Battling For Metropolis…In My Backyard!

Good things come to those who wait, right? Obviously, that’s not guaranteed, but judging from what I’ve witnessed, it’s often proven true. Things I’ve only dreamed of as a kid have materialized. I’ve flexed with Hulk Hogan and I live in a world where there’s a Wonder Woman feature film. Life is good. In many respects, it keeps getting better. How’s that, you ask? Read on! Continue reading Battling For Metropolis…In My Backyard!

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments 75: The Super Friends!

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After popping in the Super Friends DVD “A Dangerous Fate,” I was surprised at how ridiculous some of the episodes were. When I was a kid, this show was my ultimate weekly cartoon viewing. It was certainly a different time for superheroes, but ever since extreme realism and darker themes took over the DC Universe, it’s hard to look at these old cartoons the same way. It sucks to say “old cartoons,” but it’s true, the Super Friends comprised my earliest Saturday mornings, and I have no regrets. I have most of the Super Friends official DVD releases, and once in a while I throw one in and watch a few episodes. It turns out that the episode I watched over the weekend had a little surprise for me.

“Elevator to Nowhere” from season 6 aired on September 27, 1980 and featured a team-up of Wonder Woman and The Atom. The events of this episode make it very clear that the Super Friends were easy marks and they allowed themselves to get scammed by villains all the time. If you’re a diabolical villain, luring any combination of Super Friends members into your lair or demonic device was not particularly difficult by any means and by that I mean it was like convincing a young child to calm down by giving them candy or balloons.

After hearing a message left on their emergency scanner, Wonder Woman and The Atom are “streaking” across the city in her invisible jet. They arrive at the lab of a scientist named Dr. Wells. (I wonder if that was Pamela Wells father?) The Atom was noticeably perturbed that he had to wake up in the middle of the night for this and he let Wells know about it. Why though? Isn’t he used to getting woken up in the middle of the night to save citizens from near disasters and fight off super-villains with his buddies?

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Washington Crossing the Delaware and finds those foreign spies 
Wonder Woman and The Atom in Trenton, NJ

Within about 30 seconds things get very TOP SECRET. And no, I’m not referring to the Val Kilmer movie. While in Dr. Well’s TOP SECRET underground lair, our heroes inadvertently waltz into a TOP SECRET time machine in the form of an elevator, which is still top secret thus far. Very coincidental that both happen to be top secret. This was nearly 20 years prior to Dr. Evil from Austin Powers mind you.

This is the moment where I was thinking “Wouldn’t it really be something if they end up in New Jersey somehow? Nah, that would never happen.” I just started getting a feeling. And sure enough, moments later, Wonder Woman pressed a button in the time elevator and accidentally activated it and sent them to Trenton, New Jersey in December of 1776 – the middle of the Revolutionary War. As you probably know, New Jersey was a major hub of activity during the war and General Washington spent much time in various places around the state.

Wonder Woman and her tiny pal are mistaken for foreign spies and arrested by the Continental Army – a fact that must’ve been conveniently overlooked in our history books. They are brought to General Washington so he could decide their fate and it’s here that The Atom gives him the idea that he’s going to be President. Just like the scene where Marty tells Goldie Wilson that he’s going to be Mayor of Hill Valley! At this point things get a little half assed. They get back to the elevator which sends them onto a Spanish galleon in the late 1600s where they meet a pirate, and then they encounter some dinosaurs as they head even further back to 70 million years BC to nab Wells.

Overall, this short episode is a pretty lame representation of the series. Perhaps it’s length limited it’s ability to be a really great parody of The Time Machine. All this talk of getting trapped in an elevator makes me think. I wish someone would make a Super Friends style parody of the 2010 film, Devil, using the DC heroes, now that would be pretty damn awesome.

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.24: Donna Pinciotti’s Uncle from Hoboken

Plenty of classy men wear rings, Wayne Newton, the Pope, my Uncle Carmine from Hoboken…you lose his ring, you wake up in a dumpster! And that’s just a warning!”

Regardless of the era it’s set in, That ’70s Show is ageless. I can watch it on DVD, YouTube, or anytime it’s reruns are on TV. It was a comedy that succeeded thanks to its talented actors and writers who never let it get stale. There’s no way that I’d ever be able to pick a favorite episode, but one episode that sticks out in my mind for several reasons is Season 5’s 5th episode, “Ramble On (aka Promise Ring Redux).

Featuring the cast in a Super Friends parody, “Ramble On” also throws in a New Jersey reference! That ’70s Show was set in Wisconsin, so who woulda’ thought that Donna Pinciotti’s (Laura Prepon) uncle was from Hoboken?
The funniest line from this episode is when Red reprimands Eric about his man ring: “…well take it off, you look like some fruity magician!”
Fez compiments Eric on his man ring: “What’s not to like it’s hypnotic, it looks like you have super powers.” We then get to see Kelso have a momentary daydream where the cast enters into a full on parody of Super Friends with Red as Lex Luthor, Hyde and Jackie as incestuous Wonder Twins, Kelso as Batman, Eric as Superman, Donna as Wonder Woman, and Fez as Aquaman who wasn’t in this shot.


From Bat-Bots to Bat-Pods

With the latest picture released of Batman’s new modified costume in next summer’s The Dark Knight, I figured I’d weigh in on something Batman related. If you aren’t aware I’m a Bat-freak and have been since the Super-Friends. The latest animated incarnation that debuted a few years ago called “The Batman” has it’s pros and cons. After 4 seasons I’m not completely sold on the show although I do enjoy it.

First, the CONS: The way the show portrays classic characters like The Joker, Penguin, and The Riddler doesn’t really live up to my expectations of what they should be like. When I say “what they should be like” is of course a matter of opinion. Batgirl was introduced in the 3rd season (before Robin???) and I don’t know if I like her costume too much, it’s kind of odd. I also can’t stand the show’s new theme song (not the original one by Edge, the newer one) it sounds so much like a mix of James Bond and Hawaii Five-O. Like Carlito says: It’s not cool. It’s upbeat but not Batman-esque. Lastly, I can’t say enough awful things about the Bat-Bot suit that Batman used in a couple of episodes.

Onto the Pros. The plots are interesting, pacing is fast, and the dialouge is well written. Other than that the animation quality, voice acting, and the Batmobile are all top notch.

I can’t wait for The Dark Knight next summer but I was a little put off by seeing pictures of the “Bat-Pod” as if the Bat-Bot wasn’t bad enough! Can’t we just give this guy his classic Batcycle? All vehicle modifications aside, with Anthony Michael Hall, and Eric Roberts part of the cast this movie is shaping up to be the best Batman yet.