Image shared on photobucket by user JADflores

I’m aware that Wonder Woman aired in the dark time before VCRs, DVRs, or any of the other technologies that make life worth living. I’m still not sure we needed such a lengthy “previously on Wonder Woman” sequence to launch us into “The Feminum Mystique, Part 2 (1.6),” but here we are.

Let me save you some time:

In Part 1, the Amazon Queen sent her daughter Drusilla/Wonder Girl to America to talk her older sister Diana/Wonder Woman into returning to Paradise Island. Dru got hooked on ice cream and men. Steve Trevor managed to stay conscious for the entire episode. Everyone said XPJ1 a lot.

Nazi spies tried to steal the XPJ1, which doesn’t make any sense since XPJ1 designer Peter Knight is also a Nazi spy. Why do they need to steal this plane so badly since they have the designer and the plans? And if they’re just sabotaging the project so the Americans won’t put the plane into production, it seems like there are better ways to do that.

Oh, whatever.

XPJ1.

Let’s just get to the episode.

We join Wonder Girl’s captivity, already in progress in an abandoned warehouse in D.C.’s Nazi District. The Nazis believe she’s Wonder Woman. Wonder Girl doesn’t look a day over 1870, so it’s a leeeettle far-fetched to think these guys can mistake her for a woman in her 2500s.

As long as the Nazis don’t know there are two Wonder Beings, they don’t know they have two adversaries standing between them and the super-secret XPJ1 airplane. Let’s give Wonder Girl a few points for not tipping her hand in that regard.

Wonder Girl thinks she’s protecting Peter Knight, of XPJ1 fame. She thinks he’s also a prisoner. We know he’s a Nazi.

Wonder Girl protects Peter Knight

XPJ1 creator Peter Knight can’t get over how much Wonder Woman reminds him of a teenager he met just last night. How nutty is that!

XPJ1 designer Peter Knight uses his “masculine charms” to find out where the bracelets come from, because the Nazis want that metal!

Wonder Girl tells him the 1st rule of Paradise Island Club: “Never tell anyone about Paradise Island Club.” Then, unable to withstand his masculine charms and dreamy smalltalk about stargazing, she reveals enough information to enable your average 8 year old with a rudimentary navigational star chart to pinpoint the location of Paradise Island.

Meanwhile, at the War Department, Etta Candy tells Diana there’s intel that the Nazis are up to something on the coast of Florida. For some wacky reason, they seem to be suiting up to invade the Bermuda Triangle.

Paradise Island is in the Bermuda Triangle!

Diana tells Steve she’s going home to see if her missing sister is there. Steve blithely accepts that “wherever” Diana is from, it’s far away and they don’t have telephones.

Let’s assume this is what happens next: Diana walks away shaking her head because her boss is an idiot, turns into Wonder Woman, and hops in her Invisible Jet.

When she arrives on Paradise Island, Wonder Woman discovers that her sister isn’t there.

The Amazons could save a fortune in Invisible Fuel if they’d just get a telephone or some other form of communications technology. How hard could it be? They have Invisible Jet technology. It seems like anything else would be a snap.

Wonder Woman gathers some Amazons to guard the Feminum Mines. I’m not entirely sure how she knows the Nazis are after the Feminum, but it does seem like a pretty good idea to keep an eye on the magical invaluable ore. The Queen doesn’t want to cause a panic, so she tells the rest of the Amazons that Diana and friends are going on a “hunting party.”

In high heels and sheer chiffon mini dresses, the Amazons hop on their trusty horses and ride off to the other side of the island.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean, we see the Nazis preparing to invade.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean? They’re at Paradise Island.

Unfortunately, Diana’s sisters aren’t taking the Nazi threat very seriously. They play jacks when they should be keeping a lookout. They think the Nazis sound dreamy, what with their blond hair and blue eyes.

Jacks? That’s the best thing the director could come up with when he blocked the scene and asked “What would Amazons do if they weren’t doing a good job of guarding something and weren’t worried about being invaded by Nazis and were instead enamored by the Hollywood ideal of men with blue eyes and blond hair?”

I want to blame the writers, but the writers of this episode are woman and I feel I’d be letting Wonder Woman down if I heaped scorn on them without first considering if this was a dumb decision made by a male director. The usual cliches, particularly “soldiers play cards and let their guard down,” aren’t necessarily any more sophisticated, but visually they don’t have the same infantilizing and gendered connotations as woman sitting on the ground playing a game associated almost entirely with young children.

The Nazis invade! They get their asses handed to them by giggling girly Amazons…until the Nazis break out the knockout gas, as Nazis are wont to do.

Here’s a clip of the scene. It’s in Spanish but you can trust me when I tell you, even if you don’t understand Spanish you won’t have a problem following the action.

Meanwhile, at the airfield, Steve and Peter Knight stand by the XPJ1. Peter casually introduces Harvey Manning. Harvey is the new Chief Mechanic on the super-secret XPJ1 project. Harvey isn’t a new character, he’s Wertz, a pre-existing Nazi from the first episode.

You might think there would be bureaucracy or paperwork involved in bringing in a new Chief Mechanic on a project as super-secret as the XPJ1, but you’d be mistaken. How the hell else are they going to end up with more Nazi spies on this project?

You need to work hard to create security gaps wide enough to drive a Nazi through. Steve Trevor is well-suited for the task.

Meanwhile, in Washington D.C.’s Nazi District, Wonder Girl busts out of her cell, reclaims her bracelets, and escapes.

At Diana’s Apartment, Wonder Girl calls General Blankenship and learns Steve is at the airfield with the XPJ1.

Drusilla goes to the airfield looking for Steve and Diana. She tells Steve that the Nazis killed Peter Knight! Steve doesn’t believe her, of course, because he was just out at the XPJ1 chatting with Peter Knight. Steve doesn’t seem all that interested in Dru’s traumatic experience. He lays a guilt-trip on Dru about how Diana went home to look for her and then he goes back out to the XPJ1.

Can we just circle back around to the fact that Steve is such a terrible Intelligence agent he doesn’t even know his own secretary’s home town?

Back out at the XPJ1, Steve tells Peter that a teenage girl accused him of being a Nazi spy. Peter Knight does the logical thing: he freaks out and runs. Steve throws Peter Knight in the brig.

Steve does nothing about Harvey/Wertz, the mechanic who is 3 feet away on a ladder working on the XPJ1 while they arrest his Nazi spy boss who vouched for him and put him to work on the super-secret project 10 minutes ago.

Drusilla/Wonder Girl hops in her Invisible Jet and flies home.

On Paradise Island, Nazis force the Amazons to work in the Feminum Mines. Can I just point out that, technically, they’re mining the Feminum from a lagoon. Can you call a lagoon a mine? You know what? I don’t care.

The Amazons stand in water in their sheer white mini-dresses, mining Feminum. The Nazis took their bracelets. The Nazis have machine guns. For now, the Amazons do what they’re told.

Once all of the ore is extracted, the Nazis plan to take the Amazons back to Berlin for experimentation and breeding.

Wonder Woman won't let her sisters be used for Nazi experiments!

Wonder Woman is so happy to see her sister! She does the old “I’ve got a plan pssst pssst pssst” silent whisper to Wonder Girl.

Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl have a plan!

The Amazons stage a catfight in the lagoon. It’s a distraction! Wonder Woman stealthily steals back the bracelets. Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl knock out a few Nazis and drag them into the bushes.

So far so good.

But then things get stupid.

I imagine the script read: “Dumb plan, dumber Nazis.”

The rest of the storytime-consuming plan involves returning the bracelets to the Amazons in the lagoon one pair at a time as each Amazon makes the lengthy boring journey up from the lagoon to the ore collection basket and back to the lagoon. They have these huge baskets! One Amazon could carry all of the bracelets back in one trip! But no.

They carry on like this until it’s time for the next commercial break, at which point the plan develops a certain urgency. Wonder Woman dumps the remaining bracelets in a basket and returns them all at once.

Nazi Commander Radl calls the Queen an old woman. Ageist jerk. She’ll show him. She holds her bracelet in his face and the hostage situation ends and are you kidding me?

The Queen orders her scientists to erase the Nazi’s memories, put them back in their boats, and set them adrift for the American Navy to capture.

I have questions about all this memory erasing and mental manipulation. The Queen seems to be working from the Charles Xavier Code of Ethics, a subject we’ll return to at a later time.

Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl wing there way back to D.C. from off the coast of Florida by way of New York City so we can enjoy a gratuitous shot of the Statue of Liberty.

Meanwhile, at the airfield, Steve prepares to test the XPJ1. Wertz/Harvey disguises himself as Steve, hits Steve over the head, and takes his place as the XPJ1 test pilot. Again. I bet someone in the writers room thought that this provided the story with great symmetry.

It doesn’t.

Wonder Woman arrives in the nick of time, using her strength to keep the XPJ1 from taking off. Wertz hops out of the plane and runs down the runway, but Wonder Girl catches him.

Diana and Drusilla are conspicuously absent.

Wonder Woman shows up with a teenage sidekick.

Whoa!

Steve doesn’t notice this wacky coincidence. To be fair, he did just get knocked unconscious and probably has a Traumatic Brain Injury.

And yet, he’s allowed to test pilot the XPJ1 based on the sound medical judgment that he says he’s fine to fly.

I give up.

Later, Steve takes Diana and Drusilla out for ice cream.

It’s possible Diana bends the Nazi gun barrels when the Amazons overpower the Nazis on Paradise Island. This is a thing that I need to review in previous episodes, because I see notes in the margins for a “Gun Bending” category. I’ll note it if I update the categories retroactively.

    This episode contains:

  • Amazons
  • Bullets and Bracelets
  • Disguises
  • Giggling
  • Golden Lasson
  • Horses
  • Ice Cream
  • Invisible Jet(s)
  • Knockout gas
  • Kooky Queen
  • Mining
  • Nazi spies
  • Sisterhood
  • Spinning
  • Unconscious Steve Trevor
  • Wonder Girl
  • XPJ1

Welcome back to “Oh shit I had no idea you actually meant it when you said you rewatched every episode of the Wonder Woman TV series with Lynda Carter & Lyle Waggoner that aired from 1975-1979 and now you’re going to blog about it.”

Hippolyta, Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl

Next up: “The Feminum Mystique (1.5 & 1.6), which was advertised as a “special” because it was two parts. I guess that was why. Honestly, they said it was special so I took it on faith because I was a small child.

I remember watching this episode with my friends. It was advertised as a two-part special. I remember this blowing our little minds. Two parts! Are they even allowed to do that?

Rewatching these two episodes, my mind still reels, but for entirely different reasons.

Holy cats. I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s just begin at the beginning, with Part 1 (1.5).

Title In: Off the Coast of Virginia – 1942 – Dawn. A man (John Saxon) watches from the shore. A submarine surfaces and a man rows to shore. Radl, the man on the beach, greets his Nazi pal Wertz (Paul Shenar).

Terrible German accents ensue.

These guys are spies. Couldn’t the writers just tell us they’re German but they’re really good spies so they don’t have discernible accents? Wouldn’t that have been easier for everyone?

The average depth of the Chesapeake Bay is 21 feet, right? A submarine couldn’t cruise in and drop someone off, right? That said, submarines did deliver Nazi spies to the coasts of Jacksonville, Florida and New York in 1942, so I’m going to allow this bit of creative license to go relatively un-mocked.

Major Steve Trevor and Yeoman Prince arrive at Aldrich Field, Virginia – One Hour Later . In case you don’t understand that this is a military installation, the soundtrack is snappy snare drumming and lots of it.

Brilliant engineer Peter Knight (Charles Frank) unveils his revolutionary new plane: the XPJ1. The XPJ1 is powered by jet propulsion. The XPJ1 doesn’t have propellers. The XPJ1 is going to change the course of the war.

Diana acts amazed at the wondrous XPJ1, but we know she’s got a supersonic jazzy-jazz playing invisible plane that can fly circles around this contraption so let’s choose to read her performance as barely-concealed contempt and condescension.

XPJ1. XPJ1. They say it so often you might at first think “hey that’s a promising-sounding drinking game.” It’s not, unless you want to be as unconscious as Steve Trevor.

That wasn’t fair. Steve isn’t gassed or drugged or knocked unconscious one single time in this episode, but you get my drift.

The soundtrack swells with an anemic rendition of the fanfare from Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. (Most know that as “the 2001 music”). The little plane they wheel out of the hanger does not live up to that hype.

Steve has been taking secret flying lessons so he can be the XPJ1 test pilot…but Nazi spies Radl and Wertz have been studying an ill-gotten set of XPJ1 plans so Wertz also knows how to fly the XPJ1!

While the XPJ1 is being wheeled onto the runway, Wertz and Radl blow up a nearby fuel depot to create a distraction. Other spies, disguised as MPs, provide cover so Wertz can steal the XPJ1.

Diana runs away and spins. Her newly acquired flash of light, which starts blue, glows white-hot, and then shrinks and turns red to reveal Wonder Woman, is on-point.

Wonder Woman deflects some bullets with her bracelets and catches the phony MPs, but Wertz gets away with the XPJ1…or does he?

While Wonder Woman is being a badass, Steve saunters to his jeep phone and puts in a call to General Blankenship (Richard Eastham) at the War Department asking him to put Code Z into effect.

The General blows up the XPJ1 with the most hilarious remote detonator ever – it’s a pair of doorbell buttons housed in a locked case hardwired into the wall at the War Department which detonate a bomb in the XPJ1. This seems a little pessimistic if you ask me.

Wertz parachutes to safety.

At the War Department in Washington D.C. Steve tells Diana a secret: Code Z is a trick to fool the Nazis into thinking that the XPJ1 isn’t ready for prime time.

Now safely back at Nazi Intelligence Headquarters in Germany Wertz isn’t buying the “XPJ1 is a failure” ruse.

The Nazis still want the XPJ1 plans, but they also want to get their hands on this Wonder Woman and her bullet deflecting bracelets. Bullet deflecting metal sounds even more useful to the war effort than the XPJ1. What is that metal? (Spoiler alert: it’s called “feminum”).

The Nazis have heard rumors about a Wonder Woman, presumably from two episodes ago (1.3) WHEN THEY HELD WONDER WOMAN PRISONER IN THIS VERY BUILDING. Sure, yes, at the end of that episode it’s implied that Wonder Woman probably erased a few Nazi memories, but Operation Fraulein – the plan to capture Wonder Woman and study her – came from Hitler himself, so surely there are at least a few Nazis who remember this thing that just happened a month or so ago.

Wait.

In the pilot (1.1), Wonder Woman was billed as the star attraction in a daredevil show where she deflected bullets with her bracelets.

Two episodes later she appeared at public War Bond rallies to raise money because she’s a well-known superhero.

In the last episode (1.4), Wonder Woman won a super-big-time beauty pageant and was crowned Miss G.I. Dreamgirl 1942.

In this episode, Hippolyta is surprised that Wonder Woman became super famous all over the world.

How are the Nazis the only ones who don’t know about Wonder Woman?

Isn’t she their arch-nemesis?

Meanwhile, Radl takes refuge in Hibbsville, Virginia with a Nazi collaborator in the U.S. Forestry Service.

Geography note: There is no Hibbsville, Virginia. On the show, it seems to be somewhere between downtown D.C. and Fort Belvoir. Trust me when I tell you that submarines have never surfaced in that area. It’s not even on the Bay, that’s the Potomac River.

Moving on.

I haven’t posted any screenshots of the titles yet, so here’s one. The comic book style is as awesome now as it was then. It’s the only visual effect that has aged well, although the flashing Wonder Woman morph is still a delight, but it’s not a delight because it’s retro-cool.

Title In: Paradise Island – An Uncharted Body of Land with in the Bermuda Triangle.

Amazons in flouncy sheer white outfits do jumping jacks as the Queen (Carolyn Jones) swans about. She announces that the games may begin and we’re treated to a bizarre montage of footraces, archery, staff fighting, and balletic lifts.

Paradise Island Games

The Queen’s daughter Drusilla (Debra Winger) is the best at everything: athletics, agility, scholarship, and cruelty! Seriously, she put a snake down a classmate’s back even though Drusilla knew she was terrified of snakes.

The Queen misses her eldest daughter and wants Diana to eschew her fame in the world and return to Paradise Island. She sends Drusilla to fetch her.

Carolyn Jones (Hippolyta) and Debra Winger (Drusilla)

At the War Department: Steve tells Diana that they’ll be having dinner with Peter Knight because they have sensitive intelligence to discuss. Discussing sensitive information in a restaurant is a stupid thing to do, so Diana suggests they have dinner at her place.

Etta Candy (Beatrice Colen) is sad that no one takes her out to dinner. Diana promises to take her out to dinner, but that’s not what Etta wants. Etta wants a man. Sexy saxophone music plays as Diana assures her that she has never wanted to be a man.

Diana arrives at her apartment to cook dinner and immediately senses the presence of an intruder.

Spinning into Wonder Woman, she creeps into the kitchen to find…her kid sister Drusilla eating ice cream!

How large is the Paradise Island Invisible Jet Fleet?

Diana shows Dru her “dowdy” alter-ego, Diana Prince.

Oh, Diana, STFU.

Diana explains to Dru why she can’t return to Paradise Island right now: she has to stay and fight the Nazis so they don’t enslave the world. Sounds legit, but Dru isn’t ready to leave just yet. She wants to know more about men.

Diana explains that men are children, gods, geniuses and fools. That’s really what she says. Diana tells Dru she can stay for dinner so she can see some men.

Drusilla eats all the Ice Cream

Dru can’t show up at the dinner table in that yellow chiffon mini-dress, so Diana gussies her up and puts ribbons in her pigtails. This makes me question how old Dru is supposed to be and who thought it appropriate to dress her so young but then spin her into a weirdly revealing Wonder Girl get-up later.

At dinner Dru is awkward and strange, saying things like, “I like men!”

Peter Knight, designer of the XPJ1, thinks she’s adorbs. Peter Knight, designer of the XPJ1, is obviously a Nazi spy.

Nevertheless, Steve and Peter discuss Top Secret sensitive information relating to the XPJ1 at the dinner table in front of this strange teenager, a total stranger attending their secret XPJ1 dinner.

This post was begging for a TEDXpj1 joke but I never came up with a good one.

Later, Drusilla puts on her yellow dress again for some reason and takes an unsupervised wander around Diana’s ‘hood, paying a visit to the maltshop where she meets normal teenagers who do not wander around in chiffon mini-dresses and bullet-deflecting bracelets.

Diana gets Dru new clothes and takes her to the War Department the following day. Take your sister to work day takes a peculiar twist when Dru goes on an supervised fieldtrip with General Blankenship to Fort Belvoir so he can explain Nazis to her and point out Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon is, in fact, on the way to Fort Belvoir if you take the GW Parkway. I was going to call bullshit on this but the segment of the Parkway between Mount Vernon and Memorial Bridge was completed in 1932 and the show takes place in 1942. It’s the Northern segments of the Parkway that weren’t completed until the 1950s, so this is entirely plausible. Well, the part about driving from D.C. to Fort Belvoir by way of the George Washington Parkway is plausible. The General who runs the War Department taking a teenager he’s known for all of 30 seconds on an extensive tour of sensitive military locations? Not so much.

Unless this is further proof that he knows that Diana is Wonder Woman and that this girl must also be an Amazon.

Nope. Not buying that either.

The GW Parkway is scenic, but it’s also a great place to be ambushed by Nazis! The General is taken prisoner. The trap for Wonder Woman has been set!

The kidnappers leave Drusilla in the abandoned car since they think she’s just a random annoying teenager who happens to be riding around with the head of the War Department. Dru runs to a gas-station where the mechanic doesn’t believe her that the General was kidnapped so she asks for directions to the nearest Ranger Station and then runs away.

Dru doesn’t know anything about America or pretty much anything unrelated to Paradise Island, so why would her panicky reaction be to ask directions to something as specific as a Ranger Station?

The Ranger Station is, of course, a Nazi hideout.

After a few false-spin-starts, Dru has a flashback to the day the Queen taught Diana how to spin into Wonder Woman, and then Dru successfully spins herself into Wonder Girl. Here, now you don’t have to imagine what this looks like:


Then, of course, she walks right into the trap and is chloroformed by Nazis.

Meanwhile, at the gas station, Steve and Diana question the mechanic. He sends them to the Ranger Station, where they find the General trussed up. Since he was locked up in a closet, the General doesn’t know who showed up or why the Nazis left.

Steve is probably delighted not to be the mansel in distress for a change.

No one has said XPJ1 in at least one minute.

Diana goes back to her apartment. Dru isn’t there! Diana calls Steve, who brushes aside her concerns and assures her that Dru is probably just out having fun.

This sneak preview of Steve’s parenting skills explains a lot about the events in seasons 2 and 3.

A Deserted Industrial Area – a Refuge for Nazi Spies . Seriously, that’s the title card.

The real question is: what isn’t a refuge for Nazi spies on this show?

Wonder Girl is in a holding cell. The Nazis believe they’ve captured Wonder Woman, although they’re confused because she seems smaller than they expected.

Her costume is totally different and so is her hair and also her age but sure whatever, why not: that’s definitely Wonder Woman you’ve got in that cage.

From Nazi Intelligence Headquarters orders are sent to the Deserted Industrial Area to test Wonder Woman’s bracelets.

TO BE CONTINUED….

    This episode contains:

  • Amazons
  • Bullet and Bracelets
  • Calisthenics
  • Chloroform
  • Cliffhangers!
  • Dinner Party
  • Ice Cream
  • Invisible Jet
  • Mansel
  • Nazi Park Rangers
  • Nazi Spies
  • Sightseeing
  • Sisterhood!
  • Submarines
  • XPJ1
  • Wonder Girl

This week: Diana Prince infiltrates a beauty pageant run by…Nazi spies!

Title In: Security Entrance – Fort Russell, Maryland, May 1942 – Dawn. A saboteur blows up a truck at the most secure base in America.

At the War Department in Washington D.C., General Blankenship (Richard Eastham) puzzles over how saboteurs keep blowing up key places in the radar assembly supply chain.

There must be…a spy.

Yeoman Diana Prince (Lynda Carter) and Major Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) go to Fort Russell to investigate.

To the best of my knowledge, there wasn’t a Fort Russell in Maryland during World War II, so that saves us a lot of thinking about whether they could drive back and forth from the War Department so quickly.

The Miss G.I. Dreamgirl Beauty Contest finalists arrive. The pageant is the next night in the officers club and its being hosted by America’s favorite radio comic, Jack Wood (Dick Van Patton).

Suspiciously, every incident of sabotage has occurred on a base the day it hosted a pageant. What could it mean? It’s so suspicious that even Steve Trevor has noticed the connection, calling it “the sabotage circuit.”

Base commander Colonel Flint assures Steve and Diana that everything is cool with the pageant, because Jack Wood is an National institution, like Bob Hope.

Diana wants to infiltrate the pageant but she’s an ugly glasses-wearing girl so Steve sends her home. Diana tells him she’s going to do some shopping and take the bus back to D.C. Luckily, Diana apparently finds a terrible strawberry blond wig at the Fort Russell PX.

Disguised as “Diana Paradise” she tells pageant managers Lola (Anne Francis) and Monty (Bobby Van) she works on the base.

Diana shows off her dance moves.

Jack Wood takes one pervy look at “Diana Paradise” and lets her into the pageant. The girls are there for the G.I.’s to ogle, after all!

After he leaves Fort Russell, Steve is attacked by the saboteurs. Wonder Woman just happens to be in the neighborhood to save his bacon.

She captures and questions the bad guys in a lasso two-fer.

When Wonder Woman uses her super-strength to lift Steve’s ditched car back onto the road, he exclaims “I wonder if you can cook!” while she beams at him and/or swallows her rage.

Meanwhile, Lola and Monty discover there’s no Diana Paradise working at Fort Russell, but since Lola is old and washed up, she understands why a hot babe like Diana would lie her way into a beauty pageant.

Monty isn’t so sure.

Back at the War Department in Washington, D.C. Diana models her new look for Etta Candy (Beatrice Colon) as she practices walking with a book on her head, which is something we did a lot in the 1970s.

Steve and Etta marvel at how beautiful she is with that wig on, because of course her real mane is hideous and unattractive.

In the pageant barracks at Fort Russell, Creeper Jack Wood barges in to “tuck the girls in” and decides Diana should replace Rita as his assistant in his magic act.

Rita is furious. I can’t remember what she said because I was too busy being furious remembering Donald Trump’s whole thing about being a beauty pageant owner and barging into the dressing rooms while contestants were naked.

Luckily, Diana has more important things to do after lights-out than sleep. At Steve’s behest, she sneaks out to help Steve guard the electrical substation, which they believe is the next target. Wisely, she does so as Wonder Woman, leaving her wig tucked into her bed so her absence won’t be noticed.

FINALLY, THE WONDER WOMAN SPIN WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!

Diana spins around and transforms into Wonder Woman in a flash of red, white and blue light, accompanied by a dramatic explosion sound.

Wonder Woman gets to the electrical substation in time to shield it from a bomb. She uses the tailgate of a truck to contain the explosion, which probably doesn’t make sense if you’re reading this and trying to picture it. Trust me, it doesn’t make any more sense if you watch it.

The important part is: the explosion knocks Steve Trevor out.

The explosion wakes the girls! Rita (Christa Helm) finds Diana’s wig in her empty bed and raises a fuss about Diana sneaking out.

Luckily, Wonder Woman scaled the side of the building and snuck in the bathroom window, so Diana can emerge from the shower and alleviates suspicion about where she was. But without her wig, everyone sees her terrible hideous hair! Lola cuts her some slack and doesn’t disqualify her from competing because ugh, who can blame her!

Last year I ran into Lynda Carter at a coffee shop. She walked up to me and told me I have great hair. That has nothing to do with this post, but I just like to mention it every now and again.

Monty tells Lola that Wonder Woman stopped the sabotage. Darn her! But then Monty tells Lola the sabotage is a cover for their real mission: to assassinate General Eisenhower!

The stakes have been raised! Why doesn’t Monty like Ike? Could it be…that Monty is a Nazi spy?

Randolph Field, Texas – 1400 hours – the following day: Eisenhower is preparing to make a surprise visit to Fort Russell to unveil the new radar installation.

At the War Department, Steve is suspicious. Once he hears Ike is headed to Fort Russell, Steve worries about Ike’s safety.

The road past Point Lobo is the only way into Fort Russell right now due to a series of unfortunate events that have closed all the other roads. This sabotage thing might be even more wide-spread than they thought? And crazier still: it looks like Steve is the one who’s gonna bust this thing wide open!

Then, Steve utters Point Lobo’s least successful tourism slogan: “Point Lobo: a perfect place for an ambush!”

While Etta tries to call Fort Russell to warn Diana, Steve dashes off to save Ike.

Monty intercepts her call. Etta is not easily deterred. She dashes to Fort Russell in person.

Monty is even more suspicious of Diana, and decides to sabotage the dangerously heavy PA hanging over the stage so it will fall on Diana during the magic act.

Monty tells Lola that she’s got a fat wrinkly neck. Lola does not have a fat wrinkly neck. Now I want that PA to fall on Monty’s head.

Meanwhile, at Point Lobo, the saboteurs lie in wait for Ike.

Meanwhile, at Fort Russell, the Miss G.I. Dreamgirl show begins with the bathing suit competition, followed by the talent competition.

Interestingly, the G.I.’s in the center of the stock footage audience are rather conspicuously women. This is either an unintentionally strange choice of stock footage, or a brilliantly subversive one.

Etta’s efforts to get backstage fail.

Diana discovers that her costume for the magic act is missing! Rita, who was Jack’s assistant before Diana horned in, has reclaimed her role.

Diana ducks behind the curtains, spins into Wonder Woman, and saves Rita from Monty’s deviously dropping PA trap. Which isn’t so much a trap as it is Monty cutting the ropes that hold up the PA, but let’s not get bogged down in details.

Etta tells Wonder Woman about the plot against Ike!

Wonder Woman races to Point Lobo to assist Steve and the General, who are racing to intercept Ike.

Steve is smart enough to beep out his name in Morse code to signal to Ike’s driver that he’s a friendly! Alas, while they all stand in the middle of the road and chat the saboteurs attack. Pinned down by gunfire, the four men are trapped! Only a stroke of luck will save the day!

“There’s our luck, General!” Steve proclaims as Wonder Woman saves the four mansels in distress. “And it never came in a more beautiful package.”

Oh, but Steve isn’t done being weird. Next he tells Wonder Woman: “If they gave merit badges for being fantastic, you’d be an Eagle Scout.”

Before things can get too hilarious, Monty launches another attack, firing a rocket from a handheld rocket launcher. Luckily, Wonder Woman catches the rocket and throws it into a canyon.

Returning to the base, Wonder Woman wins the pageant and gracefully shares her bouquet of roses with all the other girls.

Steve tells Etta that Diana probably dropped out because who’d want to share a stage with Wonder Woman? Then Etta punches him in the balls and tells him Diana is beautiful.

No she doesn’t. But I’d like to think she wanted to.

Back at the War Department, Steve tells Diana that the General nominated Wonder Woman for a special commendation, so that’s nice.

Lola will probably be treated with leniency because Jack Wood is lobbying for a light sentence and everyone knows that radio comics are the best people to make decisions involving national security.

You know, that kind of decision-making could explain why Washington, D.C. is filthy with Nazi spies. Jack Wood vouching for Monty and Lola and the girls is what got Fort Russell into this mess in the first place.

The pageant girls don’t get many lines, but some of them stand out for historical reasons:

The unsolved murder of Christa Helm, who played bitchy Rita, continues to be a sources of salacious gossip and intrigue.

In addition to being an actual Playboy Playmate, Linda Carpenter was one of the iconic Playmates from the film Apocalypse Now.

Ann-Marie Martin co-wrote Twister. Her former husband, Michael Crichton, usually gets all the credit for that one, so I just wanted to mention that here because I can.

    This episode contains:

  • Ageism
  • Bickering Beauty Pageant Contestant
  • Devious Traps
  • Dancing
  • Disguises
  • Eisenhower
  • Explosions
  • Golden Lasso
  • Impersonation
  • Mansel(s) in Distress
  • Nazi Spies
  • Rockets
  • Sabotage
  • Spinning
  • Unconscious Steve Trevor
Fausta Grables

Fausta Grables

“Fausta, The Nazi Wonder Woman” aired on April 28, 1976. Fausta is the second (and last) villain pulled straight out of the pages of Wonder Woman comic books, although things seem to turn out a bit differently for TV Fausta than they did for TV Baroness. This is Fausta’s only appearance on the show, which is too bad because Lynda Day George was an accomplished actress who could really dig her teeth into this kind of wacky material. Her husband, Christopher George is also in this episode, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

We open on a mysterious German castle. Title in: Top Secret Nazi Intelligence Headquarters, Somewhere in Germany – 1942.

Wait…Somewhere in Germany?

It’s Berlin. The top-secret headquarters are in Berlin. Even Steve Trevor knows that, so this seems a little insulting to the viewer.

OK, fine, most of the original broadcast viewers for this show were probably either 5 (like me) or stoned (like my babysitter), so I’m willing to let it slide.

Inside the Top Secret Nazi Headquarters: Nazis!

Apparently, Nazis spend a lot of time discussing their career hopes and dreams with one another. Colonel Kesselman (Bo Brundlin) is paranoid that Fausta Grables is after his promotion. Brundlin is Swedish, and his German accent is the least offensive in the episode, so he does have that going for him.

Fausta is icy blond and beautiful, with neatly braided Disney Princess hair. Despite her keen intelligence, strength, and impressive record as an Olympic champion, the Colonel doesn’t respect Fausta, reinforcing Wonder Woman’s dialogue in previous episodes about the sexist nature of Nazi culture.

Fausta shows the Colonel footage from the pilot episode (an admirable bit of meta fictional footage recycling) but the Colonel dismisses this Wonder Woman as Hollywood propaganda. Nevertheless, on Hitler’s orders, they launch Operation Fraulein. The objective: capture Wonder Woman and take her to Berlin so the Nazis can study her.

Fausta’s plan: bait her trap with Major Steve Trevor. Which isn’t a figure of speech. She actually has a trap.

Fausta and her henchmen head to Washington, D.C. and easily infiltrate the War Department disguised as a cleaning crew. She gases Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) and takes him to a warehouse.

faustagas

The next day, Yeoman Diana Prince (Lynda Carter) is concerned because Steve isn’t at work. Corporal Etta Candy (Beatrice Colen) smirks and reminds Diana that Steve is a manslut. Ok, that’s not exactly what she says, but there’s a lot of smirking and innuendo about why Steve is AWOL.

Etta, in her role as plump, non-threatening gal-pal, is frequently shown shoving food in her mouth or offering Diana food, which Diana always refuses.

Etta offers Diana a donut, which Diana refuses.

Fausta places an anonymous call to the War Department, telling Diana she found a letter on the sidewalk from a Major Steve Trevor directing whoever finds the letter to call the War Department and summon Wonder Woman to a warehouse to rescue him.

The trap is set!

Wonder Woman does her slow-motion spin transformation and hides her clothes.

At the Warehouse Wonder Woman barges in and kicks henchman ass. Fausta is unimpressed. She, too, can kick ass. But then…she sees Wonder Woman use her golden lasso of truth on a henchmen, easily locating where they’ve stashed mansel in distress Steve.

Fausta totally wants that lasso.

Wonder Woman is polite and thanks people after they tell her the truth. I think that’s nice.

Fausta lures Wonder Woman into a new trap by “appealing to her sense of competition.” She impersonates Wonder Woman at a federal war bonds rally outside the War Department. It works! While Steve and Etta watch, Wonder Woman and her impersonator do Feats of Strength to inspire people to buy war bonds.

Steve and Etta exchange a bit of awkward dialogue about what a shame it is that Diana is off giving blood and hence missing yet another chance to see Wonder Woman.

I’m pretty sure that was hilarious to me when I was a kid.

Onstage, Wonder Woman falls through a trap door in the stage. A henchman chloroforms her, uses her own lasso on her, and learns her belt is the key to her strength.

Fausta and the henchmen take her belt and shove Wonder Woman in a cab. Fausta, as Wonder Woman, fails to flirt with Steve before they make their getaway.

Steve smells a rat!

Steve and Etta commandeer a cab and take off in pursuit of the phony Wonder Woman. Steve nearly crashes into a fallen tree he should have been able to see from half a mile away and which he could easily have driven around, so don’t get your hopes up that he’s suddenly gotten smarter.

Then Steve runs out of gas, foiling any further attempts to rescue Wonder Woman as the Nazis disappear into the distance.

The Nazis load Wonder Woman into a plane. Before the plane takes off, they peel away a decal, revealing the swastika on the plane, which seems like something you shouldn’t do until you’re well clear of U.S. airspace…

naziplane

Back at the War Department, General Blankenship (Richard Eastham) won’t let Steve go to Germany to rescue Wonder Woman, instead sending him on a furlough to rest for a few days.

Steve sneaks away and uses his furlough to hitch a ride to England.

In Berlin the Colonel continues his paranoid monologue about his impending promotion and Fausta’s career ambitions.

Oh, and they also unload Wonder Woman, who is still powerless without her belt or lasso.

In England, Steve tracks down his old buddy Charlie (Jeff Cooper). They exchange some lines about their days as football heroes and about how Steve threw Charlie the winning touchdown pass in the Rose Bowl. Charlie just happens to be flying a mission over Berlin that night! And Steve needs to get to Berlin that night!

Steve parachutes into Berlin and meets his contact, Resistance fighter Rojak, who is played by Fausta’s real-life husband, Christopher George.

It may surprise you to learn that Rojak is a Nazi spy!

It takes a while for Steve to catch on that Rojak is a Nazi spy, despite the fact that Rojak leads him around in circles instead of taking him to Nazi HQ. Apparently, the first 3 times they pass that same piece of scenery, Steve just thinks they’re in a Scooby Doo episode.

Luckily, a fraulein with the Resistance knocks Rojak out with a shovel and rescues our mansel in distress. For now, Steve stays conscious.

Meanwhile, the Colonel and Fausta use the lasso to question Wonder Woman, even though he doesn’t believe it actually works.

Wonder Woman explains that the women on Paradise Island are super strong and super smart because they aren’t hindered by an environment of toxic masculinity. Fausta seems to dig that idea. The Colonel thinks it’s poppycock.

While the Colonel is mwahahaha-ing, Wonder Woman gets her accessories back, frees herself, fights Fausta, deflects some bullets with the Bracelets of Submission, and saves herself.

Wonder Woman appeals to Fausta’s womanly intelligence and womanhood. It doesn’t work…or does it?

Wonder Woman steals a plane and flies back to Washington, D.C.

As Diana Prince, she arrives at the War Department the next morning to learn that Steve is being held prisoner at Gestapo Headquarters.

I remember watching Wonder Woman with my friends. I think we all assumed it was canon that the General knew Diana was also Wonder Woman. Maybe she didn’t know he knew, but he knew. Much like in this scene, he often steps into the foreground, stares into the distance, and intones something along the lines of: “I sure hope that Wonder Woman knows this thing only you and I and Etta know, Diana! And I hope she can get there and back in the next 2 days of storytime because that’s all the furlough time I can give you.”

Fine. Ok. We were 5 so we didn’t know words like “canon.” We just believed. In retrospect, I now believe those scenes were just campy writing, directing, and acting. General Blankenship seems to be as clueless as Steve, reinforcing the message that the women are the brains behind any operation, be they American or Nazi.

In her office, Diana spins into Wonder Woman and uses her creepy voice mimicry skills to make a few calls as General Blankenship. Then it’s back to Berlin and into another devious trap.

This time, Steve is chained up in a dungeon. When Wonder Woman breaks into his cell, the walls begin to close in! These sorts of death traps were a common and little-appreciated danger to television heroes for decades. Even if you don’t remember them, you surely know George Lucas’s homage to the trope in Star Wars.

They escape before the walls crush them, racing into the hallway and…falling through a trap door, because Gestapo HQ is apparently basically a human-sized version of the game mousetrap (Mausefalle?).

The Colonel has them now! Steve and Wonder Woman land in a water trap reinforced with an electrical contraption which the Colonel will use to electrocute them if Wonder Woman doesn’t spill her secrets.

Of course, Wonder Woman already spilled her secrets, but the Colonel didn’t believe her.

Wonder Woman refuses to speak to anyone other than Fausta.

Wonder Woman raises Fausta’s consciousness about male oppression, and Fausta in turn enables Steve and Wonder Woman to escape.

Fausta decides that she will become a leader in the Resistance. Wonder Woman proclaims her “An example to women all over the world who want to be free!”

When Steve and Diana return to work at the War Department in Washington, D.C., Steve won’t divulge any details about his time with Wonder Woman, telling Etta and Diana that he doesn’t kiss and tell.

Diana punches Steve in his pretty face.

No, not really. Diana smiles brightly in the face of Steve’s innuendo, accepts his compliment on her typing skills, and swallows her feminist rage.

Etta admires Steve’s bravery and courage, which will no doubt bring the war to a close 6 months sooner!

Pretending to hear about Fausta’s change of allegiance for the first time, Diana remarks: “Maybe all women can do wonders if put to the test!” This leads Steve to marvel: “That’s exactly what Wonder Woman said!”

Oh, Steve!

This episode contains:

  • Bullet-deflection
  • Bracelets of Submission
  • Chloroform
  • Consciousness Raising
  • Devious Traps
  • Feats of Strength
  • Golden Lasso (Lasso of Truth)
  • Henchmen
  • Impersonation
  • Knockout Gas
  • Nazi Spies
  • Mansel in Distress
  • Spinning
  • Unconscious Steve Trevor
  • Voice Mimicry
  • Womanly Badassery
  • Wonder Woman in Bondage
  • Has anyone seen The Spirit? We were actually looking that one up yesterday when we were waylaid by the badness of Seven Pounds. The Rotten Tomatoes pull-quotes are no doubt a thousand times more entertaining than the actual movie.

    It’s not just that it’s obvious from the train wreck onscreen that Miller hasn’t ever truly directed a movie before; it’s hard to tell if he’s ever even seen a movie before.

    or

    The Spirit is a loony, embarrassing mess that takes the late Will Eisner’s classic comics creation and beats it senseless with a giant toilet bowl (literally, at one point).

    or

    Lurid, rambling nonsense.

    or

    A disaster in nearly every way. Samuel L. Jackson seems to be channeling Grace Jones by way of Uncle Remus from Song of the South.

    This movie appears to be so ungodly awful that even the trailer is a confusing and befuddled mess:

    OK, possible spoiler warning for Seven Pounds, click at your own risk:
    Read More →

    We went on a date recently and we actually went to the movies – we saw The Day the Earth Stood Still at the local IMAX theater. We watched the original first because, well, we’re geeks. Keanu Reeves acquitted himself nicely as the completely expressionless Klaatu, and the pacing was much better, and GORT the robot was seriously creepy, but it lacked all the nice DC scenery that gave the first one so much of it’s charm (for us).

    The real geek-fest was the previews – warning – these websites all launch annoying sound effects when you click the links so you may want to turn your speakers offThe Watchmen (which author Alan Moore is, predictably, upset about), Star Trek, and Monsters Vs Aliens, which looks really cute. I also choose to take it as further evidence of the dinosaur-human hybrid super-soldier project in the basement of the Pentagon.

    To be fair to Moore, Hollywood hasn’t done a particularly good job of translating his work to the screen (see also: League of Extraordinary Gentleman and V for Vendetta). Plus, the guy probably gets more press as the disgruntled and disenfranchised creator than he would if he was gung-ho about the adaptations.

    Before I return to my regularly scheduled pre-election media blackout, already in progress…But first, a link to Roman Dirge’s spookyland, because I promised DelRaySteve I would post it.

    Please please please let this just be an idle rumor. If Sandra Bullock is really going to play Wonder Woman in a big screen remake I simply don’t know what I’m going to do. This is a concept that upsets me no end. I don’t have anything against Sandra, but damnit she is not Wonder Woman.

    If I ruled the world (and someone put a gun to my head and forced me to do a wonder woman remake) I’d cast Sigourney Weaver. She kicks ass. And don’t give me that “she’s too old” crap because Wonder Woman is 3,000 years old. She’s an amazon, remember? As long as you’re indulging me in this sick little fantasy let me add that I’d cast Janeane Garofalo as Wonder Girl.

    No, actually, I want Gina Torres to be Wonder Woman and that’s all there is to it. Problem. Solved.

    They’d have better chemistry than Weaver had with Winona Ryder in Alien Resurrection, that’s for sure.

    This morning something occurred to me that I hadn’t thought about before. I was watching Wonder Woman, as I do every morning before I go to work. The Chinese Communists had captured Diana Prince and were tying her up. Diana had to just let them tie her up because of course she couldn’t turn herself into Wonder Woman right there in front of them – it would give away her secret identity.

    Or would it? Wonder Woman’s golden lasso compels people to tell the truth, but she also uses it to make people forget things. Why not turn into Wonder Woman, make them forget that they just saw her turn into Wonder Woman, and then kick their commie asses?

    Is there an ethical issue? Is it against the rules back on Paradise Island? Is Diana Prince extremely modest? Or would doing that eliminate the requisite scenes where Diana escapes, runs behind a tree and turns into Wonder Woman in “privacy” and then kicks their commie asses. This sequence is formulaic and yet always awkward and never quite believeable – even in the TV Superhero Universe. Changing the forumla would have required the writers to come up with more – and different – scenes to fill out the episode and would have thrown everything out of whack, I guess

    I missed the ass-kicking scene since I had to run and take a shower. When I came back Diana Prince was having dinner with the Chinese Communist leader and the couple who had captured her in the first place. They were having a fine time and the leader, General SomethingOrAnother had given his blessing for the couple to disappear into Chinatown and not be commies anymore.

    I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on at the end of the episode and neither could Husband, who was stupified, sitting in the lazyboy sucking down coffee and looking totally perplexed. And he’d seen the whole thing. Some things are better left a mystery, I guess.

    I think part of the problem was that our resistance was down. We tried watching back-to-back episodes of the Love Boat last night and I believe we may have actually injured ourselves in some way.