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‘Baywatch’ Stars Talk Love and Hate for the Show in New Documentary

‘Baywatch’ Stars Talk Love and Hate for the Show in New Documentary

Original Baywatch went off the air 25 years ago, and yet it still has such a pervasive cultural following that it probably outshines any other defunct television series.

There was a short spin-off and a remake (more of a spoof than a theatrical remake), and there was recent talk of a reboot. But no spin-off project ever had the impact of the original: an infinitely exportable ode to a Southern California that never really existed, with an oft-repeated cast of tough-as-nails whites. So it finally got a documentary.

The show featured many former cast members, including series star Pamela Anderson, After Baywatch: A Moment in the Sun will debut on Hulu on August 28. Many of them, including Traci Bingham, Traci Bingham and Erika Eleniak, but not Anderson, were in Pasadena on Wednesday afternoon to promote the project to a TV press junket.

In the third and fourth seasons, Nicole Eggert stars Karol is responsible fame, is the only cast member of the lifeguard drama listed as a producer on the project. And as she told reporters, her initial attempts to get the project off the ground still veered toward a reality show about Baywatch alumni — something she wasn’t interested in. It was fellow producer and future director Matthew Felker who turned her on to the documentary. “The first person I called was David Hasselhoff,” she recalled. “When he was about to do it, I just said, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s go.’”

Those gathered on stage offered different accounts of their time on the show — one of which was notorious for frequently inviting and firing actors. (In the end, only the absent Hasselhoff remained on the show for its entire run.) Original star Billy Warlock acknowledged as much in a clip from the documentary that aired before the panel, saying that “they were all disposable.”

Bingham, the only black actress, spoke fondly of her time on the show and the cast. “It was seen as a white-only show, and I think at some point the producers realized that everyone went to the beach,” she said of the cast. “My hair and makeup were taken care of so well. They treated me with so much care. It was a dream job.”

A later addition to the season, Electra used her time on stage to talk about the learning curve of going from MTV personality to daytime actress. “I had a kissing scene and I didn’t realize you didn’t have to kiss,” she said, addressing co-star David Chokachi — with whom she shared the scene in question. “I just went in and licked him. Remember that?” (Chokachi nodded in agreement.)

But it was Eggert who seemed to best express the strange details of fame that came with it. Baywatch.

“I definitely have a love-hate relationship with this show,” she said. “It’s been an evolution, and I appreciate that and I’m proud of that, but I really want people to see who we really are. I see a lot of articles where there’s a picture of me when I was 19 in a bathing suit, next to me when I was 52, at the market. And it’s like, ‘What happened to her?’ Let’s talk about it. Everyone (here) has a story.”

After Baywatch: A Moment in the Sun Premieres on Hulu August 28th.