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The Baywatch Movie is (Sort Of) in the TV Show's Continuity

Yasmine Bleeth, Jason Simmons, Pamela Anderson, David Hasselhoff Gina Lee Nolin, David Chokachi and Alexandra Paul in Baywatch.

Baywatch's David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson Cameos Explained

The Hoff is part of three scenes. The first is a simple visual gag when Mitch gives Brody the keys to Lifeguard Hut 1 after being stripped of command; saying they were given to him by his mentor, he flips them over to show an image of Hasselhoff. Later when working in a Switch cell phone store, old Mitch turns up in the flesh to tell new Mitch to get back to it (in the process drawing attention to their strange naming). And, finally, at the end of the credits' gag reel we get the two actors sat together on a beach discussing the possibility of David being more prominent in a sequel.

Anderson's role is shorter but does pay off a running gag. She turns up at the very end of the film, introduced as Casey from the Hawaii division (a reference to the show's location shake-up for Season 10) before showing off her ability to move entirely in slow-motion (the film has previously contextualized the show's defining trait as the ultimate skill of any lifeguard). Unlike Hasselhoff's turn, this seems more like an obligation than anything truly important and the fact they don't recognize her as C.J. in contrast to Rohrbach's character further downplays the joke.

Of course, they're just quick winks for the benefit of long-time Baywatch fans rather than anything of real substance; a chance to catch-up with the icons, right? Ostensibly yes, but that does still leave us with a movie that is both remaking and sequelizing the TV show. From an overly analytical angle, all of this comes together to place us in a weird world where lifeguards feel it's their duty to protect the bay itself, the crew is a rolling series of the same names and archetypes, and most importantly those within Baywatch are oblivious to the ridiculousness while the rest stand by in disbelief.

When you think of the movie in those terms it's kind of glorious, so is something of a shame more wasn't explicitly done with this. Although the original Baywatch's genuine approach was what made it so endearing, in 2017 that straight-faced cheese has been replaced by knowing winks (care of Scream and Jump Street explicitly, but they're really just corners in a bigger cultural shift) and could have really elevated the film. We get certain scenes that allude to the idea, but they never go beyond the basic ho-hum reference joke; taken to completion it could have been a perfect commentary on the ethos of the Baywatch phenomenon and the very internal logic of the show.

Maybe we'll get more of this down the line. The mid-credits beat definitely lays down the gauntlet and should the film prove a hit - as is expected - then there'll be an audience ready for more; this angle was what got people so fired up about the film from the early trailers in the first place.

Although maybe we shouldn't be putting so much thought into this in the first place. It is just Baywatch, after all.

Next: Baywatch Review

Key Release Dates
  • Baywatch (2017) release date: May 25, 2017
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