tv for improvisers: macgyver

what-would-m-do

MacGyver is a 1980′s TV series about a cute, soft-spoken secret agent who doesn’t carry a gun or hi-tech tools; he uses ingenuity and science and whatever is at hand to invent solutions. Over the course of seven seasons, MacGyver fixed a truck with a pen spring, fashioned a harpoon out of a rod and electrical cord, used milk chocolate bars to stop a sulfuric acid leak, and faked musical notes with wine-filled goblets to open a lock…to name of few of hundreds of off-the-cuff macgyverisms. As MacGyver said:

“A paper clip can be a wondrous thing. More times than I can remember, one of these has gotten me out of a tight spot.”

I watched this 7-minutes clip showing the ingenious ways MacGyver used a map to get him out of scrapes, and was smitten.

The re-runs (available here) make for hours of fun, slightly hokey, and curiously inspiring entertainment, with lots of very-80′s details (did women really wear shoulder pads that big?) Streaming MacGyver reruns is perfect for when you’re feeling like a lazy dog or home sick…

The show was so popular that MacGyver’s name has become a verb (“to macgyver”) and a noun (“a macgyverism”). It also inspired numerous reports and compendium’s of macgyverisms, like…

….a book called What Would MacGyver Do?: True Stories of Improvised Genius in Everyday Life by Brendan Vaughan. Click here to read the Introduction and a Chapter…

…and LifeHacker’s Top 10 Tricks MacGyver Would Be Proud Of

…and a wonderful 2003 edition of the public radio show This American Life featuring four stories in which real people invent amazing and unexpected solutions to their problems, when, like MacGyver, they’ve hit a seemingly insurmountable obstacle…

…and find their way through…

…(which we love)…

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