Retro Television Review: Hang Time 4.7 “Assault and Pepper Spray” and 4.8 “High Hoops”

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, it’s all about self-defense and marijuana at Deering High!

Episode 4.7 “Assault and Pepper Spray” 

(Dir by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on October 3rd, 1998)

This was a weird episode.  Kristy has a job working at the mall.  Since this is a Peter Engel-produced show, that job involves wearing an ugly outfit and selling corny dogs.  One night, when she gets off work, she’s mugged.  Despite her efforts to try to move on with her life, she still struggles with PTSD.  So far, so good.  I’ve been in similar situations and it’s not something you ever really get over, even if you do eventually manage to get on with your life.  After taking a self-defense class and discovering that she’s not good at beating people up, Kristy decides to carry pepper spray instead.  The next night, while she’s walking out to her car, someone comes up behind her.  Startled, Kristy uses the pepper spray.  OH NO, SHE JUST SPRAYED MICHAEL!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  It sucks that Michael got sprayed in the face.  I carry pepper spray myself and I’ve accidentally sprayed myself in the face enough time that I know what it can do.  (That’s one reason why I carry it.)  But Michael also knew what had happened to Kristy earlier so he should have known better than to sneak up on her.  Everyone on the show acts as if Kristy drew a gun, turned around and shot Michael but all Kristy did was spray him in the face.  (And again, it really was Michael’s fault that he got sprayed in the first place.)  Feeling guilty, Kristy says she’s going to give up the pepper spray and take another self-defense course.  No, Kristy!  The pepper spray worked!   Just because Michael ends up crying about it, that doesn’t mean that the pepper spray was a bad idea.  If Kristy had sprayed someone other than Michael, everyone would be talking about how lucky she was to have it with her.

I mean, take me for instance.  I run.  I dance.  I know how to kick.  I like to think that I’m in pretty good shape.  But if some dude who outweighs me by over a hundred pounds is coming at me, I’m going for the pepper spray.

The plot of this episode left a bad, coppery taste in my mouth and brought tears to my eyes.  Let’s move on.

Episode 4.8 “High Hoops”

(Dir by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on October 3rd, 1998)

Rico is eating more than usual.  He’s laughing at strange moments.  He’s paranoid about people sneaking up on him.  He’s screwing up at practice.


Which weed?


Yes, this is another Peter Engel-produced television show about the dangers of marijuana.  This time, it’s Rico who is getting high and running the risk of hurting himself and his friends.  The team discovers that Rico is now a stoner when he opens up his locker and a baggie of weed literally flies out of it.  Rico says that pot is no big deal.  Hammer says that his cousin used to think the same thing but now he lives in the park and thinks that he’s a squirrel.  (I think Hammer’s cousin may have been doing something more than just marijuana if that’s the case.)  The team is scandalized and who can blame them?  Athletes doing drugs?  WHO EVER HEARD OF SUCH A THING!?

(Wow, I’m doing a lot of yelling today.)

Despite knowing that Rico is now a drug fiend, Hammer still asks him to fix the brakes on his motorcycle.  Unfortunately, Rico gets too stoned to fix the brakes and Hammer ends up having a serious accident as a result.  You have to wonder why Hammer would have trusted Rico with that responsibility to begin with, especially considering that this episode has an entire B-plot about Mary Beth, Kristy, and Michael taking auto shop because they think it’ll be an easy A.

(It turns out that not only is not an easy A but Kristy manages to get trapped in the trunk of the teacher’s car while installing a radio.  It was kind of dumb but, as I’ve said more than a few times, Megan Parlen and Amber Barretto were a strong enough comedic team that they could wring laughs out of even the dumbest of situations.)

Anyway, Hammer comes back to school with his arm in a sling and looking for revenge.  He uses his one good arm to try to beat up Rico, which is all it takes for Rico to realize that he needs to clean up his act.  So, the lesson here is to beat up all of your drug-abusing friends but don’t use pepper spray if they come at you.

I’m glad that’s cleared up.

2 responses to “Retro Television Review: Hang Time 4.7 “Assault and Pepper Spray” and 4.8 “High Hoops”

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 4/3/23 — 4/9/23 | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Retro Television Reviews: Hang Time 4.15 “The Tall And The Short Of It” and 4.16 “Just Friends” | Through the Shattered Lens

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