The Starsky & Hutch Hen Party
AKA Rebelcat and Elizabeth Helena

Bay City’s Family Therapy
AKA “Starsky's Brother”

Original Air Date: Tuesday, Dec. 19, 1978

According to the DVD Episode Guide: “Starsky is thrilled that his younger brother Nick is visiting, until federal agents tell Starsky they think his brother is mixed up with counterfeiters.”

Now maybe it's just insanity induced by watching too much Dr. Phil, but we think the Starsky family could use some serious therapy.

Where the hell is Starsky!

For the second week in a row, Hutch is faced with the obsolete TV premise that the domestic abuse of men is a laugh riot. As this female perp is built like a Teamster trucker and she hospitalized her 106 pound philandering hubby with a baseball bat, we doubt this scene was ever funny. Thank God David Soul plays the scene straight, so we believe Hutch when he suggests charging Lorena Bobbitt’s role model with “first degree husband beating.”

Thankfully, Dobey wants to update Hutch on an ongoing case involving money forgery and the Feds. We’re distracted by Dobey eating his lunch right out of a can. Geez, The Game was just a few months ago! Dobey casually mentions that this week’s baddie is Stryker, which is the same name as the bad guy who killed his partner Elmo Jackson. Either this is a different Stryker from the one in Snowstorm, or memory loss is an early sign of chili botulism. The Cap is angry, but only because Starsky is late, while Hutch doesn’t appear to care at all. Frustrated, we yell at the TV, “Did you guys ever WATCH the show?”

We now visit Bay City’s International airport, and if you had an 11 inch black and white TV back in 1978 you might have mistaken the man sweet talkin’ a stewardess for Starsky. Due to Rebel’s 2003 55 inch flatscreen TV, we know that’s not Starsky’s ass! Wait, it is a Starsky ass, after all. Our Starsky is picking up his little brother Nick - and Nick’s date, because Dave Starsky got all the sexy genes (and jeans). Nick wants big bro out of the dating scene so he has a chance, and keeps hinting that Starsky should be at least shacked up by now, if not married. It’s been two years, says Nick, which puzzles us as Hutch says later on that Starsky hasn’t seen Nick for four years. Dear God, it’s a reference to Starsky’s Lady! The lack of ensuing Terry angst and Hutch comforting is almost as annoying as Nick’s imitation of Fonzie.

Hutch and Dobey find Nick aaay-ppealing when the brothers visit the squad room. Starsky flaunts his hooky-playing in front of Dobey, and Hutch tries to get fired by making fun of the Captain’s weight again. In fact, the series’ ending arc is also foreshadowed when Hutch and Nick joke about the “very chic” squad room needing to be condemned (AKA renovated), and Dobey says that Starsky’s excuse for being late had better be as good as the one he has for being alive. The Cap even tells Nick: “I’m humbled that you decided to join us.”

Oh no, the Powers That Were really were going to replace our Starsky with Starsky Lite for Season 5! Nick seems a bit immature to be cop material, but we wonder if he could have pulled off being Hutch’s snitch. Sure, he wouldn’t be an urban informer of Huggy’s stature, but at least he’s no Fat Rolly. At any rate, Starsky hustles Nick into the hallway, so Hutch can duck out the back and beat them home in time to get his toothbrush out of Starsky’s bathroom. After all, we don't buy Starsky’s story about a female mystery lover who has no name. Plus, Hutch is wearing his glass cornicello which is his secret signal that he just got boffed.

Starsky Heaven - even the waitresses are dressed like Torinos!

So if Hutch is closer to Starsky than his brother - how does he breathe?

Now we know why Nick went bad - it was all Starsky's fault!

Our eyes! They're burning! We take it back - Nick really IS evil incarnate!

Why didn’t you ask about Nick?

A Fed named Welland questions Starsky about Nick having lunch at Stryker’s restaurant, but Starsky refuses to confess to his family’s secret red and white velvet fetish. Meanwhile, Stryker learns that his missing currency plates have re-appeared, but he decides to get rid of his nosy Federal neighbors first. Just as Starsky and Hutch are climbing the stairs to visit Bay City’s Big Brother set, Jake uses the Angel of Death’s leftover toys to blow up the Feds real good. Hutch, the bomb magnet, goes flying over the staircase head first, and Starsky jumps after him.

Other than aching heads, they both emerge unscathed, but one of the Fed Red Shirts doesn’t make it. Welland is foaming at the mouth about Nick, but Starsky growls that they should have kept an eye on Stryker instead of his little brother. Hutch prevents a fight via some strategically applied clutching of Starsky. After an x-rated deleted scene, Hutch provides a different kind of back-up, while Starsky threatens to bury Stryker in the rubble. Afterward, Hutch speculates that Nick’s sudden visit to Bay City is a cry for help to his big brother, but Starsky is knee deep in denial.

At The Pits, Huggy observes that our heroes can’t live without him, but it’s Hutch who snuggles right up against him and says, “who else would be dumb enough to take our credit?” Huggy declares “love makes fools of us” and arm in arm Hutch and Huggy saunter off to. . . join Nick at a table, damn it. Nick asks Hutch how things went with Marlene last night, and the boys confront Nick about Stryker to draw attention away from whoever the heck Hutch is actually shagging.

Nick comes clean about visiting The Velvet Slide, but plays coy about knowing Stryker is bad news. Nick might not know just how bad Stryker is, but only Starsky believes his little brother’s promise that he’ll steer clear of him. Naturally, Nick immediately visits Stryker who tries to convince him that “little boys play with weed; big boys play with coke.” However, Nick just wants to deal enough marijuana to fund his off the rack disco outfits, and who didn’t in the 70s? Okay, other than Starsky and Hutch. And possibly Dobey.

Huggy calls Hutch asking him to come back to The Pits alone. Apparently, Hutch has used the excuse of forgetting his wallet too many times, for Starsky looks heartbroken. However, Huggy hasn’t invited Hutch over for some clandestine hugging, but to inform Hutch that The Pit’s new dealer of no-name cigarettes is none other than Starsky’s brother. Hutch, now looking heartbroken himself, immediately goes to Starsky’s apartment to confront Nick over interfering with his love life – ah, we mean to confront Nick about selfishly risking Starsky’s career. Just then big brother walks in, forcing them to explain that they’re just practicing for a play called, “Frankly I don’t give a damn what happens to you, but I do care about what happens to your brother.”

Remember the Star Trek episode where Good Kirk wouldn't let Evil Kirk eat? No?

Dum dum, dum dum, dun dun dundundundun! It's shark season in Bay City!

Mess with my brother again, and I'll eat your liver with fries and a cold brew!

Nick contemplates taking a bat to the home team's kneecaps.

Okay lady, stop flirting and confess where you buried Jimmy Hoffa!

Hey, Starsky's only supposed to stick his hands in Hutch's pockets!

Stryker might be more successful if he stopped using poster paper.

Dobey and Starsky both wonder if Nick's intentions are strictly honorable.

If you did so good, where are the girls?

We now visit “The Velvet Slide” which is bad guy Frank Stryker’s base of operations. This Stryker is younger than the one who hung Elmo Jackson on a meat hook, so maybe the name’s the Bay City equivalent of Smith. Stryker is complaining to his attorney Victor that Cubby sold him out to Starsky and Hutch, and that he’s going to have big and burly Jake “do” him. Yep, Victor is as dirty as his funny money printing client, and one way or another, Huggy’s cousin Cubby Bear is in big trouble. But first, Jake announces a friend of Tony Marcano from New York wants to see Stryker, and gasp. . . ah, we can’t even pretend to be surprised it’s Nick.

To Nick’s credit, he’s very punctual about checking in with the local mob, and he looks pretty uncomfortable at the prospect of being Stryker’s bitch instead of Hutch’s snitch. Afterward, Nick engages in some retail therapy, and that night brags to big brother that he bought his new suit “off the rack”. We now suspect that Nick turned to petty crime because Ma Starsky forced her boys to wear handmade sailor suits.

The Starsky boys bravely sublimate their childhood trauma into a night of disco dancing with Hutch and three stewardesses. Marlene, who Starsky had stolen from his brother, dumps Curly for Blondie despite his leopard spotted leisure wear. She later regrets this move when she witnesses the patented Starsky shimmy on the dance floor, declaring, “Such a fox.” As TV writers believe embarrassing people is as funny as spousal abuse, Hutch initially thinks she’s talking about him. Ms. Rude then asks Hutch to agree that Starsky’s the sexy one. Hutch mumbles that Starsky’s “dynamite” with a look on his face that is either gen-ny annoyance or slashy ‘I’m not supposed to admit this in public’. Meanwhile after an evening of ignoring Charlie’s Air Hostesses, the two brothers now ditch their dates to close-dance with each other. We’ll leave it to Dr. Phil to analyze that behavior.

Much later, they stumble home totally sloshed. Starsky’s pleased as spiked punch regarding his own performance at the disco, but Nick doesn’t believe that a night when they didn’t bring home any gals qualifies as good. Uh oh, looks like Starsky’s too drunk to cover for his new undercover lifestyle. Fortunately, Nick moves on to argue that Starsky should stop being a cop because that lifestyle is all about dodging fists and bullets, with no girls, no money, and no respect. He’s not far wrong, and even Starsky’s at a loss for words, although he might just be stunned by Nick’s really bad Sylvester Stallone impression. Still, it’s sweet the way Nicks wants the best for his brother, despite the fact that Starsky’s clearly a hair puller. So, we’re willing to forgive Nick for lounging half-naked the next morning on Starky’s couch in a Tiger Beat pose, and then borrowing without asking Starsky’s powder blue suit jacket and red shirt from The Bait. At least, Nick doesn’t steal the matching trousers, for no matter what the writers thought about him filling his brother’s shoes, he sure as heck couldn’t fill out Starsky’s pants.

One button blows up the Feds. The other blows us up. But which is it?

Oh, hey guys! This isn't what it looks like!

Oh, hey big brother! This isn't what it looks like!

Oh, hey Starsky! This isn't what it looks like... okay, yes it is.

Who’s the Home Team?

After Hutch leaves, Starsky’s ready for some good old fashioned family therapy AKA little brother smack down. As he removes his watch and rolls up his sleeves, Nick runs to the kitchen to try to liquor up his brother before the pummeling starts. Starsky blocks his access to the fridge, and it’s such a smooth move we suspect he learned it from his Ma or Aunt Rosie. No wonder Curly’s always hungry, he’s making up for all the missed meals of his misspent youth.

“You’re letting me down, kiddo,” Starsky says, but Nick argues that pushing weed and selling the occasional stereo that falls off a truck is a victimless crime. His stealing from the rich to sell to the poor spiel doesn’t impress Starsky, and even Nick doesn’t sound like he believes he’s a mod Robin Hood. Heck, Nick isn’t even a convincing hood, what with his money back guarantee on all hot merchandise. Still, Nick the Hoodie knows where to hit Starsky where it hurts. He alleges that when Starsky went west, it was all his old buddies and mentors who taught his little brother their shady version of right from wrong. After playing the powerful abandoned brother Yu-Gi-Oh! card, Nick stomps off, leaving behind a wibbly Starsk.

Starsky’s old gang also neglected to teach Nick any survival skills, for not only does he accept a courier job from Stryker, he's also shocked to learn that Stryker’s messenger boys don’t die of old age. However, when Nick learns that a cop is about to be prematurely retired, he runs off to warn Starsky by phone. Yep, Nick’s actually thinking about someone other than himself. It’s a shame his personal growth experience is a trap, and he’s soon making ransom demand tapes for Stryker.

The Feds are clueless, so it’s a good thing that Nick’s heart growing three sizes that day also led to a comparable expansion of his frontal lobe. He mentions 104th Street on the tape, where he actually held down a legit job until he got fired for spilling printer’s ink. Starsky makes the connection between Nick’s checkered employment history and a printing press owned by Stryker’s attorney Victor. Bay City’s Finest are soon invading Carmell Printing, and Ninja!Hutch stealthily disarms Jake. Starsky’s in more of a Mike Tyson mood and Stryker’s lucky to still have both ears for his mug shot.

Starsky rushes off to find Nick, but once he’s sure his little brother is okay, it’s payback time. After making Starsky wibble, Nick needs to be reminded of the status quo, and him being gagged makes it all the easier. Besides, Starsky helps Nick start earning the money to pay for his future shrink sessions, by helping his younger brother hustle Hutch and Huggy at the pool table. It appears that Starsky is at peace with the fact that his brother will one day take Sweet Alice’s place as the mostly victimless criminal snitch. Either that, or there’ll be a 30th year reunion show hosted by Dr. Phil in 2008.

Good Questions to Ask Yourself

1. For those of you old enough to remember – was the opening
scene ever funny? The wa-wa music would seem to indicate that
we’re supposed to be laughing, but all we can think of is the
106 lb man that baseball bat wielding harridan hospitalized.
At least Andy Capp always gave as good as he got.

2.Starsky ditches work. He never does his reports. His
receipts are a mess. Does Dobey only keep him around so he
won’t lose Hutchinson (who is clearly burned out)? In fact –
is Dobey working with Gunther to replace one Starsky with
another, hoping Hutch won’t notice? Discuss.

3. How come Ma Starsky didn’t teach Nick right from wrong?
For that matter, is Ma’s apartment chock full of hot
electronics? And could Pa have been something shadier than
a cop? What does this episode tell us about Starsky’s
family background?

Come tell Dr. Starsky all your troubles. Drunk? M'not drunshk.



April 20, 2007