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13 TV & Film Characters That Would Make MacGyver Proud12

By Jason Horton

MacGyver. It was a TV show. It was a character. Now, it’s a verb.

MacGyver: To assemble, or cause to be repaired or completed, an object, device, machine, or project from duct tape as the preferred repair tool, but in its absence, other common, ordinary and mundane items such as a rubber band or paper clip can be used as well.

The show followed intelligent, optimistic, laid-back, resourceful secret agent Angus MacGyver, played by Richard Dean Anderson, as he served as a trouble shooter for the Phoenix Foundation, a privately funded think-tank that offered a broad range of services to the government and private sectors. Every week, from 1985 to 1992, MacGyver was called to solve life-or-death problems using his scientist background, bomb-technician know-how and the occasional paperclip, duct tape and/or Swiss army knife.

As the show gained popularity, so did MacGyver’s unconventional problem-solving methods. No matter how difficult the challenge, he could find a way to resolve it with random items at arm’s reach. In a decade that was lauding heroes with big guns, MacGyver used his smarts, and occasionally some trash, to save the day. When it comes down to survival, as it does for the trapped blogger in a radioactive city in the series Dirty Bomb Diaries, you have to make do with what ya got.

But imagine if you could combine MacGyver’s skill with weapons and more impressive tools like paint cans, puppets, or soccer balls? Then the magic would really happen! That’s what these 13 characters did, making the papa of all ingenuity mighty proud.

Dirty Bomb Diaries – Ep.1

1. John McClain / Die Hard

Die Hard put a no-nonsense street cop in a high-rise hostage situation against international terrorists, and he didn’t even need to wear shoes! Yippie-Kay-Aye-Mother…


2. Jason Bourne / The Bourne Identity

Jason Bourne is a killing machine. Luckily, for his enemies, he’s forgotten that. But the moment he can escape an assassin and incapacitate him with regular household items lying around, he knows he was meant for something great, and lethal. If you are in a room with him, just stand very still and don’t give him a reason to think you’re part of the conspiracy.

READ: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About the Jason Bourne Movies

3. Kevin McCallister / Home Alone

Kevin McCallister is a pioneer in “Homeland Security.” When faced with two relentless burglars while left home alone, he turns his home into a deathtrap using his toys and whatever is in the basement. (I use the word “deathtrap” in the most family friendly way possible.)

4. Batman

Sure, the Dark Knight could use the status-quo when it comes to fighting crime – uzis, pistols, grenades. However, when you are a billionaire, only handcrafted gear can don one’s utility belt. As a superhero with no superpowers, Batman’s the shiznit.

5. Chuck Noland / Castaway

He survived being stranded on an island. He befriended a soccer ball named Wilson to keep his sanity long enough to figure out how to get back to civilization.

Imagine if he had like, 10 soccer balls? He could have started a softball team or something!

6. Grissom / CSI

I’m talking the original CSI. The man could piece a puzzle together with larvae, a cigarette butt, and tire tracks – plus he always said a slick pun in the cold open of the show. “Looks like the cat got his tongue.” Amazing.

7. James Bond

The coolest cat in the spy business has a license to kill, but no ordinary weapons will do. “O” supplies the weapons and “get me out of this almost impossible situation” gadgets. Then Bond uses his craftiness and gadgets to escape from the villain’s clutches, jump into a boat, diffuse a bomb while careening over a waterfall, and ultimately land onto a helicopter in time to make sure the villain doesn’t get away.

READ: 12 Things You Didn’t Know About James Bond

8. The Professor / Gilligan’s Island

The only eligible bachelor on the island was too busy to decide on Ginger or Mary-Ann. The Professor was taking coconuts and turning them into telephones and doing whatever he could scientifically to get everyone off the island (or just make it livable in the interim). Fixing a hole in a boat was beyond his capacity however. We’ve all got limitations.

9. Jigsaw / Saw

Jigsaw got creative when he taught a lesson, using mind-bending torture traps that let his prey selecting their impending doom. I would say Jason or Freddy were lazy in comparison.

10. The A-Team

The 4 guys that comprised the A-Team used each of their personal skills to get the job done. Sometimes it was messy, but that’s what you risk when you hire fugitives with no sense of responsibility.

Brains, brawn, looks, and insanity: the four wonders of the action world.

READ: 12 Most Famous Cars of Film and Television – #6 1983 GMC Vandura G-Series [G-1500]

11. Sherlock Holmes

A knowledge of science, psychology, medicine, engineering, and street brawling helped this “caped crusader” apprehend even the slyest criminal. Elementary, right?

12. Survivor

Survivor has lasted so long because it makes humans primal. It takes every creature comfort away from the contestants and pits them against each other – leaving them with only their wits and ambition to use as tools. If you know an easier way to win a million dollars, please leave your comments below.

13. McGruber / SNL

Yes, the popular Saturday Night Live sketch, which parodies MacGuyver, is a no-brainer. MacGruber, in heightened 1980′s fashion, attempts to save the day with random hilarity. OK, so he never saves the day, but I bet MacGyver would find him mildly amusing – and that guy needs a little comic relief.

READ: 12 Funniest Saturday Night Live Sketches

Dirty Bomb Diaries – Ep.2

Dirty Bomb Diaries – Ep.3

Watch more episodes of the post-apocalyptic thriller Dirty Bomb Diaries

Jason Horton is a New Jersey native breaking all the rules in Hollywood. He is an actor, writer, comedian, and improviser performing sketch and improv comedy weekly at both iO West & the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. He is also frequently in the top 100 viewed comedians on YouTube. He also wants pizza, now.

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Must Reads 9/1/2014