I'll be honest with all of you right now. This blog entry is such that male readers will probably appreciate this much more than the female readers. Be warned.
So, summer is on its way out in a few weeks, and I know what you're all thinking. What a bummer, right? Those precious days of freedom are ticking away, and soon you'll be back in the halls of your school trying to remember your locker combination, trying to carry all your schoolbooks in one trip, and hoping you haven't forgotten too much of the history facts that you learned only last semester.
But you know, while we still have a little bit of summer vacation left, we might as well talk about topics that are summer themed, right?
Okay, so today is Friday, and as you all well know, Fridays are dedicated towards television programming. The problem is that there aren't really a whole lot of television programs that take place in a summer like beach setting.
Oh, sure, there's “Gilligan's Island”...but I already did an entry on that show months ago, and doubt that I could give another point of view on that particular show.
I suppose I could have done a feature on the short lived television program called “Paradise Beach”...but I've never seen it. And, it's just as well too because I heard it was rather lousy.
And, while there was a program called “China Beach”, I doubt that it would fit the mood of today's happy-go-lucky summer theme.
So, here is my quandary. I wanted to do a feature on a television show that epitomized the summer beach culture, but was having a lot of trouble finding a topic that fit.
So I reached back into the depths of my memory (also known as trying to remember childhood memories that I felt were long forgotten), and for some reason, I keep going back to the year 1996.
I remember that year well. It was the year that I finally ended up switching bedrooms after spending several years in a room that seemed as though it was the size of a green apple Jolly Rancher. I went from a room that would barely hold a twin bed and a chest of drawers to having enough floor space that I could feasibly strap on a pair of roller blades and go zooming around my room.
(I said feasibly. Whether or not I could actually do that without injuring myself...well, that would be debatable.)
Anyway, with the square footage in my new room being about four times the size of my old one, I really could go to town the way my new bedroom could look.
(Sometimes I really miss my old bedroom...)
So, keep in mind that at the time I moved into my new room, I was fifteen. Therefore, if you were to go back in time seventeen years to what my teenage bedroom looked like, you'd probably deem it no different from any other fifteen year old boy's room. I had a video game console (Super Nintendo, for those of you who were curious), I had a bookcase that was filled with mystery books and true crime novels (I was really into those as a teenager), and if you looked at the walls in my room, you'd likely see some posters hanging up on the walls that typical fifteen year old boys would have.
You know how a simple Farrah Fawcett poster from 1976 ended up being featured in many teenage boys bedrooms? Well, twenty years later, I had my own version of the Farrah Fawcett poster hanging up on my bedroom door. Would you like to see it?
Yes, that is Pamela Anderson in her signature red one-piece suit. What can I say? I was fifteen. And believe it or not, she wasn't my favourite Baywatch lifeguard.
Would you like to know who was though?
Well, you're in luck. Guys, as a special treat for you today, I thought that I would devote this blog to some of the “Babes of Baywatch”.
Ladies...I promise you all that I will make this up to you tomorrow by purposely picking out a topic solely for you all to enjoy. Promise.
I'm sure that most of you reading this have seen at least one episode of “Baywatch”. At one time, it was the most syndicated television program of all-time according to the Guinness Book of World Records. And believe it or not, the show lasted a grand total of twelve seasons between 1989 and 2001! I honestly thought it had gotten cancelled after season nine!
Anyway, I'm not going to sugarcoat it. “Baywatch” was a show that was never ever going to be recognized as a stellar program. The acting was debatable, the plot lines were contrived and ridiculous, and let's be perfectly honest...those slow motion segments were the epitome of cheese. And. I'm not talking your average brick of cheddar cheese that you can buy from most supermarkets for five bucks a pop. I'm talking real, stinky, disgusting limburger cheese here.
And yet as a teenager I had to watch “Baywatch” every chance I got.
It wasn't because of the fact that I found the program absolutely gripping television. In all honesty, a kindergarten student could probably draft a better script. It was because I found myself unable to break the gaze that I had upon the female lifeguards on “Baywatch”.
Again, keep in mind that I was a teenage boy once.
But which Baywatch beauty was I enamored with the most? Well, let's find out. I have a list of Baywatch lifeguards who once appeared on “Baywatch”. Some only lasted a season, while others lasted four or five. But one thing was the same. They all saved a whole lot of lives and got ensnared in love triangles and drama along the way.
Let's start at the very beginning and work our way up as we talk about the female lifeguards of “Baywatch”.
Portrayed by Shawn Weatherly (1989-1990)
Jill Riley didn't actually last that long on the series. She was only on for nineteen episodes of the show's first season. But she knew her stuff. She was the senior most female lifeguard on the staff (Mitch Buchannon was the only lifeguard who had more experience), and she often trained other female lifeguards how to do their jobs and do them well (the next lifeguard you will see on this list is proof of that).
Sadly, Jill didn't make it to season two. She was attacked by a shark and later died as a result of the injuries sustained in the attack. She was the first “Baywatch” cast member to be killed off the show, but not the last.
Portrayed by Erika Eleniak (1989-1992)
Yes, Elliot's crush in the movie “E.T. : The Extra Terrestrial” grew up to become a lifeguard on Baywatch for three years, leaving the show at the tail end of 1992. She was one of the lifeguards that Jill Riley was training on the series, and when Jill died, Shauni really took her death hard. It was because of Jill that Shauni got over her fear of watching people drown, and with encouragement from Mitch and Jill got over her fear.
She would also start up a relationship with her co-worker Eddie Kramer (Billy Warlock), and both left the series in the third season to get married and take jobs in Australia. It was sad to see Shauni go, as for some time she was the only female lifeguard to be a main character. But with Shauni's departure came another blonde lifeguard who made all the men do a double take.
CASEY JEAN “C.J.” PARKER
Portrayed by Pamela Anderson (1992-1997)
Okay, so as I explained before, Pamela Anderson's poster hung on the door of my teenage bedroom. But she wasn't my favourite lifeguard. I liked her, don't get me wrong, but other than her...ample assets...she didn't really stand out all that much.
The character of C.J. Parker first appeared on “Baywatch” in 1992, on the same episode that Shauni left. Fresh from her stint as the “Tool Time Girl” on “Home Improvement”, C.J. quickly made an impression on the beach. She saved a lot of lives on the show, got involved romantically with several suitors, and Pamela Anderson especially loved the role because it allowed her to incorporate her own New Age style personality into the role. Not exactly sure what that meant, but looking back on it, C.J. Parker did seem kind of like a hippie child reincarnated in the 1990s.
Portrayed by Nicole Eggert (1992-1994)
Once upon a time, a young girl named Nicole Eggert was on the television series “Charles in Charge”. A few years later, she took on the role of Summer Quinn on “Baywatch”, junior lifeguard and best friend of Matt Brody (David Charvet). Summer and her mother settled in California after going cross country to get away from her mother's abusive ex-boyfriend. She was very nervous about lifeguard training, and was afraid to leap off of the pier until Matt helped her overcome her fear. During Summer's time on the show, her mother's ex-boyfriend was arrested, and she began dating a professional surfer before moving on to date Matt. But Summer also suffered from an eating disorder (which she overcame), and when she and Matt called it quits, she moved to Pittsburgh.
Portrayed by Alexandra Paul (1992-1997)
Ah, Stephanie. I loved Stephanie. And, right away, I see you staring daggers at me. How can you love Stephanie? She was the toughest broad on the whole show and she was only there to be a kill-joy!
Yes, Stephanie may have been all of those things and more. But unlike all of the other female lifeguards, I felt like she took her job very seriously. And she also had brains to go with the beauty that she had (and yes, I thought she was very beautiful). And hey, she had one of the most spectacular death scenes on the whole series.
Yes, Stephanie lost her life in the middle of the ocean on a boat, when a lightning bolt caused the mast of the boat to crush her to death, devastating her new husband, Tom, as well as the entire staff of “Baywatch”. Before that, she probably saved more lives than anyone on the show (well, next to Mitch that is). In fact, before Stephanie married Tom, she was involved in an on-again, off-again relationship with Mitch that lasted the better part of three and a half years.
And Stephanie wasn't the only Holden to become a lifeguard.
Portrayed by Yasmine Bleeth (1994-1998)
You know, maybe I just had a thing for brunettes, because I also had a huge crush on Caroline Holden as well. Part of me wonders if the Holden sisters were named after the Princesses of the Royal Family of Monaco, and if they had a brother named Albert. Whatever the case, Caroline came onto the show in 1994 to announce her wedding plans to Stephanie, but the marriage didn't work out, and she came back to “Baywatch” later that year to become a lifeguard (getting caught in an earthquake the very night she arrived). She and C.J. Parker became roommates and best friends, and she, C.J., and Stephanie made up the trifecta of Baywatch beauties in the mid-1990s. Caroline ends up dating Logan Fowler (Jaason Simmons) and J.D. Darius (Michael Bergin) before leaving the series in 1998 to star on daytime soap opera “Shannon's Hope”.
TRIVIA: Yasmine Bleeth actually starred on a soap opera called “Ryan's Hope”.
Portrayed by Heather Campbell (1995)
Portrayed by Gena Lee Nolin (1995-1998)
Portrayed by Jennifer Campbell (1999)
Yes, Neely was played by three different actresses on the show. But the one I liked best was former Price is Right model Gena Lee Nolin. And unlike most of the other “Baywatch” female lifeguards, Neely was a bit different.
She was a raging, jealous bitch.
In her earliest appearances, Neely was manipulative, scheming, and insecure, and she instantly got on the wrong side of C.J., Caroline, and Stephanie. She also got Matt Brody in a world of trouble after he caught her drinking on the job when she falsely accused him of sexually harassing her. Matt and C.J. exposed Neely's lies, and she was initially let go from her job – until Stephanie was forced to rehire her after Neely dropped her lawsuit against the county. Although Neely did start to become a more likeable character by the end of Gena Lee Nolin's run, she was always considered to be just a little bit sneaky, and a lot insecure. I wonder what Mitch Buchannon ever saw in her that he decided to marry her.
And, that's all that I have time to talk about this week. Mind you, there were other Baywatch beauties who appeared on the show. Brooke Burns, Kelly Packard, Traci Bingham, Donna D'Errico, and Carmen Electra. But these were the female lifeguards that I remember the most from my “Baywatch” viewing experiences.
(If only I could have learned CPR that easily.)