“Baywatch Remastered” Recap: Season 4, Episodes 1 + 2, “Race Against Time”
This is my recap of what became a seminal moment in my life: the Baywatch season 4 two-parter.
It was the Friday evening of March 11th. Exhausted from the excellence of KCRW’s Eclectic 24-hr radio and ready for a different vibe, I flipped on the TV. (Read: I turned on the Roku Channel’s free Live TV offering.)
I turned on a random episode of Baywatch REMASTERED. I’ve never seen more than ads or pinups from this classic show that has a recent reboot movie I need to watch to absorb life energy from what must be a wellspring of creativity.
Immediately, I was struck by brilliance, because the theme song is the most artful American propaganda I’ve ever seen:
This is the I’M IN Moment™ brought to you by–
–Ooh! 4x1 turns out to be a two-parter called “Race Against Time.”
In the opening scene, Hoff and his son Hobie (Jeremy Jackson) walk into Michelle Williams/Jen Lindley on the beach.
WAIT: On the first and maybe only episode of Baywatch I’ve ever had the privilege of watching, Hoff and Hobie walk into Dawson’s Creek alum Michelle Williams/Jen Lindley on the beach!?!!??!
This is the ultimate I didn’t see coming culmination of a father/son walk en route to some swimming-based bonding time.
DOUBLE WAIT: Hoff’s son is named Hobie? What is that short for? Hobert?
Per Baywatch Fandom: “Hobie was named after famous surf and sailing entrepreneur and pioneer Hobart ‘Hobie’ Alter who was also the founder of the famous Hobie company.”
Next, we are introduced to Dreamboat Dude with stellar hair (David Charvet, below).
He is immediately faced with the choice between France/family/$ and lifeguarding. Put differently: Does he love himself?
Dreamboat Dude asks his father this: “What about love and understanding? Isn’t that part of parenting?”
This is what Dreamboat Dude says to his dad after pops threatens to cut him off if Dreamboat Dude doesn’t upend his life to move to France with them despite the fact that his father never actually wants to be around his kid.
His dad keeps talking over him. Boomer. (Does Boomer Esiason feel at all conflicted about his nickname? Does Chris Berman?)
The show’s FIRST MONTAGE begins and this is my reaction:
“What the fuck is this? Wait, does Baywatch have multiple theme songs? Why doesn’t every show have multiple theme songs? Why doesn’t every show have montages? Why isn’t every show Baywatch?”
I’m almost ashamed to admit that I don’t remember the details surrounding the first musical montage and I refuse to look it up. Instead we gotta talk about the…
A Dad ignores his son on the beach. He promised to watch him boogie board but continually doesn’t. Dad disregards his son AGAIN and takes a work call. Sadly, the boy goes off without him and…
The Hoff spots an abandoned boogie board and his luscious pecs immediately detect trouble.
Within moments, the whole beach becomes a war zone, a scene from Jaws as the lifeguards descend.
My favorite part of this rescue: watching Hoff and Dreamboat Dudette (more on her later) take comically deep breaths, go underwater, gasp for air after like 3 seconds, then do it again, oftentimes repeating the exact same underwater shots along the way.
No matter how many big breaths they take, they can’t find the kid anywhere!
Oh, shit. Neglectful parenting = death!?
Oh, no, we can’t get that dark in sunny SoCal. Turns out the kid staged his drowning because he wants/needs attention and love from his father because his father doesn’t give a shit about him.
“Maybe you’d notice if you thought I was dead.” — this is an actual line from the son to his Dad in front of Hoff and company. Oof.
Afterward, Dreamboat Dude pulls Neglectful Business Dad aside. He says something like, “I know your work is important, but spending time with your son is even more.” Dreamboat Dude is wise.
And just imagine how intense this is for Dreamboat Dude! He has grown up with his own Neglectful Business Dad his whole life and is sort of in the middle of dealing with that trauma right now. Expert parallel plotting by the Baywatch writers’ team here.
“Important” Post-First Rescue Sidenotes:
- Hoff on the binocs is the ultimate gif
- Hypothesis: Baywatch invented gifs.
- Second Hypothesis: Baywatch is a collection of gifs.
- Third Hypothesis: All TV, all life is a collection of gifs so long as we believe that a moment doesn’t matter unless it’s seen by and shared with someone else.
Remember when I not so adeptly introduced Dreamboat Dudette (Nicole Eggert)? Well, let’s talk about Dreamboat Dudette.
It’s important to note that the Dreamboat Dude and Dudette are SOULMATES™. And guess what? Dreamboat Dudette has an eerily similar problem to Dreamboat Dude! Her Mom (Susan Anton) wants to move back to Pittsburgh.
Dreamboat Dudette’s Mom is having trouble finding a job and wants to give up (join the club). Dreamboat Dudette understands how hard it’s been for her mom, but Dreamboat Dudette loves it here and loves her job.
Hypothesis: Baywatch is a FAMILY show.
Evidence: Hoff and his son Hobie wear matching outfits every single time they are in a scene together. It’s adorable.
Conclusion: Baywatch is basically 9–1–1 but more or less tasteful.
Important nugget: Dreamboat Dudette’s Mom bemoans when she/we discover that the burger place on the Bay (isn’t it an ocean?) has closed down and that was the only decent place to get food around there. I smell a business opportunity.
Elsewhere, Dreamboat Dude journals on the rocks, waves crashing against the sand. It’s perfect. Too perfect. Stephanie senses teen drama and runs across the beach in slo-mo to join Dreamboat Dude.
Stephanie: “Oh, this is my favorite time of day. When everyone’s gone home and the beach is ours.”
Dreamboat Dude: “Unless you don’t have a home to go home to.”
Stephanie tries to take Dreamboat Dude away from his thoughts and feelings, his Work, compelling him to work out instead. “You’ll feel better.”
It feels important to mention that at the moment Stephanie appears to be Hoff’s main love interest and from an older, different generation than DD.
Instead of working out, Dreamboat Dude lets her read his heart-stirring poetry (“a poem, lyrics, I don’t know…”):
The day was moving westward, leaving colors in the sky
The eastern black was chasing, pulling colors out of dye
The day was racing quickly but could not outrun the night
And I rode along the seashore to the caverns of delight
Fucking beautiful, man.
“Except there are no caverns of delight,” Dreamboat Dude adds. (The caverns of delight is sex, I think?)
“Let’s go workout,” Stephanie prods (sex?), but Dreamboat Dude needs to get on the bike because that’s the only place where he can clear his head.
Unanswered question: Does Stephanie want to go into a cavern of delight with Dreamboat Dude?
SECOND MONTAGE: Dreamboat Dude goes “Soul Searchin’” in the form of a pitch perfect montage that more or less boils down to: “Why the fuck would I go to France with my shit dad when there are already bikini clad babes here?”
Oh, and also because his life’s purpose happens to be HERE among the forever sands, the only place where he’s not racing against time. The only place where Dreamboat Dude can be his true self, helping those in need by living his poetry.
This whole montage is on Dreamboat Dude’s first and only friend, his motorcycle.
Don’t worry, Dreamboat Dude is 18 years old. Wait, was he 15 when this show started? Ewwwww —
— Hoff’s ex-wife arrives in town with a surprise…
Surprise: She has a new billionaire jet setting fiancé named Ken and they’re getting married this weekend in Mexico. Giddy up.
Keep in mind: Hoff’s ex-wife and Hobie’s mother has kept the fact that she’s fallen in love and gotten engaged with someone else [when Hobie and Hoff are so clearly clinging to the idea of reconciliation]. Hoff’s ex-wife, played by Wendie Malick (the mean woman on Just Shoot Me), decides to keep this massive family dynamic shift to herself until less than a week before her wedding.
Double Surprise: Hoff’s ex-wife has already talked to a lawyer about battling Hoff for custody over Hobie. She wants Hobie to leave with them, to spend more time with Ken, someone Hobie has met ONCE, because he’d be a good influence on him.
Triple Surprise: Hobie actually WANTS to go on Ken’s private jet and see his mom get married to a stranger simply because Ken is:
- Can do a magic trick
- Has a jet
American Capitalism thrives on the basis that these three abilities are all a white dude needs to exploit you.
Case in point: Ken bribes Hobie to like him by promising Hobie a chance to fly a few miles as the PILOT of his aircraft. Hobie has never jerked off, let alone taken basic flight training.
Meanwhile, Dreamboat Dudette and Dreamboat Dudette’s Mom decide to open a restaurant! They call it… Jackie’s Summer Place. (Jackie = Dreamboat Dudette’s Mom.)
Dreamboat Dudette and her mom (Jackie) are much better at communicating than Dreamboat Dude and Dude’s Dad because there is love between them. Love defined as the desire to understand another.
Quadruple Surprise!!!!: As Just Shoot Me Woman (Hoff’s ex-wife, Gayle), Hobie and Ken fly out of LAX in Ken’s private jet, both engines blow out and they crash back into the ocean.
This all happens while Hobie is on the phone with Hoff because it took 7 minutes of Ken and his mom’s company before he missed his dad.
Will they survive? Will they kill off Hoff’s son? His ex-wife? Ken?
FIND OUT IN…
PART 2: I PAID LESS ATTENTION.
Previously On BAYWATCH REMASTERED 4x1: “RACE AGAINST TIME”:
It’s little wonder that Ken’s Jet lost both of its engines because he carries a policy of bribing children to like him by letting them fly the plane. Nobody who isn’t trained to pilot should pilot a plane in real-life.
This likely should extend to governing bodies of people too, but it doesn’t.
Hobie is not the first child that Ken has tried to buy.
Hobie’s Mom WANTS to take Hobie away from Hoff, who is a Superhero for being a decent human being NOT because of his curly brown hair or his pecs but because he cares about other people.
Hobie ditches Jen Lindley’s Party for Blockhead Billionaire Ken.
Life lessons Hobie broke:
- Flying in a private jet
- Missing a Jen Lindley party
- Leaving Hoff, thereby robbing us of another opportunity of matching father-son outfits.
Perhaps because of this: the jet crashes, the blonde babe pilot who we had just met dies, Ken goes nuts and reveals his true colors, and Gayle might be dead.
I’m missing some rescues and some montages before and after this bullet point, but those are treasured gifts for you to discover, future viewer.
The opening scenes in Part 2 serve a stirring reminder that Hobie’s a nip off the old Hoff. Hobie risks everything to help save his mother Gayle from Just Shoot Me.
Ken only cares about himself and likely gives money to the NRA.
Hoff and company some how, some way find a way to rescue Hobie, Gayle and Ken but not before Hobie some how, some way finds a way to rescue Gayle and learn that Ken’s a piece of shit.
Nearly 30 years later, there’s still no word on the Blonde Babe Pilot’s funeral.
Back on shore at some point amid all the rescuing and montaging, Dreamboat Dude sees someone repossessing his best friend: his motorcycle! Gnarly!
That someone IS Dreamboat Dude’s Dad, a character not worthy to hold the Triple-D mantle and be even remotely in your mind when thinking about Guy Fieri.
Stephanie proclaims that Dreamboat Dude can stay with them. Dreamboat Dude decides to stay with Stephanie and Pamela Anderson or whomever Stephanie’s roommate is. Dreamboat Dude’s Dad insinuates a throuple.
Stephanie declares that they are more of a family to Dreamboat Dude than Dreamboat Dude’s Dad is.
Dreamboat Dude’s Dad complains about his son because he’s hard to manhandle. “Get ready to stay up until 4 am worrying about him!” the Dad yells after them. This means his dad and/or mom have anxiety and wouldn’t dream of admitting they have anxiety because then that would mean they’d have to admit that they need help.
Not satisfied or tired by a mere shipwreck involving FAMILY MEMBERS and adopting someone into their FAMILY FOREVER, The Dreamboat Dudette Family gets rescued out of having to work themselves to fix up their new restaurant space because of the Baywatch Lifeguard Crew and the superpowers of a well-timed musical montage.
Note: A musical montage is so powerful in a Baywatch episode that it would not only kill Superman forever but erase our memory of him. Like Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Second Note: There needs to be a playlist made up of every single musical montage in the show’s history in order. This is the closest I could find.
Third Note: I’m tired and I want to be with my partner now.
See you on the beach.
Wait. WHERE’S JEN LINDLEY?!