Calling all Bond girls…
We all know that before Bond, and even before Wysteria Lane, Teri Hatcher was best known as Penny Parker on MacGyver. She was good-natured, a little daffy, winsome, and gorgeous to boot. She was never really a love interest for Mac and more like an adoring little sister.
There’s not much out there about the history of Penny Parker and why she existed; the likely thing is that she was meant to be a one-off before the producers decided to bring Penny back as a recurring character. In all, Hatcher appeared five times on the series. Well, technically six, but we’ll get to that.
Hatcher had two big breaks under her belt by the time she landed the role of Penny. Her first big gig was a spot on the Gold Rush, which is the San Francisco 49ers cheerleading squad, and after that she was a singing mermaid on The Love Boat. Her entrance into Hollywood was inadvertant, as she only went to support a friend who had an audition, but it obviously paid off.
And now without further ado, here’s Penny Parker:
Every Time She Smiles (Season One, Episode 16)
Penny and MacGyver meet in the security line at a Bulgarian airport, and when Penny’s creepy KGB ex-boyfriend Stefan shows up, Penny stuffs some jewelry in MacGyver’s pocket. Naturally, derring-do and various other hijinks ensue, and it helps that Penny’s a great one for ideas. Well, that and she seems to meet up with close personal friends at crucial moments.
Soft Touch (Season Two, Episode 13)
In her second outing, Penny gets a job as a singing telegram and happens upon a guy being tortured. Naturally she freaks out and naturally she gets MacGyver into another scheme. She also gets locked in a cold storage freezer with Yuri, a poet MacGyver rescued from a Syberian prison camp. It’s a temporary setback, of course.
Friends (Season Two, Episode 20)
It’s a clip show. ‘Nuff said.
The Secret of the Parker House (Season 4, Episode 1)
This episode is my favorite by far of Penny’s appearances. Penny inherits a gorgeous old American Craftsman house from her aunt Betty, and MacGyver goes with her to check it out. Aunt Betty disappeared years ago and the house is supposedly haunted, but MacGyver employs some good old forensics work to solve the mystery.
Cleo Rocks (Season 4, Episode 9)
Penny gets the lead in a new rock musical, Cleo Rocks, written and directed by the charming and enigmatic Jacques. However, the production is plagued by mysterious problems, such as neon signs falling from the ceiling and a strange being haunting the theater. After a bit of digging, MacGyver suspects his old nemesis Murdoc is behind it all.
Serenity (Season 5, Episode 12)
Penny’s last episode was in a dream MacGyver had about the Old West, specifically the fictional town of Serenity, Montana. Civil War vet MacGyver moves into town to set up a ranch and meets Penny at the local saloon, where she works as a dance-hall woman. This episode is kind of a walk-down for a lot of the recurring characters, including ones who are supposed to be dead.
Amazingly enough, rumor has it that Teri Hatcher wasn’t a huge fan of Penny Parker. If her IMDb bio is to be believed, and that’s debatable, she didn’t want to be typecast as the pretty airhead.
Whatever Hatcher’s opinion is, and it’s completely understandable if that’s the case, she played the part wonderfully. Penny Parker is quite a lady. As MacGyver said, “You never know where life is gonna take you, especially when you have a friend like Penny Parker.”
For more Bond Girls, please see Gill at Realweegiemidget Reviews and Gabriela at Pale Writer. Thanks for hosting this blogathon, ladies–it was great! Thanks for reading, all, and hope to see you next Wednesday with a new “Stage To Screen.”
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