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 Tornadoes go to California! But first, we have to sit through some crap about Vince and his brother….
Episode 3.9 “Not a D’Amata”
(Directed by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on October 11th, 1997)
It turns out that Vince has a bother named Nick (played by Michael Sullivan’s real-life brother, Billy). Where has Nick been over the past season and a half? He has been in Paris, at music school. When he returns from France, Vince is shocked to discover that Nick has gone from being just like Vince to being someone who wears a beret, speaks fluent French, and writes poetry! Vince is so upset that Nick has switched from being one stereotype to another, he rejects his brother. Fortunately, Michael points out that not everyone is a three-point shooter and not everyone is a …. well, he uses a lot of basketball terms. The important thing is that Vince accepts the new Nick.
(If this episode were made today, it would be about Nick coming out and Vince struggling to accept it. But, since this episode is from 1997, it’s instead about Vince freaking out over Nick wearing a beret.)
While this is going on, Mary Beth and Kristy throw a fund raiser for the library. Apparently, they’re going to raise money by having Coach Fuller throw balls through a basket. Unfortunately, Fuller keeps missing his shots. It looks the library is going to be closed! Fortunately, a real basketball player named Gary Payton shows up and goads Fuller into regaining his confidence. Not being a fan of the game, this whole storyline was weird to me. I just know the audience went crazy whenever anyone threw a basketball.
Episode 3.10 “Kristy’s Other Mother”
(Directed by Don Barnhart, originally aired on October 11th, 1997)
This episode opens with a shot of the Beverly Hills Hotel….
Wait a minute? Isn’t this show set in Indiana?
Well, it turns out that the Tornadoes have been invited to compete in a tournament in Los Angeles and, for some reason, they’re saying at a luxury hotel in Beverly Hills. (Remember when Mary Beth spent a thousand dollars on sports bags and was told that she had spent all the money the team had in its annual budget? I imagine flying to California and getting rooms for the entire team at a luxury hotel costs a bit more than a thousand dollars.) Strangely, Kristy accompanies the team to Los Angeles but none of the other cheerleaders come with her. If you’re already wasting all that money on a hotel in Beverly Hills, why not bring the entire school? Seriously, if you’re going to get fired for fiscal incompetence, you might as well go all out.
(How much school are the Tornadoes skipping to go to this tournament?)
It turns out that Kristy has a reason beyond cheerleading to go to California. She wants to meet her birth mother, who turns to be a fabulously wealthy actress who is starring in a movie with Harrison Ford. (No, Harrison Ford does not make an appearance.) Kristy’s mom is like, “Move to California!” but Kristy ultimately decides that she prefers Indiana. Considering what lay head for California, Kristy made the right decision. That said, Kristy’s decision still doesn’t make much sense. What teenager is going to choose small town Indiana over a chance to live with a movie star in Beverly Hills?
Meanwhile, Vince, Danny, and Michael appear on a dating game show that’s being filmed at the hotel. Vince wins a date with a girl other than Mary Beth. Needless to say, Mary Beth is not amused. Wisely, Vince gives her a lot of presents.
This was a pretty silly and fairly mawkish episode but at least the hotel looked nice. This episode was directed by Don Barnhart, who directed several episodes of Saved By The Bell and California Dreams. It also ends with the Tornadoes still in California so I’m guessing this L.A. tournament thing is going to last for a few more episodes. We’ll find out if I’m right next week!