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!
This week, we have one of Hang Time’s best episodes followed by one of its worse! Let’s jump into it!
Episode 2.7 “Fake ID-Ology”
(Directed by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on October 19th, 1996)
As the episode begins, Coach Fuller is giving his usual pep talk. Yes, the other team is big and they’re good but the Tornadoes have been playing solid basketball! Get out and do your best! Woo hoo!
Except, what’s this? A bunch of Tornadoes that we’ve never seen before run out onto the court while Julie, Josh, Vince, Danny, and Teddy sit on the bench! Mary Beth is sitting in the stands, instead of helping Fuller coach. Amy is sitting next to her and is not in her cheerleading uniform! Oh my God, what’s going on!?
As we find out via flashback, the good players (along with Mary Beth and Amy) all got fake IDs so they could go to a 21 Only Club. (If only they lived in Florida instead of Indiana, they could have gone to Miami’s “hottest under 21 club,” The Warehouse.) Unfortunately, things didn’t go well at the club. Vince didn’t have a fake ID so he wasn’t allowed to enter but then he kept calling Danny until Danny went outside and handed over his fake ID. Vince used that ID to get in the club but, because a new bouncer was on duty, now Danny couldn’t get in. Meanwhile, Josh won a round of free beers and got drunk. (He had such a hangover, he tells us, On a TNBC show, even drinking one beer always leads to the worst hangover ever!) Mary Beth and Amy attracted the attention of some scuzzy weirdos who demanded that they kiss them in return for the free beers that they sent over to the table. The resulting brawl led to everyone getting grounded and Fuller benching all of them….
….which is kind of weird since it’s not like their Fuller’s kids. Teddy is Fuller’s godson so it makes sense that Fuller would punish him but I’m not really sure why he cares what the rest of the team does when they’re not on the court. As well, it seems like Fuller is actually punishing the other players on the team by revealing how bad they are to the rest of the world. The Tornadoes lose the game and not by a small margin. Basically, Fuller just announced, “My team sucks except for Julie and Josh.”
Still, there’s a wonderfully overacted moment in which one of the bad players announces that, “I don’t want to let the team down!” while glaring at the players sitting on the bench. And there’s a funny gag about the bouncers at the club and their reading materials. One reads The Gulag Archipelago while the other reads the Collected Works of Shakespeare and complains that Danny is so annoying that he can’t even make it through Hamlet. This is actually one of the best episodes of Hang Time because of the way it skillfully mixes broad comedy and heavy-handed moralizing.
That said, I still think Coach Fuller should have minded his own business. The Tornadoes are supposed to win games, not learn lessons!
Episode 2.8 “When Loss Is Gain”
(Directed by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on October 26th, 1996)
Because Coach Fuller is giving up getting angry for charity (?), everyone on the team agrees to give up something that they love for a few days. Julie gives up basketball. Josh gives up kissing. Teddy gives up desert. Vince gives up flirting. Amy gives up cheerleading. Danny gives up caring. How does any of that help the poor?
Mary Beth is supposed to give up shopping and, when she goes to the mall and shops instead, everyone gets all judgmental. So, Mary Beth goes down to a homeless camp and starts giving out money, which leads to her getting mugged. Mary Beth says she’s never going to forgive the people who attacked her.
“I’m sorry you got mugged and I’m glad you’re okay,” Josh announces, “but your attitude stinks!”
You know what, Josh? Go to Hell, you prick.
Anyway, it turns out that Josh is poor along with being condescending but you know what? Fuck him and his self-righteous attitude. Seriously, when Josh first appeared on this show, his whole thing was that he wouldn’t play basketball because he felt the team was too focused on winning. Now, he’s bitching because Mary Beth is upset over being mugged. What a jerk.