Monday, April 26, 2010

Review: Wonder Woman episode 1.1: Wonder Woman Meets Baroness Von Gunther

This show makes me vaguely uncomfortable. It has this weird and awkward mix of proto-feminism and horrible sexism, and it doesn't quite know what it thinks about gender politics. You have Wonder Woman, symbol of female capability, played by Lynda Carter, whose only other claim to significance was that she previously won a Miss World USA competetition. You have Paradise Island, a land entirely of females, somewhat like Charlotte Perkins Gilman's excellent Herland, but unlike Herland, the women actually do feel unfulfilled because they don't have men. Wonder Woman leaves Paradise Island because she falls in larve wif a maaan. Also, the fact that Diana Prince is clearly very attractive, but because she wears glasses and has her hair pulled back, everyone on the show acts like she's ugly.

But apart from all these awkward contradictions, it isn't a bad show. I like the fact that it embraces its comic book origins without feeling the need to make fun of them (not that making fun of comic books isn't perfectly valid, it's just good that this show didn't feel the need to retread the Adam West Batman,) the theme music is great, the animated interstitials are fun, the actors have just the right amount of ham.

But to the episode proper. It was alright, except that the plot hinged on Wonder Woman acting like an unbelievable idiot. She doesn't bother to retrieve her Golden Lasso after using it to save a ten year old boy (she's in too much of a hurry, or some bullshit), instead leaving it in the hands of the ten year old. Yeah, that's a fucking great idea, you fucking moron! Give the Lasso of Truth, an incredibly powerful weapon of which there is only one in the whole world, to a fucking ten year old! Are you insane? Are you high? What the hell?

Also, Wonder Woman manages to easily break out of chains described as being so strong, "not even an elephant could break them." Then, in the very next scene, she can't overpower a single, completely average strength woman. Huh? So she's stronger than an elephant, but she can't easily overpower someone of regular strength with absolutely no fighting ability? How does this make any sense?

Apart from those two massive plotholes, though, it was a pretty good episode. I liked the evilness of the bad guys, the bits of the plot that weren't filled with holes were actually pretty good, and there was this great scene where, for no reason, this pointless secretary steals the focus of the scene with her pointless mugging and eating of apple pie. She was the best thing in the episode.

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