It seems like Kukui High School has got a more loyal following now than the TV show that spawned it.
Ryan Ozawa, blogger extraordinaire, launched the site for the fictitious high school as soon as it was mentioned in the pilot of CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” — and it might just be more popular locally than the show itself.
“Weirdly enough, although we joked about it on Twitter the night of the broadcast, I didn’t buckle down to set up the site, Twitter account and Facebook page until the next morning,” Ozawa wrote in an e-mail. “John Garcia, who remembered how quickly I nabbed AbercrombieandSchatz.com after the primary, told me to go get the domain. So I did.”
Right now more than 2,300 people “like” KHS on Facebook and demand for merchandise is growing, said Ozawa. He has mailed more than 100 “Student of the Month” bumper stickers to fans around the world.
The alma mater of Det. Steve McGarrett and Chin Ho Kelly now boasts a nice assortment of alumni including journalists, bloggers and our own Nonstop Honolulu Garcia. (My bio was lost in the blogosphere. I think I got kicked out and didn’t graduate.)
Now you can get T-shirts and, later, football jerseys and other KHS paraphernalia at Butigroove (500 Piikoi St. or 2960 Mokumoa St., 808-589-2884). The first batch of shirts has already sold out. And there are at least two events in the works: a reunion dance at Oceans808 in November and a full-on Winter Ball-type prom in December.
But you’ll be a Fighting Nut — not a King, like in the show.
“We found out a while ago that it was going to be the Kings, but we decided we needed to differentiate ourselves at some point from the show,” Ozawa said. “If we basically reproduced everything we saw on the show — the Kukui Kings, with the logo from the helmets and locker room — we’d really just be stealing the work of the scriptwriters, and another graphic designer. Besides, with a school name like Kukui, the nut jokes were unavoidable. When people first started interacting with @kukuihigh on Twitter, they were suggesting mascots ranging from the mongoose to the flying cockroach. But the nut quickly surfaced as the most popular suggestion.” (Here’s the back story on the name change.)
The network hasn’t contacted Ozawa yet, but he’s been getting “positive vibes” so far. (Daniel Dae Kim even tweeted about the Fighting Nuts — not the Kings.) And a writer on the show gave KHS the thumbs up on Twitter.
“As you can see, the local community (and kama’aina on the Mainland) has warmly embraced KHS,” Ozawa said. “It marries our impossible high school fantasies with a fun show. What’s not to love?”
I’m not sure how I feel about the show right now. Maybe I’m used to shows — like “Grey’s Anatomy” or “House” — where there’s a common theme running through the season, where episodes feed into the next and you grow to actually care about the characters.
Right now I don’t feel any connection to anyone on this show — except maybe Danny “Danno” Williams (played by Scott Caan). I feel for anyone who has to wear a suit in Hawaii.
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