Wednesday, January 18, 2017


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 used to like to call a dumb pun kind of title, but I've run out of those, so I just call it ...

If You See Swamp Thing, Say Swamp Thing
Season Two / Episode Twelve : This Old House of Mayan

It was only a few episodes ago wherein iconic pro-wrestler Terry Funk guest-starred as a gun-toting bad guy in search of The Prometheus Parabola, still the dumbest possible name for a large fan. In this episode, wrestlers Kevin Nash and Jorge "El Gigante" Gonzales star as avenging Mayan spirits. If you're Mayan or, alternatively, have even the slightest bit of Mayan heritage AND you've had the sneaking suspicion that someone somewhere was appropriating your culture and putting one of the Wolfpack in redface, congrats, you 're right. It's happening right here and right now.

Evil archaeologist Bartok (Andrew Stevens) sneers his way into the swamp, looking for a lost ancient Mayan temple in Houma, Lousiana - slash - The Universal Studios backlot. Either of these is a bit of a long shot, but maybe the Mayans swung up through Cuba and over to Miami for a vacation one time. I dunno, I'm not the evil archaeologist here.

"Boy, you ... fellas sure are ... tall..."

I expect that the producers of Swamp Thing grab their extras from the actors hanging around the Universal Studios lot in Orlando, which goes a long way towards explaining why they're all heavily-muscled Venice Beach types. You know, it's all the guys who play Conan in the park, or who're part of the stunt show. I'm not saying that none of them could ever be the new Olivier, but just that they look like the Hulk made out of fresh dough. It gives everything a patina of softcore gay porn (stay tuned).

Also, Bartok also has that same upper Thames, stage-British accent that half the bad guys on shows like this have. Hell, it's the same voice the most-evil guy on a drama about ancient Rome always has. It's a traveled accent.

Lured by the promise of Mayan treasure, Bartok heads to the swamps with his partner Alonso (Antoni Corone), a grunting lower-class imbecile who makes up the avaricious half of this crew. They sneak out to the Tripp Swamp Tours empire and surprise Will in his kitchen, right in the middle of hanging a Playboy centerfold on his mom's refrigerator. Will is a creep.

Ahh, the smooth taste of M-^^ou.

Unfortunately, Will is also the focal point of this episode. Abducted at gunpoint, the two muffiny muscle-archaeologists haul Will into the glades wherein he bitches nonstop about how bad he is at driving a boat. This is typically annoying, limp-limbed Will Kipp intransigence, but these two guys keep threatening him and jabbing a gun in his ribs, so I'm enjoying it.

Actually, to get back to the earlier comment about softcore gay porn, this is absolutely becoming a perfect substitute for the Abercrombie&Fitch catalog. The stilted bickering scripted for Bartok and Alonso is just fake enough (and delivered woodenly enough) that it basically demands that they'll eventually wrestle ... erotically. Add to the mix the long-limbed, practically hairless Will Kipp being driven to the swamp by these two carnal meatloafs at gunpoint and, honestly no judgment here, if this was the kind of thing you'd care to masturbate to then you would be perfectly well-served in masturbating to it. This isn't even one of those "it must be SOMEone's fantasy," this is just "a lot of people's fantasy."

There's only one way out of this situation, Will, and you're either going to hate it or love it...

While all of this disturbing/arousing stuff is going on, Swamp Thing is incapacitated early on by a literally splitting headache. Just as he's knocked unconscious by the pain, El Gigante and Nash come waddling out of the fake Mayan Temple ... and into our hearts. And the swamp. This seems like a metaphor, but I couldn't say for what.

They're here to protect the graveyard of their people (Mayans sure traveled a fuck of a way to bury their dead) and the treasures therein. That's handy, because Bartok and Alonso are getting a real fucking kick out of smashing every skull they find and throwing treasure around like they're still making it. Smashing masks and making ghosts sad, the archaeologists' motto.

Presented without comment

Somehow the ghosts and the graverobbers and Will and Swamp Thing all meet in the middle of this mess. Oh, and there's a curse, I forgot to mention it. Because they almost forgot to mention it. It just happens, like ... if you're actively defiling graves and we, the audience, have already seen the vengeful ghosts emerge from hiding, then I don't think there needs to be a curse, strictly speaking. Curse or no curse, someone's getting turned inside out from magic, buddy. It's just common sense.

It all works out all right in the end, by which I do not know what I mean because I blanked a little on the ending when I realized that this was the second episode in a row with no Anton Arcane. WHAT THE FUCK, USA NETWORK'S 1990S ERA TELEVISION SHOW SWAMP THING? WHAT THE EVER-LIVING FUCK?

Also, they used that same fake Thai/Indian temple they used back in the beginning of the season, but for Mayans.


neofishboy said...

My wife’s an archaeologist, and while she’s met a few who were assholes she’s never actually encountered an evil one. Maybe they don’t get invited to the conferences. Or maybe they do get invited but prefer to stay home tenting their fingers and plotting.

Calamity Jon said...

I like to imagine that you were a student in her class and won her over by writing "I LOVE YOU" on your eyelids.

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