Baywatch: The Movie?   I have always maintained that there are certain rooms where I would have loved to been a fly on the wall. One of them was when the television show Baywatch was pitched to NBC. I imagine it going something like this: NBC exec: I love your idea of the buddy cop series. He’s a rule breaker and his partner is one of those by the books types. Do you have anything else? Producer: I am thinking a show about lifeguards doing lifeguard things. NBC exec: You mean getting a suntan, looking bored, yelling at kids for acting like idiots, and doing Jello shots at night? Producer: No, no, rescuing people, fighting sharks, fighting frozen Vikings, and defusing thermonuclear bombs. NBC exec: I am not really feeling this one. Give me more. Producer: Okay, we got Parker Stevenson signed up. NBC exec: Who? Producer: Parker Stevenson, one of the Hardy Boys.  NBC exec: Oh, the guy who sang the “Da Doo Run, Run” and his brother was one of the Partridge Family. I like him. Producer: No, the other one.  The one married to Kristie Alley, the scientologist on Cheers. NBC exec: Yeah… No, don’t remember him. Producer: We also have David Hasselhoff, Knight Rider. NBC exec: Okay, we got the Hardy Boy no one remembers and the guy that took second billing to a car, and they are lifeguards. Producer: Okay, we also have Shawn Weatherly and Ericka Eleniak on board.  You remember Shawn Weatherly, former Miss America and Miss Universe.  NBC exec: The one that got nude in that Amityville Horror sequel? I need to watch that again. She is hot. Producer: And Ericka Eleniak. NBC exec: The Playboy Playmate and the girl that popped out of the cake nude in Under Siege? I need to watch that again.  Tell me more. What are they wearing? Producer: Well, the traditional red lifeguard one piece swimsuit… but of course, trimmed down in the front and along the thighs to show off the acting talents of Ms. Eleniak and Ms. Weatherly. NBC exec: This idea is starting to grow on me. Give me more.   Producer: Well, just off the top of my head. You know how when the Six Million Dollar Man would run or jump they would show it in slow motion to show his bionic powers, or when Bruce Lee would do some slow motion cool karate move, the film would be slowed down to show just how superhuman that move was? Well, I’m thinking we could do the slow motion thing when Erica and Shawn are running down the beach to show their superhuman abilities bouncing… superhuman abilities as lifeguards, I mean.   NBC exec: Genius. This is just the type of show a classy network like NBC should have.  It is so affirmative to women. It shows that they can be… Producer: lifeguards. NBC exec: Yeah, lifeguards. No pigs, right? Producer: No pigs. NBC Exec: Gold, son, gold.   It would take three years and a cancelation by NBC, allowing Baywatch to become syndicated, before noted thespians Pamela Anderson and Niccole Eggert appeared on the show. They would later be joined in the lifeguard ranks by Alexandra Paul, Yasmine Bleeth, Gina Lee Nolan, Donna D’Errico, Traci Bingham, Kelly Packard, Carmen Electra, Angelica Bridges, Brook Burns, Brande Roderick, and Krista Allen, perhaps the sexiest women of the 1990s and like seashells, if you put your ear to their heads you could hear the ocean.   Similarly, almost all of them were naked so often in magazines and movies in the 1990s that even the Pope could have given a police artist a detailed description of their mommy parts. Why none of them have been interviewed by James Lipton on Inside The Actors Studio is beyond me.   For almost a decade, Baywatch was the most popular show in the world. That means Eskimos, Aussie, and Chinese children all watched Mitch and the girls battle evil arms dealers, werewolves and Santa’s elves (you think I am joking) on the beaches of Santa Monica. Real hold hands/kumbaya moments. Baywatch continued strong until David Hasselhoff wanted to prove that the show’s strong ratings had to do with his superstardom and not the girls’ acting assets. He went on to do Baywatch Nights, where lifeguard Mitch becomes a James Bond-like private detective.  A fully clothed Angie Harmon, his girl Friday.   Who won? No little red swimsuits, no ratings. Hasselhoff’s ego: 0, Slow motion running on the beach: 1. The Baywatch franchise was dead.   Critics routinely write about Baywatch as one of the worst shows in television history. Yet, it lasted 242 episodes. To put it in perspective, Baywatch lasted longer than The Beatles, including the Pete Best years. It lasted longer than any of Rush Limbaugh’s four marriages.  World War II took about half as long and probably did about half as much damage.  It is the Nickelback of television shows.     The reason it was such a success was simple. There was no Internet. Before Baywatch there was jiggle tv. In the 1970s and 80s, almost every television show had a nubile, young actress or actresses that somehow forgot to wear a bra on set. Hence, the jiggle in jiggle tv. Be it Charlie’s Angels, The Dukes of Hazzard, or Three’s Company, the more often it looked like an actress was shoplifting Jello in her blouse, the higher the ratings. There was even a group of actresses, most famously personified by the Landers sisters, Judy and Audrey, that became famous just by guest starring on various shows.   Baywatch was the apex and last gasp of jiggle tv. You did not have to speak English to understand what the show was all about. In fact, understanding English probably hurt a person’s enjoyment of the show. It was pure camp, with an extra slice of cheese on the side. A viewer could be doing twenty-five different things and still look up in time to see Pamela Anderson running down the beach.   Hollywood likes brands. They want something that people have an association with and a liking for before they ever purchase a ticket. Hence, Baywatch the movie. But how do you sell a piece of ham well past its expiration date? Baywatch the television show was free. It knew what it was. There was never going to be that very special episode where they brought in Meryl Streep. It was always about girls in tight swimsuits whose bust size was bigger than their I.Q.  Why would anyone purchase a ticket to see that when they can see it for free on the Internet?   Hollywood’s traditional method is to parody something that is already a parody, be it The Dukes of Hazzard, Scooby-Doo or The Brady Bunch.  Camping up something that is already camp is always a sure ticket to failure. With a thousand great ideas out there, we are getting Baywatch. The only thing good about Baywatch is Sandra Bullock and Leonardo DiCaprio said no to Baywatch.
Baywatch: The Movie?   I have always maintained that there are certain rooms where I would have loved to been a fly on the wall. One of them was when the television show Baywatch was pitched to NBC. I imagine it going something like this: NBC exec: I love your idea of the buddy cop series. He’s a rule breaker and his partner is one of those by the books types. Do you have anything else? Producer: I am thinking a show about lifeguards doing lifeguard things. NBC exec: You mean getting a suntan, looking bored, yelling at kids for acting like idiots, and doing Jello shots at night? Producer: No, no, rescuing people, fighting sharks, fighting frozen Vikings, and defusing thermonuclear bombs. NBC exec: I am not really feeling this one. Give me more. Producer: Okay, we got Parker Stevenson signed up. NBC exec: Who? Producer: Parker Stevenson, one of the Hardy Boys.  NBC exec: Oh, the guy who sang the “Da Doo Run, Run” and his brother was one of the Partridge Family. I like him. Producer: No, the other one.  The one married to Kristie Alley, the scientologist on Cheers. NBC exec: Yeah… No, don’t remember him. Producer: We also have David Hasselhoff, Knight Rider. NBC exec: Okay, we got the Hardy Boy no one remembers and the guy that took second billing to a car, and they are lifeguards. Producer: Okay, we also have Shawn Weatherly and Ericka Eleniak on board.  You remember Shawn Weatherly, former Miss America and Miss Universe.  NBC exec: The one that got nude in that Amityville Horror sequel? I need to watch that again. She is hot. Producer: And Ericka Eleniak. NBC exec: The Playboy Playmate and the girl that popped out of the cake nude in Under Siege? I need to watch that again.  Tell me more. What are they wearing? Producer: Well, the traditional red lifeguard one piece swimsuit… but of course, trimmed down in the front and along the thighs to show off the acting talents of Ms. Eleniak and Ms. Weatherly. NBC exec: This idea is starting to grow on me. Give me more.   Producer: Well, just off the top of my head. You know how when the Six Million Dollar Man would run or jump they would show it in slow motion to show his bionic powers, or when Bruce Lee would do some slow motion cool karate move, the film would be slowed down to show just how superhuman that move was? Well, I’m thinking we could do the slow motion thing when Erica and Shawn are running down the beach to show their superhuman abilities bouncing… superhuman abilities as lifeguards, I mean.   NBC exec: Genius. This is just the type of show a classy network like NBC should have.  It is so affirmative to women. It shows that they can be… Producer: lifeguards. NBC exec: Yeah, lifeguards. No pigs, right? Producer: No pigs. NBC Exec: Gold, son, gold.   It would take three years and a cancelation by NBC, allowing Baywatch to become syndicated, before noted thespians Pamela Anderson and Niccole Eggert appeared on the show. They would later be joined in the lifeguard ranks by Alexandra Paul, Yasmine Bleeth, Gina Lee Nolan, Donna D’Errico, Traci Bingham, Kelly Packard, Carmen Electra, Angelica Bridges, Brook Burns, Brande Roderick, and Krista Allen, perhaps the sexiest women of the 1990s and like seashells, if you put your ear to their heads you could hear the ocean.   Similarly, almost all of them were naked so often in magazines and movies in the 1990s that even the Pope could have given a police artist a detailed description of their mommy parts. Why none of them have been interviewed by James Lipton on Inside The Actors Studio is beyond me.   For almost a decade, Baywatch was the most popular show in the world. That means Eskimos, Aussie, and Chinese children all watched Mitch and the girls battle evil arms dealers, werewolves and Santa’s elves (you think I am joking) on the beaches of Santa Monica. Real hold hands/kumbaya moments. Baywatch continued strong until David Hasselhoff wanted to prove that the show’s strong ratings had to do with his superstardom and not the girls’ acting assets. He went on to do Baywatch Nights, where lifeguard Mitch becomes a James Bond-like private detective.  A fully clothed Angie Harmon, his girl Friday.   Who won? No little red swimsuits, no ratings. Hasselhoff’s ego: 0, Slow motion running on the beach: 1. The Baywatch franchise was dead.   Critics routinely write about Baywatch as one of the worst shows in television history. Yet, it lasted 242 episodes. To put it in perspective, Baywatch lasted longer than The Beatles, including the Pete Best years. It lasted longer than any of Rush Limbaugh’s four marriages.  World War II took about half as long and probably did about half as much damage.  It is the Nickelback of television shows.     The reason it was such a success was simple. There was no Internet. Before Baywatch there was jiggle tv. In the 1970s and 80s, almost every television show had a nubile, young actress or actresses that somehow forgot to wear a bra on set. Hence, the jiggle in jiggle tv. Be it Charlie’s Angels, The Dukes of Hazzard, or Three’s Company, the more often it looked like an actress was shoplifting Jello in her blouse, the higher the ratings. There was even a group of actresses, most famously personified by the Landers sisters, Judy and Audrey, that became famous just by guest starring on various shows.   Baywatch was the apex and last gasp of jiggle tv. You did not have to speak English to understand what the show was all about. In fact, understanding English probably hurt a person’s enjoyment of the show. It was pure camp, with an extra slice of cheese on the side. A viewer could be doing twenty-five different things and still look up in time to see Pamela Anderson running down the beach.   Hollywood likes brands. They want something that people have an association with and a liking for before they ever purchase a ticket. Hence, Baywatch the movie. But how do you sell a piece of ham well past its expiration date? Baywatch the television show was free. It knew what it was. There was never going to be that very special episode where they brought in Meryl Streep. It was always about girls in tight swimsuits whose bust size was bigger than their I.Q.  Why would anyone purchase a ticket to see that when they can see it for free on the Internet?   Hollywood’s traditional method is to parody something that is already a parody, be it The Dukes of Hazzard, Scooby-Doo or The Brady Bunch.  Camping up something that is already camp is always a sure ticket to failure. With a thousand great ideas out there, we are getting  Baywatch. The only thing good about Baywatch is Sandra Bullock and Leonardo DiCaprio said no to Baywatch.