Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Starsky & Hutch

Starsky and Hutch old school (1975)

OK, so I'm cheating a wee bit by using the Season 2 opening credits. The music is different, it's now "&" instead of "and", but, like the credits of Season 1, there is a surprisingly large number of clips from the first two episodes.

The Plot:

Starsky and Hutch, two cops, fight crime.

The Good:

Gather round, children. Here is an example of old school TV; when there was no such thing as routine multiple episode story arcs.

I'm mocking with love; S&H holds up quite well. Sure, it's fun to mock the lack of cell phones, the typewriters, the clothes. Actually, the clothes aren't that bad, at least not during the first season. Starsky & Hutch's cool clothes, high waisted as the may be, aren't as "old" as the bad guys in their three piece suits. And a lot of the episodes still work, and the guys are still funny.

What this show brings is edge. I'm on episode five as I type this, and in over half the episodes, there is no final arrest because the bad guys are dead. It's nice, simple, if brutal -- shoot first. I have yet to hear any Miranda warnings. Sixth episode in is the first time the w-word (warrant) is mentioned. The shoot outs are clunky at times; but it seems more realistic than the stylized choreography that is part of many of today's gun fights.

It's also rough; I'm talking sweaty guys. Underarm stains. And the scruffiness of Hutch following his forced heroin bender --. Ah. Good times. Oh, another thing; a limited wardrobe budget! I love that I see the guys wearing the same clothes over and over.

Since it is 1975, we don't have the language, or the outright sex; but it's there, lurking, in Hutch's girlfriend who is obviously a call girl. And the boys stripping down to talk to a bad guy in a steam bath. (No, I'm not making that up.)

Another thing the show lacks is much character development. In a very old school way, each ep works as a stand alone. Actors today have much more material to work with. But, then, this is one of the cool things about shows like Starsky & Hutch -- the scripts didn't bring it, so it was up to the actors to build the characters and add depth to the characters. Here's the example of no character development; one week, Hutch is kidnapped and forcibly given heroin for some plot point. The next week, Starsky & Hutch are accused of being bad cops who are selling cocaine on the street. And no one mentions Hutch's drugfest and withdrawals from the week before.

Speaking of scripts; this is one of the shows were I've heard that scripts from other shows were used. I'd also heard that with other shows: Charlie's Angels using old Mod Squad scripts. Is this true? Or just urban legend?

Why was I staying up that late? Actually, I have no idea. I think I watched the later seasons while babysitting or in reruns.

Bonus Question: So, who was my TV boyfriend? Starsky or Hutch?

Edited: OK I think I caught all my horrible typos. And I forgot to mention the music! This is what TV was like before songs were used for scenes. Of course, it made the DVD easier to make, I imagine, unlike the nightmare that is WKRP. Or Thirtysomething.


Anonymous said...

i don't know about you, but I was for hutch all the way ... i also had a thing for erik estrada (those teeth!)

Anonymous said...

Starsky all the way! I'm 36, but I remember watching this as a kid on Saturdays. Thank you Aaron Spelling.

By the way this was the best laugh I've had all day. You really broke it down.

Chris said...

I'm guessing Starsky. Hutch is too much of a Tiger-Beat Pretty Boy.

Anonymous said...

Hutch, Hutch, hutch (in the 2 first seasons, without the moustache).

Right now, I have the biggest crush I've had on a TV guy. (OMG, and I'm 32!!)

Anyway, they were too gay to be with a girl, they preferred to be on their own...