The Starsky & Hutch Hen Party
AKA Rebelcat and Elizabeth Helena

Bay City’s Sleeping Pill
AKA “Covergirl”

Original Air Date: Tuesday, Dec. 12, 1978

According to the DVD Episode Guide: “A gorgeous but terminally ill model puts a hit out on herself, but when her cancer goes into remission, she asks Hutch to stop the contract killer.”

Now maybe it’s the faux-classical score, the sluggish pacing, or the pathetic excuse of a plot, or maybe it's just puppy-induced insomnia, but we found this the most soporific episode ever.

Another Chocolate Chip Cookie Junkie Bites the Dust

The episode opens with Hutch fielding a call from Stewart, the Chocolate Chip Cookie Junkie, who wants to file assault with a deadly weapon charges against his mother. The deadly weapon being her hand, and the injured party his rear end. We wonder how Hutch – a Detective Sergeant in the Homicide Division - ended up on the phone with this guy. Perhaps he ticked off someone at the front desk.

Starsky arrives holding his jaw and looking pained. Hutch uses his detective skills to deduce that Starsky’s just been to the dentist. We’re disappointed that Hutch not only wasn’t there to hold Starsky’s hand and whisper soothing comfort into his terrified – yet shell-like – ears, he didn’t even know that Starsky had an appointment!

Rebel’s slashy little heart is appeased when Hutch stuffs his hand right into Starsky’s pocket to retrieve the magazine Starsky stole from the dentist’s office. EH is happy because it backs her theory that Starsky is a juvenile delinquent.

Hutch spots a glamour shot of pedestrian-looking Swedish model Kate Larrabee. He tells Starsky he and Kate were ‘friends’. Cue the dramatic music... Wait, this episode has no dramatic music. Cue the weirdly soporific music instead.

Surprise, we now meet Kate-the-Supermodel, who arranges for her own assassination with the peanut-munching Mr. Brady of Brady’s Italian Specialties restaurant (linguine with a side of hitman). Tissue samples, white cell counts, 34 different tests in 24 weeks... whatever Kate’s disease is, it means her face “won’t look very pretty” in a year. With the obsessive camera focus on her preternaturally enhanced cheekbones, we can only assume that the disease was the result of a botched cosmetic cheekbone implant surgery.

Does this mean the Angel of Death never dies?

Richards, not here! Starsky will see us!

Captain, not now! Starsky will see you!

You made me knock over all my peanuts!

Kate goes running back to Jimmy Brady with news of her remission, declaring, “I’m going to live!” Brady responds with the best comeback line in this episode: “With all due respect, lady, no you ain’t!” There’s no calling off the Angel of Death, especially not after he’s disconnected his number. Never mind, Kate knows Hutch will save her. She’s not so sure about Starsky, though. Interrupted from his heavy hitting on the gloriously geeky Officer Minnie, Starsky refuses to take the hint from Kate to take off, and he stands around alternately Vogue-ing and giving her puppy dog eyes. This makes it difficult for Kate to confess her stupidity to her former ‘friend’.

There’s a brief classical-Muzak themed interlude with the Angel, who is building more bombs and playing chess with himself, before we return to Brady. Starsky threatens Brady’s nuts. In fact, he throws Brady’s nuts in a garbage can. His *peanuts*, unfortunately. Brady takes the hint, but – predictably – he can’t reach the Angel to call off the hit.

Hutch takes Kate home, and since her garage is full of antiques they protect her car with a tarp (EH speculates that it was marketed as bomb proof by one of her shifty Belfast cousins). They flirt in slo-mo, but we do learn the interesting canon point that it’s been seven years since they last ‘saw’ each other (1971). Given that the last time he saw Vanessa was in ’73 or ’74, we cry out, “Hutchinson, you horndog!”

Over burgundy and beer, Hutch and Kate exchange personal philosophies. Kate refuses to face a future of wheelchairs, beds and bedpans, because evidently once your cheekbones collapse you can never walk again. Hutch chastises her with, “Do you think people in hospitals using bedpans are any less beautiful than you and me?” He sounds sincere, but the rat never dated poor Fifi, did he? Heck, he even brushed off the short, fat disco girl who hit on him in Discomania. Plus we all know how much time Hutch spends blow-drying his hair in the morning. Rebel speculates that he’s even got a cigarette lighter adaptor in his car for his hair dryer. EH wants her to write about the time he accidentally grabbed the dryer instead of his Magnum to make a bust.

Starsky, not here! Kate will see us!

Working retail too long leads inevitably to insanity.

Starsky admires Minnie's assets. He IS a trashy boy!

Sir, just because I'm in fashion, that doesn't mean I'm easy!

What’s a postman doing in a TV truck?

Kate heads off to her thrice-weekly cheekbone specialist’s appointment with the cop who was supposed to guard her house. Starsky and Hutch take off to stake out the Angel’s hotel room. The Angel – finding Kate’s house abandoned – very slowly picks the lock on Kate’s door and rigs her vanity table to explode. How many assassins does it take to change a light bulb? Just one, but it takes him twenty freaking minutes!

Meanwhile our dynamic duo have so far nabbed a bible salesman, a hooker and her trick, and a boss taking his secretary to lunch. This time they get it right, and the Angel surrenders with a smile and a shrug. Apparently anti-climatic is the order of the day. Hutch handcuffs him to a waterpipe on the wall, and then it’s just a matter of Drive, Starsky, Drive! And Run! Hutch, Run! Regrettably, Starsky and Hutch burst into Kate’s bathroom just in time to save her from the exploding light bulb. We were so hoping her vanity would prove fatal.

Finally, we’re at the tag. The Angel is going to trial, and Kate claims to have grown up enough to testify to her own stupidity. Starsky is all over Hutch, pawing him. The poor boy is obviously feeling neglected. Randolph the Magnificent pulls them up onto the stage to help Kate the Delicious Dumpling make camera history. The final “beauty and the beasts” moment is very reminiscent of the “dragons” scene in Starsky and Hutch, The Movie. Must be time to hit the snooze button.

After years of heathy eating, Hutch succumbs to temptation.

The script writer cruelly denies us quality hurt/comfort.

Hey, turning into Martin Shaw isn't a fate worse than death!

Death Has No Respect for Beauty

Bored already, EH begins obsessing over Starsky and Hutch’s reading material. Judicious use of the zoom function reveals that Hutch has the Diary of Anne Frank on his desk. We pray God there’s no intentional connection to this episode, because Kate is no Anne Frank.

Dobey dispatches our heroes to escort a witness to court. But a mysterious, well-dressed assassin gets there before them and dispatches the (Italian!) witness with a booby-trapped baby doll. The explosion wakes us up briefly, enough to note that the injured cop, Richards, is fondling Hutch’s thigh as he says, “I blew it, Starsky.” Geez, even their lovers can’t tell them apart?

Off to the toy-airplane airfield where the assassin, AKA the Angel of Death, is bringing death to annoying remote-controlled flying machines. Brady gives Angel five thousand of the eight thousand dollars Kate paid him. Angel says this will be his last job in Bay City, and that the number he gave Brady will be disconnected. He then inflicts several philosophical gems, such as, “with science, Jimmy, you can soar like an eagle or self-destruct like some hop-head”. Brady earns every penny of his $3,000 cut by not running away screaming from Mr. Creepifying.

Back at the precinct, while Hutch is trying to solve the case, EH spots “Have a Brush with Reality” on Starsky’s desk. It looks like a Learn-to-Draw book, but the title is appropriate given how divorced from reality this episode is. Unless all models spend their money on hit men instead of health insurance

We return to Kate (not-Moss), who is staring wistfully into a mirror while fondling her cheekbones. The audience is presumably supposed to be on the edge of their seats now, but frankly we’re too sleepy to care. Kate’s doctor makes a house call and informs her that the rumors of her death were greatly exaggerated. Kate looks joyful. And then she looks joyful. And then she looks joyful some more. We had to use slow-motion play to spot the moment reality hits her. Then again, it could have been just a random facial twitch.

Puppy dog eyes never work on Hutch...

...maybe Starsky should have offered Hutch his nuts!

Hutch, I know you mean well, but you're squishing my nose!

Turkey Buzzard, this is Chicken Little, do you read me?

Hurray, it’s morning, and Starsky has a walkie-talkie! But it’s not working, because they’re sharing the same frequency as the Angel of Death. Hutch wanders outside, saying, “My doohickey here got jammed.” Starsky’s response is an innuendo-laden, “I’m sure it did.” Hutch accidentally sets off the bomb in Kate’s car, which overnight mysteriously turned from a Mercedes into a Mustang. But finally, there’s some Starsky and Hutch patented clutching. Until Ms. Shallow gets in the way. The audience relapses into its coma.

Back at the precinct, Dobey announces that it was “another bomb made by a toy.” We always knew walkie-talkies were toys for boys, but we’ve never heard a cop admit it. Hutch is sitting at Starsky’s desk reading “World of Toys” magazine, which makes sense. However, EH notices that either he or Starsky are reading Dr. Zhivago, and that book’s theme of man’s inhumanity to man only applies if you believe supermodels are human. Rebel notices that Hutch’s shirt has little houses on it.

A bizarrely pointless interlude introduces a flamingly homosexual toyshop owner, who is hopeful this visit by the handsome duo is a “stick up”. Starsky and Hutch are not impressed. The toy shop owner can only offer them the Angel’s old address, which they already knew, and a toy shrunken head, which they avoid. However we wake up when Starsky looks at the toy trains, looks at Hutch, and then turns around and appears to adjust himself. Could Starsky have a train fetish?

However, we’re soon nodding off again, as we watch the slowest bomb construction sequence in TV history. Even Starsky’s asleep back at the precinct, his face hidden by a magazine. Minnie mocks him while Starsky stares at her ass. She solves the case by pointing out the obvious – anyone who subscribes to magazines will leave a forwarding address at the post office. Starsky tosses more innuendo her way, and she calls him a “trashy boy”. Clearly Starsky’s hard up for some loving, since Hutch is off at photo shoots with Kate. Hutch is breathing down Randolph-the-Magnificent-Fashion-Photographer’s neck, played with swishy verve by Hill Street’s Jeffrey Tambor.

Alas, Hutch chooses Kate for some afternoon delight, but fortunately all we have to watch is their frolicking in the bathroom until he’s as much of a drip as she is. Starsky arrives and stares at them disapprovingly before revealing that he’s tracked down Walter Allen AKA “The Angel of Death.” Hutch is so stunned that Starsky solved the case without his help, he mistakes a seashell for a phone.

"Starsk, that's not where you check a lady's pulse."

Hutch really enjoys "Talk Like a Pirate Day".

Good Questions to Ask Yourself

1. The Angel gave up extremely easily for someone who is supposed to be a ruthless assassin. Does he have a secret plan? Will he rig the Bible to explode while Kate is swearing to tell the truth, or will he plant a bomb in the judge’s gavel and escape in the ensuing confusion?

2. Hutch’s fling with Kate is very close time-wise to his marriage with Vanessa. Did Hutch cheat on Van? Or did he marry Van on the rebound after Kate dumped him?

3. Why was the script-writer so cagey about actually saying Kate has cancer (unlike the DVD summary writer)? Yet, in *Hutchinson for Murder One*, Van had no difficulty claiming to have cancer (yes, it was a lie, but still she said it). Is “cancer” a verboten word on seventies TV or just for this eppy?

S: "Freeze!" H: "Sorry, sir. We didn't mean to interrupt you and your secretary's working lunch."



April 12, 2007