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The proper way to surf

There have been developments at Baywatch Headquarters since we last visited Malibu Beach - we've acquired a new lifeguard. I'm not sure quite why the producers felt in need of one, since there's not enough for the present cast to do as it is, but nonetheless, there's a new recruit. His name is Cort, and he's a jerk. There's no nicer way to put that, really. For some reason, not only did the producers decide that they needed a new character, but they also felt that he needed to be an egotistical irritant with a head bigger than the whole of California. He keeps doing these little smiles, like we're supposed to find him endearing, but really he's just a jerk. Still, he is the driving force behind my favourite episode of Baywatch, so I suppose I shouldn't be too hard on him. Possibly.

It's a bit of a mixture, is this episode. There's three storylines - in one, Cort, Craig and Eddie go to Mexico, and get in a bit of bother; in the second, Captain Thorpe gets thrown out by his wife, and moves in with Mitch; and in the third, Hobie falls in love with Shauni. Now, far be it for me to complain about a little romance. Actually, that's just nonsense. Of course I'm going to complain about romance. There's stuff blowing up in Mexico, and I'm expected to care about Captain Thorpe's lovelife, and Hobie's hopeless crush? Sod that, I'm off to Mexico. So don't expect to hear much about the other two storylines.

So anyway. And away we go.

On a beach, Craig is late for a meeting. This is because Cort is late to relieve him from duty, because Cort is a jerk who cares about nobody but himself. Apparently we're supposed to find this charming, or something. I don't know. He just comes off as an idiot. Still, we do get a nice scene where Craig prepares for his important lawyerly meeting by getting dressed outside a beach hut. He's going to be cascading sand all over the meeting. Also, I love that he feels sunglasses to be an important item of clothing, but makes no effort to put on any shoes. If I had to hire a lawyer, I'd definitely look for the one with sunglasses and bare feet. I'm unlikely to find one in the Cotswolds, but I shall be looking anyway.

Getting dressed in private is so over-rated.

Cort has made Craig late for an important meeting. Naturally this requires smirking and looking completely unconcerned.

But excitement is afoot! For a fisherman has snagged something out of the surf. What could it be, oh mesmerised reader?

It's a mine! Hurrah!

"Boom!" goes the mine.

Then it goes "boom!" a bit more. Just for luck.

I like this episode. This episode shows promise.

Craig is less convinced.

In fact Craig thinks he needs a holiday.

I don't think I want to know what Cort is thinking. Craig looks pretty wary as well.

But everything is forgiven, for they are off to Mexico! It's a 200km journey at least, and they're going to be making it in a vintage jeep. But they're smiling anyway.

Wait until you get twenty yards down the road. See if you're still smiling then.

Still, their blatantly obvious stand-ins seem to be enjoying the drive.

Note to director. When employing stand-ins, it's best not to do close ups.

Having arrived in deepest Mexico, a journey that has been performed in a rattly old jeep, apparently almost entirely off-road, they're now in need of urgent medical attention. Certainly Eddie is, perched in the back like that.

But they decide to go surfing instead. There's absolutely no surf anywhere in evidence, but they're not going to let that stop them.

Indeed, not only does some surf magic itself up out of nowhere, but it brings a cavalcade of eighties soft rock along with it, and we're treated to a surfing montage.


Can we blow something else up now please?

Happily the fun is soon brought to an end when somebody steals Craig's jeep. Cort had left the keys in it, which was helpful of him.

This means a very long walk to a very small town nearby, where Cort knows all of the locals, and insists that he's everybody's best friend there. It's no surprise, therefore, that the entire town runs away and hides when they see him coming.


Fabulously stereotypical redneck thug!

Bar fight! Bar fight! See, I told you this was a good episode.

I love how Craig (and his stand-in) enthusiastically hurl themself onto three of the very large redneck thugs, whilst the others content themselves just with tackling one each.

Needless to say, this doesn't go well.

The bartender clearly agrees.

Nonetheless, despite getting battered unconscious by several thugs the size of Mexico City, Craig is undeterred. The thugs have his jeep, and by golly he's going to get it back. There's only five huge guys to contend with. How can this possibly be an issue?

Operation: Sneaky Jeep!

Note the gasoline drums in the foreground. They may become important later.

Frank Craig creeps up to the bad guys' hideout, to check on what they're up to. And what are they up to?

Why, they're being fabulously stereotypical redneck thugs, of course!

Craig sets about hotwiring his jeep.

Why does everybody on American television know how to hotwire a car? He's a lawyer and a lifeguard. What part of this lifestyle necessitates knowing how to hotwire a car?!


- Hi there. Haven't we met someplace before?

- Why yes, as a matter of fact. Back in the late seventies.

- The circumstances weren't really much better, although I think we may now both have slightly better hair.

Random Mitch, on account of I like his sweatshirt.

Back in Mexico, Cort and Eddie are fixing the furniture that got broken in their bar fight. Which I suppose is more useful than going off and having an adventure, but certainly not as interesting.

Bit less painful, though. Craig is delivered back home by the thugs, having not managed to steal back his jeep.

I really don't know why they sent him back. The bartender says that they killed the sheriff when he stood up to them, so why didn't they just kill Craig? I'm not complaining, you understand, but it is a bit weird, given that they're supposed to be majorly evil.

But all that aside, Cort now has a plan. This is in no way a terrifying notion.

I know I said I'd skim over the romance, but Shauni's way of letting down Hobie is seriously classy. She's still boring, and she's still played by somebody who can't act for toffee, but she's gone up in my estimation anyway.

And Hobie's too, I think.

Meanwhile, back in Mexico, Cort and Craig are wiring the gasoline drums to go boom.

I can't see any problem with that. Can you see any problem with that?

Craig certainly can't see any problem with that. In fact he even insists on being the one who sets it all off.

And "boom!" go the drums.

And "boom!" they go a bit more.

This is good. The close proximity of Craig's jeep... not so much.



Craig's jeep has seen better days.

My jeep!

You blew up my jeep!

No, you blew up your jeep.

I blew up my jeep!

This section of the episode is a bit like a pre-schooler's reading book. Though with a lot more interesting plot than usual, obviously.

My jeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

Head stereotypical redneck thug is now out for revenge. Why he's upset about Craig's jeep is anybody's guess, but I suppose he must have liked it too.

Back in the little village, Cort decides to stir the locals to action. "You can't beat these men alone!" he shouts. "Neither can we. Together, maybe we have a chance!"

Now, I don't want to burst your bubble there, Cort, but there's around a hundred villagers, and three of you. I really don't think you're going to be improving the odds any. Still, I suppose the intention is good.

Moments later, along come the thugs, intending to burn down the village in revenge for the jeepicide. So the villagers don't have a whole lot of choice anyway.

They agree to do battle. Despite outnumbering the crooks a good twenty to one, it still takes a remarkably long time to overpower them. These redneck thugs are built tough.


And a very long walk home. At which point, Craig decides he needs another holiday.

Sounds like a good idea to me. You bring the explosives, I'll bring the thugs. Leave the surfboards at home next time, though. We really do not need another montage. Thank you.

And here endeth Baywatch's finest hour. There's still some fun to be had yet, though. I think. I haven't actually seen any of the other episodes since around 1990, but I'm sure we must be due at least one more explosion.


( 2 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Feb. 7th, 2011 11:40 pm (UTC)
This was so funny! I can so see why you left out the ho-hum story plots. I busted out laughing with 'Haven't we met somewhere before?' and then the screen cap from Hardy Boys-not to mention the 'Frank' crossed out and random Mitch. I love these posts!
Feb. 9th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
It's such a good episode. :) I wish the show had stayed being this much fun!
( 2 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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