Idiot Box- Baywatch Night 1.02- "Bad Blades"A column article, Shot For Shot by: Danny Djeljosevic, Rafael Gaitan
Sometimes, bad television makes for great television. Which is why we've chosen to allot a certain amount of space within Comics Bulletin's tv section to the exploration of truly wonderful bad television. Why are we starting this now, you ask? Well, Danny Djeljosevic and Rafael Gaitan have chosen to watch and review every single episode of the detective-themed Baywatch spinoff Baywatch Nights. Nobody asked them to. But they insisted, and here we are...
1.02- "Bad Blades"
Danny: So, last time, we watched the inaugural episode of Baywatch Nights, which was kind of weird and also creepy. The second episode, “Bad Blades,” is more delightfully 1990s because it involves ROLLERBLADING, or “inline skating” as nobody ever refers to it.
Rafael: It is a thing of Day-Glo beauty, in that it’s hideous to everyone but me. And it’s SUCH a product of its time that it is amazing, what with the half-shirts and the round sunglasses and the backwards snapbacks and what have you -- plus part of me zeroed in on many scenes matching up with that SQUID tape Lenny has of Juliette Lewis in Strange Days, so I approve. Peace to Kathryn Bigelow and casual beach fashion.
Danny: Y’know, I had this friend in Europe who used to tell me that her perception of the US was exclusively people rollerblading in bikinis. I think we have the various Baywatch series to blame for that. So how does this episode begin, Raf?
Rafael: I’m glad you asked, Daniel -- with a shot of the beach poppin’ of course, but then we lead into SINISTER TERRITORY, by way of J. Peterman, International Criminal. To Tell the Truth, I had forgotten John O’ Hurley ever acted outside of Seinfeld, but here he is intently watching Daft Punk in High School argue about bullshit like points and marks. We get to see the return of Jason Hervey (R.I.P. Wayne Arnold?) and Karl from Die Hard’s fully-grown dickhead son. Why are they here, Daniel, besides to test the recesses of my pop-culture tumor?
Danny: They’ve got rollerblading crimes in the works that involve jumping off of ramps and firing bazookas, which transitions into yet another blue-lit montage that could easily be from Skinemax (a trend for this show?) full of slow-mo and John O’Hurley creepily, intently staring at stuntmen getting some sick vert.
Rafael: Their vert was unwell, at best.
Danny: Then we transition to a set from an ‘80s show about rich people, full of white statues and ugly furniture, where Baywatch Nights meet their latest client -- a rich lady who wants the gang to see what her fuckup son is up to, because it can’t be anything good. And she’s right -- her son happens to be one of the inline skating crooks.
Rafael: I’m pretty sure this was the set from the CBS pilot for Scarface they canceled due to waking the fuck up. I think I saw this room in an episode of The A-Team. Mitch and Ellerby and McBride spend the time crackin’ wise about being rich and old white lady names just long enough for Cosmetics Mogul Mama to come out and brag that she’s hella good at enabling her dickhead son, but now she needs Baywatch Dicks to find him because... they’re near the beach. THAT IS IT. THAT IS WHY SHE CHOSE THEM.
Danny: Yep, it’s basically:
“Well, he hangs out at the beach a lot, and your office is by the beach so...”
[Baywatch Nights looks at one another for a beat]
“Look, I’ll pay you double.”
As established in the first episode, these guys really, really need the money.
Rafael: And how -- those fine polyester jackets and Ferrari look-alikes can’t lease themselves. We then get Ellerby and Mitch on a hamsteak out, riffing with each other about how shitty Kid is. These scenes get more amazing when you do what I did and block the screen of Hasselhoff, so you get the Ellerby character morally conflicted on how he feels about this kid and his rolling Romper Room pals.
Danny: Who are just standing by a van and posing, giving Mitch a great opportunity to take photos of them until they hop in the van and drive inside of a warehouse... where they’re practicing rollerblading alongside a van in motion, grabbing some crap on the ground and then hopping back in the van. We also get to watch old fogie Ellerby complain about how much his knees hurt just looking at young people -- real “finger on the pulse” shit, Baywatch Nights.
Rafael: Ellerby and Mitch ascertain these kids must be hella athletes in town for a competition and that someone would be betting on it, so Mitch talks to his betting connect -- his betting connect that he met when he pulled his son out of the riptide. My theory about Mitch’s Ocean Powers is more believable by the second. He goes to see the big homie PEEBLES RUNKIN, the Gambling King of the Baywatch budget -- this dude is more like Jimmy the Greek Yogurt.
Danny: He gets what he needs -- these bladers are indeed hella athletic -- and then some -- a hot dog that he doesn’t even want -- and he returns to Baywatch Office, outside of which Ellerby is playing an acoustic guitar that doesn’t ever not feel like a prop that he’s playing just to have something else happen in the scene. Now they need someone to get close to That One Kid...
Rafael: So while McBride does her job and tries to figure it out, Mitch goes FULL CREEP in an actual exchange of dialogue:
McBride: “What kind of angles were you thinking of applying?”
Buchanan: “Well... mainly yours.”
Then we cut to an uncomfortable long gaze. I hope Angie Harmon was paid ruggedly. Then she has to intercept Kid and pretend to be half her age, which she nails with a fuschia half-shirt, baseball cap (backwards) and the overuse of the phrase “I know what you mean.” BE MINE, ‘90s GODDESS.
Danny: McBride pretends to be an adoring fan who wants to start a fan club for That One Kid, who’s extra-interested because he looks like girls normally don’t like him. Then, mid-conversation, he gets in trouble with John O’Hurley because he’s late to practice rollerblading in the LA aqueducts.
Rafael: The Rolling Benneton Ad seems more sinister by the minute, but then we get to see Baywatch Nights talking to Kid’s Mother, who just comes strolling up the beach, likely having been hailed by Ellerby’s Morris Day Garage Sale outfit
Danny: Turns out Kid’s Mother is the kind that doesn’t believe reports about her kid’s wrongdoing. They tell her that he’s in some kind of “inline skating” gang and she doesn’t believe them. It looks like they have to day matters into their own hands -- by lying. Mitch just waltzes in and pretends to be That One Kid’s new probation officer, which is the first of multiple instances of Mitch lying about his authoritative affiliations because he’s a lifeguard and a private investigator and that jurisdiction is limited to people drowning and whiskey. So That One Kid throws Mitch ten-thousand bucks to get him off his back.
Rafael: Ryan, once again the most competent Baywatch Night, has not only managed to make a date with Kid so that they can get close to him, but she has hit up her Interpol contacts (Carlos D, I’m sure, with that outfit she was wearing) and she finds out that Peterman has been involved with some Hella Crimes, including daring getaways on Jet-Skis, I think I heard Luges, and basically we also find out he’s #2 on Interpol’s Most Wanted List, which leads me to think he wouldn’t have time to leer villainously at Kid. Then we find him leering villainously at Kid in his lair, where he is going over the plan and routes -- Here we find out that Karl’s Jr doesn’t trust Kid and neither does Peterman, so they plan to kill him once “the hit” is done. I suspect that the writers lifted slang from crime flicks with zero context.
Danny: Despite being in financial straits with his failing detective agency, Mitch straight up narcs That One Kid out to his mom about the ten-thousand bucks. She’s kind of surprised, but she also bought off his real probation officer with a new car so it’s no big deal. I’m not sure if Mitch actually keeps the money or not. He prolly did.
Rafael: Then we find Ellerby and Mitch Grumpy Old Man-ning again, when they spot Kid’s car -- they SWARM! SWARM! SWARM! to find out a ‘90s beach bunny has been driving it around. He’s given them the slip! Them, the Detective Agency of McBride and Two Fogies. Also peace to GregAlan Williams for the single greatest pronunciation of the world “knucklehead.” It is sure to become a thing in a friendship near you!
Danny: They try to trail That One Kid again in his car, but the wrong person comes out of it -- some lady. They run up to her and do the most scrub-ass detective work I’ve ever seen: they just go, “Who are you?” She refuses to tell them without knowing who they are and we get the second instance of Mitch lying about his identity -- he says he’s CIA, Ellerby says they’re FBI. But it doesn’t matter because That One Kid just paid this lady to drive around in his car to throw Baywatch Nights off his scent.
Rafael: And finally we are at the Fireworks factory, where Peterman has instrumented the most terrible daylight robbery -- how he got to and stayed at #2 on Interpol’s list is beyond me. Were this really a State Department building, the first thing they would check for are suspicious trucks with ramps, which is what they did so them kids could hop the fence -- I really hope Fort Knox used this as an instructional video. Also we see them kids apply gas masks and chuck gas grenades into a well-ventilated area, but because TV the guards are incapacitated anyway, and we get that NBC promo level of in-line-crime skating. The Squad hits formation and everything, snatch the fuck out of the plates, beat up some brownshirts and FIRE THE FUCKING BAZOOKA FROM EARLIER OH MY GOD.
What were we talking about? Was it that none of this episode of Baywatch Nights has taken place at night at all?
Danny: I guess the creepy blue rollerblade stunt scene from the beginning took place at night. But otherwise... naw. What happens next is a chase scene, kinda. Baywatch Nights give chase in their fake Ferrari, but then there’s some poles blocking the alley the bladers went down. So they have to commandeer a motorcycle from some nearby stranger. At which point Mitch lies about his identity for the third time -- he says he’s CIA even though his leather jacket clearly says “ADIDAS SQUAD.”
Rafael: Then we get Baywatch Nights chasing the skaters through Terminator 2: Judgment Day, in one of the most turrible chase scenes -- Baywatch Nights slowly sidles up to each kid and jostles them slightly, which apparently is enough to break their world-class concentration. Seriously all the Hoff does is kinda push and then BOOM -- crimbinal down.
Danny: Yep. All it takes to permanently incapacitate a rollerblader is to run them off the pavement or into some homeless guy’s house.
Rafael: Meanwhile, Karl’s Jr. helps Kid into the Getaway Van, and DROPS THE DOUBLE CROSS *reggaeton airhorn* in classic stilted Baywatch Nights way -- “The job’s over, Beach boy... and so are you.” The Hoff dives in and wrestles Karl to the ground and then gets the drop on Peterman, and they celebrate by allowing nightfall.
Later, the gang reunite at Nights, where we find out Kid is now gonna be a Devil Dog and as guest commentator David He (editor’s note: a guy who was sitting in the room while we were watching this) orally noted, would likely die in a conflict that happened years before this scene is set.
Danny: R.I.P. Pvt. That One Kid, who fell into a time warp that took him directly into Operation: Desert Storm. Baywatch Nights preemptively drinks to his memory with him at the table and then do some shticky bullshit about who gets $20. The answer is the waiter who walks up just in time to claim the money, including tip.
Rafael: Waiter drops the bombshell that they owe 2013 drink prices, in 1995! Nights is the worst Baywatchclub yet.
Danny: Naw, I think those were 1995 prices, and they were getting TORE UP. So, how did this episode of Baywatch Nights fare compared to the previous?
Rafael: A marked improvement. Despite the severe lack of night (side-eye), this one felt more like what a show called Baywatch Nights should encompass: crimes related to the beach, actual detective work on behalf of Ryan McBride, and it had a delightfully unintended humor from the sincerity -- the whole show works because of its inability to create mood -- reminds me of the Soap Opera effect that’s been happening with HDTVs these days.
Danny: Odd that “Pursuit” had a twist on the detective show formula in the first episode but this one exchanges creepy leering and slow-motion bikinis for creepy leering and slow-motion rollerblading, which makes it way more ‘90s -- bolstered by the fact that the villain was some guy from Seinfeld and it had the kid from Wonder Years but not the one you’re probably thinking of. There’s some good nostalgia cheese in this one. It stinks, but it also makes you feel warm and fuzzy.
Rafael: I believe the technical term for it is “Baywatch madness.”
Next week: the best episode yet in the form of "Silent Witness."
While you wait for your next dose of nocturnal jazz, why don't you reread past installments?
- Baywatch Nights 1.01: "Pursuit"
- Baywatch Nights 1.02: "Bad Blades"
- Baywatch Nights 1.03: "Silent Witness"
- Baywatch Nights 1.04: "Deadly Vision"
- Baywatch Nights 1.05: "Just a Gigolo"
- Baywatch Nights 1.06: "976 Ways to Say I Love You"
Danny Djeljosevic is a comic book creator, award-winning filmmaker (assuming you have absolutely no follow-up questions) and Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin. Follow him on Twitter at @djeljosevic or find him somewhere in San Diego, often wearing a hat. Read his comic with Mike Prezzato, "Sgt. Death and his Metachromatic Men," over at Champion City Comics and check out his Tumblr. His webcomic The Ghost Engine, with artist Eric Zawadzki, updates twice a week.
Rafael Gaitan was born in 1985, but he belongs to the '70s. He is a big fan of onomatopoeia, being profane and spelling words right on the first try. Rafael has a hilariously infrequent blog and writes love letters to inanimate objects as well as tweets of whiskey and the mysteries of the heart. He ain't got time to bleed.