The Starsky and Hutch Hen Party

AKA Rebelcat and Elizabeth Helena

Present:

 

The Bay City Crapshoot

AKA “The Action”

 

original air date Saturday, January 7, 1978

 

According to the DVD episode guide: “To investigate a slain friend’s murder, Starsky and Hutch infiltrate an illegal gambling club, which is being run from the back of an 18-wheeler.” While it may be true that Luck is a Lady (as a different set of ol’ blue eyes crooned), as far as the both of us can tell, she's not the most reliable broad in Bay City.

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Doing it the Hard Way

 

In the dice game of craps, doing it the hard way is all about rolling doubles. In Bay City, it’s better known as telling the bad guys you’re not going to play their game anymore. This time it’s Ted McDermott’s turn to ‘pull a Gillian’ when he informs the owner of the Marlborough Club, Mr. Hilliard, that he’s not going to pay off any more of his gambling debts. Ted is played with great verve by the soon to be famous James B. Sikking (Lt. Howard Hunter in Hill Street Blues).  Unfortunately, the unimpressed Hilliard arranges some “physical therapy” for Teddy which is almost as bad as the beating Sikking took in the short-lived TV series Cop Rock (that proved, once and for all, only Canadian Mounties should be musical).

 

Meanwhile, unaware that yet another of their friends has fallen victim to violence, Starsky and Hutch are visiting Ted’s family for dinner. It does not go well – at least for poor Hutch. Blondie is first beaten up by the young Toni McDermott (played with even greater verve by child star Quinn Cummings of Family fame) and then gets beaten out by Starsky when wooing Ted’s younger sister Julie (played with remarkable restraint by a 20 year old Melanie Griffith). For those familiar with Ms. Griffith’s um ... acting skills, please be assured that this performance was before Melanie attended the William “Just Call Me Bill” Shatner School of Performing Arts where she learned to insert annoying little gasps for breath between – every – single – word.

 

Ahem, back to the plot, where Ellen McDermott confesses to Hutch her ulterior motives for inviting them over. It appears Ellen knows that her husband is “a gambling junkie”, and while she’ll win no prizes from Gambler’s Anonymous, her lack of tactfulness is understandable as Teddy blew their entire life’s savings of $18,000 in one week (which is almost $60,000 in today’s money). What fascinated us, however, was Hutch’s resigned offer of help, and Ellen’s assumption that he meant money while what she really wanted was someone to protect her hubby’s life. This exchange led us to speculate that “The Pauper” might indeed have family money, but he’s forced to drive Ford rejects because he’s continually bailing out old friends, street people, and all those prostitutes he knows by first name. Only because he cares about the fallen ladies of Bay City! Sheesh, get your minds out of the gutter people.

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The Starsky/Ted slash movement was born here!

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While the Hobie & Dobey spinoff thankfully died here.

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The boys are asking for a spanking, but not the fun kind.

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Apparently first time sex in a sauna is never a good idea!

On a Roll

Still, you can’t argue with success, as their screwy antics do get them both invited to the Marlborough’s next high stakes game. Unfortunately, they’ll be doing so without another nickel from Vice (and Hobie sure doesn’t mean $500). Our heroes are also given the bad news that Hilliard has a metal detector fetish. Unfazed, Starsky leans really close to Hobie and confides that he and Hutch are "going in naked". Unfortunately for the fangirls (and fanboys of a certain persuasion), Starsky means they won’t be taking their guns. Well, perhaps fortunately, for despite the S/H possibilities of the scene, it’s also disturbingly Starsky/Hobie and even EH won’t write that pairing.

Another setback looms, for our boys learn that Huggy didn’t realize Starsky was just "blowing smoke" at the Marlborough Club, and the Bear placed a $1,000 wager on "Salty Bait" in the fifth race. Hutch is understandably even more steamed than he was in the sauna when their risqu-sounding nag comes in second. Yet, Lady Luck smiles on them this time, for the winner is disqualified for interference (not as rude as it sounds), and they now have $18,000 (hey, that amount seems familiar) long yards of green.

Starsky and Hutch then consult "The Professor". We love this sweet-talkin’ if overly alliterative man for his relationship with Ginger, a masseuse he calls "a powerful pile of pummeling pulchritude". The Professor endears himself to our heroes by informing them that Hilliard is the pseudonym of the "scourge of Las Vegas," Joseph "call me Josey and I’ll murder ya" Nolan, a little fact Lt. Hobie neglected to mention.

Well-informed and well-endowed (now stop those naughty thoughts), Starsky and Hutch return to the Marlborough Club, and Julie delivers the cash in her undercover role as Bay City’s Cutest Runner. When Starsky loses himself in his own sleazy cover, and tucks a bill into her blouse, she cools him off with an ice cube down his top. Unfortunately, it was Hutch who dressed for frostbite, modeling the finest in 1978's Himalayan Mounted Police wear including "cheap sheep" vest and knee-high leather boots (oh my). However, in the cheesy gambling backroom of an eighteen-wheeler, Hutch instead learns the dangers of improper chair use.

The truck rolls into action, and Hutch rolls right off his bar stool. RC and EH had a catfight over whether Starsky’s elbow made a suspicious movement just prior to Hutch’s header, somewhat similar to the spat our heroes had over who got to be the shooter (the person who throws the dice, not guns down Daimler the croupier AKA Gul Dukat). Starsky won that fight, but that’s the last thing either of them won, despite Hutch’s impressive blow job on the dice (no, really, it’s something done for luck). Our boys get fleeced and while neither of us will miss Hutch’s vest, it does mean that not only is the Marlborough’s crap game illegal and violent, it’s also crooked (the scoundrels!).

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Hutch, unlike EH, disapproves of Starsky/Ted.

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Starsky demonstrates the obscure martial art, Crap-Fu!

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Hey, didn't I already beat you up in two previous episodes?

Cracking The Nut

The Marlborough Man waxes poetical about how lovely moonlight is for burials.  However, as Molo pointed out in her excellent "The Action" fic Lucky Seven, his henchmen lack their boss' smarts and give both our guys shovels. Before long, Stan and Ollie are arguing over who is going to dig the graves, and the bemused bad guys are soon introduced to the business end of both shovels.

The show's nearly over, so we're returned to Ted’s now happy home, where he and Hutch perform the dance of the exposition fairies. We learn that Hilliard has been indicted, and the D.A. is returning all of the Health Club’s ill gotten gains to the cheated bettors, who have all learned never to gamble again. Okay, so maybe in Bay City it’s possible to "crack the nut" which means to come out with a net profit in a gambling venture (we bet that wasn’t your first thought). However, we’re concerned by how hard Ted’s nut was cracked (singular, people, therefore meaning his head – er, forget it) when he asks where "Fast Fingers" Starsky is. After all, the man’s in the adjoining room trying to form an illegal gambling den with the underage Toni and just looks underage Julie.

Alas, for Starsky, the episode ends with everyone laughing at him for being hustled by the McDermott girls. Don’t worry, Starsky, we believe one day Lady Luck will come to her senses and you’ll have a million dollars – like Moon promised.

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Beaten up by a little girl - the real origin of Hutch's bad back?

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Dave Starsky = Untrained Puppy. And Hutch forgot the squirt gun!

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Slash or Gen? It's all in which goggles you're wearing today!

Dime Bets

 

Alas, before Hutch can offer any kind of aid, County General Hospital calls with the news that Ted is in a coma (Memorial was presumably full with our heroes’ other friends). While RC and EH normally would not recommend finding coma patients entertaining (pay no attention to what Dr. House says), we were amused by how Starsky had muscled past both the wife and sister in order to hold Ted’s hand. After several heartfelt encouragements to the 1970s Coma Guy, Starsky turns to Hutch and whimpers “He can’t even hear me.” EH immediately begins plotting Starsky/Ted slash while cackling maniacally. Actually the latter state is pretty much the norm.

 

Nonetheless, Starsky soon sheds his kicked puppy look, for he and Hutch are determined to bring down the Marlborough Health Club’s illegal gambling activities. However, Lieutenant “Stop Calling Me Hobie” Hobart of Vice is determined to keep the case despite having repeatedly failed to penetrate Hilliard’s, AKA Bay City’s Marlborough Man, defenses (behave yourselves, people). Of course, our boys fight back, arguing that Hilliard is suspected of two homicides and beating up Starsky’s Teddy Bear (not Ollie, the one in the coma). Starsky and Hutch also hold Hobie (AKA Dick ... Tracy) in contempt, asserting that the Polyester Plainclothes Cop couldn’t infiltrate the Girl Scouts with a basket of (hopefully hashish-free) brownies. We prefer to believe that their scorn for Vice is due to a salacious secret like BD/SM or casual drug use (feel free to insert other dangerous themes from SHarecon 06).

 

Dobey, like any good parent, strikes the compromise of Vice and Homicide working together, and gives Starsky and Hutch a thousand dollars (that’s almost $3,000 nowadays) to shut the heck up. Okay, maybe that’s just Paris Hilton’s and Nicole Richie’s parents. Despite our heroes’ complaint that a cool thou (known as a dime bet in gambling parlance) is insufficient flash for their undercover roles, their confidence resonates in Hutch’s assertion,“Captain, you are looking at a couple of aces in a world full of jokers”.

 

The boys’ clandestine tactics reach a new level of weirdness when they pose as high rollers from Houston involved in offshore drilling (Houston is famous for its ports). Still Texas = oil, so the true oddness is Starsky’s impersonation of Ben Stiller’s parody of his character, making us afraid he was going to start yelling “Do it!” at any moment. He also didn’t warn Huggy Bear that he was going to call him to place a fake dime bet on the ponies to impress Hilliard. Of course, we’re happy that Starsky didn’t, as it leads to the Bear asking, “did Hutch slam the door on your head again?”. However, we soon began to speculate that perhaps Hutch was the one recently concussed, due to his bizarre idea of impressing the baddies watching them in the sauna (via not so hidden cameras) by betting on how quickly sweat would drop off their noses. Suffice to say, RC and EH were both disappointed by Starsky and Hutch’s version of fun while half-naked and sweaty.

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Hilliard's metal detectors had an interesting effect on his pomade.

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The Professor and Ginger (because Mary-Ann was too heroin-chic)

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Vanessa left these boots behind when she ran out on Hutch.

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But Hutch blew on my dice! How could we lose?

Snake Eyes

Meanwhile, the DVD summary is shown to be wrong as Ted beats the "friend of Starsky and Hutch" odds and comes out of his coma. Despite Teddy’s recovery, no one seems happy. Ted’s not pleased that his little sister is now Huggy’s bag lady, Starsky’s perturbed by Hutch’s manhandling of his girl/runner, and Hutch looks peeved by the continuing Starsky/Ted dynamic. However, that’s nothing compared to Lt. "Cease and Desist Calling Me Hobie" Hobart’s ire. He’s ready to cash in everyone’s chips when he learns the baddies not only have 18 wheels, but they’re also smart enough to drop off the House’s winnings (Marlborough’s owners, not Hugh Laurie’s character) before returning to the so-called Health Club.

However, Starsky and Hutch refuse to fold. They propose to solve the case with some crooked dice (courtesy of the Professor), and with Dobey and Hobie (snicker) following the Marlborough truckers to their secret lair – well, parking garage. At first, Starsky’s new dice keep rolling lucky number seven for both himself and Marlborough’s marks, and Dobey and Hobie (c’mon, it’s funny) tailgate about ten feet behind them. Unfortunately, the Crapshoot Convoy comes to an abrupt end when a truck cuts off Lt. Hobie’s car. Moreover, Hobie dashes out and identifies himself as a police officer, never suspecting that the conveniently broken down truck might belong to the Marlborough Men. Before you can say "Breaker, Breaker, Puce Goose and Blond Blintz," Hilliard knows there’s cops instead of babies on board.

Starsky and Hutch, unaware that they’ve lost both their back-up and their covers, demand that the croupier cash them out. After contemplating the number of bulges on Hilliard’s gorillas, our heroes go for broke. Starsky starts beating the crap table out of one of the bad guys while Hutch teaches Daimler (played with somewhat excessive verve by Marc Alaimo) yet again that crime doesn’t pay (see his guest roles in "Iron Mike" and "The Bait"). After literally tossing one of the gorillas out the back door, Starsky and Hutch emerge triumphant only to discover that the men waiting for them are headed by Hilliard not Captain Dobey.

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This is another fine mess you've gotten us into, Ollie!

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Starsky's disappointed to learn that gambling with minors is also illegal.

Good Questions to Ask Yourself
 
1.  Starsky called Hutch on mauling his girl.  ("The hand, the hand!")  How does this figure into the Kira debacle?
 
2.  Involving their galpals in undercover ops - good idea or not?  Have our boys been watching too much UNCLE?
 
3.  Who’s going to write the first fic with David "Fast Fingers" Starsky?  Anyone?  Slash or gen, we don’t care. Pretty Please? 

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This is what happens to dice who refuse to play the game.

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Nov. 17, 2006