Wednesday, September 27, 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 ...

It's Swamp Thing Beyond Thunderdome in a post-apocalyptic cautionary tale of the fragile environment! It's actually really bad, even though "Post-Apocalyptic Swamp Thing" is absolutely my favorite genre of early 90s comic book adaptations running on basic cable...

There's something ghastly in the swamp, and primarily it's most of the characters in this episode. It opens on Senator George Parker (Larry Black) and a crooked industrialist (Elon Musk, probably) arguing about how to scuttle some bad-for-business environmental reporting involving the swamp. "It has a lettuce dude in it" should have been on the top of the list, but it's not.

I hope you like these two, because it's the worst On The Road movie ever ...

While the Frick and Frack of government corruption plot out a complicated plan (The Senator is going to go to the swamp and look around and then go "Welp, looks good to me." That is literally the scheme in its entirety), Tressa meets a long-lost figure from her past. Alan (Paul Vroom) was one of Tressa's college pals, and the four-thousandth character in this show to wear the one photographer's vest available from wardrobe. So many goddamn photographer's vests in this show. It's how you know it's the Nineties.

Alan is made for Tressa, because every word out of their mouths is unbearable. They are the dullest star-crossed lovers known to mankind. And as they discuss all their wild memories for college, they go on to mutually describe just ... just the dullest couple of college kids ever. Oh shit, Alan was naked under his graduation robes! What a crazy fucker, going out in public with clothes on over his nude body! Damn! Boy, you crazy!

"Something froze this used condom solid, and I think it was ... the creature."

Long story short, the Senator (I mean, Congressman, really) hires the Kipp Swamp Tours Co. LLC or whatever to ferry him around, during which time Tressa will sternly point at grey water and the Congressman just shrugs and admits he's evil for LITERALLY NO REASON. Why tell Tressa? Fuck does she care?

Well, who does care is Alan, who comes popping out of the marsh with a gun! Talking crazy! He kidnaps the Congressman and starts a long slog through the swamp, aiming for ... okay, let me try to explain this.

Alan explains that pollution in the swamp, exacerbated by the depletion of the Ozone Layer, has created "alternative ecosystems" containing "mutated organisms," from a parallel timeline or something. He's read about it and he's sure it's real. In fact, he's so sure, that he hauls the Congressman all the way out to the supposed location of the Time Swamp, at which point they TRAVEL INTO A POST-APOCALYPTIC HOUMA. People got rags on and they got mutants too! It's FURY ROAD! We did it! We waited around long enough and Swamp Thing became something that people want to watch! This went from the worst episode to the best.

The mutant Stadtler and Waldorf

Meanwhile, back in the present, Tressa gets together with Swamp Thing so they can reiterate the absolute nonsense of the Time Swamp and form a plan. They're gonna go to the industrial plant that's caused the Time Swamp and  ... turn it off. Fuckin' wreck it. This occupies no material part of the plot, it's just a bit ...

Back in the future, everybody's dressed like Dengar and they are super-suspicious of Alan and Parker. In fact, the two of them are on trial, and Alan uses this opportunity to pastsplain the apocalypse to its survivors. "You got sick, there were mutants, the sun got brighter," bluh bluh bluh. These people lived this, man, you ain't got the right to speak for them from your place of privilege.

String 'em up for the crime of being insufficiently woke.

Since the future mutants can't support new people but also can't risk outsiders learning of their sanctuary hovel, they plan to execute the two time travelers. And who's the mutant judge who presides over them? Why, it's Will, looking like the bottom of a fishtank! I didn't recognize him at first -- not because of the makeup and the robes, but because he was wearing long sleeves.

"Have fun storming the castle!"
Tressa and Swamp Thing hop inside the factory, and according to one dial the place is unseasonably warm? This is apparently the cause of the Time Swamp, so Swamp Thing breaks out the apparent power to send chilling rays from his hands (shrug) and freezes the pipes? I can't say, I was really distracted by the fact that Tressa was standing by a meter shouting numbers. It was a true test of her acting ability.

Here, try it yourself. "Fifty!" "Eleven!" "One Hundred!" "The opposite of one hundred!"

With the plant disabled, Parker and Alan return to the present. The Congressman has a whole new perspective on he environment and promises to DO (clap) BETTER (clap). Alan kind of wants to beat cheeks, because years ago he got doused with toxic waste and now he's got Fatal Disease. I hear that disease is fatal.

Anyway, the final scene is a riot, because a relieved Tressa reassures Alan "You're safe now," and then literally the very next scene is his tombstone. All right, well, at least he won't live to see the future of the Time Swamp.

::sad trombone::

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