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A word of warning...

I was in a charity store earlier, and I found the complete Baywatch season one on DVD. Somewhat rumpled and battered, and costing the princely sum of £2.50. Needless to say, it decided to come home with me, so be aware that there will – at some point in the new year – be a fair amount of stupidity, and probably screencaps. Not to mention an attempt to convince the world (or this bit of it, at any rate) that Parker Stevenson is awesome.

There are some other people in Baywatch, I know. There's the annoying one who used to be in Days Of Our Lives, but left to become a lawyer, after he found out that he was half European royalty. Although oddly his brother isn't. Or wasn't in 2008 when he came back, having lost ten years somewhere, and also lost all ability to act. There's also his girlfriend of the Very Tight Swimsuit. I think Hobie fancied her. And there's David Hasselhoff and The One Who Got Eaten By Sharks. And Cort. And Him Who Was Mr Trumpet In Jack Holborn. They're all rather irrelevant, though, in the scheme of things. For it is The Parker Stevenson Show. Oh yes.

Which is all quite fitting, really, as I've been rewatching The Hardy Boys. See, I can sense the enthusiasm already. The Hardy Boys was a late seventies show based very, very, very, very loosely indeed on the famous books by lots of people, none of whom were actually called Franklin W Dixon. For some reason, some episodes of The Hardy Boys didn't have the Hardy Boys in them, but were instead about some girl called Nancy Drew, but have no fear, for my DVD player is allergic to them. Seriously, I tried playing one once, to see if her episodes were as bad as my five year old self thought that they were, and the DVD player refused to open its mouth.

Yes, I'm lying. But she's Nancy Drew, so who cares. Anyway, The Hardy Boys is fun, even if it does contain altogether too many polo neck sweaters, blazers, and pop songs sung by Shaun Cassidy. Shaun Cassidy – a name guaranteed to strike fear into many a heart. For some reason, there was some controversy at the time over who was the best Hardy Boy. Was it Frank? Cool, reckless, fun, exciting, and not at all inclined to sing? Or was it Joe? Wide-eyed, given to gawping at stuff a lot, and who kept pushing an on-going pop career? Well gee, there's a question. My sister and her best friend were nuts about Shaun Cassidy. They used to try kissing the television screen when he was on, which is bloody annoying when you're trying to watch an exciting bit, let me tell you. Anyway, they were clearly wrong. Frank's best. This should be perfectly obvious to anybody, and I'm happy to be able to bring an end to this age old debate right now. Definitively. Oh yes.

So, the case as to which is the best Hardy Boy. Well, I'll give Shaun Cassidy some credit. When he's not singing, there's nothing particularly offensive about Joe. His clothes are appalling, but it's the late seventies, so you have to make some allowances. Not many, necessarily, as presumably he did still have eyes, but some. He has a nice line in knowing humour, too, but at the end of the day, he's still Joe. Even more importantly, he's not Frank. Not his fault, granted, but it's still there as a large, definite obstacle in the way of his being best.

Episode one decides Frank's bestness. Partly this is because of his enthusiastic habit of leaping wildly into dangerous situations, with a stupid grin and a set of bouncy curls. "Wheeeeee! Danger!" says a little voice in his head, leading to the immediate switching off of common sense, or – as it's known to the rest of us – the boring thing that stops Joe from being nearly so much fun. The first such instance occurs almost as soon as the episode starts. Hearing an intruder in their house, the boys creep downstairs. Note in the visual aids later on what they're wearing – or, in Frank's case, what he's not wearing. Having had a tussle with the intruders, Frank hurtles out of the house, leaps on his motorbike, and gives chase. Or his stuntman does. But we're not supposed to notice that. Quite what he's thinking he's going to do, on his own, in his underwear, against two men who are twice his size, I don't know, but the police rather unsportingly put a stop to his night-time shenanigans before he can catch up. Not to be discouraged, however, he has another Attack Of Enthusiasm five minutes later, when he and Joe are hunting around for their vanished client. Joe spots that somebody is following them, and wonders who it could be. Frank shrugs cheerfully, and asks why it matters. We have a client to protect, Joe! What difference does it make who's following us?! "Well... it could matter a bit..." says Joe, in a lovely attack of comic timing which does prove that the boy has his uses. When he's not singing.

The fun continues in episode two. In this one, Frank leads Joe on a night-time raid (fully clothed this time) on a convoy of stolen trucks. They leap onto one of the trucks as it speeds past them, and Joe, after burrowing undercover, breathes a sigh of relief, and comments that his brother has a hell of a way with hitch-hiking. "Years of practice!" says Frank cheerfully. Years?! He's eighteen! Just how many years has he been doing this for anyway?! Maybe somebody should think about reporting Fenton Hardy to Child Services. Actually yes, they should, because Joe is still a minor, and in episode four, Fenton leaves it to Frank to give Joe flying lessons. In an actual aeroplane, up in the air. Frank, whose attitude to transport of all forms seems to be variations on "Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!" This has to be a whole new low in childcare. In episode three, further illustrating his novel approach to vehicular activities, he hurtles after the bad guys, leaps onto their truck, grabs a tarpaulin, and holds it over the windscreen. This soon results in his being airborne at speed, but I have to say, it does look like fun.

Anyway, pictures. They state the case rather better than words, even if, somewhat unfortunately, they also show a few regrettable fashion statements. Still, I suppose we've all worn things that we probably shouldn't've. Some more than others...



Oh noes! The house is being burgled! Quickly, let us go downstairs clad in our fetching night garments! I can only assume that, being as how it was episode one, they weren't bothering to plug the Shaun Cassidy – Teen Heartthrob! nonsense that they peddled for the rest of the series, as mercifully he's remarkably well covered up.



Frank, miraculously turning mid-chase into a stuntman with different coloured hair, and an entirely different build, speeds after the crooks armed with nothing but... actually, I was going to say some bouncy curls, but the stuntman doesn't have any of them, does he. I suppose it's quite useful being able to turn into a stuntman at will, but it does seem a shame that it has to lead to the loss of one's sole weapon in fighting crime.



Some policemen decide to put a stop to Frank (and the stuntman)'s heroically underclad dash through the city streets. This is clearly the moment when he remembers that he accidentally forgot to get dressed. Happily not an issue for most of us.



Frankenstein's monster, clearly. Played by Richard Kiel, which is nice. It's not actually a monster, but a waiter at a themed restaurant. A themed, underground restaurant, reached by a labyrinth and a fairground ride. You have to wonder if they get much custom.



See? Joe is wearing a beige pullover. This proves that he's not best. I will now valiantly attempt to ignore Frank's persistent failure to wear anything remotely decent.



Ah ha. Callie. Yes. Now, in the books, Callie Shaw was at high school with Frank, and they dated. In this, she's Fenton's secretary. She still keeps flirting with Frank, though, which is just a little bit weird. It's made a little bit better by the fact that Parker Stevenson is clearly not eighteen, but the character is. And she's a secretary, so she's obviously not in school anymore. And please, woman, find somebody your own age! She's good, though, is Callie. She helps the boys out, and then whenever things get dangerous, she suddenly comes out with a line like "Well, it's getting late. I should really be heading home." Or "Okay, well I should probably report back to your father now." This should make her boring, but somehow it doesn't.



Random Richard Kiel!



Oh good grief. Look at them. They're teenagers, and they've chosen to wear... that. Still, sometimes we're saved by darkness. Darkness is good. It hides clothes. In this nicely dark scene, Frank and Joe demonstrate the sort of cluelessness in finding a good hiding place that hasn't been seen since Mike and Jo attempted to hide behind a see-through bit of wheel in the Doctor Who adventure "The Dæmons".



Frank and Joe's shot at the title.



Mike and Jo, who manage to hold the title for another decade. Possibly an inability to hide is somehow linked to the name Jo(e)? Well, it's a theory.



Brown blazers. Urk. Really, I thought that the 1950s had saved teenagers from ever having to wear stuff like that again. Apparently I was wrong, or possibly the 1950s somehow missed Bayport.



Having survived the brown blazers, the boys head in search of a new piece of entertainment. Flying lessons. Well, that went well. Let me see, what else do we have. Ah yes. Further proof that Frank Is Best...



It's his detective skills, you see. In this picture, we see through Frank's binoculars, as he watches Joe approach a car that's gone off a cliff. The bloke beside Frank asks if he can see the license plate. He asks Frank, mind, not Joe. Frank, presumably wondering why the idiot doesn't ask the brother who's actually down there with the car, and therefore has some opportunity to not be looking at it from entirely the wrong angle, says "No, but it's the right make and year." What?! Make, yes. I can see how he could tell from up there what sort of car it is. But year?! Frank is clearly the Greatest Detective Ever. I bet Sherlock Holmes couldn't tell what year that car was built in just by looking at it from half a cliff away.



And see, Joe wears a red plastic anorak. He can't be best, it's law. In all fairness, though, at least he doesn't share Frank's predilection for polo neck sweaters and bouffants.





He's still best, though. If you're very lucky, I may continue the argument when I've watched a few more episodes. ;)

Comments

( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
eandh99
Dec. 21st, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC)
OMG the Hardy Boys! I loved them! I was more Shaun Cassidy, but then I was very, very young.
swordznsorcery
Dec. 22nd, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
Youth is no excuse. :p
ladygretchen
Dec. 22nd, 2009 02:29 am (UTC)
I really, really want to get this series! I loved the Nancy Drew Books as a teen, and like 'Dixon' I highly doubt 'Carolyn Keene' is still writing Nancy Drew since the late forties, lol. It's funny that I was hardly compelled to read 'Hardy Boys.' But, when they teamed up with Nancy, I couldn't get them out of the library fast enough. Frank and Nancy always had a thing for each other, but of course, she always had *Ned Nickerson* (what a name!) and was so 'torn.' I liked that fact that were eighteen, old enough to travel and do stuff..because they were all over the world.

I hear Nancy changes mid season in the show though. Too bad, because I liked the original actress, Pamela Sue Martin. This show looks so cool..and I may get pelted with eggs and tomatoes..but I love the blazer/sweater/turtleneck look on guys in the seventies, and it's even cute now, lol. :Runs!: Sean is cute, but Parker is definitely more manly. I guess it was only a matter of time before they promoted Sean over Parker, he was of the famous Cassidy clan after all.

Thanks for the warning on Baywatch season 1...I totally forgot Parker Stevenson was in that, but if you do review it, it will bring it all back to mind, along with the annoying original Hobie.;) lol.
swordznsorcery
Dec. 22nd, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
Original Hobie was best! Of course I say this having never seen the replacement.

Nancy changed heads? I would know that, of course, had I ever paid any attention to the Nancy Drew episodes. I only saw her when they did the crossovers, and clearly she never made enough of an impression. :D Sorry Nancy. You should have been a Hardy Boy. I might have noticed you then.
ladygretchen
Dec. 22nd, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)
I think she changes heads in season 2. LOL..She could have been a Hardy cousin. I'll have to be fair to original Hobie, since i don't remember him, I just remember the actor's character on step by step as very annoying. lol.
seal_girl
Dec. 22nd, 2009 07:53 am (UTC)
*COMMENTARY LOVE*

:)
swordznsorcery
Dec. 22nd, 2009 09:54 pm (UTC)
It's the clothes, isn't it. You secretly long for some questionable flares and a brown blazer. ;)

Of course, having spent all that time yesterday mocking the fashions, I'm now looking at my choice of icon here, and remembering some of the things that he wore. Dear old Ed. :)
( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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