The White Shadow

Season 1 Episode 15

LeGrand Finale

0
Aired Monday 8:00 PM Apr 09, 1979 on CBS
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  • Episode Spotlight: LeGrand Finale, Season 1, Episode 15, 15th episode aired.

    7.0
    The first season of this great, albeit short-lived, series comes to a close with an offering centering on the team's capitalizing on their shower-singing talents and Thorpe's desire to date a white girl with a bad reputation around school.



    In the first season, TWS was kind of feeling its way as a series. It wasn't until Season 2 that we got a little more gripping drama in the lives of Coach Reeves and the Carver cagers. But, what made the first season so effective was that it wasn't afraid to explore some previously taboo topics like homosexuality (Just One of the Boys), gang violence (That Old Gang of Mine) and, in this case, interracial dating. And, this episode did a decent job of exploring this topic, enhanced by a fine performance by the Morris Thorpe character.



    On the surface, Thorpe's courting of the white Karen LeGrand may seem like an isolated incident. However, if you watch "Just One of the Boys", notice the scene when a couple of the players encourage Raymond Collins to talk to an attractive white girl before Reeves' home ec class and state that Thorpe is "out of town" (or something like that), implying that Thorpe had some kind of relationship with her. So, it is plausible that Thorpe would be attracted to Karen.



    Definitely the strongest scenes in this episode come in Thorpe's two meetings with Karen's father (who had a bad case of male-pattern baldness, in my opinion). I laughed at his first statement about how he enjoyed "Roots", simply because it was fashionable in the late 70's for white people to always bring that up in a patronizing way when talking to blacks. Mr. LeGrand doesn't appear to have much of a relationship with his daughter, and yet is dead set against her dating Morris because of how it looks to others. I loved how Thorpe basically stood toe-to-toe with Daddy and delivered a strong rebuttal of his own in the meeting before the big dance. Two sides to the coin, man. Blacks worry about appearances to family and neighbors, too.



    The storyline of the team forming a singing group was fun to watch. I liked how Mr. Leonard took an interest in helping them out and showed them how to harmonize. Now, whenever the team sang, are we absolutely sure it's their voices? I'm pretty certain of Nathan Cook's (Reese) and Erik Kilpatrick's (Jackson) singing abilities, but I'm not real sure about the others. I guess Hayward's high-pitched solo in "I Do" and Coolidge's low bass in "Charlie Brown" were real enough. I do think the team was a little heavy-handed in their treatment of Thorpe about missing rehearsals to be with Karen, but let's not forget these guys are playing high school kids, so it was to be expected.



    Another question: where did Reeves get the money for all those team jackets? I don't think that was too cheap.
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