More James Bond Cliches.

Posted: August 21, 2015 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized
A couple years ago I wrote a piece about the many clichés that abound in all the James Bond films. It was titled…wait for it…”James Bond Clichés”   I was thrilled to find that it became a fairly popular piece.  What I mean by this is that it got a lot of “hits” on my blog.   To date I have never been published.   I am not that upset by this, as I haven’t submitted very much for publication, and thus there weren’t stacks of rejection letters to brighten my days. Nothing Ventured; Nothing Rejected. Coincidentally  I utilize this philosophy in my romantic pursuits as well.
  I  did  discover, to my delight, that if I enter “James Bond Clichés” into a google or other search engines that my piece always comes up high on the list.
Here is a link to the original piece.
I became inspired to write the first piece after catching a James Bond marathon on TV.  There is another marathon going on this month and I realized that there are a few more clichés that I missed the first time around.  So, I thought I’d revisit the concept.
I’ll start with a breakdown of literally every Bond film:
Our story begins ( after the shot of whatever actor is JB these days walking and turning quickly and firing his pistol at the audience) with some international criminal mastermind getting all his ducks in a row for some elaborate world domination or extortion plan on some massive scale.  Some one gets killed, some nuclear weapon is stolen or something blows up, and then we cut to one of my favorite things about the Bond franchise…the theme song.    I love Bond theme songs.  I post a daily oldie/song on my facebook page, and recently I had a vote on best Bond theme song.  “For Your Eyes Only” won, which surprised me.  “Live and Let Die”  came in second.
After the theme song, JB is summoned to MI-6 or 5 or whatever branch of “Majesty’s Intelligence” he works for.  Whenever this is mentioned I wonder about the other MI’s.  If Bond is in MI5 or 6…then what is MI one or two like.  Are they the accountants?  The IT department?  The janitorial staff?  Does one start at the lower MIs and work their way up?  Was there a time when James Bond used to fetch coffee for other agents or work in the mail room?
Bond gets the skinny of the situation from his boss; “M”.   Several actors have played M over the years from David Niven to John Huston to Judi Dench.  They all have one thing in common.  Bond kinda gets on their nerves.  It has been my experience that, generally speaking, if I am getting on my boss’ nerves, then I’m not usually long for that position…even if I am good at the job.  I guess being a Double 0 agent is like any government job such as the post office or sanitation workers,  in that it’s tough to get fired.
After Bond annoys his boss , gets briefed on his mission and flirts with the secretary Miss Moneypenny, then he’s off to see “Q”.  Q is a stuffy little, extremely British inventor who gives Bond all his cool little gadgets.  Q doesn’t like Bond much either and is always saying “Oh DO grow up 007″ as he explains how all the cool little toys he’s laying on him work.  JB behaves a lot like an 8 year old boy just dying to get at his Christmas presents while mom or dad are giving a lecture on how expensive or delicate the gift is….”Just gimme and let me break the bastard Ma ” I’d say.  It’s odd that Bond can’t seem to get along with any of his co-workers and yet he is incredibly successful with women.   He also gets the new Bond car.   I think it would be highly entertaining to give Bond a used, two tone 85 Yugo with dumb bumper stickers like “Who Farted”.   For even more fun park it next to the late model BMW or Mercedes sports car and when he goes to the flashy car, delight in informing him  “Oh no….that’s 003’s car.  You get the Yugo 007”.
This brings me to my first cliché. Money:   Doesn’t Bond have expense reports?  Never see that in a Bond film. I suppose it wouldn’t make for entertaining cinema to watch  James Bond going over his expenses with some fussy CPA from Inland revenue and Majesty’s Accounting…, piles of receipts…many on cocktail napkins…  typing numbers into a little adding machine. ” Martini….Armani Tux,  another martini ,martini, martini another martini….Rolex watch….martini, champagne,  massage.”
Furthermore,  who pays for all the trashed hotel suites?  James Bond  is more destructive that any rock n roll band. Maybe he gets the inevitable assassin waiting under the bed or in his closet to pay the damages?  That would actually be pretty slick.  An assassin jumps out of the closet, JB kicks the ever-loving crap out of him, and afterwards pulls him down to the lobby by his ear and makes him pay for the damages from the brawl.  It would certainly save the British taxpayer a few bob.
 James Bond is in the espionage business, but really his methods are about as subtle as a cockroach on a wedding cake. He leaves a trail of destruction all over Europe, the Caribbean, or wherever he’s currently saving the world and borking the Bond-girl d’jour  .  I’m no insurance adjuster, but I’d guess that a Maserati driving through the window and across the buffet at some 4 star Swiss Chalet while being chased by motorcycles with mounted machine guns might run you a few Euros, and might make a few headlines.   Do grow up 007.
This Organization Does Not Tolerate Failure:
The criminal masterminds and their organizations that JB is tasked with stopping have no shortage of clichés and inconsistencies.    First of all, since childhood I have always envied  their hideouts/headquarters.  I want a place like that…Shark tank,  Mega Screen TV with satellite, cable,  HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and the U.N. on speed dial?   I have to say though,  the dormant or faux volcano lair…it’s played guys…totally and completely played. You’re not fooling anyone, much less an intelligence agency and highly trained agent.  I feel it is safe to say that if Bond arrives on some tropical island, all he has to do is ask the locals if there is a volcano nearby, and there’s your criminal mastermind his cronies and the stolen nuclear weapon or kidnapped scientist.  If they really want JB to earn his martini money….set up your base of operations in an ice cream shop, or invest in a McDonalds franchise. Hiding the nuclear warhead you recently stole in Ronald’s Playroom?  Subtle genius.  Put it inside a hollowed out Grimace statue.  OR…  Set up a lair in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Put it in the back some snooty coffee shop staffed with apathetic hipsters.
Some of the Bond films such as “You Only Live Twice” feature enormous hideouts with scores of henchmen in uniforms.  Some of these organizations have emblems.  If you’ve ever had any experience in business, you realize how long it takes to design these things.  Some swishy gay design major needs to be consulted,  he will need to hire a team,  concepts need to be designed, rejected, tweaked, and then you have to go to Kinkos or some print shop for all SPECTRE letter head. Craftsmen must be hired to build that long mahogany table with your emblem in it…Contractors have to bid on these projects.  Does Bloefeld check Angie’s List?  If Goldfinger or Scaramanga is unhappy with the work, do they write a scathing review on YELP before dropping the hapless plumber, electrician or carpenter through a trap door and into the piranha or shark tank…after saying, of course, “This organization does not tolerate failure”    Yeah…um, cept you guys fail…all the time….without uh…fail.  Imagine some dyslexic contractor spelling “SPECTRE” wrong or with a backwards “S”?
Growing up I watched a lot of TV and I was always fascinated by henchmen.   I really want some henchmen of my own, but I don’t know how to go about getting any.  I suppose the financials are a big part of this, but there are certainly other factors.   Bond Villain henchmen are an odd breed if you’re really paying attention.  I’ll get to that in a moment.  First, lets take a look at the” henching” or the “hencherry”
1. Getting the job:  I’m not talking about the specialist right hand men or women…Your Jaws, Your Pussy Galore or Your Odd Job.  I’m talking about the scores of rank and file guys who polish the laser cannon, water the plants, shoot at Bond ( and always, always missing) falling from high places when shot BY Bond with a loud and long “AHHHHHhhhhhhhhh”.   These are the non descript henchmen. How does one get the job.  Do they show up to open calls?  Put their resume on  Craigslist?   Do they dress up for the interview? Do they nervously sit in a room with other applicants wondering if they should have worn a tie or gotten a haircut?  Is there an interview process?  I don’t expect the Joe-Blow applicants to see Dr. No or Zorin immediately.   They probably meet with an assistant manager first.  Is there an employee handbook?  A company mission statement?  Are there annual reviews, and most important…how is the pay and are there benefits?   Frankly I think working on some island in a dormant volcano would be ideal for saving money.
2.  Company Policy: I used to work at Taco Bell a long time ago.  Anyone who has worked in fast food knows that the corporate Hell spawn LOVES to come up with soul sucking little slogans.  “If there’s time for leanin, there’s time for cleanin” is one they say at Burger King.   Everyone who has a job knows there are inevitably going to be some slackers.  I’m amazed that when Bond is sneaking around in some evil genius’ lair, that he hasn’t happened across a couple of the less than diligent employees hiding away in some quiet spot and sharing a joint or sneaking a cigarette.  What could the obnoxious and soul sucking slogans and motto’s be for these organizations.  “You need to put in some overtime to take over the world”.   “Assassins don’t take coffee breaks”?
I’m an informal sort of fellow.  I don’t have a fastidious bone in my body.  Although I have had jobs where management was often on me about my appearance…”Scott your shirt is wrinkled”  “Yeah, yeah so is my scrotum” I’d think to myself….Stuff like that.  All the Bond Villain Henchmen are never slovenly.   Maybe they don’t tolerate failure OR sloppiness.  There is always a scene in every Bond film where the bad guy kills off some minion and always in front of other employees.  I understand wanting to make an example, or tightening the reigns…I haven’t ever seen a hench or right-hand man killed for having scuffed shoes.
There are so many factors involved in looking for, getting a job, keeping a job, promotions and things of this sort. I thought I’d try to simply list them for the sake of brevity.
References and Resume: What are criminal masterminds looking for in henchmen?
Compensation:  Because I am essentially an unskilled worker, all of the jobs I apply for have “Competitive” listed under the salary.  This is nicey-nicey business-speak for “As little as we’re able to get away with”  What does a henchman make?  They always seem to be busy.  You don’t see them standing around, catcalling at women like union construction workers.   The secret lairs are always spotless…the floors are waxed and polished…and yet there are many things that are missing from your average work place.  Where’s the coffee maker?  You never see any henchmen in cubicles typing away or making copies. Imagine if while the criminal mastermind is laying down his plan to JB smugly and there comes a hesitant tap on the door.
Tap Tap Tap…
Henchmen,( looking sheepish) “Hi, uh sorry Mr Bloefeld…I don’t mean to interrupt but we’re need a few things from STAPLES. and a bunch of people called in sick today”
Bloefeld: “I’m kind of in the middle of something here…”
Henchman: “I know and I’m sorry, but Jenkins in accounting said we’re spending too much on office supplies, and we need to run any and all purchases by you personally”
Bloefeld (Rolling his eyes, and raising a finger to Bond…) “Excuse me for a second”  He presses an intercom button
Jenkins voice over intercom: “Accounting this is Jenkins.”
Bloefeld:  “Hi it’s me”
Jenkins: ” Hi Boss, what’s up?”
Bloefeld:  “Well I’m in the middle of a meeting now and I’m dealing with toner cartridges and paper clips…what’s going on here?”
Jenkins: “Yeah, sorry…it;s just we don’t have a lot coming in at the moment until the U.N. comes through with that ransom in gold bullion…I sent you an email about us switching over to Office Depot…”
Bloefeld (Getting annoyed)  Yes…I have Bond here from MI6, I’m going over the extortion, nuclear holocaust thing, and I don’t really have time for this”
Henchman (To Bond) “Crazy around here today”
Bond (Cocking an eyebrow) “You should swing by MI6 sometimes”
Henchman: “Well, it’s the end of the month…you know how it gets…Hey is Moneypenny still with you guys?”
Bond: “Yes, you know she got married?”
Henchman: “No kidding?  Oh that’s so nice…will you tell her I said ‘hi’?
Bloefeld (looking up, pointing at the intercom) “Um guys…kinda in a conference here”
Bond and Henchmen (putting a finger to their lips and mumbling “oh shh…sorry”
Bloefeld (Shaking his head and sighing)  “Um  OK Jenkins,  Just…um, oh shit…just go with whomever is cheapest”
Jenkins: “So cancel the Staples account?”
Bloefeld: “What did I just say? What-Ever-Is-Cheap-est”
Jenkins “OK  geez  sorry…I’ll deal with this right after lunch”
Bloefeld:  “No deal with it now
Jenkins “Um OK,  but that means payroll is going to have to wait…”
Bloefeld: This organization does not tolerate failure”
Jenkins(leaving)  “Yeah whatevs”
Bloefeld looking up at the henchman…”Can you get me some coffee and advil,  Mr Bond another Martini, and I don’t want to be disturbed”
Henchman:  “OK  sorry…” He turns to leave “Oh it was nice meeting you Mr…?”
Bond: “Bond, James Bond”
Bloefeld: “Sorry about that, where were we?”
Bond: ” Um   oh  the stolen nuclear warhead…”
Bloefeld  “Oh right…”
  1. Robert Doyle says:

    Very funny!! Destined to be as popular as the other one.


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