Wednesday, May 10, 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 Twenty : Destiny

Spme sort of ill-defrined supernatural hecky-darn descends upon the swamp for the umpteenth time, causing all sorts of wind storms and lightning effects created by holding strobe lights about ankle high and shooting them at the backdrop from the perspective of a worm tying its shoes. I dunno, maybe this is how lightning actually looks in a swamp. Maybe lighting comes from the ground up in a swamp. What do I know, I'm not the King of Swamps. I'm barely the dauphin of marshes.

Still, it's got a point to it -- or, you know, as much as we've come to expect from this show. Confederate soldiers suddenly start pouring out of the thin air, caught in the slowed-down regular speed film effect which looks so damn cheap and always irritates me, everytime. Magic works on a budget here in Houma/The Universal Studios backlot.

Wow, they're storming the city gates!
Swamp Thing doesn't have much to do with the whole scene. He acknowledges that freaky stuff happens, mutters "It can't be!" when the Union and Confederate soldier start stabbing and shooting each other, and then sort-of fucks off to do swamp stuff, and we're not invited. Swamp stuff is very private.

Two soldiers are left behind when the fighting and fucking is over; Lt.Wyatt (Andy Stahl), an officer who has left his expectant wife -- pregnant with their first child -- at the home which is, in the present-day, owned by the Kipp clan (such as it is). Also surviving the passing is Boggs, played by Edgar Allen Poe IV (I checked, he says he's a great-something-nephew, which is kind of cool), who is the Boyd Crowder of this adventure.

Boggs lays on the Southern patois pretty heavy, and also he appears to be some sort of murder-happy hillbilly. In this day and age, that's an offensive portrayal. As is the word "hillbilly." I'll report myself to HR.

"Wall this here's got me more riled up than a coonskin alligator got himself a bumblebee hive for a book bag, shee-oot what."
Will fills his typical role of getting abducted by two strange men in the swamp and the threatened for twenty minutes, particularly as he was dumb enough to tell two apparently very dedicated cosplayers that he's from Philly. "Wawa, Tasty Kake, whichever cheesecake place isn't the racist one, GO BIRDS, a couple of guys who were up to no good started making trouble in my neighborhood." he explains, possibly.

Will takes the two grey nutballs to his/Wyatt's house, where about seven hundred iterations of "Where is my wife and child / I must be trapped in a different time / You're lying, Will / Oh this evidence proves you are not lying / Where is my wife and child  ..." and so on forever.

Just about the time that Wyatt comes to grips with being trapped forever in the future, he finds historical records from the war which accuse him of cowardice and deserting his command. Why this is his big issue, I couldn't say, the guy ought to have a few other things on his mind. Why can't he be more like Boggs, and just run around the Kipp house being continuously baffled and terrified about the appliances, and then beating them to death with the butt of his rifle. Boggs seems nice.

The Kipps really like yellow mustard.

This tedium is periodically interrupted by Wyatt ordering Boggs to not murder Will, although he sounds unconvincing. This isn't his fault; they never cast a guy with an actual commanding tone to play commanding officers in these shows. He sounds like he's trying to be heard on a particularly persnickety drive-thru speaker.

Now, big congratulations are due to Houma, Louisiana, which welcomes its first-ever black supporting character, Kenny (Eric Whitmore)! Just in time to wander into Will's house and be held hostage by super-racist Confederate soldiers! Well, Boggs, anyway -- Wyatt is one of those good, not-seeing-color types of Confederate solders they always find for these stories. If you have to work that hard to make your guy a good guy then why even start him off fighting for slavery?

Imagine this guy calling his mom before the show, "I got a role -- a TV role, mom! No, I don't know what the character is yet..."

I mean, this is a pet peeve, I suppose, but in these kinds of stories they'll have the officer err on the side of abolition and the grunts being stewing pots of racist hatred. But did you know that support for slavery tended to be centered in Southern cities, and rural areas were often abolitionist? Yeah man, the rich dudes getting all the good press again. Now let me show you these exit polls from the 2016 election ...

Anyway, we get several more iterations of the above -- and it's bizarre how many times they manage to fit it in during a twenty minute episode -- leads to a final confrontation between Boggs and Wyatt during which it's discovered that Boggs was actually the deserter, which explains and improves nothing. But WIll helps Wyatt find out that he has a descendant, a baby boy nephew or somesuch, and then he and Kenny and Will go to the maternity ward of a nearby hospital to look at him and it seems really inappropriate.

"Hi, may we three rude strangers be treated to a selection of your finest, newest babies?"

Swamp Thing apparently does something to make everything better, although I missed exactly what it was. Wyatt then gets to go back in time and save Houma from the Union and go down in Confederate history which, woo, great, that's a very happy ending. He killed a bunch of United States soldiers. Let's ... let's cheer that on, I guess. This show has messed-up priorities.

1 comment:

karinations said...

This blog is mana from the gods.

Popular Posts