Knight Rider “Trust Doesn't Rust” (part 2 of 4)

Later on, Devon, Bonnie, and Michael are in Devon’s office at the Knight Foundation. Knight is a bit angry with Devon, since Devon never told him about the other car.

Caption contributed by Mark M.

“Must… resist… Hoff! Must…”

Devon explains that six months before Michael Long was found in the desert with his face shot off, Wilton Knight activated his prototype crime-fighting super vehicle: KARR, or Knight Automated Roving Robot. This first car, however, had a fatal flaw. The car didn’t have “preservation of human life” programming; rather, its only instinct was self-preservation. Yeah, that was a good idea.

Sheesh, Wilton, read much? Heck, don’t live under a rock much? Doesn’t everybody know about the three laws? Granted, you won’t learn much about the laws from the movie, either.

Wilton Knight had KARR deactivated when KITT was built and Michael Knight (née Michael Long) was rescued in the desert. Devon thought that Wilton had gone further, ordering KARR dismantled, but obviously not. Bottom line, KARR is on the loose, which is a bad thing, and so now Knight and KITT must find a way to stop him.

Funny how KARR is a black Trans-Am, the exact make and model of Michael Long’s car, that was subsequently turned into KITT, isn’t it? Man, that’s just a spooky coincidence, huh? Don’t think about it too hard.

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Let’s take a wee little tangent here for a second. In the pilot, Wilton knew he was dying of TV wasting disease for a long, long time. At least long enough to find a cop (who just happened to own a black Trans-Am) on death’s doorstep in the desert, save his life, have his face rebuilt to look just like David Hasselhoff, and turn his Trans-Am into a second indestructible car, with all that “human life preservation”-ey stuff programmed in. The point is, he had plenty of time to get his crap together before he finally died. There’s no good reason for a fully functional, homicidal automobile to still be just sitting around behind a padlocked door, on the verge of being willed to the city of Burbank.

Helpful hint to spare your heirs some confusion, heartbreak, and bewilderment: If you know you’re going to die, and you have the time, throw out your porn, your leather gimp suit, and all those embarrassing letters where you confess to horrific crime sprees. Oh, and dismantle your evil, indestructible cars.

On yet another, related tangent: Why even bother worrying about dismantling KARR and building KITT, if it’s really just a software problem? Couldn’t you just install the new, human-friendly OS? I mean, if Windows is giving you problems (as if, right?), you don’t… I mean, you could… Well… Linux is getting easier to use all the time, and there’s Solaris, so, umm…

Yeah, blow the bitch up and start over. Never mind.

In the morning, Tony and Rev wake up inside KARR, hung over and surprised that the whole thing wasn’t a dream. Hey, who hasn’t been in that situation? KARR speaks to them, and they freak out just a tiny bit. They hop out of the car, and after taking more pulls off the bag-wrapped bottle, they start to converse with KARR. Tony and Rev are probably happy it’s a car this time, instead of pink elephants or talking anuses.

KARR is voiced by Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime and Eeyore, which makes him like one of the coolest dudes ever. Which voice do you think he uses here? Hint: It’s not Eeyore.

Caption contributed by Mark M.

“Sick! He can turn into a semi or a dart gun!”

KARR tells his own backstory, so we get to hear about his origin from his own point of view. KARR understandably holds a grudge against Wilton Knight for deactivating him, and is appreciative of being reactivated and freed, so he offers his services to the drunks.

You know, for an artificially intelligent car, he’s pretty stupid.

KARR “understands [their] needs” and their “basic human desires.” And those are: Eat. Drink. Reproduce. “Which one first?” he asks, which is freaking hilarious. Rev decides that “eat” has highest priority, since he has the “drink” one covered with his bag of Gordon’s. And really, he has no chance in hell of reproducing at this point, indestructible car or not. And so:

Rev: How ‘bout couple of eggs, sunny side up?
KARR: I have no eggs. Perhaps you can direct me to a chicken?

Tony quips, “What are you, a comedian?” So KARR finally reveals his name, and the fact that he’s the “prototype” for the “car of the future.” Though, as we’ll be seeing throughout the episode, KARR doesn’t really understand the word “prototype”.

Rev’s alcoholic haze clears up long enough for him to remember that there was another car, just like KARR, back at the laboratory the night before. KARR is indignant, however; he clearly doesn’t know about the existence of KITT. He insists that he’s one of a kind. Tony also has a lucid moment, and he corroborates Rev’s story.

Here’s about where KARR should check his dictionary. “I am the prototype of the car of the future!” Yeah, yeah, we know. “What you saw was merely an inferior production-line model! A pale copy of the original!”

See, KARR, the thing is, a prototype is a slapped-together piece of crap, held together with bailing wire, staples, and snot, designed to prove a concept. By the time things reach the production line, the bugs are supposed to be ironed out. Production models are always better than the prototype, in every way except the novelty factor. Even production Yugos were better than the prototype Yugo. Of course, the Yugo prototype was a pig with a grill and a tailpipe duct-taped on, so that’s not saying a whole lot.

However, Tony and Rev decide to humor him, which seems to talk KARR down from the ledge for the time being. KARR offers to take the drunks to breakfast, so they climb in and drive off. In the process, KARR almost rams into a big station wagon, runs a red light, and narrowly avoids a couple more accidents. I guess “not running into shit” isn’t high on the “self-preservation” priority list for an intelligent car.

By the way: You have no idea how hard it is to not type “carr” instead of “car” right now. It’s possible I might slip up a few times without even realizing it. Apologies in advance, folks.

KARR pulls into a circus-themed drive-thru, called the “Three Rings”, but KARR doesn’t really get the concept—either of “drive-thru” or “circus-themed”. It’s hard to blame him in this instance. The mysteriously acne-free teen inside the restaurant goes through an annoying circus-related welcome script that I think was supposed to be an invitation to order. Also, the menu board has a huge, horrifying “ringmaster” that you talk into when you order. So this is pretty much a fast food joint designed to scare the snot out of kids. There’s a good marketing plan, guys. Scare your target audience. Nice one! What’s next? Teen romance novels about vampires?


Caption contributed by Mark M.

“See you in your nightmares, Bobby!”

Rev and Tony can’t decide what to get. KARR is getting weirded out by the talking “primitive remote, devoid of locomotion”, whatever the hell that means. The teenager inside is getting impatient because they haven’t ordered yet.

Seeing as how they’ve taken more than thirty seconds to order, the teenager threatens to come outside and kick them out of the drive-thru. Huh? Dude, even if it weren’t unbreakable, they’re in a car, while you are a teenage, red-headed, fast food troll, apparently made from pipe cleaners. I don’t think they’re shaking in their boots, is all I’m saying.

But KARR takes the threat very seriously. He backs up… and then rams through the menu board! Ringmaster carnage! KARR is pleased: “You see? Most of the interior was empty! It was a clever trick, my friends!”

Knight Rider "Trust Doesn't Rust" (part 2 of 4)

The teenage flunky presses the burglar alarm button. Rev and Tony try to get KARR to split before the cops show up, but KARR resists. “But you haven’t eaten yet. Perhaps you wish to reproduce?” You really have to imagine Optimus Prime reading these lines, folks. It’s amazing.

Eeyore would have been cool, too, now that I think about it.

Tony and Rev finally get KARR to leave, equating jail (where they will end up) with Knight Laboratories (where KARR was recently held captive). KARR doesn’t want to go back to “the slammer”, so they hurry off.

Meanwhile, Knight and KITT are on their way to a hospital to talk to the now-conscious guard. They converse about the sudden knowledge that KITT has an evil twin. Knight is worried, for lack of a better phrase, about KITT’s state of mind, but KITT doesn’t seem that bothered overall. KITT is actually happy to be the “new, improved” version, rather than being insulted at not being the problem-ridden prototype.

One concrete example that KITT truly is more sophisticated than KARR: He knows what the word “prototype” means.

Mark M. Meysenburg

Mark teaches at Doane College, a liberal arts college in Crete, Nebraska. Most of his teaching involves computer science, but Mark also occasionally teaches mathematics and the history of science; he has also been known to offer three week courses on the worst movies ever made. Mark's bad movie obsession was kindled in the early 1980s by the Medved brothers, then fanned to full flame by late-night showings of Plan 9 from Outer Space. Who could have predicted the long term effects of satin-pajama-clad, mincing alien menace? Mark's other interests include homebrew beer and wine, and practicing and teaching martial arts.

Multi-Part Article: Knight Rider "Trust Doesn't Rust"

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