“In the fall of 1982, two hotshot detectives took the entertainment world by storm: Jerome “Hooch” Hendrickson and David “Daddy-O” Mandlebaum. For five action packed seasons, fans around the world tuned in week after week as Hooch and Daddy-O made the city streets safe if only for one hour every Friday night. To mark the 20th anniversary of the pop culture phenomenon, a documentary crew followed the original cast as they reunited for a made for TV movie.”
This is what we have to work with in “Hooch and Daddy-O” If your immediate thought is, “Damn, that sounds a whole lot like someone took ‘Spinal Tap’ and slapped it onto ‘Miami Vice’, if anyone actually still gave a s**t about ‘Miami Vice’,” you would not be alone. That’s exactly what I thought when I first started watching it.
Indeed, seeing footage of the original “Hooch and Daddy-O” series is cringeworthy at best. Two cops who take every opportunity to shoot criminals—whether they’re running, standing still, shooting back, or actively engaged in surrendering, Hooch and Daddy-O will take any opportunity to administer some cordite justice. Which is right in line with most of MY memories of eighties television…was there anything GOOD on aside from “Max Headroom”, “Married…With Children”, and a handful of others?
Perhaps the best part of “Hooch and Daddy-O” is checking out the actors. Much like Larry Longstreth’s “Zombies In My Neighborhood”, only longer and wildly more detailed, “Hooch and Daddy-O” gives an incredible look at the history behind each cast member. Basically, the cast is comprised of a pompous uber-artist prick, a raving drug addict with a taste for scandal, a woman who was the role model for a whole generation of Thai prostitutes, a guy who played two roles that died within seconds of each other on the show after his constant self-indulgent puffery about their importance, a throwaway nice guy, and an eventually openly homosexual Huggy Bear knockoff.
When you see what we have to work with, and in what kind of environment we’ll be working with it in, it’s not too hard to say it’s going to be frequently funny. And it is—check out Hooch’s “experimental theatre” phase at four minutes and fifty seconds. Or hang around for Daddy-O’s wild sex romp with the chick from craft services. Or cringe through the dual-character actor’s foray into Russian Biblically-inspired porn. There will be plenty of wild situations for all to enjoy here.
And it’s not just the characters that will prove wild. The behind-the-scenes footage of the filming of the TV movie contains more than its own share of strange situations. Problems with the script, a writer locked up in an insane asylum, and troubles at the network level will plague the movie’s production, leading up to…well…a pretty big surprise ending.
The surprises at the end will come fast and furious, so there’s an excellent payoff for sticking around through the rest of an already solid film.
So all in all, “Hooch and Daddy-O” is an excellent, multi-purpose parody, simultaneously spearing cop shows, eighties television, and documentaries in general. This is more than worth the time to watch.