I admit I love tags for TV shows and I miss that many shows today don’t have them. Then again I also miss TV shows that were self-contained episodes and not long drawn out arcs. But enough of that–I’m starting to sound like an old fuddy-duddy.
Only 5? How can I make myself pick only 5? Starsky and Hutch has a lot of great tags to episodes, so how did I decide? I focused on the tags that no matter how many times I watch them affect me emotionally. One other quick note: I tend to refer to the characters–not the actors playing them because Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul always make me believe Starsky and Hutch are real people with their marvelous acting. Here we go:
5. Starsky’s Lady–otherwise known as Starsky and Hutch get drunk and open Terry’s presents to them. I know this is a shock that I only have this in fifth place. I think for a lot of fans, this is one of the top, if not the top, choice for a perfect tag. I do love it. I love drunk Hutch on the phone to someone–is it really someone in Canada at the B.C. Lions desk? Or did he just dial some random number and is talking to someone who is very confused? I sort of like the latter idea even better. I love them sitting on the floor with candles and a Monopoly board and the presents. I love the quietness of it. It is a beautifully filmed and written tag. Not to mention it’s brilliantly acted. The tears in Starsky’s eyes, his “I’ll go first” and the little head nod and breath. Okay, I may be welling up just writing that! But then–oh my gosh–then, we get Hutch opening that present and those tears in his eyes. Seriously, how beautiful does he look with those tears that aren’t quite falling and his little nod and catch in his breath when he reads the note aloud. Sigh.
4. The Plague-Part 2: What? Is this sacrilege? Babs, did you actually put The Plague Part 2 above Starsky’s Lady? Yes, yes I did. After the emotional roller coaster of the two episodes of The Plague, this tag is sheer unbridled joy. Every time I watch it, I laugh and smile and enjoy the beauty that is Hutch all giddy and energized and ready to live life to the fullest. Although I do question his whole conversation with Judith. I mean, he has to know she has work to do in Alabama and we know a long distance relationship between them wouldn’t work. I love how he says that she’s afraid to take a chance now with no window separating them. Um, sure, Hutch. You keep on believing that! I love Starsky just standing back and letting the conversation play out before he takes Hutch by the arm and guides him away. I love Hutch talking about living 100 plus years and then, absolute joy and exuberance with the two of them. They are past the worst–what more could life throw at them in this moment–and they both give the biggest grins ever. They are practically running and I want to get up and run with them. It is joy at its purest and most beautiful.
3. Lady Blue–otherwise known as Hutch cooks dinner for his friend (boyfriend?). Lady Blue is another episode that tugs at the heartstrings. It deals with Starsky’s loss of a girlfriend although, unlike Starsky’s Lady, we never meet Helen. But it also deals with mental illness–and a man so tormented by his demons that he is compelled to kill. It also deals with compassion–Starsky’s anger isn’t so much with Commander Jim, but rather the system that has failed him. Jim is a victim as much as the women he has killed. That’s one of the reasons this tag is so sweet and lovely. It’s gentle after the horrors of earlier. Cooking a meal for someone is an act of love–whether platonic or familial or romantic. To cook someone their favorite meal–a meal that would take time to prepare (at least an hour)-instead of just calling for takeout is an act of love and service. It says, I care about you. I want to comfort you. I do this for no reason other than that I love you. And that’s exactly what we get in this tag. Hutch is sneaky–he hasn’t even told Starsky he is the guest of honor. Maybe it’s because he’s afraid Starsky will bug out, maybe he just wanted to surprise him. Whatever the reason, the delight on Starsky’s face when Hutch lets him know the meal is for him always makes me smile. I love the domestic nature of this tag. One gets the feeling that these two men have cooked meals for each other in the past although maybe not to the extent of using their best dishes and putting candles on the table. But the friendship and caring is so evident throughout the whole scene which is why it’s one of my favorite tags.
2. The Fix. I know that it is probably surprising that this is one of my favorite tags–or maybe it’s more surprising that it’s higher than Starsky’s Lady. Then again, I know everyone has their favorites and they might not always make sense to others. Is that me trying to rationalize why I love this tag so much? I will admit that one of the reasons this tag is so high in my list is shallow–I think Hutch is absolutely gorgeous in it! He’s been through so much in this episode and I love that one of the little touches is that he is still bruised. Jeannie is one of my least favorite characters in the series, but I do love her in this scene. I think she is stunningly beautiful–more so than at any other time during the episode and the goodbye between her and Hutch is heartbreaking although necessary. I mean truly there is no other way for their relationship (whatever it may have been) to end. I love Starsky giving Hutch time to say goodbye. And then we get the “wanna drive my car” line and the laughter. I recently found out that drive my car was a euphemism for intimate relations used throughout the 50s and 60s and into the 70s. So that may be the reason for the laugh when Starsky says it. Even if it isn’t taken as the euphemism it is, it can be seen as a loving gesture by Starsky towards his friend who has been through hell. Because right behind his love for Hutch is his love for his Torino. You get the feeling (even though we do see Hutch drive the Torino a few times) that this is not something Starsky would dream of offering to anyone else.
1 Sweet Revenge–the best ending ever of a drama TV series. Sweet Revenge is one of my favorite episodes. This tag has me laughing, crying, and being giddy right along with Starsky, Hutch, Dobey, and Huggy Bear. First we get Starsky who is healing quite nicely after being nearly killed–oh, and dying! He’s humming and then his partner, his buddy, his best friend, the person who was not going to ever give up on him, the person who would not rest until the man behind the attempt on their lives was brought to justice, sneaks in with a huge tray (okay it’s not a tray but I don’t know what those serving dishes are called) of stuffed veal. Just why this dish is what Starsky wanted or Hutch chose to bring him is unknown. It seems kind of a strange one to me, but Starsky certainly is pleased. Hutch is giggly and tipsy and Starsky is loopy on painkillers and one can’t help but start laughing with them. I don’t care what anyone says–that nurse who keeps popping her head in, is most certainly aware of what’s going on. I mean, does six foot plus tall Hutch really think he can hide in the bed beside Starsky and not be noticed? Oh yeah, did I mention Hutch has climbed in bed beside Starsky? By this point, I am squeeing with delight and then we get Dobey coming in with a huge tray of vegetables complaining about trying to find one for sale at 2 in the morning. My suspicion is Dobey is very honored to be invited to this gathering but has to keep up appearances of being their boss in addition to being their friend. Hence the grumbling which isn’t really grumbling at all. He loves Starsky and Hutch too. Just a note–why is everyone piling all these heavy objects on Starsky? He must be quite far along in his recovery if he can handle holding a big serving dish of stuffed veal, Hutch stretched out by his side in bed, and a ten pound antipasti on top of his legs. Huggy Bear sneaks in and the party goes into full swing with wine and even a lantern. Oops–Huggy hangs it on the heat activated sprinkler and scene with a sprinkler coming on and all of them getting wet. After all the fear of not knowing if Starsky will pull through, after the evilness of Gunther who poisons his associate besides putting out the hit on Starsky and Hutch, after the scenes with Hutch so lost that he appears unable to cope at first, this tag is cathartic. There is release in knowing that everything that at first seemed hopeless is now back to the way it should be. Starsky and Hutch will have more adventures and continue to be together–just as they are meant to.