Monday, July 17, 2006

Today's Celebrity Birthday: David Hasselhoff

It is exactly one week until my 29th birthday, and as Roomate Big S. pointed out, this is the last birthday of our twenties, and subsequently the end of our youth.I felt a little queasy at this revelation, but I have decided that I will give the last seven days of my youth a classy send off by noting one celebrity (and I will use that term loosely) birthday each day until 29 bitch slaps me in the face.

I find it especially appropriate that today's celebrity birthday is none other than famed actor,
auteur, and German singer, David Hasselhoff. Except perhaps for William Shatner and to a lesser extent Tom Selleck, no single figure has suffered such simultaneous exaltation and derision in pop culture.

Who can forget the pun-tastically titled "Knight Rider"? Oh the layers of symbolism! His name is Michael Knight! He works for Knight Industries! He's noble like a knight! Such taunt writing cannot be found today. The sort of 80's indoctrination was so ingrained in me that when I saw that show Veronica Mars I totally thought it would be about a space alien, and not a girl detective. I guess the joke's on me.
Actually I like this story of the creation of the show: "Brandon Tartikoff, youthful head of programming at NBC, once gave California magazine this version of the creation of Knight Rider:"It seem that he and one of his assistants were discussing the problems of casting handsome leading men in the series, because many of them can’t act. Why not have a series, he mused, called “The Man of Six words,” which would begin with the guy getting out of a woman’s bed and saying “Thank You.” Then he would chase down some villians and say “Freeze!” Finally the grateful almost-vitims would thank him, and he would murmur, “You’re welcome.” End of show. In between, the car could do the talking."

And while Knight Rider would surely be contribution enough to world, he followed it up with the ubiquitous "Baywatch" which we can thank for igniting the hormones of teenage boys everywhere.

In fact, we may be able to blame many of today's social ills on Baywatch -- the unrealistic expectation of men for women with "built-in flotation devices" and the confusion of teenage girls created by waxed, plucked, and highlighted men puporting to be heterosexual.

I believe Baywatch is the direct progenitor of female popstars like Britney Spears and boy bands like N'Sync. No doubt one day future social scientists will try to see what affect the show had on gender roles, but in the short term the show provided us with a winning formula: we like our women busty and our men ambiguously gay (Pirates of the Carribbean anybody?).

And hey, let's not forget about that fine head of hair. Somebody (I can't remember who) pointed out that from behind his head looks like a giant meatball.

And last but not least, his nickname is "The Hoff." He's even worn a t-shirt that says "Don't hassel the Hoff.

All I can say to that, is well played sir. Well played.

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