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Old 07-30-2015, 03:10 PM   #1
TMC
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Default 'Hang Time:' A teen sports sitcom that was terrible in every way

http://www.sportingnews.com/sport/st...ed-by-the-bell

Quote:
It’s not complicated: If you’re making a TV show or movie about sports, your job is to find people who can A) act and B) play sports. Failing that, construct your show in a way that hides how bad at sports your actors may be. Failing that, do one of the two effectively; not every show can be “Friday Night Lights.”

Hire good actors, or hire good athletes. Pick one. If there aren’t a lot of people out there with talent in both fields, there are plenty with talent in either.

In that way, it’s almost impressive to come across something that fails as spectacularly in both realms as “Hang Time.” The show, which ran from 1995-2000 on NBC, combines sub-“Saved By The Bell” plotting and performances with, truly, some of the most impossibly bad depictions of high school basketball ever recorded on film. I watched all 13 episodes of the first season in a few hours, and I hated it even more than I thought I would.

(It’s the middle of the summer. There’s not a lot going on in the sports world, and pageviews are pageviews. So, this started out as a silly, jokey thing. “You could marathon ‘Hang Time!’ It’ll be fun!” It wasn’t. I’m fine with wasting time — I do it every day. At times during this ordeal — and that’s really the only way to describe it — I questioned the direction my life and career had taken. Not to be overdramatic.)

Some background: “Hang Time” was, conceptually, “Saved By The Bell” on a basketball team. It ran on Saturday mornings and hit most of the same notes. There are Zack, Slater, Screech, Kelly, Jessie and Lisa proxies. Reggie Theus is Mr. Belding. Instead of hanging out at The Max, they all work at the mall. Each element is slightly altered and made much, much worse. Here's a summary from the show's Wikipedia page, because that's all it deserves:

"The series centered on the exploits of the Deering Tornados boys' varsity basketball team of the fictional Deering High School. In the pilot episode, Julie Connor (Daniella Deutscher) transfers to Deering High, after moving to Indiana from Chicago, Illinois. Although she meets some initial resistance from the male players on the team, Bill Fuller (Reggie Theus), the team's coach and a former player in the NBA, decides to make Julie the team's first female player after she shows off her basketball skills to the other members of the team – including star player Chris Atwater (David Hanson); Danny Mellon (Chad Gabriel), who develops a crush on Julie upon their first meeting; sometimes overconfident Michael Maxwell (Christian Belnavis) and country-bred Earl Hatfield (Robert Michael Ryan). Head cheerleader Mary Beth Pepperton (Megan Parlen) – whose father is a wealthy, self-made businessman – was initially jealous of Julie, particularly where her boyfriend for most of the first season (until the episode "Let's Get Ready to Rumble") Chris was concerned. Sam Morgan (Hillary Tuck) was the Tornados' team manager, and became Danny's girlfriend later in the season."

After the first season, the show bailed on any pretense it had on being a variation on the “SBTB” form and brought on Peter Engel as the executive producer. There was also a bunch of cast turnover. Anthony Anderson showed up eventually, as did, uh, Dick Butkus. That was the version of the show I remember watching, and it seemed better. Was it because I was 10? Probably. Kids are dumb!

But no, I got stuck with Season 1, which led to notes like Where is Dick Butkus? Why are the dimensions on the court so (messed) up? Danny is an a—? Why is the farmer also f—ing security guard? and I hope they poisoned the cake.

So, back to our original premise: The show is a spectacular, amazing failure on every level. The acting is as bad as you’ll see, and the basketball scenes unfold with flagrant disregard for the most basic tenets of the sport. Here are a few examples, after which we can all get on with our lives.

— 7-foot rims. Seconds into the intro, Danny — the Screech proxy I wished death upon several times during our afternoon together — dunks. Things devolve from there.

— The cut process is sadistic. At the end of the pilot — a little after the team manager explains a box-and-1 to a former NBA player — Theus publicly announces his roster in front of a packed gymnasium.

— There are seven players on the team.

— Danny practices in flannel cut-offs.

— This is the captain.

— They don’t get fandom right, either.

“Let’s go Jordan!” vs. "Great move by Jordan." Tough.

These are all from the first few episodes. In totality, I watched 13. Aside from the time I wrote "decent entry pass from Chris to Earl" in my notes, it didn't get any better. Once you laugh at stuff like "anonymous sources in a high school paper" and Ahmad Rashad cameos, there's no fun to be had. I was mad at Chris Littmann for suggesting it by Episode 3, and I'm still mad now.

So it fails on that level, too; there's nothing redemptive about it. It's sports, TV writing and acting at their absolute worst. It's too boring to be an effective hate-watch and it wasn't ubiquitous enough to hit any nostalgia buttons. Don't watch "Hang Time." "Hang Time" is bad.

Last edited by TMC : 08-01-2015 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 07-30-2015, 08:17 PM   #2
Sonny Carson
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Hang Time wasn't a great show by means but the second and third seasons weren't bad at all. I'd take them over any of those horrible teen Disney show's they hat on right now. Anthony Anderson was hilarious as Teddy and made the show tolerable. It sounds like he's only rewarded the first season which was bad, so I can't agree with him that it was horrible!
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:25 PM   #3
irehtman
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I don't think Hang Time wasn't that too bad at all.

The reason why half of the first season left is because their talent may have grown too post-mature very quickly.

Amy and Josh were the bad choices in season 2 and Rico and Hammer were the worst choices of this show in season 4.

I know too many cast changes is considered bad, but not really worst yet in this show. As long as this type of cast changes in this show is even-numbered and they don't change both the main important actress/character (Daniella Deutscher as Julie Connor) and the most funniest supporting actress/character (Megan Parlen as Mary Beth Pepperton), that should should permanently count as good positivity from the public.

The focus is on females trying to buildup on more female sports, by trying to establish connections on many sports.

We are about to celebrate this show's 20th Anniversary next month. But I think both actresses Daniella Deutscher and Megan Parlen should first reunite, then both actress Amber Baretto and actor Adam Frost should join in next, and so on...

This female basketball player first entering into a male basketball team is true in real life on how female athleticism began. Basketball was first created in 1891 with all males, then first females entered in 1893 and become success. The first female basketball teams were then first created in 1895. Then other sports followed: Baseball->Softball, Hockey->Field Hockey, Soccer, Lacrosse, Track And Field and Swimming and so on...

Hang Time began in 1995 and that is one century apart after the first female basketball
teams were first created.

Last edited by irehtman : 08-02-2015 at 07:28 PM. Reason: additional info.
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:30 PM   #4
irehtman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny Carson
Hang Time wasn't a great show by means but the second and third seasons weren't bad at all. I'd take them over any of those horrible teen Disney show's they hat on right now. Anthony Anderson was hilarious as Teddy and made the show tolerable. It sounds like he's only rewarded the first season which was bad, so I can't agree with him that it was horrible!

If Anthony appeared since season 1, then he would have stayed in this series completely. Unfortunately he may have multiplied his effort trying to save this show too quick.

Dick Dutkus is an actor, but more of a supporting type permanently. At least he was not as worse as these horrible deceased grumpy actors: Dolph Sweet (Gimme A Break!) and Vic Tayback (Alice).
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