I’m not sure why I started watching the recent Disney+ original series, “Turner & Hooch.” I’ve never seen the 1989 Tom Hanks movie of the same name, and I’m not really an animal lover. But I’m glad I tried it.
The Disney reboot apparently builds on the story started in the classic movie, with young Scott Turner inheriting his dad’s French mastiff after his recent death. But Scott didn’t want a dog. He didn’t ask for a dog. And he certainly didn’t need a huge, drooling dog with a tendency for wrecking whatever room he enters. But soon Scott’s boss at the U.S. Marshals San Francisco office assigns Scott and Hooch to be the agency’s canine unit, and Scott and Hooch become partners. Of sorts.
To be honest, I didn’t find all of the crime-solving storylines very engaging. I actually ended up skipping through a few of them. But I kept coming back to the newest episodes to see how things would play out between Scott Turner and Erica Mounir, who heads up the canine explosives detection training for the Marshals.
Scott is kind, conscientious, and eager to prove himself on the job. Erica is down-to-earth, a total animal-lover, and happy to help others. She is also clearly interested in Scott Turner from the moment their mutual friend Jessica introduces them in the first episode. But Scott? Well, he’s a little distracted with his new tornado of a dog. And while he clearly appreciates Erica and sees her as a friend, in episode after episode he just doesn’t pick up on her interest in him.
What’s a girl to do, right? So many of us have been there. And while Erica definitely has an advantage — this is a Disney show, after all — I realized she also demonstrates how to act when a guy we’re interested in seems…clueless.
1. Be available.
Erica helps Scott troubleshoot issues with Hooch when he’s on a case or trying to figure out why Hooch is acting strangely. She clearly shows that she cares about Scott and what is going on in his life, and in several episodes, her insights are pivotal in helping Scott and Hooch solve a case.
2. Set boundaries.
On the flipside, as Erica continues to be available for Scott in episode after episode, the unknowns and Scott’s lack of interest wear on her. She finally tells Jessica how hard it is to see Scott regularly for dog training sessions with Hooch. Sometimes she thinks there might be something there between them, but then later she thinks there isn’t. Back and forth, back and forth.
“You know what you need?” Jessica asks. “Boundaries. Scott’s a nice guy, but he’s taking you for granted.” She suggests Erica back off, and gives her a few tips.
3. Listen to advice.
Jessica was the first to notice Erica’s interest in Scott, and quickly became Erica’s confidante. When Erica freaks out about how she should act around Scott, Jessica calms her down and gives her tips on how to chill.
In other episodes Erica listens to advice from Jessica, Jessica’s husband Darius, and Scott’s partner Xavier. She doesn’t always take their advice, but she listens and considers it.
4. Be willing to try something new.
When Erica finds out Scott likes to jog, she suggests they go jogging together — with their dogs, too. Winded and out of breath, she proposes they take a break and then maybe call an Uber. When Scott asks later if she wants to go running again, she agrees — then says she would prefer a walk.
When Scott’s old girlfriend comes back into his life, Jessica points out to him that he does things she’s interested in (like ballroom dancing) but she never seems to join in his interests (like jogging).
“But, Erica jogs with you, doesn’t she?” she prods.
“Yeah,” Scott says. “Erica’s great, she’s a great friend.”
5. Stay “you.”
This is one of the top reasons I love Erica’s character. While she hopes Scott will notice her interest and she takes proactive steps toward that, Erica doesn’t lose who she is. Even if Scott never returns her interest, she is her own person with her own passions, interests and quirks. She proudly introduces Scott to her brother Curtis who has autism, and she shows her big heart when Scott and Hooch are assigned to protect a young boy on the autism spectrum. No matter what Scott Turner does or doesn’t do, Erica doesn’t change who she is.
“Yeah, I know,” she tells Scott when she’s helping him with an assignment. “I know with Curtis and my dog stuff and everything you’re just like, ‘Oh, she’s so weird.’”
“Maybe I like weird,” he says.
“Turner & Hooch” is a sweet, mostly-innocent story of a young Marshal trying to prove himself and his new dog who seems to be trying to mess up his life. But more than that, “Turner & Hooch” is an endearing story about friendships, relationships, and how complicated it can be to try to go from one to the other.
Even if Disney reboots aren’t your go-to TV style, Erica can teach us a few things about how to respond when someone we’re interested in never seems to get the hint. And she reminds us that you just never know how a story will turn out.