krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Once more filling in another one-episode gap in my list of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes commented on, I've headed back to the third episode to feature Mike as host. "The Wild Wild World of Batwoman" seems sort of hard to describe, but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining; it also leads off with the short "Cheating." ("Cheating! How to make it work for you at home and on the job.")

The young high schooler John Taylor, struggling with quadratic equations and basking in the glory of being on the student council, begins relying on Mary Mathews, the girl who sits in front of him, for help on his math tests ("Sweet Mary, no!") despite his teacher's massive, disembodied head appearing to him at night; in the end, though, they're caught and John must wait in the dark to be informed by phone ("For depressing phone sex, dial 1-900-ALFALFA.") that he's being taken off the council. Things end with discussion questions for the audience, and this sort of gets carried into a shared theme for the "host segments," just perhaps because the movie itself is a little more unfocused.

In any case, Batwoman herself stays in mask and tight costume (including a bat-logo painted on her upper chest) but remains very matter-of-fact throughout the movie, whether hanging out at her suburban residence or conducting a quite possibly offensive seance with guys in suits who hired her to (unsuccessfully) protect something or other. Her "batgirls" are dressed normally if revealingly, and it's sort of tempting to say the scenes with them are a bit easier to get through than the ones without them. The mad scientist "Professor Neon," with something of a resemblance to a balder Dr. Forrester (although this isn't pointed out in the "riffing," and in this episode the doctor himself has rather more hair piled up than usual thanks to the "atomic hair dryer"), and his shambling, hunched-over assistant "Heathcliff" ("Pons and Fleishman, still at it!") are putting their go-go dancing drug to use for the masked and black-cloaked villain "Ratfink," who at first doesn't even seem to be in the same movie. ("There's a Mexican wrestler lurking outside!") He does show up in the same scenes as the other characters right around the time scenes from "The Mole People" are tossed in, though, and at last a few hard to pick up on plot twists ("Well, the music is terrible, but at least it's drowning out the dialogue.") and a lot more dancing brings things to a close. ("Please stay away from sharp instruments for three weeks after viewing this film and do not operate heavy equipment, thank you!")

Where I'm often tempted to say movies from the 1970s shown on the series have bleak and depressing conclusions, I'm just as ready to say that its movies from the 1960s can have a special kind of terribleness to them. "The Wild Wild World of Batwoman" stands very much in that category, and I suppose it's possible that could make it too much for some; even I wondered about the experience before it was over and I decided I had, after all, enjoyed the best efforts of our heroes.

July 2017

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