Oh yes, this is an article about Baywatch.Baywatch, while ostensibly an excuse to shove attractive men and women into bathing suits and show their heroic exploits in Slow Motion, was more or less a primetime soap opera, mixing elements of action, romance (and inevitable problems therein), domestic drama, and occasionally crime, into an hour of "don't you wish you were here?" beautiful Southern California locales.Cancelled by NBC after its initial season (1989-90), the show went into first-run syndication and proved to be insanely popular. It lasted for a solid 11 seasons, and was at one time the most watched TV show in the world, with more than a billion syndicated viewers tuning in each week. (Even in countries where it was wasn't officially broadcast — there are stories of millionaire Arab sheiks who organized underground satellite TV parties just to watch it!) And to count the number of careers it launched would take more time than it's worth. Its most notable alumni were David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson (although the former was already famous for another show, as well as his singing career).Although some people may argue that the show was already a parody of itself, Baywatch has been parodied. A lot. Most of its parodies boiled down to the slow motion scenes, the bounce, and the inconsistent acting. While most parodies were one-shots in other series, one series was a dedicated parody: Son of the Beach.There was also a detective and horror-themed spinoff called Baywatch Nights, which took place neither on the beach or at night.
"Tropes'll be ready, they'll be ready, never you fear, no don't you fear":
Actor Allusion: In "Nevermore", C.J. tells Cody, "Don't call me babe.", which Pamela Anderson frequently said in the previous year's Barb Wire.
Listen carefully to the dialog that ends "Rescue Bay". The group starts talking about syndication, and someone mentions Knight Rider, another David Hasselhoff production.
Mitch also mentions Knight Rider in "Sweet Dreams"; he asks a baby that he's babysitting if he wants to watch it.
An Aesop: Mitch delivers these on a pretty regular basis, often to his son, Hobie. In fact, even the show's most virulent critics praised the almost consistently positive portrayal of Mitch as a single father caring for his son. Examples:
(on winning) "It's not whether you win or lose; it's how you play the game."
(on popularity) "You have to ask yourself what's more important: Being liked by everyone else, or being able to like yourself."
Angels Pose: Done, naturally, in the parody episode "Baywatch Angels".
Anyone Can Die: Jill in "Shark Derby" and Stephanie in "Chance of a Lifetime".
As Himself: Michael "Newmie" Newman, the only real lifeguard on the show (and likely one of the few "actors" who could actually swim well.)
Awful Truth: Averted in "Race Against Time Part 2". Hobie, his mom, and her fiance, were in a plane crash and all three were rescued. However, Hobie was disappointed that the fiance was more concerned about his own safety than of his soon-to-be wife's. Mitch finds out about this and almost spills the beans to his wife and the fiance, but at the last minute decides he'd rather lie and say the fiance acted heroically.
Bad Dreams: Mitch has nightmares about Bobby drowning in "Submersion", based on a traumatic event that happened earlier that day.
The Bad Guy Wins: Neely in "Beauty and the Beast". She fixed it so that Caroline couldn't compete against her in the swimsuit competition by lying that she already had the chicken pox and would expose herself to C.J.'s chicken pox.
Cassandra Truth: In "Beauty and the Beast", a homeless man warned Cody that he saw a creature in the storm drains. Cody thought the man was merely drunk and doesn't believe him. Oh, if only he did, because the creature was real, all right: A rare salt-water alligator.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Skylar Bergman (played by Marliece Andrada), despite being featured in the opening credits, was only featured in the first four episodes of season 8 and was never featured again, without any in-universe explanation.
Citizenship Marriage: The crux of Logan's situation during seasons 5 and 6; he's from Australia and wants to remain in America but his visa's expired. He wants to get a citizenship marriage with an unrelated woman instead of Caroline, which causes a lot of tension between the two.
Clear My Name: "The Falcon Manifesto" has Mitch a suspect in the death of someone he knew for only a day.
Cliff Hanger: There were quite a few two-parters in the show's run:
"River of No Return"
"Race Against Time"
"Coronado del Soul"
"Living on the Fault Line"
"Silent Night, Baywatch Night"
"Trapped Beneath the Sea"
"Forbidden Paradise" (later re-packaged as a direct-to-video film)
"Rookie Summer / Next Generation"
"To the Max / Night of the Dolphin"
"Baywatch Down Under"
"Aloha Hawaii / Mahalo, Hawaii"
Clip Show: "The Life You Save". The plot concerned the Baywatch staff fighting budget cutbacks by telling the execs past stories about how they saved lives on the beach.
Clumsy Copyright Censorship: The American DVD releases removed many of the licensed songs and replaced them with other songs, including the iconic theme song "I'm Always Here" (the DVD sets used "Strong Enough" instead).
Coast Guard: The USCG appeared in many episodes, and even in the opening titles.
Dawson Casting: Nicole Eggert and David Charvet were both 20 when they began playing Summer and Matt, who were in high school at the start of syndicated season 2. Not too bad, but it still technically falls into this trope.
Decision Darts: In "Kicks", C.J. throws darts when she's unsure whether to try out for a modeling job or not. In an amusing subversion of the Trope, C.J. completely misses the dart board and her dart lands on a huge Nike sign that says "Just DO IT."
Deserted Island: Mitch and Stephanie make it to one in "Vacation Part 2" after falling off the cruise ship.
Mitch and his date are also stranded on one in "Windswept".
Dramatic Shattering: In "Rookie Summer", an upset Manny causes this by kicking a rolling chair into the side door, causing the door glass to break.
In "Missing", Mitch threw some shoes through his office's window in a fit of rage.
Dreaming of Things to Come: Seen in "Dead of Summer". C.J. has a nightmare where she's on an out-of-control boat and hits the pier. Later in the episode, she experiences this in real life (due to some terrorists), though thankfully the outcome is better this time.
In the first season of the show, Craig rescued a troubled girl who promptly became obsessed with him, alternating between telling people that they'd had consensual sex (which would have still made him guilty of statutory rape), or that he'd raped her outright.
A similar storyline had a teenage girl lying to her friends about sleeping with Eddie in hopes of making them jealous and/or making herself popular. When her father confronted her, she panicked and lied even more, now claiming that Eddie got her drunk and took advantage of her. The result is that he was charged with statutory rape. A senior lifeguard attempting to comfort Eddie's girlfriend implied that this often happens to lifeguards and that he went through a similar experience.
In "Wet n' Wild", after he rebuffed her advances, new lifeguard Neely sought revenge on Matt by falsely claiming that he was the one who'd sexually harassed her.
Gentle Giant: Manny from the episode "Blindside". He's a tall guy who puts on fake muscles and growls menacingly for his sideshow act, but outside of work, he wouldn't hurt a fly (and even rescues pelicans from six-pack rings!).
Instant Seduction: Matt tries to flirt with C.J. during lifeguard training in "Rookie of the Year" . He asks if he'll be able to pick partners for CPR practice. His flirting backfires when Stephanie reprimands him, saying that lifeguards have to give CPR to anybody that needs help, not just beautiful people.
Also demonstrated in "The Incident" when Caroline blamed herself for not being aware of an extra victim who drowned.
It's Personal: An Australian lifeguard comes to Baywatch in the episode "Fatal Exchange". Mitch doesn't care for him, and it turns out he had a reason to be suspicious: When Mitch was temporarily lifeguarding in Australia years ago, he was unable to save woman during a rescue. It turns out the woman was the Australian lifeguard's wife, and he's now out to kill Mitch in revenge.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: In America, at least, only the first three syndicated seasons are out on DVD (music edited, at that), along with a few NBC episodes as extras on the sets. The last season release was in 2007, so it's doubtful we'll get any more. The full series is out in Germany, though, and are frequently listed on Amazon.com; assuming you have a region free DVD player, those would be the way to go.
Littlest Cancer Patient: Lauren in "Lover's Cove" has aplastic anemia and only has a year to live. Too bad Hobie has taken a liking to her.
Long Runners: Eleven seasons and 242 episodes. Not too shabby.
Love at First Sight: C.J. to the dolphin trainer in "Coronado del Soul"; so much so that she thinks about quitting lifeguarding and moving to San Diego despite that she hasn't been on ONE DATE with the guy.
Miranda Rights: Garner had to read this to arrested individuals a few times.
Mock Millionaire: In the two-part episode "Vacation", Guido pretends to be "Count Guido Popadokulous" in order to romance Mrs. Kenilworth, a wealthy middle-aged widow. It backfires when she wants to sleep with him; even after he tells her the truth, she still pursues him.
Money, Dear Boy: In-universe, this is partially why Lani became a lifeguard, so she could support herself while she looked for a job in the field she really cared about: Dancing.
Morton's Fork: The plot to "Submersion". Mitch jumped into the ocean to rescue two boys, but both were a ways apart and back-up hadn't arrived yet. He had to make a choice of which boy was more important to save first.
The Movie: Sort of. "Baywatch: The Movie" was merely a two-parter ("Forbidden Paradise") packaged as a direct-to-video film.
There was also a made-for-video movie, "Hawaiian Wedding", which was also a reunion of sorts.
New Old Flame: Stephanie, who was introduced in syndicated season 2, returns to Baywatch. Only problem? She and Mitch used to date, which at first makes their professional relationship awkward, since Stephanie is Mitch's boss.
Once an Episode: Someone in need of being rescued from the water. While not every episode, many of the rescues involved administering CPR, too.
Reality Ensues: In an early episode, a trainee lifeguard (Matt?) is asked what he should do when he and a victim are being swept toward rocks or a pier. He heroically says he would place himself between the victim and the rocks. Stephanie chews him out for this, pointing out that now he has a broken arm or more serious injuries, and there are now two people in the water who need rescuing. The correct procedure is to position the victim to take the impact, because even if they sustain more injuries, the lifeguard is still able to get them to safety. It sounds like a harsh thing to do, but it's what rescuers have to do in that kind of situation to save both lives.
This technique gets a callback in the abovementioned episode "Fatal Exchange". When faced with a situation like this, Mitch couldn't bring himself to allow the woman to take the impact, and as such, put himself between her and the piling. Sure enough, he was knocked out, and though his loss of consciousness was brief, by the time he came to, the woman had drowned.
Revolving Door Casting: Every few seasons, the show got a bunch of new characters. The biggest turnovers, not counting "Hawaii", were syndication Season 2 (C.J., Stephanie, Summer, Matt, and Jimmy) and Season 8 (J.D., April, Skylar, Taylor, and Lani).
Pointed out by Hasselhoff himself during one late-night interview. "When ratings are low, someone must go."
Right Behind Me: Played for drama in "Missing" when Cody says he doesn't give a damn about Mitch... and Mitch is right behind him.
"Rendezvous" centers around a mermaid who thinks Cody is her long-lost love Christopher, and Neely worries that if anyone finds out about her she could end up in a cagenote It was a tank, since a cage wouldn't hold water, but the thought was there like the mermaid in Splash.
Sleeper Hit: According to the executive producers, the pilot movie "Panic at Malibu Pier" was one of the few made-for-TV movies which actually got higher ratings in repeats than it did initially.
Slow Motion Fall: Almost always happens if a character falls off a high ledge, such as the nearby pier.
Soft Water: Subverted. In "Free Fall", Mitch skydives, but both parachutes fail to open. He aims for the water, and is killed. It Was All Just a Dream. A daydream, specifically.
Also averted in "Sky Rider", when Jimmy bungee jumping into the water below causes him to pass out from the impact of the splash.
Special Guest: Quite a few, sometimes playing themselves, but other times playing characters: Hulk Hogan, Geraldo Rivera, Ricky Van Shelton, Mary Lou Retton, the list goes on.
Spiritual Successor: USA Network's "Pacific Blue". Except the show starred beach cops instead of lifeguards.
Split Personality: The episode "Mirror Mirror" has a schizophrenic woman going after Mitch.
Star-Crossed Lovers: Kirstie and Todd from "Rendezvous". Todd comes from a rich family, Kirstie comes from a lower/middle class single mother. Both sides refuse for them to date each other, leading to Kirstie and Todd committing a suicide pact.
Status Quo Is God: "Aftershock" had Mitch wanting to re-marry his ex-wife, and it really looked like it was going to happen... until Mitch got an emergency call at the wedding and temporarily left his ex at the altar. The ex decided she didn't want to marry him after all, because Mitch is never truly off-duty.
Stock Footage: The footage of the lifeguards running into the water is sometimes recycled in subsequent episodes.
Stuff Blowing Up: More common than you'd expect from a show about lifeguards patrolling the beach.
That's What I Call X: In "Promised Land", after Garner arrests the topless woman on the beach, Hobie says, "Now that's what I call a bust!"
Throwing Off the Disability: Mitch became temporarily paralyzed from the waist down in the two-parter "Shattered". However, during an intense fight scene, he manages to finally move his foot to kick the gun away from the bad guy. Must be nice.
Title Montage: During the section of the opening where the cast members are listed, many of the clips accompanying the names are from earlier episodes. For example, a couple of C.J.'s clips are from "Lifeguards Can't Jump", and a couple of Summer's clips come from "Pier Pressure".
Token Minority: For a while, Garner was the only black regular on the show.
Training Montage: Mitch often gets one of these when training for a beach competition, such as in "Ironman Buchannon".
Two-Timer Date: Dennis in "Lifeguards Can't Jump" keeps running back and forth between his hotel room (where his wife is) and his outdoor dinner date with C.J.
Uncanceled: After being cancelled on NBC after only a season, David Hasselhoff and the executive producers decided to try it in syndication instead. The rest is history.
Underwater Kiss: In "If Looks Could Kill", Allison's technique of killing her male victims involves seducing them to kissing her underwater, then handcuffing the man's hands to the pool ladder so they can't resurface for air.
Wardrobe Malfunction: In-Universe. In "A Little Help," CJ is in training for a dancing competition. Early in the episode, she practices her routine with Mitch, which involves dipping her at the end. She tells him to check if anything has fallen out, and he tells her, accurately, "Everything's in place." At the end, her partner hasn't shown up for the competition, so Mitch volunteers himself. They do the routine, and, while not shown on camera for obvious reasons, it's apparent that CJ has fallen out of her dress. Caroline, Stephanie and Hobie are there, and they cover up Hobie's eyes.
You Look Familiar: Jeff Altman first appears as a man on his honeymoon in "Lifeguards Can't Jump", but later appears as a completely different character, a Hollywood movie producer, in "Rescue Bay". He later appears in "Scorcher", playing secret service agent Dudley Dawson, and AGAIN in three 1998 episodes, playing medical supply salesman Ed Symes. Sure are a lot of guys running around L.A. that look exactly like the same man, aren't there?
Similarly, Jennifer Campbell first appeared as a biker named Jessie Majors in "Point Doom", before later being the third actress to portray Neely.
Your Cheating Heart: Caroline catches Logan kissing Neely in "The Last Wave". Needless to say, the wedding is called off.
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: In "Ironman Buchannon", Matt buys a motorcycle by working nights for a few weeks. However, he doesn't tell Summer why he's staying out late because he wants to surprise her, which leads her to believe he's cheating on her. When Matt reveals the surprise to Summer, you think the story is finished and both Matt and Summer will be happy, because it's revealed he wasn't cheating after all. But WAIT! Garner takes a look at the motorcycle and briefly goes into Baywatch headquarters. When he returns, he sees that Matt already paid the broker for the bike, which is a shame, because that particular motorcycle is stolen and the broker was a crook. Garner sets out after the crook but we never hear for sure if he caught her or not, and Matt is down a lot of money. Keep in mind, this all happens in the last five minutes of the episode.