Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past! On Mondays, I will be reviewing Hang Time, which ran on NBC from 1995 to 2000. The entire show is currently streaming on YouTube!
The season has finally begun. Julie won one game. Michael lost one game. Danny and Sam are now a couple. Will Deering High continue its winning/losing ways? Let’s find out!
Episode 1.5 “Oh Captain, My Captain”
(Directed by Howard Murray, originally aired on September 30th, 1995)
In order to shake up the team and hopefully have a winning season, Coach Fuller decides to switch around everyone’s positions. I have to admit that, while watching this episode, I was forced to reflect on how little I actually know about basketball. For instance, I was stunned to discover that the players have specific positions. I honestly thought that everyone just ran around the court and tried to steal the ball.
Chris isn’t happy about having to switch positions because he thinks that it might make it more difficult for him to get a college scholarship. (Chris is like 5’7 so maybe it would be a good idea for him to at least consider other options.) Chris resigns as team captain. Coach Fuller appoints Danny as the new team captain. Teams have captains? I’m learning a lot from this show. Eventually, Chris learns to put the team first and Danny hands the captainship (or whatever it’s called) back over to him.
In the B-plot, Michael gets a job working at Earl’s farm. Chaos ensues but Michael learns an important lesson about how difficult farm work is.
This episode had one good joke, in which Mary Beth sent Coach Fuller a legal summons because her father gave her an attorney for her birthday and she figured she should make use of her presents.
Otherwise, this episode had a bit too much basketball for me, which is obviously kind of a silly complaint to make about a show that’s about basketball. I have to admit that this show doesn’t do much for my rebellious spirit. The main lesson was always to listen to the coach and put the team first. Bleh. BE A REBEL!
Episode 1.6 “Earl Makes The Grade”
(Directed by Howard Murray, originally aired on October 14th, 1995)
Deering High has a game coming up against their hated rivals, Valley High …. oh wait a minute. Sorry, Valley High was Bayside’s rival. Deering High is going up against Dover High. Earl, however, is flunking history. He has to pass his big midterm if he’s going to play. Unfortunately, a new girl is distracting Earl from studying. She’s making him stay up late and kissing him whenever he tries to study. It turns out that it’s all a plot to keep Earl from playing in the game, like that time Valley stole Screech’s lucky beret right before the big chess match. After Earl’s new girlfriend framed him for cheating on the test, Coach Fuller declared, “You let your team down, Earl.”
Good Lord, is it a team or is it a cult?
Anyway, everything works out due to the TNBC law of people always doing obviously stupid stuff. Immediately after Earl gets kicked off the team, Earl’s fake girlfriend started making out with a player on the other team in Deering High’s gym, right in the middle of the Deering/Dover game. Anyway, once it becomes clear that Earl was framed, he’s allowed to rejoin the team and Dover gets destroyed. Yay!
The B-plot dealt with a prank war between Julie and Danny. Remember the Bayside/Valley prank war?
My point is that this was pretty much a Saved By The Bell episode that got reused on Hang Time. That said, Robert Michael Ryan gave a pretty good performance as Earl and you actually did feel sorry for him when he discovered how cruelly he had been treated. Earl was just too innocent for this world.
Will Deering continue to win their games? Check back next week to find out!