Wonder Woman, Season 1 Episode 4
Title: "The Feminum Mystique" Part I
In this episode:
Debra Winger has a Wonder Wedgie
We learn Alejandro Sosa from Scarface is not only a drug lord, but also a Nazi
Drusilla, WW's little sis, is an embarrassment at the dinner table
We find out that WW's mother is Morticia Addams
And, as always, lots of Nazi henchmen armed with chloroform.
So, what are you waiting for?
|Actually a British WWII plane, the Gloster Meteor|
This allows a couple Nazi douche bags easy access to commandeer this flight. A typical WW intro; however today the two bad guys are a couple evil villain heavyweights.
Nazi #1: Captain Radl is played by none other than John Saxon...
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Saxon was in every single TV drama which aired in the seventies and eighties. It's a bold statement, but I stand by it. Hardcastle & McCormick, Starsky & Hutch, Quincy, The A Team, Vega$, Fantasy Island, Dynasty, Hawaii 5-0, Masquerade, Falcon Crest, The Six Million Dollar Man.... the list is ridiculous.
Add to that, his filmography on the big screen is no less impressive. Nightmare on Elm Street, Enter the Dragon, Moonshine County Express, Tenebre, Black Christmas. Good Lord - Saxon should be the Retrospace spokesman!
Saxon is assisted by another Nazi henchman played by Paul Shenar. You may recognize him as Alejandro Sosa from Scarface. He played plenty of other baddies in his career, but he'll always be Sosa to me.
"I only tell you once. Don't f**k me, Tony. Don't you ever try to f**k me."
Predictably, as with all Nazi plans on WW, things don't go too well. General Blankenship hits the self destruct button on the XPJ-1 (the top secret jet). The Nazis are thus denied their special plane, but they are unfazed. Who gives a flying shit about a stupid plane - let's get those WW bracelets!
|Talk to the hand, Steve. Step off.|
Can you imagine if all of Hitler's planes and tanks were coated in this substance? The Nazis must have Feminum!
Meanwhile, on Paradise Island, located within The Bermuda Triangle, the Queen is enjoying a gay little athletic tournament on the lawn. Jiggle TV at its finest.
The Queen is, of course, played by Carolyn Jones, best known for her role as Morticia Addams on The Addams Family.
Of interest to me is the Amazon on the right - Dalma, played by Erica Hagen. Erica played Mrs. Marshall and a mysterious character named Rani on Land of the Lost!
Interestingly, this was one of the first Boob Tube posts I ever did - way back in 2008 (frigging 5 years ago - how time flies!). Season 1, Episode 15: "Elsewhen" (1974) is a particularly mind blowing episode. Rani is probably a future Holly who has come to warn her and give her strength to carry on when her father and brother are gone.
But I digress. Back to the WW episode...
The Queen wants to have a word with her youngest daughter, Drusilla, played by Debra Winger. She thinks WW has been away long enough, and instructs Drusilla to go to America and bring her back to Paradise Island.
Debra got her break in Urban Cowboy (when Sissy Spacek turned it down); although, my personal Winger fave is Thank God It's Friday, but that's just me. Of course, she was also the voice of E.T.and Gere's love interest in An Officer and a Gentleman. She's got a pretty volatile personality too, clashing with many of her co-stars and directors. Among her many feuds: Shirley McClain (Terms of Endearment), Ivan Reitman (Legal Eagles), Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman) and she even came out against Linda Carter!
More than any other actress in history, Debra has become known as turning down amazing opportunities. Here's a short list of roles Ms. Winger has rejected:
- Karen Allen's role in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
- Daryl Hannah's role in Splash (1984)
- Linda Hamilton's role in The Terminator (1984)
- Kathleen Turner's role in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
- Susan Sarandon's role in Bull Durham (1988)
- Michelle Pfeiffer's role in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
- Julia Roberts' role in Pretty Woman (1990)
- Demi Moore's role in Ghost (1990)
- Jodie Foster's role in The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
- Geena Davis' roles in Thelma & Louise (1991) and A League of Their Own (1992)
- Sharon Stone's role in Basic Instinct (1992)
- Meg Ryan's role in Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
- Sandra Bullock's role in Speed (1994)
Anyway, as I watched the Amazons jiggle and cavort around their cute little see-thru minis, I couldn't help but reflect on where the title of this episode is based: Betty Friedan's tide turning book, The Feminine Mystique (1963).
This book marked the beginning of second wave feminism in the United States. Having interviewed a number of women, Friedan exposed a deep well of unhappiness among educated, middle-class women—a malaise that she termed “the problem that has no name.” Friedan’s research addressed a simple but disturbing question: How had the New Woman of the 1920s & 1930s turned into the Not-so-Happy Housewife of the 1950s & 1960s?
A better question: What would Friedan think of "The Feminum Mystique"?
So, WW comes home to find Drusilla there snacking on ice cream (which she is obsessively fond of). Drusilla explains that she's come to take WW home to serve as the rightful heir to the throne on Paradise Island.... but WW has bad news.
She needs to stay put, otherwise there won't be a Paradise Island to come home to. She explains that she needs to stay and help defeat the Nazis before they enslave the whole world - including that little slice of paradise in the Bermuda Triangle.
WW explains the whole shebang to "Dru" including her disguise as Diana Prince. Dru is amazed that she would work as an assistant to a MAN (if that's what you want to call Steve Trevor). WW's younger sister quickly becomes infatuated with the idea of men and this American lifestyle.
WW makes a deal: Drusilla can stay for a couple of days, as long as she goes back to Paradise Island and pleads her case, testifying on WW's behalf on her need to stay put in 'Merica.
Later that evening, Diana serves dinner for Steve Trevor and a young up-and-coming officer, Peter Knight (played by Charles Frank). He's the mastermind behind the top secret plane, the XPJ-1 (and, unbeknownst to Steve and Diana, an undercover Nazi bastard) .
The dinner conversation turns to the high tech aircraft. Although the jet was self-destructed by General Blankenship, there's still another one waiting in the wings. Please note that Hitler had much more advanced planes than the US, so would have had no need for such shenanigans. But that's neither here nor there.
Anyway, Drusilla manages to embarrass herself throughout the dinner. WW should think twice before inviting someone who's spent their entire life on a secluded island to supper.
WW wakes up the next morning to find Dru missing. She's gone for a stroll around town. After an embarrassing visit to the local teenage hangout, she learns that she is not exactly dressed appropriately.
This makes precious little sense in light of the fact that she was dressed in appropriate attire at the dinner. Plus, in an earlier scene before dinner, WW in her Diana Prince garb explicitly explains that Dru will need to get new clothes. Why she would suddenly forget that her Amazon miniskirt is not standard American attire is a mystery.
In her new duds (looking a lot like Joanie Cunningham) Dru gets a tour of D.C. by the stately old General Cunningham. Unfortunately, they're barely out of the driveway before the general is kidnapped by those Nazi scum. Their plan: to use the general as bait to attract WW and get her bracelets.
Feeling helpless, Dru wonders what WW would do in a situation like this. She runs to a nearby filling station. The attendant, Joey, is enamored with this young lass and isn't much help.
Joey: Let's discuss it over root beer. We could listen to this great new disc I just got. Eh, new guy, knocking 'em dead. Sinatra, Fred Sinatra, I think.I'm quite sure Joey thinks this poor girl is mildly retarded, or suffering from dementia.
Drusilla: I'm sorry, I really don't have time. But if that Mr. Sinatra you're talking about is really knocking people dead, something should be done about him right away.
Dru runs to a wooded area and attempts to do the "Wonder Woman Spin"; hoping to transform into a powerful costume like her big sister. After a humiliating failure, she thinks back to a time on Paradise Island when The Queen was teaching WW the trick.
So, she gives it another try...
Success!.... Indeed I'd say it's a damn fine success. Thus is borne - Wonder Girl.
I'm not even going to attempt to go into the comic book origins of Wonder Girl. She's known as having one of the most confusing, convoluted, and contradictory origins of any super hero. In fact, there are multiple Wonder Girls, all with vastly different origins and powers.... and each went through even more distortion during DC's horrible Crisis of Infinite Earths failure. And don't get me started on Wonder Tot.
Wonder Girl went through several costume changes over the course of her varying manifestations. My favorite, though, has to be the TV version. Why, you ask?
Does this answer your question? It's better than a Hooters outfit. When Wonder Girl busts in to the Nazi hideout (where they're keeping General Blankenship hostage), we get a good look at the new outfit. Needless to say, it has my approval.
Wonder Girl quickly dispatches with the undercover Nazi henchmen. Seeing her in action makes me sad that there wasn't a Wonder Girl spin-off. In fact, the network actually had plans to make one, but the always volatile Debra Winger, broke her contract and was never in another episode after season one.
Many of you may remember the epic moment on David Letterman in '93 when guest Debra Winger tore off her clothes revealing a Wonder Girl costume underneath. During the course of the interview, she whines a bit about Lynda Carter's special treatment, and how she wasn't allowed to wear the same color eye shadow. Whatever.
It just wouldn't be a Wonder Woman episode without a good chloroforming. This time it's Wonder Girl who gets knocked out. Radl (Saxon) is under the mistaken impression that this is Wonder Woman and takes her to an abandoned industrial site.
In the final scene, Radl has her at gun point. He plans to shoot her to see if her Feminum bracelets are legit, and whether she is truly Wonder Woman.
And this is where it ends. "The Feminum Mystique" is a two part episode, so stay tuned.
STEVE RESCUE COUNT = 1 (RUNNING TOTAL = 9)
WW KO = 0 (But should earn partial credit for Wonder Girl KO)
LANDMARK: First appearance of Wonder Girl
WRITERS: Barbara Avedon and Barbara Corday - creators of Cagney & Lacey