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File:Baywatch 3589.jpg
"To me, it’s no surprise that the heyday of Baywatch ended with the rise of broadband internet access in homes. Clearly, Baywatch was primo spank material for guys without easy access to porn."
The Agony Booth's recap of "Mirror, Mirror".

"Can't, you see, that I am in love, with you? You, your pool, the whole thing?"
Ryan Stiles, parodying the inconsistent acting in Baywatch on Whose Line Is It Anyway.

Oh yes, this is an article about Baywatch.

Baywatch, while ostensibly an excuse to shove attractive men and women into bathing suits and show their heroic exploits in Slow Motion, was more or less a prime-time soap opera, mixing elements of action, romance (and inevitable problems therein), domestic drama, and occasionally crime, into an hour of "don't you wish you were here?" beautiful Southern California locales.

Cancelled by NBC after its initial season (1989-90), the show went into first-run Syndication and proved to be insanely popular. It lasted for a solid 11 seasons, and was at one time the most watched TV show in the world, with more than a billion syndicated viewers tuning in each week (even in countries where it was wasn't officially broadcast — there are stories of millionaire Arab sheiks who organized underground satellite TV parties just to watch it!). And to count the number of careers it launched would take more time than it's worth. Its most notable alumna were David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson (although the former was already famous for another show, as well as his singing career).

Although some people may argue that the show was already a parody of itself, Baywatch has been parodied. A lot. Most of its parodies boiled down to the slow motion scenes, the bounce, and the inconsistent acting. While most parodies were one-shots in other series, one series was a dedicated parody: Son of the Beach.

There was also a detective and horror-themed Spin-Off called Baywatch Nights.

Tropes used in Baywatch include:
  • Adapted Out: In the movie adaptation, Hobie isn't there.
  • Adrenaline Time: Used far too often in "Baywatch: Hawaii".
  • Affectionate Parody: The tongue-in-cheek episode "Rescue Bay".
  • An Aesop: Mitch delivers these on a pretty regular basis, often to his son, Hobie. In fact, even the show's most virulent critics praised the almost consistently positive portrayal of Mitch as a single father caring for his son. Examples:
    • (on winning) "It's not whether you win or lose; it's how you play the game."
    • (on popularity) "You have to ask yourself what's more important: Being liked by everyone else, or being able to like yourself."
  • Angels Pose: Done, naturally, in the parody episode "Baywatch Angels".
  • Asian Gal with White Guy: Kendall A. Larsen (possibly) fathered an Asian girl during the Vietnam War in "Lost and Found".
  • Awful Truth: Averted in "Race Against Time Part 2". First, some backstory. Hobie, his mom, and her fiance, were in a plane crash and all three were rescued. However, Hobie was disappointed that the fiance was more concerned about his own safety than of his soon-to-be wife's. Mitch finds out about this and almost spills the beans to his wife and the fiance, but at the last minute decides he'd rather lie and say the fiance acted heroically.
  • Bad Dreams: Mitch has nightmares about Bobby drowning in "Submersion", based on a traumatic event that happened earlier that day.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Neely in "Beauty and the Beast". She fixed it so that Caroline couldn't compete against her in the swimsuit competition by lying that she already had the chicken pox and would expose herself to C.J.'s chicken pox.
  • Beach Bury
  • Beach Episode: Due to its premise, every episode is this.
  • The Beard: In "Point Doom", Guido convinces C.J. to pretend to be his fiance so that a tough beach go-er won't beat him up for flirting with his girlfriend.
  • The Boxing Episode: Kickboxing, specifically. Appropriately, the title of the episode is "Kicks".
  • Breather Episode: Following the dramatic "Chance of a Lifetime", we get "Talk Show", which is much more light-hearted.
  • Busman's Holiday: Many of the vacation-based episodes tend to fall into this: The lifeguards end up having to use their lifeguarding skills even away from the beach.
  • Cassandra Truth: In "Beauty and the Beast", a homeless man warned Cody that he saw a creature in the storm drains. Cody thought the man was merely drunk and doesn't believe him. Oh, if only he did, because the creature was real, all right: An alligator.
  • Catapult Nightmare: C.J. in "Dead of Summer".
    • Mitch in "Talk Show" after he has an incompetence nightmare of being tongue-tied on the talk show.
  • Censor Box: To a little nude boy in "Baywatch Angels".
  • Chase Scene: Whenever there's a criminal on the beach, you get this.
    • A car example occurred in "Desperate Encounter" between Mitch and Damon, a man who wanted Mitch dead after Mitch witnessed Damon killing his wife.
  • Christmas Episode: "Silent Night, Baywatch Night".
  • Citizenship Marriage: The crux of Logan's situation during seasons 5 and 6; he's from Australia and wants to remain in America but his visa's expired. He wants to get a citizenship marriage with an unrelated woman instead of Caroline, which causes a lot of tension between the two.
  • Clear My Name: "The Falcon Manifesto" has Mitch a suspect in the death of someone he knew for only a day.
  • Cliff Hanger: There were quite a few two-parters in the show's run:
    • "The Trophy".
    • "Nightmare Bay".
    • "River of No Return".
    • "Vacation".
    • "Shattered".
    • "Race Against Time".
    • "Tentacles".
    • "Coronado del Soul"
    • "Living on the Fault Line".
    • "Silent Night, Baywatch Night".
    • "Trapped Beneath the Sea".
    • "Forbidden Paradise" (later re-packaged as a direct-to-video film).
    • "Rookie Summer / Next Generation".
    • "To the Max / Night of the Dolphin".
    • "The Wedding".
    • "Crash".
    • "Baywatch Down Under".
    • "Aloha Hawaii / Mahalo, Hawaii".
  • Clip Show: "The Life You Save". The plot concerned the Baywatch staff fighting budget cutbacks by telling the execs past stories about how they saved lives on the beach.
  • Clumsy Copyright Censorship: The American DVD releases removed many of the licensed songs and replaced them with other songs, including the iconic theme song "I'm Always Here" (the DVD sets used "Strong Enough" instead).
  • Code Word Coitus: Matt tries to flirt with C.J. during lifeguard training in "Rookie of the Year". He asks if he'll be able to pick partners for CPR practice. His flirting backfires when Stephanie reprimands him, saying that lifeguards have to give CPR to anybody that needs help, not just beautiful people.
  • Cover Version: Some of the montage songs were cover versions.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable
  • Decision Darts: In "Kicks", C.J. throws darts when she's unsure whether to try out for a modeling job or not. In an amusing subversion of the Trope, C.J. completely misses the dart board and her dart lands on a huge Nike sign that says "Just DO IT."
  • Deserted Island: Mitch and Stephanie make it to one in "Vacation Part 2" after falling off the cruise ship.
    • Mitch and his date are also stranded on one in "Windswept".
  • Dirty Cop: "River of No Return Part 2".
  • Dramatic Hour Long
  • Dramatic Shattering: In "Rookie Summer", an upset Manny causes this by kicking a rolling chair into the side door, causing the door glass to break.
    • In "Missing", Mitch threw some shoes through his office's window in a fit of rage.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Seen in "Dead of Summer". C.J. has a nightmare where she's on an out-of-control boat and hits the pier. Later in the episode, she experiences this in real life (due to some terrorists), though thankfully the outcome is better this time.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: How Stephanie dies.
  • Easy Amnesia: Happens to Thuy in "Lost and Found".
  • Episode Title Card: It's just the episode title superimposed over the action.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: "Lost and Found", which concludes with Jess Fortuna's sit-down stand-up.
  • "Falling in Love" Montage
  • False Rape Accusation: Several:
    • In the first season of the show, Craig rescued a troubled girl who promptly became obsessed with him, alternating between telling people that they'd had consensual sex (which would have still made him guilty of statutory rape), or that he'd raped her outright.
    • A similar storyline had a teenage girl lying to her friends about sleeping with Eddie in hopes of making them jealous and/or making herself popular. The result is that he was charged with statutory rape. A senior lifeguard attempting to comfort Eddie's girlfriend implied that this often happens to lifeguards and that he went through a similar experience.
    • In "Wet n' Wild", after he rebuffed her advances, new lifeguard Neely sought revenge on Matt by falsely claiming that he'd sexually harassed her.
  • Fan Service: Oh yeah. So much so that it has the Fan Nickname of "Babewatch".
  • Fanservice Extra: Tons of them, with this being a series set at the beach and all.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: Bobby, at the end of "Submersion".
  • Flashback Cut: There's one in "Shattered" Part 2, which features a clip from "Rookie of the Year".
    • "Free Fall" features a flurry of clips from previous episodes as Mitch sees his life flash before his eyes. What's amusing is that Mitch wasn't even in many of the clips.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Mitch's father wants him to take over the family architecture business in "A Matter of Life and Death", as he's dying.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Blindside", Cort not shaking Newmie's hand. Also Cort not catching the basketball Mitch tossed at him.
  • Gainaxing: The most famous non-anime example.
  • The Gambling Addict: C.J. in "Vacation" Parts 1 and 2.
  • Gentle Giant: Manny from the episode "Blindside". He's a tall guy who puts on fake muscles and growls menacingly for his sideshow act, but outside of work, he wouldn't hurt a fly (and even rescues pelicans from six-pack rings!).
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: The villain in "Heal the Bay" smokes a cigar. Subtle.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Hobie uses this trick to escape from a bully in "Pier Pressure".
  • Hard Work Montage: C.J. and Cody making a custom, ocean-accessible wheelchair for the handicapped comedian in "Lost and Found".
    • Also the renovation of Jackie's beach-side restaurant in "Race Against Time, Part 2".
  • Heat Wave: "Scorcher".
  • He Knows Too Much: In "Desperate Encounter", a man named Damon tries to kill Mitch because he witnessed him trying to murder his wife.
  • Hell Hotel: "Coronado del Sol" Parts 1 & 2 feature the ghost of a dead man haunting Summer's room because she reminds him of his old flame.
  • Instant Sedation: C.J. is chloroform'd in "Dead of Summer".
  • It's All My Fault: Mitch in "Submersion", for Bobby going into a coma after not rescuing him quickly enough. Of course, all the lifeguards said he was being too hard on himself.
    • Also demonstrated in "The Incident" when Caroline blamed herself for not being aware of an extra victim who drowned.
  • It's Personal: An Australian lifeguard comes to Baywatch in the episode "Fatal Exchange". Mitch doesn't care for him, and it turns out he had a reason to be suspicious: When Mitch was temporarily lifeguarding in Australia years ago, he was unable to save woman during a rescue. It turns out the woman was the Australian lifeguard's wife, and he's now out to kill Mitch in revenge.
  • Jiggle Show
  • Killed Off for Real: Jill in "Shark Derby" and Stephanie in "Chance of a Lifetime".
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: The swimwears are all red, so...
    • Although in "Hawaii", the uniform color changed to yellow.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Lauren in "Lover's Cove" has aplastic anemia and only has a year to live. Too bad Hobie has taken a liking to her.
  • Long Runners: Eleven seasons and 242 episodes. Not too shabby.
  • Love At First Sight: C.J. to the dolphin trainer in "Coronado del Soul"; so much so that she thinks about quitting lifeguarding and moving to San Diego despite that she hasn't been on ONE DATE with the guy.
  • Love Triangle: Matt, Slade, and Summer.
    • Also, C.J., Cort, and Matt in "Deep Trouble". Matt suspects that C.J. still loves Cort, though she's insistent that she's just helping him out of a tough period in his life.
  • Magical Defibrillator
  • Magic Brakes: Mitch's brakes are cut by the villain in "Fatal Exchange".
  • Miranda Rights: Garner had to read this to arrested individuals a few times.
  • Mock Millionaire: In the two-part episode "Vacation", Guido pretends to be "Count Guido Popadokulous" in order to romance Mrs. Kenilworth, a wealthy middle-aged widow. It backfires when she wants to sleep with him; even after he tells her the truth, she still pursues him.
  • Montages: Each episode featured a music video or two, which was also an easy way to pad out the script.
  • Morton's Fork: The plot to "Submersion". Mitch jumped into the ocean to rescue two boys, but both were a ways apart and back-up hadn't arrived yet. He had to make a choice of which boy was more important to save first.
  • The Movie: Sort of. "Baywatch: The Movie" was merely a two-parter ("Forbidden Paradise") packaged as a direct-to-video film.
    • There was also a made-for-video movie, "Hawaiian Wedding", which was also a reunion of sorts.
  • New Old Flame: Stephanie, who was introduced in syndicated Season 2, returns to Baywatch. Only problem? She and Mitch used to date, which at first makes their professional relationship awkward, since Stephanie is Mitch's boss.
  • Once an Episode: Someone in need of being rescued from the water. While not every episode, many of the rescues involved administering CPR, too.
  • Overcrank: How they achieved all that slow motion.
  • Parallel Porn Titles: The Babewatch series, which (as you'd expect) ramps the sexuality Up to Eleven.
  • Parody Episode: "Baywatch Angels". No points rewarded for guessing what it's parodying.
    • Also "Now Sit Right Back and You'll Hear a Tale", an episode parodying Gilligan's Island.
  • Poor Man's Porn
  • Precap: Each episode opens with David Hasselhoff saying, "Next, on Baywatch." or "Tonight, on Baywatch."
  • Precocious Crush: Bridgette had a crush on Mitch in "Western Exposure", much to Hobie's dismay.
  • "Previously On...": All the two-parters feature this.
  • Product Placement: Too many to list. The credits feature TWO SLIDES of sponsors.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Michael Newman finally started appearing in the opening credits starting in season 7, having been a minor recurring character before then.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: "Silent Night, Baywatch Night", which features a bunch of public domain Christmas songs making up most of the soundtrack.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Home Is Where the Heat Is", "Livin' on the Fault Line", "Silent Night, Baywatch Night", "Short-Sighted" (which deals with a little person).
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: C.J. breaking down the word "lifeguard" in "The Life You Save" by saying very dramatically, "LIFE. GUARD."
  • Recycled in Space: "Baywatch: Hawaii" for the last few seasons.
  • Reincarnation: "Talk Show" has C.J. and Caroline convinced that a dog who hangs around with them is actually the recently-deceased Stephanie in a dog's body.
  • Rescue
  • Revolving Door Casting: Every few seasons, the show got a bunch of new characters. The biggest turnovers, not counting "Hawaii", were syndication Season 2 (C.J., Stephanie, Summer, Matt, and Jimmy) and Season 8 (J.D., April, Skylar, Taylor, and Lani).
    • Pointed out by Hasselhoff himself during one late-night interview. "When ratings are low, someone must go."
  • Right Behind Me: Played for drama in "Missing" when Cody says he doesn't give a damn about Mitch... and Mitch is right behind him.
  • Rotating Arcs: Tying into the above trope.
  • Save the Villain: Seen in many episodes, such as "Point Doom".
  • Scenery Censor: Demonstrated in "Hot Water" with the members of the nude beach.
  • Sequel Episode: "Trial By Fire", which followed up on the events from "The Incident"; specifically, Caroline getting sued by the mother of the boy who drowned.
  • Shout-Out: Listen carefully to the dialog that ends "Rescue Bay". The group starts talking about syndication, and someone mentions Knight Rider, another David Hasselhoff production.
  • Sick Episode: Mitch, in "Heal the Bay".
  • Slow Motion Fall: Almost always happens if a character falls off a high ledge, such as the nearby pier.
  • Soft Water: Subverted so hard. In "Free Fall", Mitch skydives, but both parachutes fail to open. He aims for the water, and is killed. It Was All Just a Dream. A daydream, specifically.
    • Also averted in "Sky Rider", when Jimmy bungee jumping into the water below causes him to pass out from the impact of the splash.
  • Special Guest: Quite a few, sometimes playing themselves, but other times playing characters: Hulk Hogan, Geraldo Rivera, Ricky Van Shelton, Mary Lou Retten, the list goes on.
  • Spiritual Successor: USA Network's "Pacific Blue". Except the show starred beach cops instead of lifeguards.
  • Split Personality: The episode "Mirror Mirror" has a schizophrenic woman going after Mitch.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Kirstie and Todd from "Rendezvous". Todd comes from a rich family, Kirstie comes from a lower/middle class single mother. Both sides refuse for them to date each other, leading to Kirstie and Todd committing a suicide pact.
  • Status Quo Is God: "Aftershock" had Mitch wanting to re-marry his ex-wife, and it really looked like it was going to happen... until Mitch got an emergency call at the wedding and temporarily left his ex at the altar. The ex decided she didn't want to marry him after all, because Mitch is never truly off-duty.
  • Stock Footage: The footage of the lifeguards running into the water is sometimes recycled in subsequent episodes.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: More common than you'd expect from a show about lifeguards patrolling the beach.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: When Garner rides his horse in "Sky Rider", the music that accompanies it is suspiciously similar to "William Tell Overture".
  • Ten-Minute Retirement: Mitch, in "Shattered", who momentarily decides he's not going to return to lifeguarding due to being frustrated by his temporary paralysis. When he regains the ability to walk, though, he returns.
  • That's What I Call X: In "Promised Land", after Garner arrests the topless woman on the beach, Hobie says, "Now that's what I call a bust!" Also counts as an Incredibly Lame Pun.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Mitch became temporarily paralyzed from the waist down in the two-parter "Shattered". However, during an intense fight scene, he manages to finally move his foot to kick the gun away from the bad guy. Must be nice.
  • Title Montage: During the section of the opening where the cast members are listed, many of the clips accompanying the names are from earlier episodes. For example, a couple of C.J.'s clips are from "Lifeguards Can't Jump", and a couple of Summer's clips come from "Pier Pressure".
  • Token Minority: For a while, Garner was the only black regular on the show.
  • Training Montage: Mitch often gets one of these when training for a beach competition, such as in "Ironman Buchannon".
  • Two-Timer Date: Dennis in "Lifeguards Can't Jump" keeps running back and forth between his hotel room (where his wife is) and his outdoor dinner date with C.J.
  • Undercover As Lovers: Mitch and Stephanie in "Masquerade".
  • Underwater Kiss: In "If Looks Could Kill", Allison's technique of killing her male victims involves seducing them to kissing her underwater, then handcuffing the man's hands to the pool ladder so they can't resurface for air.
  • Vacation Episode: Numerous instances, most of them being two-parters. "Coronado del Soul" (San Diego) and "Forbidden Paradise" (Hawaii) are two of the most known ones.
  • Very Special Episode: "A Little Help", which deals with AIDS.
  • Water Source Tampering: The villain tries this in "Hot Water".
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Stephanie has a fear of helicopters, as shown in "Trading Places". The reason? Her father was killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam.
  • You Are Grounded: Done to Hobie in "Pier Pressure".
  • You Look Familiar: Jeff Altman first appears as a man on his honeymoon in "Lifeguards Can't Jump", but later appears as a completely different character, a Hollywood movie producer, in "Rescue Bay". He later appears in "Scorcher", playing secret service agent Dudley Dawson, and AGAIN in three 1998 episodes, playing medical supply salesman Ed Symes. Sure are a lot of guys running around L.A. that look exactly like the same man, aren't there?
    • Similarly, Jennifer Campbell first appeared as a biker named Jessie Majors in "Point Doom", before later being the third actress to portray Neely.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Caroline catches Logan kissing Neely in "The Last Wave". Needless to say, the wedding is called off.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: In "Ironman Buchannon", Matt buys a motorcycle by working nights for a few weeks. However, he doesn't tell Summer why he's staying out late because he wants to surprise her, which leads her to believe he's cheating on her. When Matt reveals the surprise to Summer, you think the story is finished and both Matt and Summer will be happy, because it's revealed he wasn't cheating after all. But WAIT! Garner takes a look at the motorcycle and briefly goes into Baywatch headquarters. When he returns, he sees that Matt already paid the broker for the bike, which is a shame, because that particular motorcycle is stolen and the broker was a crook. Garner sets out after the crook but we never hear for sure if he caught her or not, and Matt is down a lot of money. Keep in mind, this all happens in the last five minutes of the episode.