Starsky & Hutch Season Four: Condensed

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Title: Starsky & Hutch Season Four: Condensed (officially titled "Season Four: Condensed")
Creator: KimberlyFDR
Date(s): 9-16-2005
Medium: online
Fandom: Starsky & Hutch
Topic: characterization, meta, the fourth season
External Links: online here, Archived version
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In 2005, two fans spent 4 days together watching all of Starsky & Hutch season four in order.

One of those fans, KimberlyFDR, then wrote an analysis of the fourth season focused on characterization, ep by ep.

Excerpts

So the thing is, Hutch has been feeling out Starsky for a long time. There's a gradual shift over the seasons, particularly season three, where Hutch is dropping hints or changing his focus towards Starsky. I've long said that Death in a Different Place is one of my favorite eps and it remains true because of how much depth you get from these characters. The scene in the car, where Hutch pointedly asks Starsky if it would have made a difference had he known John Blaine was gay. THAT SCENE is so overly telling of where these two men are in their lives. Hutch has been living in the closet, with the hidden truth, for all these years and he's just trying to get Starsky to notice, but he's afraid of the outcome and Starsky is not ready. Starsky knows, but he's not ready to know, you know?;) That look of "would it have made a difference, will it make a difference with us?" Starsky knows what Hutch is telling him, but he's not ready to accept it yet, so he doesn't. He just goes on with the knowledge in the back of his mind and it changes who these men are to one another because once you let that out, you can't not know. It changes them, but they're trying like crazy to not let it change them. Hutch is ready, Starsky's not, and the lies that they construct to live their lives, to just pretend a little bit longer, is tearing them apart. And it will tear them apart and it will break our hearts to witness it, but it's time. It's time for Hutch to stop living in the closet and it's time for Starsky to stop running away. They have to deal with this and it's setting them up to do it.

By the time we get to Season Four, Hutch is flat out not making any excuses anymore. He has changed his focus from playing along to playing against. He wants Starsky to confront this issue, to say "yes, I want this, too." But Starsky's afraid. The man is running away as fast as he can. The more Hutch pushes him to confront it, the more he's trying like crazy to prove the opposite. He's the one that's always had the whole domestic dream of a wife and a kid and a happpy little home. Hutch did that, it didn't work, he's come to understand what might possibly work and he's trying hard to make the other participant see it, too. But Starsky's almost on a crash course of "I have to prove that I'm not like that, I have to prove that this thing between us isn't what he thinks it is, I have to prove that there's someone out there that can give me that fantasy and she's just not come around yet." He's trying to prove that the happy fantasy is a mirror of what he was taught growing up. He knows how he feels about Hutch, but that frightens him more than anything. He can't be gay, he just can't. And his partner can't be gay, he's just confused. Yet, Hutch is not so much confused as he is reaching out over and over again. He needs Starsky to stop running away, he needs Starsky to be with him, he needs his partner's acceptance and hopefully his love.

Reactions

Even the clothes give them away!

One of the things that kills me about Starsky vs. Hutch is to watch Starsky's face and listen to his tone when he tells Hutch that he loves Kira. It's the most unconvincing thing Starsky has ever uttered. He's so lying, he can't even look Hutch straight in the eyes when he says it. So not Starsky!

And what the F*** is up with his clothes in this episode? Why is he dressing from the "straight white guy catalog" all of a sudden? He looks like Monkey Wards threw up on him. At the same time, Hutch is so Canal Street with the beret and stuff, it makes you laugh. (It's almost the same outfit when he went undercover in the Green Parrot, if you notice.) Almost. [1]
...thanks for the breakdown on Season 4.

What fascinates me, is that this was the scenario that always played out in my mind, left over from when I saw the show in its first run, lo these many years ago. I had thought it was all my Slasher's imagination at work. Then, I got the DVDs, and watched the pilot episode again. I realized my take on the guys was not at all skewed. Watch Starsky and Hutch carefully. Watch their interactions, and their faces and their body language. Hutch is all, "See, I can be macho, as macho as you. I can back you up. I'm safe, even if I do love you till death us do part. You can trust me."

By the 4th season, it's, "When can we quit with all this play acting? I'm tired. Haven't I proven myself over and over?" [2]
I just recently got hold of the fourth season, which I wasn't at all familiar with until now. I'm trying to ration it, but even after watching two episodes (I saw 'Discomania' this morning, the first free time I've had in ages, and my mother wanted to watch 'Dandruff' this evening) I can see how different it is - not just the relationship but the look of the whole series. The directing and camerawork make it look like a completely different show, and I sincerely hope the editing becomes smoother than it is in 'Discomania' because a whole series of such choppiness would be unbearable for me. I've read so many unhappy opinions of series four, so thanks for putting this spin on it - I want to keep what you've said in mind as I watch it.[3]
Like Kimberly, I would strongly, *strongly* recommend watching the episodes in order (like we did when I visited her) rather than skipping around. I suppose Dandruff's one of the better ones to choose if you do have to watch them out of order (mostly fluff, like...Murder on Stage 17, say), but the path and emotional journey that begins to present itself when you watch them in the order K listed has so, so much more impact.

I was almost entirely blind to the 4th season before I visited her and we had the marathon -- I mean, I'd read episode-correlative fic, and I'd even seen S vs. H, but I'll tell you, none of what I'd read prepared me for the trip the season takes you on, how obviously Hutch's pain progresses, how much Starsky is turning a blind eye and refusing to interact, how everything is completely turned on its head by the time the Targets arc plays out. It's an incredible season regarding the emotional arc, even if the episodes (when viewed singularly and disassociatively) are less than spectacular.

(The different look of the series, with lighting and camera angles and all, is something that struck me over and over again, too. There's something about S4 that just screams "this is different, pay attention") [4]
I think you put a lot of effort into this and it is interesting to read your interpretation. But for me it does not add up. I do not think the conversation about John Blaine can be interpreted that way. There is no indication that Hutch is in a closet. Why would he be. Hutch is more tolerant about different lifestyles because he is more sensitive that way. He is also more considerate than Starsky and besides that he lives a different lifestyle than mainstream. He is a nut for healthfood. And being a sensitive and sweet guy it would be normal for people to comment about him being unmanly in a not macho kind of way. Which is the reason for the jokes of his collegues as well. Hutch tries to comfort Starsky who is obviously thrown by the new information about Blaine. If Hutch was gay and in the closet or whatever his reactions to one Peter Whitelaw would have been different. He would have reacted completely different in that scene with Sugar. He tries to distract Starsky with their conversation and he draws Starsky out of his shell. Gets him focused on their partnership which is their liveline. He tries to get Starsky to react normal again and brings the one true thing into discussion that they know and it is what they are. They are men, they love each other and they are wellmatched but they are not in the closet, they do ot have to be because their partnership is not sexual in nature. The gestures and facial expressions do not indicate there being a hidden concept behind Hutchs words. Hutch say, we are doing all these things "and you are not even a good kisser". Meaning that there is unlimited love and acceptance between them, that really has no need for a physical outlet. Starsky throws him of course by expressing what is going on in his head. "how do you know that?" How do you know there is no need for that, what if there will be a need one day. Starsky is completely wrapped up in the concept of gay-life and the problems it causes. Hutch is calm, until Starsky lays it out thatis. Have you seen his expression. He has no answer and to really understand what Starsky is saying he needs to see his eyes and as quick as possible. It makes him turn around while driving, that comment really got to Hutch, he has to know if it was a joke before continuing the conversation. And well Starsky loves to wthro Hutch of course like that. Remenber Starsky is lost in a world that is turning upside down on him, all he needs from HUtch is to tell him that it is OK between them, no obstacles there, no matter what, to equilibrate his world again. [5]

References

  1. ^ comments by ginalin, September 16, 2005
  2. ^ comments by gwynfyd, September 16, 2005
  3. ^ comments by jenoofer, September 17, 2005
  4. ^ comments by moondroplette, September 18, 2005
  5. ^ comments by yayuki, February 23, 2012