Thursday, November 17, 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 "Is It Swamp Thing I Said?" or...

If You See Swamp Thing, Say Swamp Thing
A man-shaped heap of pencil shavings and coffee grounds does the hard work you're too delicate to handle. 
Season One / Episode Ten : Poisonous

In which the writers sort-of cribbed from a Rick Veitch story.

You may remember the issue of Veitch's Swamp Thing in which TV Exec Roy Raymond and Congo Bill's former pal Janu the Jungle Boy are trapped in a speeding limousine by an insane swamp monster. It's a good'un, but it doesn't influence this episode much except for the sleazy reality show television personality trying to get evidence of a swamp monster.

The cast for the made-for-TV version of Jurassic Park.

This is Ian James, a fourteen-karat schmuck who introduces invasive species into natural habitats in order to spice up his nature programs. This is exactly what happened at Jurassic Park. In this specific case, he's introducing highly poisonous frogs into the swamp, letting 'em kill an alligator to prove a point, and planning to get the whole thing on tape.

He's assisted by his mewling factotum Yuri, who is reluctant to help. Why bring him along, then? Yuri's whole job is to dump a box of frogs on a dead alligator. That's something you don't really have to delegate.

Poisonous frogs don't want to be fed ... they want to HUNT!

Ian James and Yuri end up visiting the Kipp household. Tressa turns out to be a fan of this shitty Steve Irwin. More than that, she's legit hot for the dude, owing to her laser-guided crap taste in men.

You'd forgive the episode for returning ONCE FUCKING AGAIN to the "Tressa can't get laid" storyline, if only it didn't take up so much space in this episode. There's so much dead, pointless screen time dedicated to Tressa being awful at seeming interested in a human being. Hours. Hundreds of hours. A lifetime. It continues now and will outlive the sun. HOURS, I TELL YOU.

Thursday Sexual Frustration and Casserole Night at the Kipp household.

So much time is spent on Ian James' over-aggressive come-ons that the entire episode seems like a stealth pilot for a show about nature programming and sexual inappropriateness.

The closest thing this episode has to a hero is studio nudnik Mike Steinmen, James' immediate superior who spends a lot of time angrily challenging the naturalist's expense account. THIS IS GREAT TELEVISION. Meanwhile Swamp Thing saw some frogs.

I can't believe they end up making you want to root for this guy.

The frogs are supposed to be the ticking clock of this episode, you know? You're familiar with the idea, I'm sure. A movie or show has got something bad that will happen after so much time has passed, and the heroes -- whether they're aware of the danger or not -- have to somehow resolve the problem before the timer runs out. Easy peasy. The Swamp Thing writers are unaware of this technique. The frogs just sit around waiting for the go-ahead to be invasive and dangerous.

They don't really get to, since Swamp Thing -- who, it turns out, can control the weather and the temperature of water -- boils the swamp water in which the frogs live, and they all die in the same three-foot radius where they were deposited earlier. I think they're probably still woefully poisonous, and a few more alligators are gonna die.

Aw no, you poor little guys!

There aren't a whole lot of high points to this episode; Ian James almost redeems himself by braining Will with a tree branch, Will exhibits some laughably incompetent guitar strumming in the episode, and Swamp Thing actually gets to use the line "How dare you bring your evil here?" Yeah man, didn't you hear him earlier! DON'T bring your evil here! DON'T. He couldn't be more clear.

Outside of that. there are only low points, This while episode was dragging a muffler from minute one. The entire romantic subplot between James and Tressa ends up resembling a sexual harassment seminar training film, while the second subplot of Ian James acquiring photographic proof of Swamp Thing's existence comes so late in the episode as to be irrelevant. When the tapes turn out to have been slimed in some capacity, it doesn't resonate on any level because the audience didn't have time to really process the threat.

This is like the punchline ending to a Meatballs sequel.

I don't know how to say this without it sounding particularly cruel but -- this was a substandard episode even for Swamp Thing. Never venture outside without Anton Arcane ever again, USA Network's 90's era Swamp Thing television series. You'll just disappoint us all.

"I don't CARE if it's the top trending genre on PornHub, I'm your stepmother and that's gross!" 


John said...

I'm really going to miss this Swamp Thing series when you are done. Thank goodness I don't have to watch the actual show, though. (Actually, thank YOU for sparing me that.)

Calamity Jon said...

Always happy to take one for the team.

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