March 15, 2007

Gratuitous Buck Blogging

After getting us all revved up over Jamie Lee Curtis in "Unchained Woman", the producers pull the old bait 'n switch. The bait?

Ep. 1.10 “Planet of the Amazon Women” (11/8/79)

Here we have another in a series of episode titles designed to pique the interest of the male portion of what at this point has become a fairly loyal audience.

But the “Amazon Women” (so-called) fail to live up to the images we have in our visual database. Really, the idea of “amazon” is used more in the context of a matriarchal society rather than a race of tall, athletic dominatrices.

amazon women.jpg
"You haven't been with a man in HOW long?"

Buck stumbles upon this society while flying in the proximity of the planet Zantia. Here he answers a distress call from a ship drifting in the planet’s orbit. Two "helpless" females request that the big strong man from Earth help them because they just can’t get their silly spaceship to work. Buck helps them out and is invited to come down to Zantia for a little…ahem…appreciation. Hey, what guy wouldn’t accept?

But it turns out to be a trap. Buck is taken prisoner and we find out that he is to be auctioned off as a slave via their intra-planet eBay. Remember that old cheesy sci-fi flick “Mars Needs Women”? Well, apparently Zantia needs men. So much so that they'll pay dearly for them. It seems that their sworn enemies, the Ruthians, have captured their male population and are holding them as prisoners of war. Zantia’s female Prime Minister sizes up Buck and decides to secretly bid on him for her daughter Ariela.

Now here's the switch: In what is probably the episode's most memorable buck slave auction.jpegscene, Buck is taken to a room full of women (and video monitors for those playing at home) for the auction. The handlers gratuitously rip off Buck’s shirt to reveal his manly chest and the female audience is all a twitter.

So, despite the implied cheesecake-fest that the title teases us with we instead get beefcake. Dang!

Prime Minister Dyne secretly makes the winning bid for Buck, paying an exorbitant price of 20,000 credits. Isn't it odd that in sci-fi land, the term “credits” is always the monetary unit of choice? I wonder what the value of this amount would have been vis-à-vis the 20,000 Republic credits that Qui-Gon Jinn offered Watto the junk dealer to fix Queen Amidala's ship on Tatooine.

But I digress.

Anyway, to make a long story short (too late), Buck once again pulls a Jack Bauer and risks an interstellar incident by using the threat of force to orchestrate the release of Zantia’s men from the Ruthians. Zantian women are satisfied happy again.

Guest star run-down:

The Zantian character tasked with conducting the auction, Cassius Thorne, looked kind of familiar to me. I looked him up and found he was played by character actor, Jay Robinson. If you recall the old Saturday morning Sid & Marty Krofft TV shows (that is if you dare admit you’re old enough to remember) you’d recognize Robinson as “Dr. Shrinker” – the “madman with an evil mind”. Ah I can still see him giving that withering glare at this midget assistant (played by Billy Barty) and threatening “Don’t tempt me, Hugo!”.

"Dr. Shrinker, when you asked me if I was interested in getting a little head, this was NOT what I had in mind!"

Ariela, the reluctant recipient of Buck’s slave services, was played by actress Ann Dusenberry who’s only other famous role is as one of the teenagers served up as shark bait in “Jaws II”.

Episode Rating: Pass (Unless your idea of eye candy is Gil Gerard’s hairy torso glistening with man sweat.)

In fact, the sheer lameness of this episode demands a gratuitous photo of Wilma, who once again is used way too sparingly.

wilma purple cat suit.jpg
"Hey guys. Ya miss me?"

Next Up: Gary Coleman asks “Whatchyou talkin’ ‘bout Wilma?” in “Cosmic Whiz Kid”.

The first post in this series can be found here.

Posted by Gary at March 15, 2007 04:00 PM | TrackBack