' thing, but, for the first time I shall say Rockateer was right (eek) and it was Michael out there alone using his initiative.

It was the idea that one small person, if they fight for what's right, can achieve anything in a society where the powerful and influential seem to call the shots. That's exactly what was wrong with TKR (despite those lovely initials!), it wasn't one man making a difference, it lost some of its idealism.

It does seem idealistic, but the one person making a difference is missing from today's ideology, hence voter apathy and stuff. (Yes, I know, getting a bit deep here, but it's true). It wasn't so much that Michael didn't exactly fight it alone, thanks to the Foundation and Bonnie and co. but it was about self-belief. Something we could all do with more of especially these days

Okay, I'll shut up now. :oops:

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Post by knightshade » Tue Sep 02, 2003 7:53 pm

tkr9 wrote:
It was the idea that one small person, if they fight for what's right, can achieve anything in a society where the powerful and influential seem to call the shots.


Ah, but can you really call someone small if they have a billion dollar Foundation behind them? He is not everyman because most people don't have those resources. The Foundation is 'the powerful and influential.' Maybe this gets back to what Mike said, in that it's not suppose to be everyman -- Michael was picked to be the one who got to make a difference.

And as a more general question, does Kitt count? I personally think so. Michael was not alone. He had Kitt. And Kitt, despite not being human, was a one of a kind sentient being and he took as many risks to himself and got hurt as much if not more than Michael. Is he he chopped liver because he doesn't bleed?

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Post by neps » Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:21 pm

Is KITT a man, flesh or bone? Sure, perhaps if you were to define what a "man" is, then maybe . But in the typical sense, he isn't. So the idea of "One Man can make a difference" perhaps it still applies...

But lets not get into an AI conversation here, those things get ugly. Lets keep it on topic. :)

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Post by Rockatteer » Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:28 pm

:lol:

Ugly doesn't even begin to describe it!

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Post by Rockatteer » Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:46 pm

But in many episodes... well ok some episodes....

It was Michael and Kitt on their own against the odds.

Take "good day at white rock” Michael and Kitt on their own made the difference they alone turned the situation with the bikers around and convinced the town to stand up for themselves.

And in "Ring of Fire" Michael is on his own, and still makes a difference.

Remember the whole idea of the foundation was they where there to help the "little people" stand up against the huge giants of business etc.... Criminals who operate above the law.

I think the show reflected that in most episodes.
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Post by cloudkitt » Tue Sep 02, 2003 9:19 pm

"One man with a super-amazing car can make a difference, Micheal"

There you go :lol:
Michael: "KITT! Where are ya?!"
K.I.T.T.: "I'm in your parking space, Michael, where else would I be?"

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Post by Michael Pajaro » Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:12 pm

I definitely think the intention was to have one of themes of the show to be the power of the individual - any individual. It just came out of Wilton's mouth in an odd way.

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Post by Rockatteer » Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:36 pm

It just came out of Wilton's mouth in an odd way


Well he was close to death at the time.

:)
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Post by knightimmortal » Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:52 pm

If I may....

He said "One man can make a difference."

He didn't say "One man will make a difference."

He didn't say 'One man had darn well better make a difference or I will haunt you if you have help."

He said it as an empowerment to Michael, that he didn't need an entire police force or a platoon. He could do it, but the fact that there was a support crew showed that he didn't have to.

There is nothing implied in the comment that says that Michael had to do it alone. He was a young loner from the standpoint that he didn't have a partner, he didn't have any blood family, for the most part, he was out there, they didn't say he was a young hermit, either. Loners are never truly alone, there is always somebody there for them.

So the whole montra was still pretty darn on target, if you dissect it immacuately.

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Post by knightshade » Wed Sep 03, 2003 8:46 am

knightimmortal wrote:If I may....


He said it as an empowerment to Michael, that he didn't need an entire police force or a platoon. He could do it, but the fact that there was a support crew showed that he didn't have to.

KI


That's a very good point. I tend to agree wtih that.

But maybe I could turn the question around a little bit, could he have done it alone? Well, maybe that's a pandantic question. Obviously not to the same degree as he could with help, but maybe it is just a matter of degree. You can always make some difference as one person -- even if its only in one other person's life -- Wilton et al were just supplying the means to make a difference to a lot of people.

Maybe for this morning I like that interpretation the best.

Sorry, I just love to mull these kinds of ideas.

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Post by knightvision » Sat Sep 06, 2003 4:34 am

According to Larson for the purposes of the pilot it was indeed "one man and one car" making a difference by themselves...thats the unique theme to Knight Rider.

Wilton and Devon were no more then an ends to a means. Larson set the tone that Micheal was going to be a lone crusader regardless of what he had to do to reclaim revenge on Tonya and the crew.

Though Larson did realize that the car would in the words of KARR in Trust Doesn't Rust needed to "be maintained" and would be high maintenance. Thus Bonnie was not essential in the pilot because of the "one man and one car" theme that Larson felt was the basis for the show.

When Mike and KITT are facing Goliath there is no help. Devon and Bonnie in the other 83 episodes are merely support for vehicle and emotional support for Micheal.

On a final note even the chess piece of the knight had the ability to jump over other pieces and hold several key positions on a chess board at once. Larson chose knight not just for the implication of the chess piece but because of the aura of a shadowy flight the began in darnkness.

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Post by Victory Red » Sat Sep 06, 2003 6:06 pm

I think that the whole one man thing is due to the 80's in general. Yes the geedy self indulged 80's where all everyone thought about was themselves. So when they went with the whole One Man thing, I have a feeling it struck a cord with the generation that was out and about then trying to make it in this world. Yup one man can make a difference, especially back in the 80's

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Post by Rockatteer » Sun Sep 07, 2003 8:29 pm

Nar... One man can make a difference because they couldn't afford any more than one man.

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Post by tkr9 » Sun Sep 07, 2003 8:35 pm

Cynic.

I think associating Mike with Thatcherism (or Reaganism for all USofAers) is an awful thing to say. 80s individualism was all about making money fast for the good of failing economies, which you couldn't do with decent social security systems (ie; taxing the crap out of people who could easily afford it). The Foundation was about one man fighting for what was right, truth, justice, equality etc. It's only modern programmes that seem obsessed with the self. Every hero has a long-term relationships crisis they dwell on while the world around them goes gaga and they all seem to be utterly miserable manic depressives (re. The Brilliant but not exactly cheerful X-Files and Spooks).

The one man can make a difference was Glen's rallying cry for people who just sit and watch television and let the world go by to realise they can stand up and make a difference if they had the will to do it.

Dammit I even think I politics because of being indoctrinated (willingly) with Knight Rider when I was kid. It was only studying it at University that reassured me one person really CANNOT make a difference.

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Post by Rockatteer » Sun Sep 07, 2003 8:39 pm

One by one the penguins steal my sanity.


So what are the penguins stealing now?
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Post by tkr9 » Sun Sep 07, 2003 8:43 pm

Damn you must be bored.

They're stealing my time away from a dissertation, that's what.

They want to run the world you know, penguins. Do a great deal better than my Prime Minister I should think anyway.

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Post by knightshade » Sun Sep 07, 2003 9:10 pm

tkr9 wrote:Cynic.


Dammit I even think I politics because of being indoctrinated (willingly) with Knight Rider when I was kid. It was only studying it at University that reassured me one person really CANNOT make a difference.


Ouch. And another idealist bites the dust, huh?

It's interesting because supposedly the one person making a difference idea is supposed to be playing more to the current generation (the generation after X, whatever they're currently calling them). That's why the US Army changed their ad campaign recently to 'An Army of One.' I remember reading about it and thinking the new slogan was dumb, so I guess that proves I'm not in the current generation. :wink: But I wonder if that would have any effect on the movie? If that could be a selling point?

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Post by Rockatteer » Mon Sep 08, 2003 1:12 am

Do a great deal better than my Prime Minister I should think anyway.


I think anyone would do better right now wouldn't they? :lol:
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Post by tkr9 » Mon Sep 08, 2003 12:34 pm

Not Ian Duncan Smith or George Bush anyway. Dear God how did we get to this point!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As for the new US 'Army of One' nothing they say at the moment is going to look good considering their debacle in Iraq. My lot aren't any better and my counsin's a soldier over there. How to descend a country into chaos in 3 easy steps or collect 6 crisp packets and get an international disaster free!

We need KITT and Michael out there solving everything for us. I stand by my optimism point, however quickly reality quelled it. I believe we should all have the faith in ourselves to change the world rather than sit around and watch it happen. Yes, yes, I know, it's hypocritical, and Knightimmorial certainly puts the rest of us to shame but I think we need a Knightrider film putting that point across now more than ever.

I shall stop being preachy and revert back to normality - Knight Rider Kool, Jeremy Northam *drools* Kool, my dissertation evil.

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