Hawaii BMI: A Look Back


Which cast could fit on the Big Island?

My town is plastered with billboards advertising the Tiffany Network's upcoming crime series Hawaii Five-0, a remake of the legendary Leonard Freeman policier Hawaii Five-O, which ran on CBS from the 1960s to the 1980s.

I have not seen this new show. I'm a mid-to-upper-range Hawaii Five-O fanatic but take a catholic view of "reboots" and "reimaginings"—though in this case I would have cast Angela Bassett as the new McGarrett.

What strikes me is that this new cast seems to be following a diet completely free of poi and kalua pig. In the last 40 years, plasma-screen television and carb-reduction have reversed the evolution described in Sunset Boulevard: The picture is much bigger; it's the actors who got small.

Old and new comparisons:



You can't out-awesome McGarrett. You've just gotta try another way.



At least James MacArthur went to an actual beach to get his beach picture done.

Chin-Ho Kellys


Can you guess which of these two was a real police officer?


I'd rather be punched by this woman than kissed by this man.

I wish I could make more direct comparisons, but Kam Fong and Gilbert Francis Lani Damian Kauhi "Zulu" were two men so large they could rarely be captured full-body in a single frame of film.

Big men in suits.

But the results are clear: In terms of horizontal displacement, only New Danno may have a slight edge on his predecessor, and most of that is muscle weight. (Swoon!)

Is this just more thin dreaming by a nation that, according to the Centers for Disease Control [pdf], grew one inch taller and nearly 25 pounds heavier between the 1960s and the 2000s?

Possibly. But the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index awards the Aloha State first place in its well-being state rankings [pdf], with astonishingly high marks in physical health and healthy behavior. (Somebody explain again why New Frikking Hampshire was picked for the Free State Project?)

Or maybe this is a step up from the fat-Hawaiian and rolly-polly-Chinese stereotypes used in a series that featured such Asian and Pacific Island greats as wily Japanese Ricardo Montalban and Mongol mastermind Kenneth "Khigh Alx Dhiegh" Dickerson. All else equal, younger and hotter is always a trade up. (In total fairness, on an episode-by-episode basis original Five-O was probably the most multicultural non-sports programming of its time, and it remains watchable in part because it often takes an interest in the look and feel of Hawaii—where it was always "filmed entirely on location.")

And even if you posited the bogus connection between entertainment options and public health, would this vestigial spasm from network television even matter? Five-0 may promote unrealistic body types, but Too Fat For 15 will bring it all back home. Be here, Aloha.