Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hawaii 5-0: Pass or Fail?

Here we go again, Q watched another TV cop show about roller derby.  Yes, I did, and I am going to try to watch any and all "entertainment" media dealing with our sport.  So far, I've watched the CSI episodes, part of the Bachelor, Whip It, Bones, and now Hawaii 5-0.  TV has really taken some ugly liberties with our sport over the years, so I didn't go into the Hawaii 5-0 episode with high hopes, but what I saw wasn't what I expected.

 By the way, this is an action shot.  They aren't standing on the jammer line.
Yes, the episode was riddled with ridiculous interpretations of derby, as to be expected.  The victim was a derby girl, and the cops immediately jump to the conclusion that she has been abused because she has bruises.  As soon as I heard the words "domestic abuse victim" I rolled my eyes and missed how they discovered she had a secret identity as a roller derby girl.  I also rolled my eyes when I heard that her boyfriend had no idea that she was involved in roller derby; it's kind of difficult to hide your derby career from your significant other.  Your pad stench would be a massive hint, not to mention all of the time you were spending there; in this day and age of social media, I highly doubt anyone can hide their secret identity.  Also, what derby girl doesn't want to talk about derby?  TV often likes to treat derby as if it is some weird gang and the derby girls have to hide their associations with derby.  I guess they do this to make the plot more exciting, and to have one of their own detectives "infiltrate" the team by trying out.  More eye rolling.

At least this time, the detective in question had some skating in her background, so it was a teensy bit less far fetched than the Bones episode.  What made me laugh out loud was the fact the derby victim was "the team's only jammer".  Uh....what?  Did I hear that correctly?  I know it was done for TV and for the plot, but really?  Because their one jammer was dead, the team was forced into having try outs for the championship game, which was the next day.  Sigh.  At least in this episode, the undercover officer came in second instead of being "a natural."  When she does get chosen to be on the team, she introduces herself to a teammate as "I'm your new jammer."  More giggling ensued in the Q household. She also apologizes to one of her blockers while she's jamming. "I'm sorry I didn't block for you."  At least the blocker sets her straight and tells her that blockers block for jammers, not the other way around.  Hey, I've heard fresh meat say similar silly things.

There were glaring issues with the treatment of derby; the one that really made me crazy was the fact that they weren't wearing mouth guards.  I don't know why that was left out, since all talking was done on the bench, but it bothered me only because they got so many other things almost right.  Of course, this time the coach was the killer, and of course he was creepy as hell, but the thing that made me snort derisively was when he was giving his players cortisone shots.  Snort!  Hell, after some practices I WISH my coach could give me a cortisone shot, but I'm pretty sure that's a universal no no. 

The bright points in the episode were many; none of the derby girls were deviant, sex crazed psychos.  Yea!  Two of the characters featured had normal jobs; the victim was a teacher and one of the suspects was a doctor, so that felt real.  When the cops interviewed some of the derby girls about their teammate, they used her real name and one of the derby skaters said "who?"  I don't always know everyone's "real name" on my team, so I thought that was a nice touch.  They showed the undercover cop take a normal hit and tweak her knee when she fell, which is ever so much better than getting punched in the face or elbowed in the chin.  When they introduced the team, they showed some flat track scrimmaging going on; I saw people skating backwards to block, hitting with hips, and people falling down, but nothing excessive and crazy.  Nobody was rolling through blood or throwing egregious elbows, even though I did see some forearms.  I was impressed they showed some real skating.  Unfortunately, when they showed the "Championship game play" I thought that it felt really slow and boring, but I think that was because they were focused on the actresses skating, instead of editing them in.  The packs were moving slow, and not in a good way.  It wasn't very intense.

So, there it is.  If I were giving this episode a grade, I'd give it a B.   You could tell they tried to keep it in the realm of realism, but screwed up on some basics.  It kicks the crap out of that Bones episode though; that one is a definite F.


17 comments:

  1. I actually feel that way when I read an article I am quoted in: some of the facts the reporters think they 'get' are often distorted or just a little off. I know they want to be accurate, and don't want people to read their stuff before it is published, but until derby is more widely known we will continue to see errors in the media. Perhaps the Hawaii 5-0 situation is the best we can hope for. ;/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was better than Bones and CSI, that's for sure!

      Delete
  2. And, it gets a derby conversation going. I still meet people all the time that don't even realize derby exists or the differences between the modern game and what they may have seen on TV as a kid. It's a good starting point, and it might help get fans in seats at bouts. Then, it's up to us to keep them there. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. They also used a lot of the skaters from the WFTDA team there. The actual leagues team names playing each other for the Championship. Two friends of mine who moved to Hawaii were extras as "Red hat, pig tailed Penalty tracker" and "Opposing Coach".

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmm. This seems like it actually wasn't that bad. I might even watch it, since my parents love the show. You can never expect them to get it ALL right, even once the sport has been in the public eye. It's nice that they at least got it in the ballpark.

    One thing that DID bother me was the realization that the way other shows represent us is taking hold. I saw a couple of posts on the internet saying that the Hawaii 5-0 episode made derby super tame and toned down the violence unrealistically to appeal to moms and dads.

    So they think that the other representation is real, and that this is farther off base...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is scary. I just felt like they slowed it down during the game so their actress didn't look completely outclassed. That's the problem with using the whole "Infiltration" plot. You have to show the cop skating.

      Delete
  5. I'm an NSO, and I have to tell you, I gave up when the ref started the jam...

    I gave it a C.

    ReplyDelete
  6. i watched because it was derby and because Bruised Skate Nooses were in it. :) kinda funny that they had nooses for their skates but no mouth guards. loved how much they showed Pacific Rims logo. and i WISH there were locker rooms with lockers for each skater. Let alone a coaches office! and I swear I saw at least 6 NSO's up at the table where the scoreboard/score keepers were at. I wonder what they were all doing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's funny everyone mentioned about the mouth guards. I can't tell you how many times we would tell them that they needed mouth guards. The issue was that they wouldn't be able to say their lines. They did have the good pro-tech ones but still didn't wear them. We warned them...lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure! I don't blame the derby team. I blame Hollyweird.

      Delete
  8. I meant to post this little find earlier, in relation to the 'Bones' episode, because I thought your readers (and you) would enjoy this little tidbit. But I can tie it in here, I swear.

    One of the things that was more realistic was the way the use of safety gear was treated (with the glaring exception of mouth guards - oh, and the super-loose helmet straps). There was enough "locker room" footage to imply that the skaters could leave their gear at the practice/game facility full-time; while that is an unrealistic portrayal of the gear storage/management situation encountered in most of the derby world, it did help lend some plausibility to the "secret life" claims. And it completely avoided the implication brought to us by 'Bones' that derby gear gets put on through means of instantaneous magic, as seen in the 14-second(!) transformation of Angela Montenegro from "science lab artist" to "fully-geared derby girl". That's right, 14 seconds. INCLUDING getting her gear out of the bag. I got out my stopwatch and timed it. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd say I might be able to get my gear out of my bag inside 14 seconds, but I'm probably going to have to do an "unzip & dump" to make it happen. As for having it all on in that time span.... yeah.....

    So, thanks to the production staff of 'Hawaii Five-0' for lending a touch more realism in their offering. And a great big "Shame on you" to the production staff of 'Bones'. How can anyone expect to take what you offer as "scientific evidence" seriously after you depict something so easy to perceive as stop-camera time manipulation as a full change of apparel that takes no longer than 14 seconds?

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree with Terri that hopefully it will get fans on seats - the PRD website had 300 hits immediately after the show's viewing, 95% from the US, about a third of these from Hawaii. We still come across locals that don't know we've got roller derby in Hawaii.

    As Rolando said, the team names were real home team names (although the team colors weren't correct). Maybe some of those who visited the website will come looking to support the 'Diamond Dolls' or the "South Shore Sirens' at this weekend's bout between the two.

    Overall, although the derby was not great, I think it's done a good thing for derby, particularly to raise more awareness here in Hawaii.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It was cool. At least it wasn't as bad as the way skateboarding was portrayed in Police Academy 4.

    ReplyDelete
  11. GOLF WASN'T ACCURATELY DEPICTED IN CADDYSHACK!

    Suggestion: Don't ever watch the derby episode of "Psych," which I seem to recall featured Terminal City Rollergirls. It's probably still available online...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed, but people have a rudimentary idea of what golf is. People are not familiar with derby on that level.

      Delete