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Only a year late...

About a year ago (in December 2009), I admitted to having bought season one of Baywatch, and said that I would probably be watching it in the new year. And here we are in the new year. Not the intended one, granted, but a new year nonetheless. Last year was complicated and confusing, and mostly involved watching cowboys and Dean Martin. And, wherever possible, Dean Martin being a cowboy. But now here we go with Baywatch, season one. The only watchable season.

So. It's 1989, and you want to make a new TV show. Cops have been done. Doctors have been done. Firemen and spacemen and more cops and more doctors and superheroes and more cops and more doctors. All done. "I know!" says somebody. "Let's do lifeguards! That way we can have sun and sea and sand and surf, and all the sorts of things that people like, and we can also have boat chases and stuff. And sharks!" This is the sort of logic that I can understand. What I can't quite fathom is that somebody then thought it was a good idea to cast David Hasselhoff, and get him to wear nothing but a pair of shorts. Week after week after week. This is scary thinking. This is the sort of thinking that leads to Jean Claude Van Damme movies.

But back to Baywatch. I wanted at this point to post the opening titles, but sadly there were music rights issues. When they put out the DVDs, they weren't allowed to use the original title song, so they switched it for something dreadful. This also means that all copies of the original song have been removed from YouTube. It is still on DailyMotion, but only with the opening credits of the pilot, which means that the pictures are wrong. So you have to listen to the theme tune here, whilst watching the pictures here. Which can get a little confusing. So I haven't posted the opening titles. Instead I shall babble on about something else, such as the Baywatch Beginners' Guide, or Your Guide To Who Is Who And What Is What Down On The Beach.

There are several main characters on Baywatch, although for the most part you need only concern yourself with a few of them. There's Mitch, who is boss of nearly everybody, and spends his time agonising over the fact that he has to wear shoes now, as he works in an office. Except when he doesn't, and goes running around outside in nothing but a pair of shorts, just to give everybody nightmares. Then there's his best friend Craig (who's played by Parker Stevenson, so is obviously the best thing in it), who's a lawyer, except when he's being a lifeguard, which is most of the time as he prefers it. Craig has a wife called Gina, who's a little bit awesome, but rarely gets to do a lot. She does get to fight a psycho lifeguard groupie in the pilot episode though. Also there's Captain Thorpe, who's the boss of everybody, but they don't care because they only listen to Mitch. He was in Jack Holborn, which earns him coolness points, and frankly he needs them. He spends the entire series looking bored, and telling Mitch to wear shoes. Then there's Hobie, Mitch's improbably named son, who apparently changed heads in season two. Season two doesn't count though, as it was rubbish. There's also Eddie, who used to be a hardcore streetfighter from the hood (and if you believe that, you'll believe anything), but is now reformed; Shauni, who does little but sunbathe in an ill-fitting swimming costume; and Jill, who is cool, professional, and really pretty awesome. So guess who gets eaten by a shark halfway though season one? Yeah. Would it have killed them to get Shauni eaten instead? Oh, and there's also Cort, an old friend of Mitch's and Craig's, who turns up randomly halfway through the season, leading to adventures in Mexico with exploding jeeps. But I haven't got to those episodes yet.

There's a policeman as well, whose name I can never remember, but who rides about on a quad bike in the opening credits, and hates the sea. And an Australian bloke who's a lifeguard for the club down the beach, and is a total poser. He doesn't do a lot most of the time, though. Neither does the policeman.

Visual aids, then.



Mitch. In clothes, because otherwise would just be too cruel to everybody.



Craig.



Craig's wife Gina.



Hobie.



Captain Thorpe.



Eddie.



Shauni.



Jill. Prior to being eaten.



The policeman whose name I can't remember.



The Australian lifeguard.

Baywatch is an odd fish. It's all about children being trapped down storm drains, and people nearly drowning, but at the same time they throw in completely non-water related plots, like Eddie's dangerous hood friend coming to find him, and him being all moody over being reminded that he used to be the world's least convincing thug. Which would probably work as a good character-building episode, if Eddie was in the least bit believable as a former tough guy, or if I cared about him in the slightest. Then there's also the on-going saga of Mitch's divorce. His wife wants custody of Hobie, so she can take him away to live far from the beach, and make him go to a school with no sea view, and where he'll have to wear shoes all day (shoes are a synonym for evil in the Baywatchverse). Mitch would rather that Hobie stay on the beach, where he can get randomly kidnapped by smugglers, and try to get dates with hot lifeguards. Meanwhile, Craig and Jill are busy being awesome, and are saving all of the drowning people, but with practically nobody noticing. Except for the psycho lifeguard groupie in the pilot.

So far I've watched the first handful of episodes, in which there is much agonising over divorces and lawyering and shoes. And troubled pasts, jet-skis and shoes. My conclusions at this point are basically that Baywatch can be a lot of fun, but mostly when it doesn't involve too much of Eddie brooding, of Mitch being without a shirt on, or of Shauni doing pretty much anything. Sadly this does stop most of the episodes from fulfilling their true potential.

It's still fun, though. I think I would recommend season one for brainless evening viewing, provided that the sight of David Hasselhoff running about shirtless is not too terrifying a prospect. I have no wish to cause anybody heart failure.

And did I mention that Parker Stevenson's in it?

Comments

( 10 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
ladygretchen
Jan. 28th, 2011 12:11 am (UTC)
This was hilarious. I hope you write more for Baywatch season 1. I unfortunately came in around season 2-3 and oddly got hooked. That's when it also became bimboed out. UGHH! CJ-The worst character. Needless to say they also killed off the only flat-chested brunette who was the closest to a real lifeguard on there-Stephanie.
Hey don't forget the credits also shows that fit, balding guy diving in..me thinks he's a REAL lifeguard that they used for background filler. But he did pop up as one of Mitch's many friends throughout the seasons.
Billy Warlock always played the least believable thug ever, watch the last 2 seasons of Happy Days. LOL. I actually like Erika Eleniak, she's a cute actress. The Australian guy looks cute in the credits, being all stereotyped as a 'saucy Aussie.' LOL.

I need to see BW season 1, it's got Parker! And well, I don't mind DH w/o a shirt-though he's a bit of a barrel. And Hobie-1-kenobi is adorable.
swordznsorcery
Jan. 28th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
Billy Warlock also played a troubled teen on "Days Of Our Lives". Goodness knows why he keeps getting cast in that sort of role. He looks about as thuggish as Erika Eleniak!

And yes, it did pretty much turn into the Bimbo Show later, didn't it! I saw very, very little of the later episodes, but what I did see seemed to be endless musical interludes, with lots of women in improbable bikinis. I'm sure it has its attractions, but season one had stuff blowing up. That's always going to be better, let's be honest. :)
ladygretchen
Jan. 30th, 2011 03:56 pm (UTC)
LOL-I guess cuz Billy had the 'cute' little Italian thug look, the bad boy who's got a heart of gold underneath, the type that girls would defy their parents to date him, cuz he's a rebel with a cause and misunderstood. lol.

You're right, that's all the show was later. It had some interesting story lines, but not nearly enough explosions! Mostly people drowning in 3 feet of tank water.
eandh99
Jan. 28th, 2011 05:12 am (UTC)
Parker Stevenson - perhaps my darkest secret is how much I loved Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy in the Hardy Boys. I LOVED them, I'd pretend to be sick so I could stay home and watch episodes. Sigh. I even owned a Shaun Cassidy album that Billy Mumy sang backup on. My kids don't know this.
swordznsorcery
Jan. 28th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
Maybe you should show your kids "The Hardy Boys". They might think you were cool. Until Shaun starts singing anyway. :p
eandh99
Jan. 30th, 2011 06:02 am (UTC)
at this point musical theatre and Scooby Doo are the only tastes my kids and I share.
elenopa
Jan. 28th, 2011 04:32 pm (UTC)
The first season I do remember watching. It coencided with my first year at university so I watched lots of diferent things then (all in B&W though).
swordznsorcery
Jan. 28th, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC)
That sounds familiar! I had a black & white TV at university as well. A lovely little five inch one, so you practically needed a telescope to watch it.

There are some shows that still seem odd in colour even now. "Due South" is definitely best in black and white. So's "The X-Files".
zigsternenstaub
Jan. 28th, 2011 11:31 pm (UTC)
Shoes will now be my new synonym for evil. For example, whenever anyone mentions Justin Bieber, I will shout 'SHOES!'

Hilarious review as usual!
swordznsorcery
Jan. 29th, 2011 04:44 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if 'shoes' is evil enough to represent Justin Bieber - or the marketing power behind him, anyway. Still, it's a lot more polite than some of the things that are being said about him around the internet. :D
( 10 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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