Tuesday, May 31, 2016

IF YOU SEE SWAMP THING, SAY SWAMP THING: LEGEND OF THE SWAMP MAIDEN

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 "I Know There's Swamp Thing Going On" or...

If You See Swamp Thing, Say Swamp Thing
Beware the Aubergine of the night ...
Season One / Episode Ten : Legend of The Swamp Maiden

In which the eager USA Network audience comes this close to seeing actual boobs.



Perennially shirtless boatnik Obo takes burgeoning boy sociopath Jim on an ill-advised camping trip out to the swamp, in order to catch a glimpse of the elusive and beautiful Swamp Maiden (Heidi Paine) - a supernatural figure who only appears when certain cosmological forces are in alignment and then swims around with mostly her naked butt sometimes bouncing out of the water.

Obo and Jim got glamping.


There's an interesting phenomenon with late-night basic cable *wink-wink* "for adults (but really for mildly bright adolescents) programming, where the complexity and raw quantity of the plot shrinks in proportion to the likelihood that you might get to see a pretty girl's jugs. Compare and contrast this with a premium-cable show like, for instance, Deadwood where the quality of the craft is inarguable but there's just tits and snatch everywhere, plus also Nick Offerman's dick in one episode. I may be off-base, but it always seems like if they gotta tease, there's a problem with the story.

Because of that, it's worth mentioning that the plot can be summarized in pretty short order: Jim and Obo go to the swamp to see boobs the swamp maiden is evil, there's a reporter (Tom Nowicki) of the basic cable variety whose beat is "weird supernatural phenomenon" like all the best newspapers have and Swamp Thing has to save them all. From here on out, if you'd rather just skim past to look at the pictures, I'll understand.

"It's weird, but our ratings go up every time the tide goes out."


Jim and alleged adult influence Obo settle up for some coffee and dude-times in a pleasant corner of the Universal Studios backlot, but ol' uncle Swamp Thing is concerned for their safety. He's so concerned, in fact, that he creates a sinkhole under their mid-swamp kaffeeklatsch and sinks all of their food, water and survival gear into the water. Thanks Uncle Swamp Thing, we've all learned a valuable lesson.

What Jim, Obo and bargain-basement Kolchak Greg Dunbar fail to take into account about the Swamp Maiden is that she's evil ... magically evil! When Obo acts on his opportunity for longing, adolescent, lantern-lit gawks at a naked lady, he's turned into a monster for his trouble. Ah, what a metaphor for puberty! I bet we find him on a MRA subreddit in the next three months, complaining about the Friendzone.

It actually seems like an improvement.

To give credit where credit is due, despite having some of the most ghastly lines in Swamp Thing history ("when the moon aligns with Neptune" being a particular belly-laugher, and "You must deal with the boy I turned into a creature of destruction" as well), Heidi Paine actually does a pretty tremendous job as a menacing supernatural figure out to unseat the Swamp Thing's position of utter dominance over the manufactured biome behind the cafeteria at Universal Studios. Swamp Maiden would have been a decent recurring villain, and also it was rewarding to discover that "Swamp" is a unisex name. It'll make a good handle for my newborn daughter!

Swamp Thing has to curtail Frog/Obo's assaults on the reporter's trailer, leading to this tantalizing exchange:

Reporter: What are you?
Swamp Thing: Whatever you think I am.

Oh my god, he's Christmas!

Swamp Thing takes one last opportunity to talk sense with Swamp Maiden, which devolves into a West Side Story battle by the site of an unconscious Frog/Obo. With the Swamp Maiden having adopted her "true" form of a weird lizard-faced moss-beast, the subsequent wrassling on the marsh-top looks very much like a nature documentary you'd probably turn off if your parents walked into the room.

Oh god, you two, not in front of the frog boy!

Swamp Thing wins the ... uh ... "fight" with the Swamp Maiden so, exhausted and satiated, she transforms Obo into an even more horrible form -- his original one. She then fucks off into the swamp water, doesn't even leave a fifty on the Swamp Thing's dresser. That's just heartless.

That's it for Swamp Thing and his girl sidekick Swamp Maiden for this week, come back next time when someone important gets murdered! No, it's not Jim, don't get excited.

4 comments:

Dave Motto said...

Perhaps my glasses prescription needs an update, but the first time I saw this picture of grog-boy I was reminded of a certain Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie - doesn't he look a bit like Donatello? Maybe it is the lighting. I used to watch Swamp Thing when it was on... drawn in by the awesomeness of the motion pictures no doubt.

Calamity Jon said...

I may be misremembering but I seem to recall that the same team which worked on Corman's FF and the original TMNT movies worked on the Swamp Thong TV show ... Might be conflating that with something else though...

Robot Devil said...

Brendan McCarthy, designer of Fury Road, worked on the original TMNT movie. And Coneheads. And Reboot.

Nate Fancher said...

Hahaha, ^"Swamp Thong". Not laughing at, laughing with.

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