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Hula and Luaus

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"Hey, what is this place? Palm trees... hula girls... pineapples... hula girls... surfboards... hula girls!... hula girls!... hula girls! Of course, it all adds up! I've somehow landed in Norway!"
Freakazoid, Freakazoid!

Aloha! If the cast goes to Hawaiʻi for a Vacation Episode, there will inevitably be a hula show and a luau.

Other elements of Hollywood Hawaii involve:

  • Beaches.
  • Plump, friendly ukulele players and names like "James Humunupukapu'a", or "Israel Kamakawiwo'ole". Asian surnamesnote  are strangely unheard of for a state where Asian Americans make up forty percent of the population.
  • Sexy skinny girls in coconut bras and grass skirts, even though ethnic Pacific Islanders run the full gamut of body sizes, grass skirts never were a part of Hawaiian Hula tradition, and those hula girls most likely wear jeans and tank tops in their off-hours.
  • Men wearing obnoxiously bright Hawaiian shirts. Okay, this one is actually true, even in the workplace, since the tropical weather doesn't take kindly to layered 3-piece suits. However, business and casual Hawaiian shirts are more subdued than the loud tourist versions, and locally made shirts tend to get expensive.
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  • Surfing. True, especially with O'ahu's famous North Shore, crawling with surfers from all over.
  • Volcanoes. After all, the Hawaiian islands are volcanic. You can see lava flows on the Big Island.
  • Beaches.
  • Tourists. Tons of tourists. (This is true in some places - especially O'ahu, home of the capital, but other parts of the state are relatively free of these guys.)
  • A pig roasted on the beach. (Kalua pig was done like this. The only time you'll see it now are at commercial luaus.)
  • Pineapples. (Also true, since the Dole plantation did most of its growing work here and was partially the reason why Hawai'i has a lot of Asian heritage.)note 
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  • More beaches.
  • Local kids hanging out all day in the sun instead of going to school. (This is something of truth in television, especially with college students from out of state attending any of the universities of Hawai'i.)
  • Tiki Statues.
  • Have we mentioned the beaches?

Visiting Hawaii or another tropical island is always a good excuse for a Beach Episode.

Usually doesn't apply to series set primarily in Hawaii, such as Magnum, P.I. or Hawaii Five-O, as the location is simply local flavor.


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     Anime and Manga  
  • Miss Machiko had an episode in Hawaii, which included every stereotype... and topless beaches, for some reason. (There are no topless beaches in Hawai'i.) Also, hula girls apparently wear grass skirts low enough to display part of their buttocks. Considering the nature of this series, it shouldn't be that surprising.

     Comic Books 
  • One mini-arc in Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose had John invite Tarot, Raven Hex, and their mother to go to Hawaii with him. The Hawaiian tropes are justified given that they're in a swanky hotel. By coincidence, Boo Kitty and Licorice Dust also end up in Hawaii at another hotel at the same time, where Boo gets drunk and starts molesting performers at the luau.

  • Despite being set in medieval Europe, the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Virtual Smurfality" has the initial beach setting in the Imaginarium full of virtual Smurfettes wearing floral wreaths and doing dances similar to the hula.
  • In Final Space: Gary and his crew go to a Hawaiian planet for a vacation. They relax and have a good time. Later, Gary, Avocato, Little Cato, Quinn, Ash, Sheryl, and the others wear beach bras, lipsticks, necklaces, and green grass skirts. They hula dance and enter a hula dance contest.

     Films — Live-Action  
  • Played mostly straight in the Disney Made-for-TV Movie Johnny Tsunami, which featured native Hawaiians moving to Vermont as the main premise for a Fish out of Water story.
  • In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the main character goes to Hawaii on vacation after breaking up with his super hot celebrity girlfriend. The Hawaii pictured features pretty much everything listed above minus the volcanoes, though he is tourist resort staffed almost entirely by white people.
  • North had a highly offensive version of this.
  • The Fifth Element plays this for laughs with Fhloston Paradise.
  • In 2012, the characters plan on stopping in Honolulu in order to refuel on their flight from Las Vegas to the Arks in China. The entire city - hell, the entire island it's on - is covered in lava from the crust movement in the Earth making the volcanoes go into overdrive.
  • 50 First Dates takes place on O'ahu, and features Nick, a big Hawaiian with tattoos on his face. Other than Hawaiian shirts and beaches, the setting doesn't factor too much into the story.
  • Kon-Tiki ends with the crew of the raft being taken to Tahiti and being greeted by two Tahitian girls in grass skirts doing the luau.
  • Seven (1979) hits most of the highlights of Hollywood Hawaii. One of the murders occurs at tiki show, complete with hula dancers; Cowboy kills his target at a surfing competition; the Kahuna marks his victims for death with a yellow lei; etc. However, it also includes some less commonly seen locales, like the tropical rain forest and metropolitan Honolulu.
  • Dennis the Menace: Dinosaur Hunter: The movie ends with a luau. In fact, the movie's B-plot involves Mrs. Wilson wanting to go back to Hawaii for her fortieth wedding anniversary; the Wilsons announce during the ending luau that they will be going there.

     Live-Action TV  
  • The Brady Bunch has a famous episode where the family visits Hawaii and Greg obtains a cursed Tiki and Vincent Price cameos.
  • Played straight in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, in which Sabrina and her evil twin are competing against each other to see who gets sacrificed to a volcano. Later, Sabrina learns she has a relative who is a Hawaiian volcano goddess.
  • The opening of Hawaii Five-O had shots of these, as well as advertising.
  • While Dog the Bounty Hunter doesn't fall under this trope, being actually based in Hawai'i, it does subvert the image of Honolulu as a glamorous resort town for viewers too young to remember Hawaii Five-O or Magnum, P.I., showing that it, too, has its slums and the problems typically found there.
  • The Pritchett-Delgado-Dunphy clan go to Hawaii during Jay's birthday in Modern Family.
  • Mama and her family visited Hawaii on a two-part episode of Mama's Family. The episode fits the trope well, as did the "aloha hula lamp" that Mama got there.
  • Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style
  • Monk did not have one in the actual series run, given it was set in San Francisco, but the Tie-In Novel Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii has Monk and Natalie travel to Kauai. They go to a luau - where the main course is supposed to be a pig buried in a pit covered with banana leaves to trap in heat, but the workers instead dig up a murder victim's body.
  • Schitt's Creek: In Season 1, Roland and Jocelyn throw a kitschy Hawaiian bash at their house, which includes Hawaiian shirts, leis, a pig roast, and weed.
  • When hockey legend Wayne Gretsky hosted Saturday Night Live he appeared in a sketch, inspired by Elvis movies, called "Waikiki Hockey" where he played a Honolulu based hockey champion who also sang rock-and-roll.
  • Deconstructed in the first season of The White Lotus, which is set at an exclusive Hawaiian resort. While the tourists get all the "stereotypes" — the beaches, the boating, the hulas, and fire dancing — but it's all a show put on for them at the expense of the Native Hawaiian population.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Al Lolotai, better known by his nickname Alo Leilani, wrestled with a Hawaiian shirt pattern on his trunks, had waist ring plus a sarong as part of his entrance gear, carried a sling blade and handed out leis for the fans to put around their necks, especially the lady fans.
  • High Chief Peter Maivia was from Samoa but spent a good deal of his career wrestling in Hawaii, so he became known as "The Flying Hawaiian".
  • Leilani Kai was from Florida but The Fabulous Moolah thought she could "pass" for Hawaiian and so that became central to her gimmick. She even got an apartment in Hawaii to try and seem authentic.
  • Royal Hawaiian from GLOW, who would munch on two pineapples at a time on her way to the ring.
  • Flex Kavana in Jerry Lawler's USWA, who was another Samoan, although he did grow up in Hawaii.
  • Micah Taylor, known for such gimmicks as "SANDY BEACH" as well as teaming as LOCO with MOCO in The Hawaiian Express and Rob Begley as The Island Boys.
  • Tracy Taylor's gimmick in a nutshell. Ring gear in loud bright patterns, skirts, surfing? Like most pro wrestlers, she's not exactly skinny though.
  • The normally monstrous Aja Kong decided to run with this trope when Hawai'i Championship Wrestling came to Japan and ran join shows with Pro Wrestling ZERO1, becoming "Hula Kong".

    Tabletop Games 
  • Parodied with the Brown Islands setting in GURPS Discworld Also, where the natives think of surfing as a religion, and have a habit of reassuring visitors they stopped sacrificing people to the volcano ages ago, in a vague manner that suggests they can't quite remember if they'd any reason to.

    Theme Parks 
  • Disney Theme Parks has the attraction The Enchanted Tiki Room, built around tikis and other elements of South Pacific culture.
    • Disney's Polynesian Village Resort at WDW is this trope rendered in Florida. It has a regularly-scheduled luau dinner show, called "Spirit of Aloha", which features performances from not just Hawaii, but many other Polynesian islands.
    • They've recently opened a hotel/vacation club for members on O'ahu, called Aulani. Though it really shows its work and pays a greater respect to the culture of the islands.

    Video Games 
  • Backyard Basketball has the Whirling Hula Hoops team, which has a pineapple mascot with a Hawaiian shirt twirling a hula hoop around.
  • In The Sims 2, if your Sim dies of old age with a full (platinum) aspiration, the Grim Reaper shows up in a lei, accompanied by two hula girls to the tune "Aloha Oe," before handing the dying Sim a drink and taking his/her suitcase.
  • The Kai Tek Resort in Jazzpunk is patterned after this, with a spit you can eventually put a pig on and employees in grass skirts and what can only be described as Godiva Leis (one of whom claims to be the manager).
  • War of the Monsters had Club Caldera, home of the game's Magma Man, which clearly had this trope in mind. A small city, beaches, a lot of hula-wearing advertisements, and a volcano.
  • The Hawaii level of Tony Hawk's Underground features seemingly endless tikis, leis, Hawaiian shirts, pineapple stands, and a luau skateboarding tournament.

    Western Animation 
  • The Backyardigans had an episode, "Legend of the Volcano Sisters", set in Hawaii, but with very few of the characteristics mentioned above. "Surf's Up!" can also count as it's mainly involved with surfing.
  • The Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers episode "Gadget Goes Hawaiian" fulfills this trope almost perfectly. There's a luau complete with hula, there's surfing, there's even an artificial volcano. Little more is missing than the roasted pig and the coconut shell bras. It even features Gidget Goes Hawaiian (which itself makes use of this) actress Deborah Walley as the voice of the episode's villain (while the title itself is a spoof of and Shout-Out to the film).
  • As the page quote shows, Freakazoid! used this trope as part of a pseudo-"Mister Sandman" Sequence when Freakazoid was thrown back in time to Pearl Harbor.
  • The Goofy cartoon "Hello Aloha".
  • Justified in the Lilo & Stitch franchise, in that there's always a hula going on because the main characters and their family work in the tourist industry. In one episode of The Series, they go to Honolulu and it's just a regular city. Most of the characters, notably, are also ethnically realistic looking. Nani does fit the "sexy skinny girl" part, but she only dresses in coconut bras and grass skirts as part of her work uniform. She normally wears jeans and a T-shirt.
  • Rocket Power played everything but the skinny women part straight, as most of them were as fat as visiting relative Tito. Hawai'i is known for its overweight populace, a result of Hawai'ians not being used to meat that wasn't fish.
  • The season 3 finale of Total Drama takes place in Hawaii and uses all the cliches.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Homer Alone", Marge is wearing the grass skirt and coconut bra ensemble as she reclines on her bed at the resort, checking off her to-do list, the last one being "hula dancing".

    Real Life 
  • You can only find luaus at the hotels or resorts; locals have their own, less-produced versions which are basically Hawaii-style BBQs, a lot more hanging out and a lot less hula and fire-shows. Aloha attire (Hawaiian shirts, etc.) is actually very common for semi-formal wear, pineapples have been made into one of the largest tourist-traps by Dole (Come see the pineapple-shaped World's Largest Permanent Hedge-Maze! ), and tourists can be avoided if you feel safe with traveling to the North Shore, which you generally shouldn't, because the people who break into cars will spot a tourist in no time (and those who don't have cars get to wait hours to be driven back to Honolulu). O'ahu is known for its huge amount of petty crime, mostly car break-ins and pickpockets.
    • Hell, look vaguely Hawaiian (Filipino, any Asian with a tan), wear a Hawaiian shirt, and you will blend in. The residents lampshade it themselves - and even the Dole plantation does some subverting (pointing out that pineapples aren't a native Hawaiian fruit).
  • Mark Twain went to Hawai'i, strangely enough. He writes about his first (and last) attempt at surfing, which ended with him buried in sand.

Alternative Title(s): Aloha Hawaii