What’s it about? What’s going down? Before we tell you, we’re going to stop talking this way. Now we’re going to help you decide: Is it Sonny or Don you love?
Both are Armanied and dangerous. Sonny Crockett is the reformer, the idealistic cop on Miami Vice. Don Johnson is the actor who plays him, a reformed alcoholic-druggie who has lived his own version of American vice.
Sonny is a new kind of television hero, a designer vision of despair. Everything about Miami Vice is hot except Sonny’s bleak vision of life. He’s a stubbled, troubled human being, the first major TV character to look great and feel terrible.
Is that what women want these days? Well, at least it’s an improvement over Alan Alda.
Or maybe women prefer a more considerate man than Sonny. Don’s a thoughtful friend who sends flowers on special occasions, a confirmed yogurt eater, a buoyant father of 3-year-old Jesse. Last Christmas he gave his son a bicycle. “This year I’m giving him Toys “R” Us,” he says.
Don has been so successful with women that you suspect his habit of going beltless is a social convenience. One of the few times Sonny got in bed with a woman, he overslept, and his partner, Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas), got beat up. Another time the woman got up first and stole his gun. Sonny needs a good woman almost as much as he needs a good alarm clock.
Don made about a million dollars this year. Sonny was rejected for an American Express Card.
In many ways, they are interchangeable. They have that much-admired hairless chest. They wear Italian clothes that seem color coordinated by a gelato salesman. They are both getting off the Surgeon General’s hit list. Don, who chain-smoked nervously, gave up cigarettes a few months ago; Sonny, who licks his weeds sensuously, is expected to follow suit in a future episode. Don says that when he first saw Sonny Crockett in a Miami Vice script, “It was like the guy had been following me around.”
They both want to be understood. Sonny can’t stand being thought of as a lowlife. In one Miami Wee episode, he says to a woman, “I don’t like to think of myself as one of your dangerous dudes.” Don can’t stand being thought of as arrogant. “I’m maybe one of the few people left in the world who will honor his word,” he says.
Neither has a totally admirable past. Sonny’s a Vietnam vet whose wife left him because he was obsessed with his job. Don’s life until recently was a blur of adoring women, recreational drugs and campy roles. “People are thrilled I lived through it,” he says. Actually it doesn’t sound that bad.
So who’s it going to be? Sonny, who desperately needs you, or Don, who’s come back from it all without your help. Sonny’s deadly. Don doesn’t do anything more reckless these days than go sockless, which is only living on the edge if you’re a podiatrist.
Admit it. You prefer the fantasy to the reality, Sonny to Don. But don’t commit too soon. Don told us, “I feel like they’re making a line in Vegas as to whether I’m going to last or say the hell with it and hook my vein up to a vodka bottle.” You may have to save him yet.