Tuesday, April 19, 2016


With superhero television programs blowing up in the last few years, recaps of superhero television shows have become all the internet rage. Other sites, however, are hobbled by the need to cover shows which have been "recently broadcast" or which are "any good at all." But who covers the uncoverable? That's why Gone&Forgotten chooses to cover the 1991-1993 USA Network live-action Swamp Thing television series in a feature I like to call "There's Swamp Thing About Mary" or...

If You See Swamp Thing, Say Swamp Thing

The story of a four-hundred pounds of potatoes well past their sell-by date, and how a plucky, dancing, singing evil won its heart.
Season One / Episode Six : New Acquaintance

In which the difficult-to-befriend Jim picks up a playmate who's right up his alley, providing that the alley in question abuts a psychiatric hospital.

The last we'll see of Jim.

Six episodes in, Swamp Thing finally has the all-too-difficult "We need some space" conversation with Jim, sending the short-pants sociopath into the terrifying urban jungle of the Universal Studios Backlot main street set. Coiffed human nimbus cloud Obo's too busy scoring with a girl who's dressed like if Saved By The Bell was set in a nunnery, so that sends Jim to the local arcade and the clutches of the town's "mean kids gang." It's one of those multi-ethnic groups of obnoxious made-for-tv children, invariably led by the shortest, fattest of them, and whose acts of violence and intimidation are primarily "being visibly not very nice."

Hatching a plan to steal Pee-Wee's bike.

However, this social shunning introduces Jim to Lilly (Summer Phoenix, being the only cast member to grow up and get married to Casey Aflleck -- as far as I'm aware) an awkward but free-spirited young gal who carries around a plastic shopping bag full of wet dead rabbit. Either it was a craze I missed back in the Nineties, or it's coming to a pay off later in the episode. Let's watch!

Jim invites Lilly back to his place, during the journey for which he discovers a kindred spirit even more lost and messed up than he. It must have been like looking into the sun, for Jim to even glance at the beautiful madness of Lilly, the blood-soaked rabbit girl. It was like the world had carved a Lilly-shaped niche in the very air in front of him, and he'd never realized she'd been missing until he first saw her standing there. They're gonna murder a lot of neighborhood pets together.

"Gosh, it's been so long since I ran a pasty child through with a kitchen knife, I can barely remember how it feels."

Lilly does have a habit of lying and swiping shit that ain't hers, but let's not pretend Jim is any kind of saint. For Jim's mom Tressa, however, she's just excited that Jim has a friend, and that his friend is slowly and longily polishing a chef's knife behind Jim's back for what seems like minutes on end. The sweet bouquet that Tressa detects upon Lilly's breath is the scent of freedom.

Or is it? Because Lilly won't leave. Tressa finds her on the rocking chair on the patio in the middle of the night, which turns out to be a surprisingly unwholesome sight all things being equal.

Listen, this is taking forever. Let's suffice it to say that Lilly has an unhappy home life, it was the dirtwad kids from town who killed her rabbit, and there's a surprising lack of Swamp Thing in this episode, especially for a show with his name on the masthead but even considering how little Swamp Thing there is in most episodes. Even when Lilly pulls a pocketknife on an over-inquisitive Jim and chases the freckled wart through the bogs, Swamp Thing is nowhere to be found. He's taking his "me-time" very seriously.

Which episode of The Muppet Show is this one?

Even local law enforcement is willing to kind of leave Jim to his just desserts, and Lilly to the tender mercies of the hole-in-the-wall gang. They've moved operations to the swamps in order to more directly harass Lilly, but Swampy puts an end to that by yelling and sort of spinning around on one foot, which is how he makes hurricanes. That's how God does it too, according to a bible.

Swamp Thing's other big contribution to this episode of his own television show is to use his magic swamp powers' bio-restorative touch to heal Lilly's dead rabbit all the way back to life. This encourages the episode to fade to black on Lilly, in some apparent state of shock, petting her once-dead rabbit. It certainly implies that her mind has been broken from the shock.

"And after I worked so hard to murder him the first time around, too."

Hope she sticks around til next week (she won't) to see Jim mind-controlled by an evil fly. "Oh, a callback to the first Moore-scripted issue of Saga of the Swamp Thing" you might be finding yourself saying. It isn't, trust me. See you in two weeks!

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