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 continues!
I hate to say it but this terrible theme song is starting to get stuck in my head. Takin’ my shot …. something something something …. Hang Time …. flying like glockmock …. running with big screen tee ayyy …. Hang Time …. okay, those may not by the exact lyrics but that’s what it sounds like to me.
Episode 1.7 “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble”
(Directed by Howard Murray, originally aired on October 21st, 1995)
Just in case the viewer needed a reminder that this show is from the mid-90s, this episode opens with Sam lustfully comparing her boyfriend, Danny, to Mel Gibson. Needless to say, Danny looks nothing like Mel Gibson but, at the same time, it also seems like he’s a bit more emotionally stable so I guess it all works out in the end.
This episode was all about relationships. Mary Beth’s frustration with Chris’s refusal to act like a rich snob led to her being tempted by her childhood friend Charles Landingham (Trey Alexander). Apparently, Charles used to be overweight but now he’s lost the weight and he wears a sweater over his shoulders and Mary Beth accepts a kiss from him. Unfortunately, Julie sees Mary Beth kissing Charles and she now has a dilemma. Should she tell Chris the truth or not? Considering that Mary Beth and Charles are an adorable couple, a true friend would be encouraging them to get together.
Meanwhile, all the boys head over to Coach Fuller’s house to watch a Mike Tyson fight. Unfortunately, this means that Danny has to break his regularly scheduled date with Sam. He claims to be sick and then heads over to Fuller’s house. However, Sam shows up at the house and it turns out that she’s a fight fan as well! She gets so into the Tyson fight that she forgets to slap Danny for lying to her in the first place.
Eventually, Mary Beth tells Chris the truth and they have the most peaceful break-up ever. They agree to be friends, which frees Chris up to date Julie. It’ll be a relationship based not only on basketball but also the sound of the audience applauding every time one of them gets the ball in the basket.
As I’ve said before, Mary Beth is the only character to whom I can relate on this show because she’s the only character who doesn’t spend all of her time talking about basketball and who shops whenever she gets upset. This was a good Mary Beth episode and it was the first to really give Megan Parlen a chance to show off her comedic skills. Still, it’s hard not to be disappointed at how predictably the Chris and Julie relationship is playing out. It seems obvious that Chris and Julie are going to be a fairly boring couple. What are they going to do after basketball season ends?
Episode 1.8 “The Candidate”
(Directed by Howard Murray, originally aired on October 28th, 1995)
Mary Beth is running for school president on a platform of doing away with the Future Farmer’s Club and replacing it with the Gold Card Girls Club. “Membership will be open to anyone, as long as you’re a girl, you have a gold card, and we all like you,” Mary Beth explains. Having been profoundly moved by reading The Grapes of Wrath for English class, Michael runs against Mary Beth on a platform of saving the Future Farmer’s Club. (Doesn’t this show take place in Indiana? Isn’t every student at the school a member of the Future Farmer’s Club by default?) Danny manages Mary Beth’s campaign. Sam manages Michael’s campaign. “I’m running on the issues,” Michael announces.
Oh, get over yourself. It’s a student council election. Saved By The Bell, California Dreams, and City Guys all featured the same stupid storyline. So did Boy Meets World, if I remember correctly. (“Hold on,” Topagna announced, “we still need to do something about the black mold in the cafeteria!” Isn’t that the job of the adults?) Eventually, after all of the usual nonsense that always happens in episodes about student council elections, Michael is elected but declines to accept the office because he’s ashamed of his campaign. Mary Beth becomes president but promises to be the type of president that “Tom Joad would be proud of.” Good luck with that. IT’S JUST THE FREAKING STUDENT COUNCIL, PEOPLE!
While the school picks a new president, Chris and Julie continue their painfully dull courtship and Coach Fuller looks for date to a wedding. Chris and Julie finally kissed at the end of the episode. “Woooo,” the audience dutifully responded but even they didn’t sound particularly excited about it.
Anyway, this episode is almost as dumb as suggesting that a high school student is going to be obsessed with John Steinbeck. To Hell with your grapes of wrath!