Baywatch, from left: Billy Warlock, Erika Eleniak, Parker Stevenson, David Hasselhoff, Shawn Weatherly, Peter Phelps.

The original Baywatch went off the air 25 years ago, yet it still processes a cultural ubiquity that eclipses arguably every other defunct TV series. 

There was a brief spin-off and a panned movie (more of a spoof than a theatrical remake) and, just recently talk of a reboot. But no ancillary project has ever had the sway of the original: an infinitely exportable ode to a Southern California that never really existed, with its frequently recycled cast of hard-bodied Caucasians. So, at long last, it’s getting a documentary. 

With participation from a great many former cast members, including franchise face Pamela Anderson, After Baywatch: Moment in the Sun arrives Aug. 28 on Hulu. Many of them, including Traci Bingham, Traci Bingham and Erika Eleniak but not Anderson, appeared Wednesday afternoon in Pasadena to plug the project for TV press. 

Seasons three and four star Nicole Eggert, of Charles in Charge fame, is the only cast member of the lifeguard drama credited as a producer on the project. And as she told reporters, her original attempts to get the project off the ground kept veering towards a reality show about Baywatch alums — something she wasn’t interested in. It was fellow producer and eventual director Matthew Felker who steered her toward a documentary. “My first call was to David Hasselhoff,” she recalled. “Once he was going to do it, I just said, ‘Let’s roll with it. Let’s go.’”

Those gathered on stage articulated different takes of their time on the show — one that famously brought in and booted actors with great frequency. (It was only the absentee Hasselhoff, after all, who stayed on the show for its duration.) Original star Billy Warlock, in a clip from the documentary that aired ahead of the panel, acknowledged as much in saying “everybody was disposable.” 

Bingham, the lone Black actress, spoke warmly about her time on the show and her casting. “It was considered an all-white show, and, at one point, I think producers realized that everyone goes to the beach,” she said of her casting. “I had excellent care with my hair and makeup. I was treated with great care. It was a dream job.” 

Fellow later-season addition Electra used her time on stage to talk about the learning curve of segueing from MTV personality to actress overnight. “I had a make-out scene and I didn’t realize you didn’t have to really kiss,” she said, turning to co-star David Chokachi — with whom she shared the scene in question. “I just went in and tongued him down. Do you remember that?” (Chokachi nodded in agreement.) 

But it was Eggert who seemed to best articulate the odd specifics of the fame that came with Baywatch

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

After Baywatch: Moment in the Sun premieres on Hulu on Aug. 28.

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