You win some, you lose some, and sometimes you win in losing. That is the case with Holmes and Yoyo, a wacky TV cop comedy from 1976. I was in kindergarten in 1976 and I thought this show was great! That goes to show you just how dumb of a kid I was. I remember running around the school playground with another dumb kid and he would be Yoyo and I would be his partner Holmes. Sounds like just two kids playing cops and robbers right? Well, after watching this abomination of a television show today as an adult… yeah… I was a pretty dumb kid.
Holmes & Yoyo aired on ABC for all of thirteen episodes during the 1976-1977 season and I have no idea how it managed to last that long. Holmes and Yoyo follows Detective Holmes (Richard B. Shull) and his new robot partner Yoyo (John Schuck) on the job. You see, according to the opening theme of the show which, like most shows of the 1960s and 1970s, told you everything you needed to know about the plot, Holmes keeps accidentally injuring his partners so the police department did what any police department would do- they built him an indestructible crime fighting robot to be his new partner.
Of course, the higher ups in the police department for, whatever reason, wanted to keep this a secret from everybody including Holmes. But Holmes is a detective for Pete’s sake and he figures out on his own that Yoyo is actually a robot. Specifically designed for crime fighting, again as the opening theme tells us.
Yoyo has various attributes you would expect out of a 1970s human-robot character such as super-strength, speed reading, and the ability to analyze clues at the scene of a crime. Yoyo had a built-in instant camera which, each time his nose was pressed, a photograph would be taken and ejected from his shirt pocket. Yoyo's control panel was built into his chest, which could be opened by pulling his tie and this was shown often on the show to hit you over the head with the gag that, yes, Yoyo is a robot.
The level of Yoyo's batteries was a recurring plot point because if they ran down his memory would be erased. 1970s tech, what you gonna do? Yoyo, according to the opening theme, weighed 427 pounds, and as we found out in the debut episode, his heavy frame could absorb the explosion of a bomb.
Much of the show's tremendously shallow comedy came from Yoyo's constant malfunctions. Some of the ones most often used included the ridiculously improbable spinning head over heels when near an electric garage door. Bullets caused him to break out dancing. Magnets often flew at him. Jarring shocks caused nuts and bolts to fall out of his sleeves. He picked up radio signals from Sweden. If punched in the nose, Instamatic pictures would pop out of his pocket. If he ever used the term "The bunco squad," he would continue to repeat the phrase as if he were a skipping record. Did I mention that TV Guide listed this as one of the worst shows in the history of television?
I actually took the time to record an audio podcast special on this for our Patreons. Feel free to check it out - here.
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