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"To me, it’s no surprise that the heyday of Baywatch ended with the rise of broadband internet access in homes. Clearly, Baywatch was primo spank material for guys without easy access to porn."
The Agony Booth's recap of "Mirror, Mirror".

Oh yes, this is an article about Baywatch.

Baywatch was a long-running (1989-2001) American television series about a group of fictional ocean lifeguards note . A Rescue show with soap-operatic elements, mixed with action, romance, domestic drama, occasionally crime, and the ever-present PG-rated Fanservice into an hour of "wish you were here" beautiful Southern California (for the first 9 seasons) and Hawai'i (last 2 seasons) locales. The show was created by Douglas Schwartz, Michael Berk and Gregory Bonann, the latter of whom was a real-life Los Angeles County lifeguard: the basic premise and the storylines of many episodes were often based on rescues he and his colleagues had made.


On 23 April 1989, the Pilot Movie Baywatch: Panic at Malibu Pier aired on NBC. However, Baywatch was cancelled by NBC after its initial season (1989-90) on network television. The co-creators and lead actor David Hasselhoff bought back the rights to make more episodes for a mere $100. Hasselhoff’s stardom in Germany at the time (due to Knight Rider, as well as his singing career) brought the producers $300,000 in advance for every episode. The show's setting also provided ample opportunity for Product Placement of swimwear, sportswear and motor vehicles. Independently financed, the show went into its second season (1991-92) in first-run syndication and proved to be insanely popular, particularly overseas: and as America's top television export in the 1990s, Baywatch was seen in 140 countries by over one billion viewers each week, as estimated by Guinness Book of World Records. The show's amazing international popularity led Entertainment Weekly to proclaim Baywatch as "The Most Popular Television Series in the History of the Planet" in an October 1993 cover story.


And to count the number of Playboy Playmates of the Month it either launched or had cast would take more time than it's worth. The most notable cast alumnus (apart from Hasselhoff) is Pamela Anderson, who starred as lifeguard C.J. Parker from the start of the third season to the end of the seventh season. In 1995, at the height of its popularity, it got a far less successful spinoff, Baywatch Nights. By the ninth season, as Baywatch had begun to wane in popularity, the show moved to Hawai'i, much due to lower costs and favorable tax breaks for the production company. The series was also renamed Baywatch: Hawaii. In 2003, a Made-for-TV Movie, Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding was released which was essentially a Reunion Movie with many former cast alumni returning as their characters.

An action-comedy movie adaptation was released in 2017 starring Dwayne Johnson as Mitch Buchannon, Alexandra Daddario as Summer Quinn, Kelly Rohrbach as C.J. Parker, and Zac Efron as Matt Brody. Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson have Remake Cameos.

Although some people may argue that the show was already a parody of itself, Baywatch has been parodied quite 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.

Allison Pregler has taken on the, in her own words, "Largely thankless task" of recapping and riffing on every episode of the show with her series Baywatching. She's currently covering season 6, with Baywatch Nights crossing over alongside this and season 7.

The entire series was remastered and released on Amazon Prime in 2019.

"Tropes'll be ready, they'll be ready, never you fear, no don't you fear" ♪:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • "Stakeout at Surfrider Beach" ends with Guido's mom moving to California to live with him, presumably setting her up as a recurring character. This never went anywhere, as the episode ended up being the last one to feature Guido.
    • Season 4 ended with a suggestion that Matt and Summer might be getting married. The Season 5 premier nixed this with a throwaway line saying that Summer had broken up with Matt and moved to Pittsburgh to attend college.
  • Abusive Parents: Summer and Jimmy's fathers.
    • Tanner, a recurring character during season 9, also had an abusive father.
  • The Ace: Mitch Buchannon. He's an expert lifeguard, a former Navy SEAL, a skilled architect, the winner of multiple Ironman competitions, and, on Baywatch Nights, he was a private detective who regularly battled the supernatural.
  • 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.
    • There's another one in "Game of Chance," where Harvey claims the amphibious jeep he's in is so advanced, the only thing it can't do is talk. Mitch sarcastically responds with "Doesn't talk? Forget it."
    • Mitch also mentions Knight Rider in "Sweet Dreams"; he asks a baby that he's babysitting if he wants to watch it.
    • There are multiple references to Hasselhoff's singing career in Europe, including an Imagine Spot in "Second Time Around" that uses actual footage from some of his concerts.
  • Adrenaline Time: Used far too often in "Baywatch: Hawaii".
  • 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."
  • Affectionate Parody: The tongue-in-cheek episode "Rescue Bay".
  • Alpha Bitch: Neely was the "bad girl" of the cast in season 6. She calmed down considerably in season 7 and got along better with the other characters, though at the start of season 9 she broke up with Mitch and returned to her conniving ways.
  • Angels Pose: Done, naturally, in the Charlie's Angels parody episode "Baywatch Angels".
  • Anyone Can Die: Al in the Pilot Movie, 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 like a pro.)
  • Ascended Extra: Neely Capshaw was originally a one-shot guest character played by Heather Campbell before becoming a series regular played by Gena Lee Nolin.
    • Yasmine Bleeth appeared once in the second half of Season 4's Tentacle Bay, then was seemingly forgotten about by the writers as she's never mentioned throughout the rest of Season 4 even when she should be and a flashback in "Trading Places" even showed Stephanie as an only child. Cue Season 5, when Nicole Eggert had quit the cast, and Bleeth was brought back to fill the role of the younger, naive life guard with a pretty boy love interest.
  • Awesome Aussie: Subverted with a few characters; multiple lifeguards are Australian immigrants who are arrogant but incompetent; the closest the show gets to actually playing this trope straight is Trevor Cole.
  • 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. Although the fiancé knows Mitch knows the truth, and privately vows to do better in the future.
  • Back Door Pilot: "Showdown at Malibu Beach High" seemed like it was setting up a high school Spin-Off starring Matt and Summer, with C.J. as their coach. What makes it especially blatant is that the episode introduced a whole bunch of new teen characters (including one played by Elizabeth Berkley of Saved by the Bell fame) who were never seen again.
  • 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 does some morally repugnant things but still comes out on top.
    • When she first appeared in the series, she attempted to frame Matt for sexual assault in order to cover up her alcoholism and to try and sue the county for a large sum of money. Matt and C.J. manage to trick her into admitting that she was lying on tape but it gets deemed inadmissible in court and Matt still gets fired. To add insult to injury, the county manages to settle the lawsuit with Neely by letting her keep her job as a lifeguard, meaning the Baywatch crew are forced to work with her.
    • 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.
  • Beach Bury: Played for drama in "The Reunion" when two guys bury a man who bullied them in high school as revenge. The prank gets out of hand, however, when the waves start hitting harder and they can't dig him out.
  • Beach Episode: Due to its premise, every episode is this.
  • The Beard: In "Point Doom", Guido convinces C.J. to pretend to be his fiance so that a tough beach go-er won't beat him up for flirting with his girlfriend.
    • "Dead Reckoning" has Jenna giving Leigh a kiss to get an annoying guy off her back.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Lampshaded in "Now Sit Right Back and You'll Hear a Tale" when the group finishes setting up the hut: It looks small and Gilligan says it's bigger on the inside.
  • Bottle Episode: A few . One particularly realistic one had no definite plotline, just showing all the chaos that a lifeguard might have to deal with within one day—rescues, vomiting kids, frisky couples, a woman in labor, etc.
  • The Boxing Episode: Kickboxing, specifically. Appropriately, the title of the episode is "Kicks".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Cold Open to the first episode of Baywatch Nights featured Mitch describing the premise of the show to the camera.
  • The final line of "Rescue Bay" is the upset television director complaining that a show about lifeguards already exists.
  • Breather Episode: Following the dramatic "Chance of a Lifetime", we get "Talk Show", which is much more light-hearted.
  • Buccaneer Broadcaster: Real Life example: When David Hasselhoff was a guest on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, he told an anecdote about how he went to a Middle Eastern country and a group of people was pirating a U.S. TV station solely to watch Baywatch. Pre-internet, this was the only way to watch the show, which was ordinarily banned in their country.
  • Busman's Holiday: Many of the vacation-based episodes tend to fall into this: The lifeguards end up having to use their lifeguarding skills even away from the beach.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Nobody ever vomits or suffer injuries from CPR.
  • Call-Back: In one episode, Mitch has to deliver a baby and is petrified. Several seasons later, he has to do it again and handles it like a pro.
  • The Cameo: Shawn Michaels got an uncredited role as Vinnie the bodyguard in the Season 7 episode "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.
  • 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.
    • In Hawaiian Wedding, Neely warned Mitch that the woman he was about to marry (who was a spitting image of Stephanie) was a con artist. But Mitch initially didn't believe her because of Neely's conniving past.
  • Catapult Nightmare: C.J. in "Dead of Summer".
    • Mitch in "Talk Show" after he has an incompetence nightmare of being tongue-tied on the talk show.
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: In "Talk Show," Mitch helps to rescue Jay Leno, and becomes a celebrity as a result. He hates it.
  • Censor Box: To a little nude boy in "Baywatch Angels".
  • Chase Scene: Whenever there's a criminal on the beach, you get this.
    • A car example occurred in "Desperate Encounter" between Mitch and Damon, a man who wanted Mitch dead after Mitch witnessed Damon killing his wife.
  • Chick Magnet: Mitch.
  • Christmas Episode: "Silent Night, Baywatch Night".
  • 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.
    • Due to the show's infamously high cast turnover, this happens a lot. For instance, characters like Trevor, Harvey and Guido had sizable roles, but all ended up disappearing without any mention of what happened to them.
  • 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.
    • In "The Trophy", where Eddie is accused of statutory rape.
  • Cliffhanger: There were quite a few two-parters in the show's run:
    • "The Trophy"
    • "Nightmare Bay"
    • "River of No Return"
    • "Vacation"
    • "Shattered"
    • "Race Against Time"
    • "Tentacles"
    • "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"
    • "The Wedding"
    • "Crash"
    • "Baywatch Down Under"
    • "Aloha Hawaii / Mahalo, Hawaii"
  • Clip Show: "The Chamber".
    • "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).
  • Compressed Vice: Extremely common due to the show's writing. Characters will have traits or backstories that will show up once without any foreshadowing, and then never be mentioned again. A common example is a character suddenly having severe PTSD from a previously-unmentioned past trauma.
  • Confession Cam: Done in "Rookie Summer".
  • Cover Version: Some of the montage songs were cover versions.
  • Curse Cut Short: In "Castles in the Sand": "Son of a bi-! (cue theme song)"
  • Darker and Edgier: Baywatch Nights. See Later Installment Weirdness below.
  • 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."
  • Dedication: "Charlie", which is dedicated to real life boy Charlie Hays, who died of cancer.
  • Demoted to Extra: John Cort was a main character in the second half of season 1, but only appeared four times after that.
    • Mitch got far less focus in the first season of Baywatch Hawaii, and was absent from the last season entirely.
  • Denser and Wackier: The upcoming Baywatch feature film is rumored to be this.
  • 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".
  • "Die Hard" on an X: The episode "The Tower" has it on the beach and in a lifeguard tower. Naturally, it is Mitch who saves the day.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: In "The Incident", during the lifeguard qualifying event, Mitch assures the newbies that the event is not a race, but merely a way to make sure one is up to snuff to be a lifeguard. Stephanie adds that, for those who have done this before, it pretty much is a race.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: For a couple of seasons, the closing theme was "Current of Love" as sung by David Hasselhoff.
    • The first ending theme to Baywatch Nights, "Into the Night", was sung by Hasselhoff as well.
  • Dirty Cop: "River of No Return Part 2".
  • Dramatic Hour Long
  • 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.
  • Drone of Dread: Used all the time in Baywatch Nights season 2.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: How Stephanie dies.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first season (that is, the one on NBC) didn't feature "I'm Always Here" as the theme song, but "Save Me" (and on some DVD releases, "Above the Waterline").
    • Hobie was played by Brandon Call instead of Jeremy Jackson. For those more familiar with the syndicated seasons, this is jarring to say the least.
    • For the pilot film, "Panic at Malibu Pier", the composer was Arthur B. Rubinstein, as opposed to Cory Lerios and John D'Andrea, who took over for the TV series. As a result, the music was more orchestral than rock and synthesizer-flavored.
    • Garner doesn't appear in the pilot.
    • The Buchannon house has a different layout in the first season.
    • The first season, having an actual budget, looks more professionally produced and edited. Once the show went into syndication, the show was produced on a much smaller budget and thus had to show everything they shot whether there were obvious mistakes or not.
    • The swimsuits on the female lifeguards start showing more and more skin as the show continues on and the show needed to rely more on sex appeal to stay relevant.
  • Easy Amnesia: Happens to Thuy in "Lost and Found".
  • '80s Hair: Hobie's mullet in the first season.
  • Empty Nest: A story arc during season 9. With Neely and her baby out of the picture, and an 18-year old Hobie wanting his own place, Mitch is suddenly alone.
  • Ensemble Cast: Baywatch was even described by David Hasselhoff as being this.
  • Episode Title Card: It's just the episode title superimposed over the action.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: "Lost and Found", which concludes with Jess Fortuna's sit-down stand-up.
  • Evolving Credits: Each new season had a slightly different opening, due to cast members coming and leaving. Cast members that stayed for more than one season often had different clips replacing old ones; for instance, pre-teen Hobie's clip was replaced with a teenaged Hobie as the actor aged with the character.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage
  • Fanservice: Oh yes, practically the sole reason for the show's popularity and existence. So much so that it has the Fan Nickname of "Babewatch" as well as "Poor Man's Porn".
  • Fanservice Extra: Tons of them, with this being a series set at the beach and all.
  • False Rape Accusation: Several, and all handled fairly seriously for such a fluffy show:
    • 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 Matt rebuffed new lifeguard Neely's advances and went to Mitch about her drinking on the job, Neely sought revenge on Matt by falsely claiming that he was the one who'd sexually harassed her.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: Bobby, at the end of "Submersion".
  • Flashback Cut: There's one in "Shattered" Part 2, which features a clip from "Rookie of the Year".
    • "Free Fall" features a flurry of clips from previous episodes as Mitch sees his life flash before his eyes. What's amusing is that Mitch wasn't even in many of the clips.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Mitch's father wants him to take over the family architecture business in "A Matter of Life and Death", as he's dying.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Blindside", Cort not shaking Newmie's hand. Also Cort not catching the basketball Mitch tossed at him.
  • Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics: The theme for Baywatch Hawaii is a Hawaiian-flavored remix of "I'm Always Here", minus lyrics.
  • Friend to All Children: Most of the lifeguards exhibit this trait once or twice. Special mention, however, goes to Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff) who is often shown to be both respectful of and able get along well with just about any kid.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • In "Rookie of the Year", during the final montage of the episode, a man in the water can be seen mooning the camera as all the lifeguards run by him.
    • Similarly, at the end of "Seize the Day", a naked man can be seen skinny dipping in the ocean as the camera pans out on the beach.
  • Gainaxing: The most famous non-anime example.
  • The Gambling Addict: C.J. in "Vacation" Parts 1 and 2.
  • Genre Shift: The television series was a drama (albeit a campy one with lots of fan service), but the 2017 Baywatch film is going to be an R-rated comedy.
  • 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!).
  • Gilligan Cut: "Trapped Beneath the Sea Part 1": Caroline says, "I'm in love with Logan." The next cut is Logan making out with another woman.
    • In "Friends Forever", an orangutan is rescued and brought to headquarters. Everyone suggests the orangutan stay at Mitch's place for the night; he says "Absolutely not." Then there's an establishing shot of Mitch's house, followed by Mitch putting the orangutan to bed.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: The villain in "Heal the Bay" smokes a cigar. Subtle.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Hobie uses this trick to escape from a bully in "Pier Pressure".
  • Handshake Refusal: A returning lifeguard refuses Mitch (David Hasselhoff's) handshake. However rather than being rude it's the first clue that an eye-disease is destroying his peripheral vision.
  • Happy Ending Override: The last episode of Season 5 has Neely frame Matt for sexual harassment only for her to be outsmarted when he and C.J. trick her into admitting her lies on tape. However, due to David Charvet leaving the show, the Season 6 opener reveals that the tape was deemed inadmissable by the courts and Matt gets fired and returns to France while Neely is allowed to keep her job at Baywatch.
  • Hard-Work Montage: C.J. and Cody making a custom, ocean-accessible wheelchair for the handicapped comedian in "Lost and Found".
    • Also the renovation of Jackie's beach-side restaurant in "Race Against Time, Part 2".
  • He Knows Too Much: In "Desperate Encounter", a man named Damon tries to kill Mitch because he witnessed him trying to murder his wife.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: In Hawaiian Wedding there's a rather funny scene where C.J. is sunbathing in a very skimpy bikini, and the camera then pans over to a group of several men openly ogling her as though they've never seen anything more sexy in their lives.
  • Heat Wave: "Scorcher".
  • Heel–Face Turn: Neely, who was originally portrayed as a villain but around season 7 lost her nasty traits. However, once Jennifer Campbell took over the role, she reverted to her "bad girl" roots.
  • Hell Hotel: "Coronado del Sol" Parts 1 & 2 feature the ghost of a dead man haunting Summer's room because she reminds him of his old flame.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: Summer says this to Matt as they're debating turning their platonic relationship into a romantic one. He responds by kissing her and declaring, "I'm ruining our friendship."
  • I Have This Friend...: Used in a season 1 episode.
  • Instant Sedation: C.J. is chloroform'd in "Dead of Summer".
  • 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.
  • Interclass Romance: Shauni's wealthy father disapproves of her relationship with Eddie.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Caroline, Newmie, and Eddie have all made guest appearances on Baywatch Nights.
    • An inverse example: Donna made her debut in Nights but became a series regular on Baywatch in season 7.
  • I Owe You My Life: Destiny, after Mitch saves her life in "Ironman Buchannon".
    • Likewise, Matt is hounded by a woman he saved in "Someone to Baywatch Over You".
  • Ironic Episode Title: "Vacation" is anything but for Mitch and Stephanie.
  • It Is Pronounced Tropay: In "Quarantine": "I'm looking for Mitch... Buckanin (Buchannon)."
  • It's All My Fault: Mitch in "Submersion", for Bobby going into a coma after not rescuing him quickly enough. Of course, all the lifeguards said he was being too hard on himself.
    • 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.
  • Jiggle Show
  • Kicked Upstairs: Ben Edwards was promoted to lieutenant instead of being fired.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Baywatch Nights started as a Spin-Off of the original Baywatch with a Genre Shift towards detective stories, with Mitch and other characters opening a detective agency and solving mysteries. Soon afterwards it did a Retool following the then-leader that was The X-Files and had the characters (veteran lifeguards and police officers before becoming P.Is.) battling supernatural Monsters Of The Week. It was cancelled shortly after.
  • Laugh Track: Used repeatedly in "Now Sit Right Back and You'll Hear a Tale". Lampshaded by Gilligan himself when asked by Eddie if he hears laughter: "You get used to that, too."
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: The swimwears are all red, so... Although in "Hawaii", the uniform color changed to yellow.
  • Leitmotif: Not character-based, but event-based: There's a recurring music theme during the lifeguard re-qualifying montages.
  • Licensed Pinball Tables: One was released by Sega Pinball in 1995. Click here.
  • 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.
  • Lockdown: "Quarantine".
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: The biggest one was at the end of season 8, which has unofficially been dubbed the "Baywatch Bloodbath": Only David Hasselhoff, Jeremy Jackson, Michael Newman, Michael Bergin, and Kelly Packard survived. Everyone else was let go or quit (though certain actors like Parker Stevenson still did guest spots).
  • 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.
  • Love Confession: Neely and Mitch both confess this for each other in "White Thunder at Glacier Bay, Part 2".
  • Love Triangle:
    • Matt, Slade, and Summer.
    • C.J., Cort, and Matt in "Deep Trouble". Matt suspects that C.J. still loves Cort, though she's insistent that she's just helping him out of a tough period in his life.
  • Magic Brakes: Mitch's brakes are cut by the villain in "Fatal Exchange".
  • 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..
  • Montages: Each episode featured a music video or two, which was also an easy way to pad out the script.
  • 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: The show's 1989 Pilot Movie "Baywatch: Panic at Malibu Pier".
    • 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.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Stephanie initially claims her parents abandoned her when she was a kid, but a subsequent episode reveals that her father was a soldier who was killed during the Vietnam War.
  • Narrator: Used during the first season of Baywatch Nights, with Mitch as the narrator. The second season more or less abandoned the practice.
  • New Old Flame: Stephanie, who was introduced in season 3, 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.
  • Only in It for the Money: 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.
  • Oscar Bait: Baywatch has the distinction of being the longest running show to never be nominated an Emmy and, despite what Pamela Anderson says, this isn't from a lack of trying. The series is littered with two-parters and Very Special Episodes about characters getting cancer, getting crippled or something that makes for dramatic storytelling. These episodes failed because they were often clumsily written, had awkward product placement, and they usually featured a cheesy subplot such as fighting jewel thieves or mafia gangsters.
  • The Other Darrin: A handful of characters were simply recast rather than being written out or disappearing. While this also includes a number of minor characters who were simply recast when they made a one-off repeat appearance (such as Mitch's brother and Matt's father), this occasionally affected regulars.
    • The most notable example is Neely. She was initially played by guest star Heather Campbell in Season 5, before she was recast with Gena Lee Nolin when Neely joined the main cast from Seasons 6-8. When Nolin left the series, Neely was recast once more with Jennifer Campbell, who played her for Season 9, followed by a return to Nolin in the reunion movie.
    • Hobie who was initially played by Brandon Call during the first season. As Call had already moved on to a leading role on Step by Step by the time Baywatch was revived for syndication, he was recast with Joshua Jackson, who played him for the remainder of the series. Alternatively, however, some accounts claim that Call was actually asked to leave the cast at the request of David Hasselhoff, as he'd become almost as tall and as muscular as Hasselhoff himself, and Hasselhoff, whom by this time was also working behind the scenes as executive producer, wanted the Hobie character to remain a little kid for at least a few seasons longer.
    • Season 1 character Gina Pomeroy was played by Gina Hecht in the pilot movie, before being replaced by Holly Gagnier.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The mermaid in "Rendezvous" doesn't speak but her thoughts are in English.
  • Overcrank: How they achieved all that slow motion.
  • Paparazzi: C.J. is hounded by a tabloid photographer in "Freefall" because she happens to be dating a football player.
  • Parallel Porn Titles: The Babewatch series, which (as you'd expect) ramps the sexuality Up to Eleven.
  • Parental Substitute: In Hawaiian Wedding, Mitch becomes a substitute father-of-the-bride by walking C.J. down the aisle and giving her away to the groom.
  • Parody Episode: "Baywatch Angels". No points rewarded for guessing what it's parodying.
    • Also "Now Sit Right Back and You'll Hear a Tale", an episode parodying Gilligan's Island.
  • Poor Man's Porn
  • Precap: Each episode opens with David Hasselhoff saying, "Next, on Baywatch." or "Tonight, on Baywatch."
  • Precocious Crush: Bridgette had a crush on Mitch in "Western Exposure", much to Hobie's dismay.
  • Previously On…: All the two-parters feature this.
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: "Bash at the Beach": Ric Flair, here an evil developer, threatens to tear down a Boys and Girls Club, and, of course, only Hulk Hogan can stop them.
    • The February 19, 1996 episode was tied in with WCW's July 1995 Bash at the Beach PPV which featured Vader in a cage match with Hogan. The episode aired six months after the PPV, and a month after Vader had debuted in WCW's competitor WWE. This is what happens when TV shows go into reruns for the summer.
    • Pro Wrestling Is Real: The episode implies this to be the case.
  • Product Placement: Too many to list. The credits feature TWO SLIDES of sponsors.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Michael Newman finally started appearing in the opening credits starting in season 7, having been a minor recurring character before then.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: "Silent Night, Baywatch Night", which features a bunch of public domain Christmas songs making up most of the soundtrack.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Home Is Where the Heat Is", "Livin' on the Fault Line", "Silent Night, Baywatch Night", "Short-Sighted" (which deals with a little person).
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: C.J. breaking down the word "lifeguard" in "The Life You Save" by saying very dramatically, "LIFE. GUARD."
  • Quick Nip: Neely, in "Wet n' Wild", who smuggled a flask to work and drank on the job.
  • Rank Up: Mitch’s first day as a Lieutenant is in the Pilot Movie.
  • 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.
    • In the first season, Eddie ends up homeless for a brief period because his lifeguard salary isn't enough to pay for a house or apartment. Averted in the second season when he suddenly has enough money to buy a houseboat without any explanation as to where it came from.
  • Rearrange the Song: "I'm Always Here" got a slight remix in season 9.
  • Recycled In Space: "Baywatch: Hawaii" for the last few seasons.
  • Reincarnation: "Talk Show" has C.J. and Caroline convinced that a dog who hangs around with them is actually the recently-deceased Stephanie in a dog's body.
  • Rescue
  • Retool: Baywatch: Hawaii. New cast, new setting, different cinematography/editing style.
    • The first season of Baywatch Nights was a typical detective/crime drama show, but when it returned for a second season, that genre was pretty much abandoned in favor of a sci-fi/horror theme, akin to The X-Files. Also, Garner Ellerbee was gone from the cast and replaced with Diamont Teague.
  • 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."
    • Even Hasselhoff himself left the show at the end of it's second-to-last season.
  • 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.
    • Played lighter in "Western Exposure" when Jesse Lee Harris is standing behind C.J. as she talks about him.
  • Rotating Arcs: Tying into the above trope.
  • Save the Villain: Seen in many episodes, such as "Point Doom".
  • Scenery Censor: Demonstrated in "Hot Water" with the members of the nude beach.
  • Sequel Episode:
    • "Trial By Fire", which followed up on the events from "The Incident"; specifically, Caroline getting sued by the mother of the boy who drowned.
    • "Point Doom" revolves around Matt's flirtations with a female motorcyclist. Said female motorcyclist returns in the episode "Second Time Around," where Matt has to protect her from an obsessed stalker who is working on the video she's in.
  • Series Continuity Error: The writers constantly forgot things from past episodes, such as ages, backstories, significant events, and even character names.
    • One example is Eddie's age. He's stated to be 18 in the first season, but in a later episode, he says he never even saw the ocean until he was 19. Then, in a different episode, it's established that he was 15 in 1985, which would make him around 20 in the first season.
    • Hobie's age also varies Depending on the Writer.
  • Serious Business: The show had a tendency to over blow minor incidents
    • In "Air Buchannon", about half a dozen rollerbladers crashing into each other was treated with the same gravitas as a major highway pile up, with everyone involved suffering major injuries.
    • A failed bike theft in "Homecoming" is treated like a bank robbery gone awry, with the thief in question battling his would be victim and attempting to drown Garner during his getaway.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Hobie and a girl he met on the plane in "Father of the Groom".
  • Shout-Out: There's a villain in "Baywatch Angels" who does impressions of Dirty Harry, Doc from Back to the Future, Rocky Balboa, Rodney Dangerfield, Don Corleone in The Godfather, and Bullwinkle (and many more). Yes, you read right. It is said that the guy snapped after seeing a Rich Little performance.
    • "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  like the mermaid in Splash.
  • Show Within a Show: Baywatch has the episode "Rescue Bay" in its 4th season. A writer/producer is inspired by watching lifeguards on the beach saving people and decides to shoot a tacky Pilot sequence with characters based on the in-verse characters.
  • Sick Episode: Mitch, in "Heal the Bay".
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Between Mitch and a woman who bought him for a bachelor auction in "Windswept".
  • Slapstick: A montage of it in "Now Sit Right Back and You'll Hear a Tale" when the group is setting up camp.
  • Slow-Motion Fall: Almost always happens if a character falls off a high ledge, such as the nearby pier.
  • Soaperizing: Baywatch often did this, in order to provide for some variety other than heroic Rescues, Fanservice and Montages.
  • 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.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In "Silent Night, Baywatch Night", "Let it Snow" plays amidst footage of the non-snowy beach.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • One episode egregiously reused footage of a car falling into the ocean from a previous episode.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: More common than you'd expect from a show about lifeguards patrolling the beach.
  • Sudden Name Change:
    • Eddie's real name is variously given as "Edward" or "Edgar" Depending on the Writer.
    • The governor of California is named Neil Dixon in his first appearance, but is called George Dixon in his second one.
  • Suicide by Sea: Eddie has to rescue a guy determined to do this. Shauni's reaction of "Oh no, not another one", indicates that they often have to deal with this problem.
  • Surfer Dude: Zach and Jimmy.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Matt was created as a blatant Expy of Eddie, albeit with a backstory closer to Shauni's. Likewise, Summer and C.J. were both created to be similar to Shauni. Matt and Summer even end up living in the same houseboat that Eddie and Shauni did.
    • The first time Jimmy Slade was temporarily written out of the show, Summer was given a new one-shot love interest named Steve Thorn. Like Jimmy, Steve was a blond athlete who lived out of his car, had an abusive father, and was trying to win tournaments so he could go pro. The only real difference was that he was a kick boxer instead of a surfer.
  • Take This Job and Shove It: Mitch reaches his wit's end in "Missing" in the midst of a missing child case and erupts at his superior over the phone.
  • The Teaser: Done in season 9 of Baywatch and all of Baywatch Nights.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Mitch, in "Shattered", who momentarily decides he's not going to return to lifeguarding due to being frustrated by his temporary paralysis. When he regains the ability to walk, though, he returns.
  • 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!"
  • Theme Tune Cameo: "I'm Always Here" makes an appearance in "Baywatch at Sea World" during the Baywatch water show.
  • 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.
  • Undercover as Lovers: Mitch and Stephanie in "Masquerade".
  • 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.
  • Unrelated Sisters: Caroline (Yasmine Bleeth) and Stephanie (Alexandra Paul), who are not related in Real Life.
  • Vacation Episode: Numerous instances, most of them being two-parters. "Coronado del Soul" (San Diego) and "Forbidden Paradise" (Hawaii) are two of the most known ones.
  • Very Special Episode: "Sky Rider" and the two-parter "Tentacles" have a subplot where Summer struggles with bulimia, and "A Little Help" deals with AIDS.
  • 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.
  • Water Source Tampering: The villain tries this in "Hot Water".
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Stephanie has a fear of helicopters, as shown in "Trading Places" when assigned to an exchange program with the Coast Guard. The reason? Her father was killed in a helicopter crash in The Vietnam War.
  • Yandere: Sarah in "Diabolique".
  • You Are Grounded: Done to Hobie in "Pier Pressure".
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the Baywatch Nights episode "Bad Blades", Kemp orders a henchman to kill Todd as soon as their heist is completed.
  • 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.

In a moment of crisis you have to believe in yourself


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Baywatch Nights


Baywatch Shower Bicker

(Reluctant) beach patrol officer Garner fails to catch two misbehaving teens and vents his fury in the shower. Despite Mitch trying to be optimistic, Garner's anger turns to him.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / LikeAnOldMarriedCouple

Media sources:

Main / LikeAnOldMarriedCouple