The Starsky & Hutch Hen Party
AKA Rebelcat and Elizabeth Helena

Bay City's Clichés
AKA "The Heavyweight"

Original Air Date: Saturday, Jan. 14, 1978

According to the DVD Episode Guide: "A former boxing champ's life is endangered after he refuses to throw a fight for a vicious racketeer."

We believe the only danger this episode poses is to the viewer's mind as the critical mass of clichés, coincidences and plot holes might cause brain cells to explode.  Messily.

“This turkey’s wings are worn down to stubs.”


We begin in a warehouse where a hapless Red Shirt... er, we mean Bay City Cop, is getting beaten to death by a multiracial pair of evil dudes. In the background, lurks their evil boss, Haley Gavin, dressed like a 1940s mobster complete with evil fedora. In other words, it’s just another week in Bay City, including the hapless witness who this time is a down-on-his-luck prize fighter, Jimmy Spenser AKA Spense.


The next morning in Dobey’s office, Starsky is splashing cold water on his eyes and bragging about being up all night schtupping the stewardess of the week. Hutch, clearly jealous that it’s Starsky’s turn to be the hot stud, swaps Starsky’s water for hot coffee. Hell hath no fury like a Hutch scorned. Dobey stomps in and informs them that it’s time for them to solve yet another cop killing.


Or perhaps earn the BCPD much needed money to train more lambs for the slaughter. . . uh, we mean bolster the Police Academy’s overstrained budget. For several days later, Starsky and Hutch are still working on the docks, haphazardly loading boxes of canned fruit onto a flatbed truck. Starsky complains that all the hard physical labor is putting a damper on his love life. Hutch isn’t sympathetic. He evidently thinks that the less sex Starsky gets with other blonds, the better.


Just as they are almost finished loading the truck, the multicultural murderers show up to finish the job. . . of loading the boxes. Apparently, whoever finishes loading the goods gets paid, so we now have a showdown between our heroes and the evil goons Berl and Cruiser.  If you’ve watched any TV during the past four decades, you’ll recognize Cruiser as he’s played by the omnipresent stuntman/actor Bob Minor. Darryl B. Smith plays Berl, and you might remember him from such films as. . . um, the only other one he did. Not that we’re implying that Starsky and Hutch killed his acting career or anything. . .


Where were we? Oh yes, Spense the boxer/murder witness shows up just in time to save Starsky and Hutch from being pummeled. We'd be tempted to call this a plot hole, but we’re used to coincidences like this happening all the time in Bay City.

Hutch is determined to get SOMETHING of Starsky's into his mouth.

Panicked, Starsky suddenly realizes BOTH blonds are after his body.

But Mr. Hutch, everyone else gets to play with Starsky!

“With love from the boys at work.”


Starsky, Sharon, Hutch and the kid all visit Spense after the fight. He asks Starsky and Hutch to drive his son home, which made sense to us until we realized Spense doesn’t know they’re cops. Clearly he’s desperate to get his son out of the way before Gavin’s thugs arrive, and Spence’s fear makes Hutch suspicious.


Out in the hallway, Hutch forces Starsky to ditch his date and the kid so they can snoop around. Sharon isn’t pleased. “Keep this up and you’ll be back in the bull pen before long.” Hutch smirks, anticipating Starsky’s return to his bull bordello.  But he might have to carry him there, as Starsky appears to be so ready to re-schtupp Sharon he's having trouble walking.


Back in the locker room, Gavin’s goons have arrived with pipes in hand all ready to beat up Spense. Starsky and Hutch show up just in time to join in the hijinks.  Bad guys and tables fly through the air, but the sexual frustration they’re experiencing interferes with their psychic connection. Hutch barely blocks a punch from his partner, and actually slugs Starsky in the gut before they both realize that they’re fighting each other. Cops really do need love too! Blue balls must never be allowed to endanger the thin blue line.


Despite their private pain, Starsky and Hutch manage to toss the bad guys out of the locker room. Spense claims that it was all a big misunderstanding, and our skeptical heroes flash their badges at him along with a glamor shot of the dead cop.


Spense blurts out that he witnessed the cop killing, but refuses to testify against Gavin for fear of being murdered too. He doesn’t seem to realize that making a mobster lose lots of money on a fixed fight doesn’t usually lead to a slap on the wrist. He also doesn’t ask Starsky and Hutch what they did with his son. We’re beginning to suspect that Spence has a glass frontal lobe.


Rather than question him further, Starsky and Hutch let him go. Next, they try to get Jeeter to finger Gavin, with as little luck. Starsky and Hutch then visit Spense’s estranged wife, where they inexplicably grill her on Spense’s whereabouts, telling her that they really need to talk to him.


But they were just talking to him, and didn’t bother following him when they had the chance. While this definitely is a plot hole, we enjoyed imagining the two of them driving away from the boxing ring, with Hutch suddenly slapping his forehead and exclaiming, “D’oh!”


Unfortunately, Berl, Cruiser and Gavin have staked out Mrs. Spenser’s place. Despite not recognizing Starsky, Hutch, or the Torino, Gavin concludes that Spense may soon talk to the police, and is now a liability they can’t afford. So now, thanks to Starsky and Hutch forgetting the rule about holding material witnesses, Spense really is marked for death.

By night 2 at Hutch's, Starsky had learned to sleep with one eye open.

"I was NOT flirting with him! HE was flirting with me!"

Gavin has won "Bay City's Sweetest Mobster" three years running.

“With friends like his, who needs enemies?”


Back at the precinct, Dobey is impatient with Starsky and Hutch’s lack of progress in the case. Hutch explains that Starsky’s been chasing grouse all night, implying that his partner is a hound dog. Jealousy is not a good look on him. Fortunately, he comes through for his pal, by telling Dobey that what he actually said was that they were watching a warehouse all night.


Dobey tells them that Robbery has already figured out that whenever a load comes into Gavin’s warehouse, part of it disappears. However, in order to put Gavin away for murder, they need Spense’s testimony. “I’m not going to tell you how to get it, just get it,” says Dobey. Starsky’s thoughtful expression suggests that visions of telephone books and rubber hoses are dancing in his head.


Meanwhile, Spense has returned to the gym to ask Jeeter for money so he can get out of town. The moment he leaves, Jeeter calls up Gavin. The mobster instructs him to lure Spense to the warehouse where the cop was killed, and says there’s five grand in it for him. Booker just happens to overhear the entire conversation, including Gavin’s side as Jeeter was considerate enough to repeat everything he said.


Over at Parker Center, Hutch tells Starsky to go home. Starsky, who stores his Beaujolais in the squad room’s filing cabinet, grabs a bottle and runs off to snog with Sharon. Hutch, facing another lonely evening of pining after Starsky, decides to visit Jeeter instead.


However, Spense gets there first. Booker informs him that Jeeter has sold him out. Spense is heartbroken. Without Jeeter’s friendship, he’s got nothing left to live for and he decides to confront Gavin at the Warehouse of Death. Apparently, he’s completely forgotten about his beloved son. Hutch arrives at the gym just a little too late to catch Spense. Booker, who has a terrific future ahead of him as a snitch, tells him everything.


While all of this is going down, Starsky is on his couch with Sharon, trying to snack on her face. Sadly, just as Sharon agrees to retire to the bedroom, the phone rings. Starsky wants to ignore the phone, but Sharon asks him to answer it because she’s on standby. So really, it’s all her fault when he has to leave.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t see it that way. Starsky rashly promises her that he’ll be back in half an hour. We’d be willing to wait all night, but then again, we would have pulled the phone cord out of the wall too.
In the ensuing race to the warehouse, Hutch drives like a normal, law-abiding cop while Starsky drives like a horny maniac. They arrive mere seconds apart even though Starsky is supposed to have been closer to their destination.

Starsky can't understand why he's being sexually harrassed at work.

"Hutch! You promised to stop putting knockout drops in my coffee!"

"Um, Starsk? I don't think jazz hands will help right now."

“In my day, I didn’t train on beer.”


Starsky and Hutch invite Spense and his elderly black trainer, Stereotype – ah, we mean Jeeter, out to The Pits for a drink. Everyone is chummy until Starsky asks if the warehouse boss Gavin is connected to the mob. Spense and Jeeter make tracks, and Starsky seems resigned to their sudden departure. Let’s face it, this isn’t the first time he’s cleared a room.


In this episode’s first (and only) shocking revelation, Huggy claims that he used to be a prize fighter. When Starsky and Hutch express the doubt in every viewer’s mind, he retorts, “Do you think I was born with my nose this way?” Starsky stares at Huggy’s nose with sheer adoration, while Hutch glances suspiciously at the two of them. He’s obviously worried about Starsky/Huggy slash. Keeping Starsky celibate isn’t easy.


We now fast-forward to the next night at the Olympic Boxing Ring. Starsky has brought his girlfriend, Sharon-the-Stewardess, while Hutch has brought. . . no one. There’s a small boy beside him, but Hutch refuses to share the popcorn he stole from Starsky with the tyke. Instead Hutch repeatedly tries, and fails, to divert Starsky’s attention away from his date.


There’s also three rounds of a pudgy, out-of-shape Spense fighting a sleek, muscular Booker Wayne. What Starsky and Hutch don’t know is that Spense had a visit from Gavin just before the fight. There’s big mob money riding on the outcome, so he ordered Spense to take a dive in the third round. Poor Spense cried on Jeeter’s shoulder, who wisely advised him to embrace this TV cliché and live to fight another day.


We find it a bit hard to swallow that the very first fight Starsky and Hutch’s new pal Spence invites them to see is also the very first time Gavin asked Spense to throw a fight. But this is far from the last coincidence or cliché we’re expected to choke down. The moment Spense hits the mat, the Adorable Urchin reveals his secret identity as Spence’s Hero-Worshipping Son. Naturally, Spense can’t break his son’s heart by taking a fall! With one mighty punch, he knocks the younger, fitter, but conveniently glass-jawed Booker unconscious.

This is the way they do sex education in Bay City.

"Get your hand off my boyfriend - uh, I mean, partner!"

Starsky wonders why he always ends up on his knees in locker rooms.

"Hutch, dammit! You're all talk and no follow-through."

“You don’t get points for neatness when you’re undercover.”


The next day at The Pits, Hutch is drowning his sorrows in beer while Starsky sleeps on his hand. Proving that Stalker Hutch is canon, Hutch tries to sneak up on Starsky, but to our disappointment Starsky wakes up before his partner can do anything nefarious.


Hutch takes much delight in Starsky’s woeful tale of thwarted stewardess nookie. Apparently Sharon had to wash her hair, and in the 1970's that was an all night undertaking. No, really. There was coloring, blowdrying, teasing and enough hairspraying to burn a hole through the ozone layer.


Huggy, the real detective in this episode, informs them that a man matching Spense’s description was seen checking into the Dolphin Hotel. Our heroes run right over for another chat with Spense. Starsky brags that they found him because they’re that good at what they do, but we know the truth. Their careers would have been long over without Huggy's mad snitching skillz, which is why Starsky’s been gazing at him with bedroom eyes lately.


Once again, Spense refuses to help them nail Gavin, and once again they leave. Bizarrely, they then dash over to the gym to beg Jeeter to tell them where Spense is hiding. This qualifies as a plot hole big enough to drive both the Torino and the Squash right through. Oh well, we enjoyed watching Starsky face off with the hot and bothered Booker.  He didn't appreciate being told that his fights had been fixed, and refused to listen when Hutch warned him that in ten years time he would be the new Spense, throwing fights for Gavin.


Jeeter runs out the back of the gym, only to bump into Gavin and his thugs. Intimidated by the thoughtful way Gavin straightens his collar, Jeeter promises to deliver his friend of twelve years into their hands. Gavin strolls into the gym and smugly confirms to Booker that the fight was supposed to be fixed. Booker is appalled. Starsky and Hutch were telling the truth! We're glad to see that even though Booker has a glass chin, his butt. . . oops, we mean his sense of honor is rock solid.

But, Starsk! That was supposed to be OUR Beaujolais!

Humming the Electric Company theme? You've just dated yourself!

"Wait, did he just moan Hutch's name?"

WE wouldn't kick Starsky out of bed for moaning Hutch's name!

You know it's a recession when the bad guys will kill for bananas.

"This relationships is over. Please assume the crash position."

“Right there, big boy. Slowly, on the crate.”


But suddenly we don’t care about any of this episode’s plot holes, clichés or coincidences, for Starsky’s a sexy beast when armed and dangerous. We completely understand Hutch’s jealousy now.


Then again, stealthy Hutch is pretty damn hot too. Where were we? Oh yes, to no one’s surprise, the dynamic duo save Spense’s life and round up the bad guys. Sadly for Starsky, he does not make it back to Sharon that night.


Everyone meets up the next day at The Pits for the heartwarming tag. Spense has reconciled with his wife, and has finally remembered that the kid jumping up and down on him is his son. Hutch is also a contented man, as Sharon has finally dumped Starsky.


Still, viewers are not supposed to draw a parallel between Spense and his wife, and Starsky and Hutch. We’re also not allowed to read anything into Starsky’s reaction to Hutch’s hyena-like laughter. There’s absolutely nothing sexual about Starsky spilling his beer onto Hutch’s crotch.
Nonetheless, your faithful reviewers have a lovely time imagining Starsky licking the beer off of Hutch after the credits rolled. Because if a canon episode can be this clichéd, we deserve to indulge ourselves in some PWP clichés of our own.


Good Questions to Ask Yourself


1. Starsky suggested to the bad guys that they could all work together in the “happy brotherhood of labor”. He’s such a good socialist! Could his father have been a union man, instead of a cop? Or did Starsky pick up these ideals on his own?


2. In one scene, we watch as Starsky and Hutch walk from the Torino into the Dolphin Hotel. Except on Rebel’s big screen TV, the blond man is clearly not David Soul and appears to have a bandaged right hand. On even closer inspection of the brunet’s wiggle, it’s obvious that he isn’t PMG either. Why did they use stunt doubles for a parking scene?


3. Why would Gavin print out invoices that could convict him, and then risk placing them inside the packing cases? Invoices are usually mailed afterward, while the only thing inside the crate would be a packing list from the original warehouse. Were his invoices (and fedora) a cry for help? Did Gavin secretly want to be caught by Starsky and Hutch?



October 13, 2008