Tuesday, May 3, 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 "Swamp Thing Wild" or...

If You See Swamp Thing, Say Swamp Thing
A show about a steroidal kiwi fruit smashing evil wherever he finds it...
Season One / Episode Eight : Natural Enemy

In which Jim gets caught with his fly down.

Someone on the design team engineered a fuckin' horrible animatronic fly face, and watching it writhe in sensuous delight is what we get this time around instead of any sort of story-related prologue. "The pest is prologue" as they say, I suppose.

Swamp Thing takes Jim on a walking tour of all the places in the swamp that Jim should never go, in a scene slightly reminiscent of Tim taking Lassie on a romp through the tall grass. Is the pairing of Jim and Swamp Thing some sort of Calvin and Hobbes thing? Is Jim just traipsing through the rotting vegetation and mildewed logs with a potted fern he insists on talking to? I guess there's something magical about their relationship after all...

Swamp Thing steers Jim directly into a smoky alcove, which any kid with the common sense to detect even the most basic danger would've noticed and steered clear'a. Earlier, Jim had been sniffing carnivorous pitcher plants, so I don't know what the kid's got going on in his head.

The smoky alcove holds some sort of hypnotic appeal to Jim, apparently. After having been dropped off at his dead grandma's place, Jim muses for a while -- staring out the kitchen window -- and then bolts back for the forbidden place with the determined step of a man deciding to confront death face-to-face. He balks at the last second, but not soon enough to avoid being bitten by ... the fly.

God, I hope that's the fly's mouth they keep showing us.

Jim gets dropped off at the ICU, which prompts lots of blue-lit closeups of the fly's orgasmic head-sphincter and dizzying, hand-held camera manipulations. Maybe that's why the kid got sick. Attending to the tortured tyke is handsome Dr.Bloom (Bill Cordell), a hefty, shiny bohunk with news anchor hair whom Jim's mom Tressa seems to get the horny giggles from. Just because her kid's dying doesn't mean mom doesn't have needs.

Arcane shows up for a mousse-off with Dr.Bloom, who'd earlier detected the twin bitemarks on Jim's scalp -- each one about the size of a dime, so I don't understand how you could have missed them. Arcane, of course, knows exactly what bit Jim and is eager to see the results. Luckily, as far as television is concerned, anyone wearing a white coat can pass as a doctor, so he swipes someone's jacket and goes to sneak dirty peeps at the delirious, comatose Jim's wounds. It's his biz.

This would be one well-moussed three-way.

Back in the bog, Swamp Thing is beating himself up over letting Jim get bit by the writhing fly of poisonous delight. Naturally, this leaves him only one option -- to sneak into the hospital. If you were ever keen to see a five-hundred pound bag of tobacco shavings climb through the air ducts like some sort of vegetarian Die Hard, then have I ever got the show for you!

Ho ho ho, now I have a machine gun.
Tressa finds herself trapped in an otherwise-empty room with the jiggle-fly, which has already given her a bite and mostly just hovers around so that the cameraman can break out the fly-eye lens. It's also a real chance for Tressa to bust out her acting chops, as she needs to fling herself around a room swatting at an invisible fly. Julliard pays off!

They get a lot of use out of this filter.

Even for a scant 22-minute runtime, this episode has a lot of dead air to fill, so Fly Vs Tressa goes on for several minutes, as does Swamp Thing's John McClane impression. There's even a lovingly lacksadaisical scene wherein Tressa receives a band-aid. I'm surprised that we didn't get an extended sequence of the ambulance driver making a K-turn to back into a parking space.

Like a lithe spirit, the living potato sack that is Swamp Thing drops cat-like into Jim's room, and gives him the swamp business. Tressa's going to have to wait for the doctors to fabricate an antidote, but Jim just gets pure carrot juice when Mr.Thing plugs the boy's IV tube into his own forearm. This is wildly unsafe. Also, will he now become Jim Thing? One can hope. Also, wait, doesn't Swamp Thing die if he's away from the swamp? Well, at least he's in a hospital.

"Oh yeah, that's an STD all right. You're gonna want to make some phone calls."

Jim recovers, Tressa survives, and Swamp Thing gives Arcane an imaginary talking-to back in the swamp, which rapidly fades into credits. It's amazing that they couldn't find time to do an appropriate coda but we got a cumulative five minutes of Jim sleeping and Tressa freaking out. But then again ... it's Swamp Thing!

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