Retro Television Reviews: Hang Time 3.5 “No Smoking” and 3.6 “Coach Fuller’s Car”


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!

Are you feeling lost?  Fear not!  The Deering Tornadoes are here with some important life lessons!

Episode 3.5 “No Smoking”

(Directed by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on September 27th, 1997)

Oh no, Teddy’s smoking!

Yes, it’s yet another TNBC anti-smoking episode.  It seems like every TNBC show was required to do at least one episode where someone smokes one cigarette and suddenly becomes so addicted that they can’t function without that sweet, sweet nicotine.  Everyone tells them that smokers aren’t cool.  No one wants to hang out with a smoker.  Smokers smell like smoke.  Smokers taste bad when you kiss them.  Smokers can’t play basketball.  Blah blah blah.  It’s like a 30-minute version of those dumbass Truth dot com commercials where they’re like, “Big Tobacco is ravaging Struggling America.”

Anyway, Teddy is smoking and, when Coach Fuller finds out, he forbids Teddy from playing basketball.  Everyone tries to help Teddy quit.  Hypnosis doesn’t work.  Meditation doesn’t work.  “The nicotine has control of you,” Coach Fuller explains, making nicotine sound a lot cooler than it actually is.  Eventually, Fuller lets Teddy play, even though Teddy still hasn’t totally given up cigarettes because Fuller apparently had a total personality transplant between seasons 2 and 3.  (Remember how, during season 2, Fuller decided he’d rather the team lose than allow his best players on the court, all due to some fake IDs?  That doesn’t seem like the actions of a guy who would just sort of shrug and let Teddy play.)  Teddy agrees to enter an “anti-smoking” program and the other non-smokers on the team agree to attend with him.  What good is that going to do for them? They’re already anti-smoking.  No, this is a path that Teddy must walk alone.

Ugh, this episode was so heavy-handed.  I don’t even smoke and I got annoyed with it.  Let’s move on.

Episode 3.6 “Coach Fuller’s Car”

(Directed by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on September 27th, 1997)

Coach Fuller has a conference to attend but the cab that was supposed to take him to the airport never showed up!  Because Fuller apparently has no friends or family outside of his team, he asks if they can give him a ride to the airport.  When they reveal that Vince’s car isn’t working, Fuller asks them to drive him to the airport in his prized Range Rover.

So, already, this episode has a huge credibility program.  First off, is there seriously no one else who can drive Fuller to the airport?  What about the assistant principal, the one who happens to be in love with him?  How about the assistant coach who showed up when Fuller had the mumps?  How about one of the many adult basketball players who are willing to drop everything and come to Deering High whenever a member of the Tornadoes needs a pep talk?

Secondly, even if we do accept that Fuller needs a high school student to drive his car to the airport, why does the entire team go to the airport with them?  Julie ends up driving, while Teddy, Vince, and Danny pile in the back seat.  Since it’s already been established that Fuller is extremely protective of his car, why would he allow the three most irresponsible characters on the show to ride with him and Julie to the airport?

Anyway, once they reach the airport, Fuller tells Julie to take the car straight home.  Instead, Julie, Teddy, Vince, and Danny drive the car to a frat party in Indianapolis, where Michael’s band is performing.  (Michael has a band?  And Kristy and Mary Beth are his backup singers?)  Unfortunately, the punch at the frat has been spiked and soon, everyone but Michael and his singers are drunk!  In a rare example of good judgment, Julie decides not to drive Coach’s car while drunk.  Instead, they leave the car at the frat house while Michael takes everyone home.

The next morning, Michael and Julie go back to the frat house and …. THE CAR’S GONE!

You saw that coming, right?

When Fuller comes home early, he is informed by the police that his car was found on the roof of the university library.  (The police say is was a rush week prank.  I’m wondering how a bunch of frat boys got a range rover on the roof of a library.)  The car is fine but Fuller still plays a prank on his team by having some biker dude tell them that the car is no more.  It turns out that Fuller is proud of his team for not driving drunk but he still orders them to run 20 miles to teach them a lesson about responsibility.

This episode …. actually, it wasn’t that bad.  Yes, Fuller made a huge mistake trusting the team with his car but, for once, his reaction to the team screwing up seemed realistic and reasonable.  He praised his team for not driving drunk.  That’s a good message.  Despite the fact that most of this episode’s drama could have been avoided by the characters not being idiots, the overall episode actually work pretty well.

What lessons will be learned next week?  We’ll find out soon!

One response to “Retro Television Reviews: Hang Time 3.5 “No Smoking” and 3.6 “Coach Fuller’s Car”

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 12/26/22 — 1/1/23 | Through the Shattered Lens

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