Wednesday, August 9, 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 ...

Oh boy, here we go. After two other appearances of Doctor Ann Fisk (Janet Julian), we finally get to see her first appearance! I'm not gonna fuss and feud about the running order, any more. It is what it is and here we are, all suffering together. Dick Durock may have been the one wearing the giant suffocating rubber swamp suit, but in a way we're all wearing the giant suffocating rubber swamp suits of our conceits.

An amateur hour Boss Hogg named Carter Sinclair Larouche (Don Hood) holds court at the edge of the swamp in order to announce his intentions to build a recycling plant in the bog. I don't know why he's having a big rally about it, surely that's something you pitch to the City Council and let the Chamber of Commerce do your fighting for you. But LaRouche is obviously intended to be a conman, because they play him like some lip-smacking Foghorn Leghorn and he's just oozes insincerity. They could have almost had him announce "And this recycling scam -- uh, I mean PLANT -- which I intend to fleece -- er, BUILD, I should say," and so on...

"Otisberg, ah say OTISberg, y'see, it's jest a li'l ol' teensy-tiny town ..."

Ann has been brought on by Larouche as an authority in environmental sciences, to verify the safety of the plant. Speaking of "the plant," Swamp Thing is watching the whole biz from his box seats in the mud waller, and the sight of Ann sends him all the way back to his days as a science teacher, when he was human but somehow even more wooden than he is now (thanks to the portrayal of Alec Holland by Patrick Neal Quinn, the man who looks just like comic book Alec Holland and acts slightly less convincingly than the reams of paper from which comic books are made).

A surveyor gets snuffed out in the swamp and his body washes up to the edge of Larouche's outdoor presentation. This is all the impetus it takes for Anton Arcane to show up and harass the living hell out of Larouche, who, Arcane hates and also it is pretty obvious that they're in this together. Moving on.

This man brought to you by Hickory Farm.

Swamp Thing finds an opportunity to approach Ann when she sets up a camping expedition in the swamp, talking to her from the darkness and alarming her in her underwear. I mean, yeah, seems like the best way to approach the matter. He warns her to not trust anyone, and I bet he had to bite his tongue to refrain from telling her to not bring her evil here, either.

Ann does some research into the conditions in the swamp, and stumbles across some tainted samples (whoa-oh-oh-oh). She reveals this information to the community at a church, for some reason, which mostly gives Larouche the opportunity to have stained glass behind him when he offers to buy up all the land surrounding the tainted swamp so that no one needs to be saddled with lousy property. BUT OH WAIT he and Arcane are planning to build a sun-and-surf resort. That is ... inconsistent with Arcane's motif.

I strongly suspect that this is the Universal Studios backlot.

With all the twists laid out in the first twelve minutes, we now have half an episode to kill while we spin our wheels. Ann goes back into the swamp to check out more samples (weirdly, they're all fine! That's because Arcane tainted them in the lab. The dude taints stuff left and right). Arcane and Larouche go with them, which puts them in Swamp Thing's territory. And how does he exercise his wrath? Well, he puts worms on Larouche. That'll show him.

When Larouche abandons his desk to scrape the worms off, Anton gets a good look at his partner's actual plans (to "drain the swamp," which has additional connotations these days, of course). Knowing that destroying the biome will put them on a direct confrontation with Swamp Thing, Arcane fucks right off, leaving Larouche to get almost drowned when our hero uses his powers to flood the campsite. Or Larouche has a bladder problem, one'a the two.

"♫Are you ready for the Summer ...♫"

Anyway, Swamp Thing confronts Larouche with visions of the surveyor he'd murdered earlier and sends him to the booby hatch after his mind snaps, the following day. Arcane uses this as an opportunity to butter up the crowd and remind them that he (as far as they know, anyway), always opposed Larouche. Here's a great exchange from Graham to Arcane:

 Graham: "They love you, sir, You're a hero to them."
Arcane: "Yes they do, don't they? Bunch of wallies."

Anyway, it wraps up with Dr.Ann Fisk hanging out with Swamp Thing and him saying things to her that he'd said earlier in the flashback. Then, literally, she only gets it on the drive home. 

"... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... OH!"

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