Wednesday, February 19, 2014

James Bond Jr [1991]: Episodes 21-40

And now, I recite -- from memory! -- the lyrics to the James Bond Jr theme song.  Apologies if I fluff a word or two.

Bond . . . James Bond, Junior . . . no one can stop him (though S.C.U.M. always tries).  Young Bond breaks through each web of spies!  He learned the game from his Uncle James; now he's heir to the name . . . JAMES BOND!  Look out, he's comin' through; he's got a job to do.  While he rescues the girl, James Bond Junior chases S.C.U.M. . . . around the world!

Let's see how I did:






That makes it official: I've got the theme song memorized.

Jeez.

Let's agree to be glum about that, but let's also agree that the best way to cope is to keep pressing forward.


Episode 21: "A Race Against Disaster"

airdate:  October 14, 1991
written by:  Jeffrey Scott





In what might well be the dumbest episode of this series to date, James wins a trip to see a big race, only to discover that Dr. Derange has kidnapped one of the drivers, taken his place, and launched a plot to steal plutonium from a nearby nuclear facility.

You read that correctly.  Endgame: steal plutonium from nuclear research facility.  Means: become race-car driver, get so far ahead of the pack that nobody will know what you're doing, feign wreck outside facility, gas guards, enter facility, steal plutonium.  It's a cinch!

Derange's plan actually works, too, so of course, he returns to finish the race.  He doesn't bug out to go start putting his newly-purloined plutonium to use; he wants to finish the race.

This is next-level stupidity.

An example of the dialogue contained in the episode: Derange shoots some oil out of the back of his car to try and throw James off, and James says (wait for it...) "Pretty slick, Derange...!"

Stray thought: why did the producers not give Nick Nack to Derange as a henchman?  Too much Francois at a go?


Episode 22: "The Inhuman Race"

airdate:  October 15, 1991
written by:  Jeffrey Scott




I think we all know what the above screencap is telling us.  The mustache should probably have been a dead give-away.

Speaking of falling asleep, that's what I did quite a few times during this episode.  Not so much during the episodes of Orphan Black and Star Trek: Enterprise that I watched beforehand; they were terrific.  But oddly, I had trouble staying out of a mild temporary coma during this particular half-hour.

Consequently, the finer details of what was going on in the episode elude me.  I can tell you without a doubt that it involved: Nick Nack (who has shaved his beard and is once again sporting a fine five-o'clock-shadowed face) and Skullcap are posing as vampires and werewolves on behalf of Dr. Derange, who is employing them in that fashion so as to __________ in a German town.




This is a Scooby Doo plotline, and you know it's Nick Nack right off the bat, (A) because you're not an idiot but also (B) because the short one -- the vampire -- growls in an unmistakably Nick Nack-ian accent.  Which is kind of adorable, in a horrific sort of way.

The plot also involves Warfield students being at a scholastic competition in Germany; Trevor being kidnapped for his "human spark"; a kidnapped German scientist who looks like Einstein; a leggy girl who looks a bit like Sheena Easton but is much too tall and Germanic to actually be Sheena Easton; an android monster not unlike the one in Tom Baker's first Doctor Who story; and a climactic plot involving Trevor NOSEWORTHY not knowing the difference between a nose and an earlobe.

I am roughly a third of the way done with the series, and while I cannot honestly claim to be enjoying it, I find that I am growing more willing and able to accept it for what it is: a silly kiddie show.  So I am at least enjoying it more than was the case initially.

An alternative interpretation: I am forcing myself to feel such feelings lest I go mad waiting for this experience to end.

Take ya pick, bub.


Episode 23: "Live and Let's Dance"

airdate:  October 16, 1991
written by: Alan Templeton and Mary Crawford




Given how heavily James Bond Jr traffics in puns, it's probably surprising that it took over twenty episodes for a title to riff on the title of one of the movies.

Speaking of which...

I once took part in a competition at work -- in the late '90s, mind you -- wherein me and a few other workers tried to come up with titles for porn parodies of all the Bond films.  Some of them are tricky.  What can you do with Dr. No?  Other than Dr. Yes, I mean.  There were a few good ones, such as Poonraker and the appallingly obvious (but nevertheless satisfying) Thunderballs.  The best of them all, if I do say so myself, was contributed by yours truly: On Her Majesty's Secret Cervix.  Damn right.

But we're not here to talk about that.  We're here to talk about "Live and Let's Dance," which is one of the better episodes I've seen.  Someone at Puffin must have agrred; this was the third in their series of paperback YA novelizations.

The plot involves a new villain named Baron Von Skarin, who hires an assassin to kidnap and take the place of a world-famous dancer.  The assassin will then carry out the killing of a king at a private performance.

To be sure, this is still a silly plot, but it's better than most of them, and I guess that'll have to be enough for the time being.

The Baron has a (mercifully non-verbal) dog for a sidekick, and that's pretty cool, too.

Also noteworthy: IQ speaks the phrase "for your eyes only" at one point, and there's a flying car, and James has to dangle from the cables of a cable car mechanism.  So this episode is fairly loaded with little hat-tips toward the movies.


Episode 24: "The Sword of Power"

airdate:  October 17, 1991
written by: Ted Pedersen


Unlike his uncle, James Junior had never before been exposed to analingus...

At some point during the course of the past few episodes, Coach Mitchell has (A) become aware that James and his clique of friends are constantly leaving Warfield and wahing covert anti-S.C.U.M. operations and (B) has turned into some sort of weirdo.  First, Tracy got a glimpse of the men's locker room through his eyes; a few episodes later, we caught him falling asleep with a copy of Men Magazine on his chest, right in the lobby of the hotel for his student charges to see!

In this episode, he conspires to keep Trevor too busy to rat James and company out to Professor Millbanks by forcing the poor lad to run a fifteen-mile cross-country relay.  Once Trevor has finished, he's still talking about wanting to see Millbanks, but Coach Mitchell talks him into giving in to his desire to sleep instead.

And then stands over him (off-camera, mercifully), crooning "Sleep...sleep..." to him in a manner that would do Telly Savalas's Blofeld proud.

The adventure this time out involves James and friends going to Japan to try to recover an ancient sword that was stolen from the British Museum.  By agents of Dr. No, as it turns out!

The entire adventure, which scarcely bears recapping, takes place while Trevor is running his fifteen miles and then sleeping off its ill effects.  But do we care about the adventure?  Not if you're me, we don't.  I'm more concerned about how long Trevor seems to have been asleep, and about whether we can trust Coach Mitchell to have behaved in a professional manner during that time.  Anyone who sleeps long enough for their classmates to fly from England to Japan and have an anti-terrorist adventure (and then get back in time to observe him still sleeping!) is someone who must have been dosed with something.  And we all know what the sorts of people who administer drugs of that nature to underage children are likely to also be interested in doing to said underage children.

In related news, James at one point during his Japanese adventure orders a "chocolate milkshake, shaken, not stirred," which is kind of funny.

Also funny: Dr. No actually says, "That young fool has meddled with my plans for the last time!"  More or less in those exact words, too.  He does not, sadly, get to say "...and I'd have gotten with it, too, if it hadn't been for you kids!"

But the series is not yet over; so who knows what might happen in the final 41 episodes.


Episode 25: "It's All in the Timing"

airdate:  October 18, 1991
written by: Francis Moss and Ted Pedersen




Any episode in which Skullcap has to give Dr. Derange a piggyback ride on account of his boss not wanting to walk through snow in his bare feet -- his boots have been glued to the floor, and had to be taken off -- can't be all bad.  And so it is with this episode.

The plot: Dr. Derange has stolen some sort of mechanism that will permit him to finish building his "atomic clock," a device that will permit him to literally stop the movement of the planet Earth.  This will enable a great deal of lucrative blackmail of governments who have a vested interest in keeping the world spinning.

Daffy stuff, no doubt.  Derange makes a huge amount of time-related puns this episode, the majority of which are to Skullcap, who does not understand them.  This leads to ample opportunity for Derange to speak the word "buffoon" in an outrageous French accent.

This series seems to be on the verge of winning me over in some strange way.

The subplot involves an interscholastic bicycle race, and Trevor's attempts to cheat his way into winning it.  Trevor is a fuck.  At times, I feel James Bond Jr is asking me to look upon him as a more despicable villain than most of the S.C.U.M. agents themselves.

Speaking of S.C.U.M., it's been quite a few episodes since we saw Scumlord.  Based on the first episode, I assumed he would pop up every third or fourth time, but I think we've only seen him the once.  Which is kind of weird, now that I think about it.


Episode 26: "Dance of the Toreadors"

airdate:  October 21, 1991
written by: Alan Templeton and Mary Crawford




Baron Von Skarin returns, this time with a plot to take over a British nuclear power station for extortion purposes.  He's commissioned a thief named Tiara Hotstones to kidnap some weird gems that he needs to use in order to gain remote access to the nuclear facility.  Tiara steals the gems, then -- I ain't foolin' here, so don't accuse me of making shit up -- sews them into the dress of a Spanish dancer named Dulce Nada, so they can be easily moved.  Tiara, evidently having foreseen a need for such a gambit, formed the dance troupe herself.

However, she failed to plan on one thing: Horace "IQ" Boothroyd coming down with a case of Spanish fever when he sees Dulce dance at Warfield.  He bungles things with her, though, so James and the gang try to -- what's the opposite of "cock block"? -- help IQ out and spirit him away to Pamplona to try and give the poor nerd a second chance at getting his package wrapped.  So, of course, they stumble onto Von Skarin's plot and put an end to it.  No word on whether this results in IQ getting to scratch a notch on his bedpost; my money's on no.

In order to get to Spain in the first place, IQ has to pretend he wants to attend a book-publication event for his grandfather's new book.  This, presumably, is Q himself.  James Junior uses a voice modulator to impersonate Q, and calls Professor Millbanks to get permission for the whole gang to leave Warfield on a trip.  Which means that -- admittedly, via impersonation -- James Bond Jr sort of gets its first non-villain cameo from one of the movies' characters.

It's a tenuous link at best, but it sort of counts, I guess.


Episode 27: "Fountain of Terror"

airdate:  October 22, 1991
written by: Jeffrey Scott




Spoilers, lol:

That's not really an abominable snowman!  It's Jaws in an abominable-man costume!

Ugh.

In this one, Dr. Derange, Jaws, and a new villain, Ms. Fortune, are trying to locate and conquer a hidden Nepalese village because it has a fountain of youth.  One of IQ's cousins gets kidnapped while mountain climbing, and this leads to IQ, James, and Phoebe going to Nepal to rescue him.

The best part of this is when they meet a Nepalese guide who speaks in a Scots accent.  I don't think it's purposely a Scots accent; I think it just worked out that way.

Meanwhile, back at Warfield, Trevor -- as James's understudy -- has to fill in as Romeo in a production of Romeo and Juliet.  This leads to lots of "jokes" about Trevor kissing Tracy (who's playing Juliet), wanting to change the name of the play to Romeo and Romeo (?!?!?), and pouting in his dressing room because he does not have a parking spot with his name on it.

I'd say this is one of the worst episodes yet, but I'm not sure it actually is.  It's so dementedly stupid that one has to marvel a bit.


Episode 28: "The Emerald Key"

airdate:  October 23, 1991
written by: Sandra Ryan

I have a great many things to say about this episode, beginning with this: whereas Diamonds Are Forever still contains THE most unsettling depiction of transvestism in the entire James Bond canon, that race now has a silver-medal winner.




Yes.  That is Skullcap in drag.  He has dressed as a woman so as to be incognito, the better to steal a golden statue from Erica, a Warfield student whose father is basically Indiana Jones.  S.C.U.M. has kidnapped him, but not before he successfully got this statue delivered to his daughter.  It is a secret key to a secret Mayan (I think) temple full of gold.  Will we eventually get to see a scene of Dr. Derange rolling around in the gold like he's Smaug?  You bet we will.

Other things we get to see: Tracy, Phoebe, and Erica all sleeping together in their hotel room.  In one bed.  Now, look, you perverts . . . it ain't like that.  That's the bad news.  The good news, you degenerates, is that you get to see the ladies in nightclothes:





Now, let's not have any misunderstandings between us.  I don't want to watch cartoons and find myself thinking thoughts like, "DAY-UM...!  Lookit the titties on Tracy!"  (Not to mention those size-Ds Phoebe is sporting.)  However, being as I am a man, and therefore somewhat biologically inclined to respond in such a fashion -- even to cartoons -- I hold myself blameless.  These things happen.  Best to just call attention to it and move on.

I'd also like to call attention to the fact that while they are cutting their way through the jungle to the lost temple, Dr. Derange and Skullcap apparently decide to wear traditional adventurer attire:




Personally, if I were hacking my way through a South American jungle, I'd want to cover my legs.  But, Dr. Derange is obviously a different fellow.  He also does not mind how stubbly his legs are:




Salud, I guess.  Dr. Derange's pronunciation is even more Franch this episode than usual: he pronounces the "ed" identically to the proper name Ed in all words that end in that sound.  So that "duped" becomes a word that rhymes with "Cupid."  I am consistently amused by this, for some reason that shames me.

Elsewhere in the episode, after the midnight raid Skullcap conducts on the room where Erica, Tracy, and Phoebe are sleeping, IQ, James, and company hold a meeting outside their hotel.  There are actual dudes in sombreros taking siestas against the wall.  Unbelievable.




The best part of this is that while IQ is loudly talking, the siesta-ing dude right behind him wakes up and shoots him a sideways stink-eye.




I don't remember much else about the plot, except that Skullcap falls into a pit of snakes at one point while Dr. Derange is cavorting among the gold; "I dun't haf tahm fer yer puny problams!" is Derange's response to his pleas for help.

Finally, I just can't resist posting another screencap of people looking surprised:




I forgot to mention that much of this episode's plot revolves around IQ desperately wanting to fuck Erica.  He even has a bruiser of an argument with James about it at one point, accusing him of wanting her for himself, and also of being a pussyhound in general.

Poor IQ.  I get where he's coming from.  Erica has long, flowing red hair and wears a choker.  What's not to lust after?  But if IQ had any sense, he'd be chasing Penelope.  He's going to wake up one day around age 38 and realize that SHE was where it was really at, the poor chump.

Oh, well.  Such is life.


Episode 29: "Ship of Terror"

airdate:  October 24, 1991
written by: John Bates

Aboard a cruise liner with a classmate -- Prince Malmo of Kua Kua -- James and Gordo and Phoebe battle a S.C.U.M. robot that is being remotely controlled by Captain Walker D. Plank.  James is once again referring to him as Captain DePlank, so clearly there were internal problems on this production vis-a-vis the pronunciation of this motherfucker's name.  Meanwhile, back at Warfield, IQ has to take Coach Mitchell's niece to the dance on account of James being out of town.

Even grading on a curve, this wasn't much of an episode.  Let's speak of it no further.


Episode 30: "Deadly Recall"

airdate:  October 25, 1991
written by: Jeffrey Scott




Oh, no...

Oh, God...

Something has happened...

I...

I think...

I think I've become a fan of Dr. Derange.

I pause now to let the shame sink in.




Yes, friends, it seems to be true-ish: I have become a Dr. Derange fan.  I think it may be the silly Franch pronoonseeationz that won me over.  Example: in this episode, he says the word "minute" and pronounces it "min-yoot."  Come on!  You can't resist that!

This episode also brought to my attention the fact that that oversized left eye is lazy.  It rolls around like a marble in this episode.  Has this been happening all series long and I'm only now noticing it, or was it a weirdo detail some underpaid Korean animator tossed into this specific half-hour?  Beats me, but it seemed worth mentioning.

The plot of this episode -- which is less worth mentioning -- involves Dr. Derange rigging roulette wheels inside Monte Carlo casinos to enable him to assume mind-control over people standing at it.  Which means, yes indeed, that he finally gets to put that headset he wears to use.  There are numerous scenes of him giving orders to people using it.  When he does so, he speaks in lowered, hushed tones, as if he is working for NPR or The Golf Network.  Combined with his Franch accent, there is much hilarity in these scenes.

Speaking of hilarity, there is also a brief scene in which a French waiter laughs at something James says.  He laughs in that stereotypical "onh-honh-honh!" laugh given to Frenchmen.  I always laugh at those.

Anyways, back to the plot.  Derange eventually takes over Trevor and tries to use him to kill James.  James foils the plot using gusto, quick thinking, and IQ's gadgets.  At no point does he have sexual relations with either Tracy or Phoebe, so it's another night of chocolate eclairs and secretive masturbation for those two young girls.
  
Confession: I only used the phrases "secretive masturbation" and "young girls" there so that when degenerates go Googlin' for filth, a certain percentage of them will end up right here.  Extremely disappointed.  Ain't I a stinker?

So as to not disappoint the degenerates too much, I offer them this:






This episode also introduces a couple of new S.C.U.M. henchmen:




I do not believe their names are ever spoken, but I think they may be intended to be Wint and Kidd from Diamonds Are Forever.  Their schtick is that they finish each other's sentences, which Wint and Kidd do, as well.  So until I am proven wrong, I'm going to claim that these are, indeed, Wint and Kidd.  (Granted, they look nothing like them; but then again, witness Jaws and Dr. No and Nick Nack, who look nothing like their live-action counterparts.)

Last note: this episode features an action scene I felt some odd impulse to screencap, so I present it to you now...






How's it all end?




Get it?


Episode 31: "Red Star One"

airdate:  October 28, 1991
written by: Jeffrey Scott
 

In this episode, Dr. Derange and Chameleon enact a plot in Russia designed to steal the codes for a Soviet space station and its powerful orbital laser.  Which is actually a plot to steal diamonds from a Soviet base.

So Dr. Derange decides he wants to steal diamonds, and figures the best way to do it is by blasting the container open with a space laser.

Sure, why not?

Luckily, James and Gordo (along with the perpetually undervalued Tracy and Phoebe) are in Moscow on a student exchange program and so they put a stop to all this S.C.U.M. foolishness.

And now, I present screencaps that seem perverted out of context:






I'm not going to explain a single one of them.  That's how we roll at You Only Blog Twice.


Episode 32: "Scottish Mist"

airdate:  October 29, 1991
written by: John Bates

Baron Von Skarin and his super-lame henchman Spoiler try to kidnap a Warfield science professor so he can help another kidnapped scientist -- his former partner -- complete some sort of cold fusion formula.  This all leads to a trip to Scotland, complete with IQ-enhanced bagpipes.

Terrible.  Possibly the worst episode yet, in fact.


Episode 33: "The Art of Evil"

airdate:  October 30, 1991
written by: Jeffrey Scott

When I was in middle school, we used to play a game that involved making a circle with your thumb and forefinger and then tricking someone else into looking at it.  You got bonus points if you were holding it below the waist.  I guess it was supposed to be a representational vagina or anus.  It was a really weird, stupid game, and since we didn't even bother to actually track the cumulative scores, it was also (ahem) pointless.





Gotcha.

This is a second consecutive episode that is so butt-ass stupid that it really doesn't even merit talking about.  But I feel obliged to say something, so here's a brief summary: a new villain (Lex Illusion, an illusionist) is ripping off French museums with the help of The Chameleon and two new henchmen, Hocus and Pocus.  The Chameleon -- who hopes to use this caper as fuel in trying to convince the offscreen Scumlord to make him a full-fledged S.C.U.M. agent -- frames James.  In one scene, he impersonates Mona Lisa and hides behind a frame to evade detection.

Despite the French setting, Dr. Derange is nowhere to be found.  This seems like a missed opportunity.


Episode 34: "The Heartbreak Caper"

airdate:  October 31, 1991
written by: Mark Scott Zicree

The screenplay for this is courtesy of Marc Scott Zicree, a science-fiction writer who has written (or co-written) episodes of Babylon 5, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the eighties Twilight Zone revival, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.  He's done a lot of work in kiddie animation, too, ranging from The Smurfs to The Get Along Gang (one of my faves as a wee lad), The Real Ghostbusters to He Man and the Masters of the Universe.  Oddly, his Wikipedia page does not list this episode of James Bond Jr among his credits.
  
The plot of this episode involves an Italian art scam that is being perpetrated by Ms. Fortune and her butler.  She poses as a purse-theft victim and tries to seduce Professor Millbanks, which has something to do with her overall plot, but I'll be damned if I can say what, exactly.  To be honest, I was eating dinner during this episode, and was paying significantly more attention to my chicken than I was to the television.

You Only Blog Twice regrets the resultant paucity of explicit information.



Episode 35: "Mindfield"

airdate:  November 1, 1991
written by:  Alan Templeton and Mary Crawford




Today . . . on a very special episode of James Bond Jr . . . James finally pops the question to IQ!  Tune in for the heartstopping episode you've been waiting for!

This is my cue to explain that screencap.  And guess what?  I'm not gonna.  I'd rather be a prick (like Shia LaBoeuf) and just let it run free.

But suffice it to say, James and IQ do not, in fact, get married or engaged in "Mindfield."  Something just as implausible does happen, though: we learn that one of Warfield's students is a telepath.  Yes, a telepath.  Her name is Sue Sayre (get it?), and Ms. Fortune kidnaps her so that she can use the extranormal powers to break into a bank vault.  How she knew about Sue is anyone's guess.

Needless to say, this is a fairly abysmal episode.


Episode 36: "Leonardo da Vinci's Vault"

airdate:  November 4, 1991
written by:  Jeffrey Scott

Time for some honesty: I did not watch this episode.

Now, lest you accuse me of slacking on the job, let me clarify: I did not watch this episode.  The version I found on YouTube was of extremely poor video quality, and the audio was out of sync (which drives me nuts).  So I let it play and listened to it while I farted around online, figuring that if anything interesting happened, I'd turn around and have a look.

Care to take a guess as to how many times that happened?

The plot involves IQ going to Italy to see a newly-found (I think) piece by da Vinci, which gets stolen by Cortex.  Meanwhile, back at Warfield, he has rigged up a voice box or somethig that is designed to make Trevor think he is in bed, down with flu.

Lame.

However, I believe Scumlord finally put in a return appearance.  So there's that.


Episode 37: "Far Out West"

airdate:  November 5, 1991
written by:  David Wise

Coach Mitchell gets a first name: Buddy.  He also gets the opportunity to know what it's like to have one's brother kidnapped.

James meets a lady oil-rigger named Sage Brushfire, whose voice sounds more than a bit like Dolly Parton's.  I don't think it IS Dolly Parton, but I'd be kind of thrilled if it had been.


Sage Firebrush and James Bond Jr


The episode takes place in the American Southwest, which is a setting I'd love to see one of the James Bond movies visit one of these days.  Other than Diamonds Are Forever, I mean.  In one mildly interesting development, Trevor sees some Indians, assumes they are going to kill him, and panics; this is a vaguely interesting take on American stereotypes, I guess.  But since the Indians are all dressed like they walked right out of The Searchers, I don't know that Trevor is all that far out of line.




Anyways, Coach Mitchell's brother Harry has been kidnapped by Dr. No and Oddjob, who want him to sell them an oil company -- but only because the mine has a dilantium mine -- but only because he needs the dilantium for a weapon that can destroy cities within minutes -- but only because he is a dick.

"I knew you were low, Dr. No," says James, "but you'd have to stand up to crawl under a snake."  Burn!

Does it all end with the Indians attacking Dr. No's compound?  It sure does.  At least it makes more sense than when it happens in the 1967 Casino Royale.



Episode 38: "Avalanche Run"

airdate:  November 6, 1991
written by:  Jim Carlson and Terrence McDonnell


Under directions from Scumlord, Jaws and Nick Nack -- who bicker so much this episode that C-3PO and R2-D2 would tell them to chill it out -- sabotage a train so that it will plunge into a nuclear power reactor, so that Switzerland will evacuate, so that Scumlord can send his troops in to take over the country.  He must not be worried about the radiation.  What a moron.




James and company foil the plot, of course.

I didn't pay much attention, but I suspect the silly contentiousness between Jaws and Nick Nack would make this episode a bit of a favorite amongst kiddies.


Episode 39: "Queen's Ransom"

airdate:  November 7, 1991
written by:  Jim Carlson and Terrence McDonnell

The Warfield gang is in Hong Kong for reasons that either slipped past my attention or were are never properly explained by the screenplay.  My money is on it being 75% the former, 25% the latter.  Whatever.  James runs afoul of YET ANOTHER nefarious S.C.U.M. plot, this one involving a kidnapped old white dude and some Silkworm Missiles.  Who's behind it?  Captain Walker D. Plank, of course.

Speaking of Plank, he is awoken by a raid James makes on his camp, and this is what he apparently wears as nightclothes:




Adorable.

Another Plank moment that amused me involves a couple of nameless henchmen.  Jaws has been locked inside a room by James, and is pounding holy hell out of the door trying to break out.  Plank hears the ruckus as he is walking by the two henchmen, and asks them what the noise is.  The nonchalance of the shrug one of the two guys gives Plank cracked me up, and the fact that Plank -- who, by all rights, ought to be infuriated, disgusted, and offended by the henchman's blatant lack of interest in the whole affair -- just sort of walks on by without making a big deal of it cracks me up even more.  Sometimes, this show . . . man . . .

Speaking of which, I present to you another series of screencaps that are completely free of any context, the better to amuse and horrify you:






Wasn't that fun?

Two other things before I run.  First, I don't believe I had ever noticed that Plank's parrot has a pegleg.  How bizarre is that?!?




Second, I made a bit of a breakthrough during tonight's episode in terms of the way in which I view the series.  On the one hand, I think it's complete garbage.  It's a more complex reaction than that, but as a shorthand, that'll suffice for now.  But for some reason, watching tonight's episode and its various Jaws and Nick Nack antics, it crossed my mind that there were undoubtedly millions of kids -- or, at the very least, thousands of kids -- who encountered this cartoon way before they ever saw any of the James Bond movies.  Many of them probably wouldn't even have heard of James Bond before hearing of James Bond Junior.
  
So imagine, if you will, that you are one of those kids, circa 1991 as the series was airing.  You love the cartoon, and then, a few years later, you become aware that a movie called GoldenEye is coming out.  It's a James Bond movie!  Which is kind of like that cool-ass cartoon you used to watch!  So you go see it, and you're hooked.  (And odds are, you become even more hooked thanks to the Nintendo game when THAT comes out.)

This, naturally, leads you to the knowledge that there were a whole passel of Bond movies that came out years and years ago, so you start watching them on TBS, or renting them from Blockbuster.  Eventually, you come across The Spy Who Loved Me and/or Moonraker, and what to your wondering eyes should appear . . . but a real-life version of Jaws!

Alternatively, this happens with The Man with the Golden Gun and Nick Nack.  (It might happen with Dr. No and its titular villain, too, but odds are that that one will simply confuse you.)

For people reading this blog, it probably comes naturally to look down your nose at James Bond Jr.  Lord knows I'm doing a huge amount of it myself.  But put yourself in the shoes of that kid unwittingly discovering that there is a "real" Jaws.  Imagine how cool that must have been.  I can get a decent amount of the distance involved in that empathetic leap, and I have to say, it was probably kind of righteous to be that kid making that discovery.

The second that idea occurred to me, I became a bit more kindly toward James Bond Jr.  I suspect it had a very active role in turning a significant number of kids into James Bond fans.  I've got no data to support that, but it seems logical.  As such, I find myself in a very surprising position all of a sudden: I feel a wee bit bummed out that the series has not been better-treated by its rights-holders.  It's bound to have helped the Brosnan era to the box-office heights, and therefore probably ought to be considered a vital part of the franchise's resurgence.

Howsabout that...!


Episode 40: "Barbella's Big Attraction"

airdate:  November 8, 1991
written by: Mary Crawford and Alan Templeton

In some museum somewhere in London, James just happens to observe Barbella, Jaws, and Nick Nack stealing a statue of Blackbeard.  We will later find out that they are doing it basically to brown-nose Scumlord, who is evidently a massive Blackbeard fan.  Scumlord is -- perhaps unfairly -- unimpressed; in fact, he's angry, because the theft has landed their latest plot right at the feet of that pesky James Bond Jr.

Said plot involves using powerful magnetic devices to bring an asteroid crashing into London, destroying it for nefarious S.C.U.M. reasons.

All of this leads Bond and the Warfield gang to visit Rio, where they are kinda/sorta able to put a stop to S.C.U.M.'s plans.  I say kinda/sorta for two reasons: (1) Barbella gets mad at Scumlord for dissing her proffered Blackbeard statue, and decides to instead aim the asteroid at Rio, where Scumlord is, so he will be annihilated and she can take over S.C.U.M.; and (2) because the asteroid turns out to made primarily of magnesium, and all but about a baseball's worth of it burns up on atmospheric entry.  So technically, James and crew don't do much to stop S.C.U.M. this episode; but S.C.U.M. is nevertheless foiled, mostly by its own scientific incompetence.
  
In one of the best scenes, Barbella pitches a fit due to Scumlord's disinterest in her gift, and Jaws explains the tantrum to a nearby flunky by saying, "Uh...she was misunderstood as a child".  Prior to this, Jaws has interrupted Barbella halfway through her tantrum by asking, "Feel better now?"  She answers "NO!" and continues to bust crap up, including flinging the aforementioned flunky across the room.  It's really kind of funny.




Another top-notch scene (I kid, but halfheartedly; this really did amuse me) involves IQ nearly getting crushed by an anaconda; Bond uses one of his gadgets to stun the snake with a sonic blast.  Which, of course, means that I have a great screencap of a snake with a shocked look on its face:




The subplot involves Trevor trying to get signatures for an environmental petition while in Rio.  This is all sorts of weird, because he is -- as is typical -- portrayed as a contemptible, borderline psychopathic, heel.  Which means that this episode is sort of pitching environmental concern as the province of pricks, assholes, and douchebags.  That's an odd message even in 1991.

*****

And with that, we draw the curtain on part two of this excursion into madness.  I've got 25 episodes remaining to watch, but my case of Stockholm Syndrome must be more or less settled in, because I'm getting some weird enjoyment out of all of this.

8 comments:

  1. Nice catch with the siesta stink eye!

    This was very entertaining - I LOL-ed more than a few times. I also highly recommend to any readers out there to go back to the beginning after reading and just view the screencaps. I LOL-ed all over again but at entirely different things.

    I quite like that perspective on the show you describe. It'd be something to interview a generation of kids born between 80 and 86 or so and see if any meet that criteria. That'd be a good documentary. I entertain no illusions about it's ever getting made, of course, but still, it'd be cool.

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    1. I'm glad someone else enjoys those screencaps. I crack myself up with them, too.

      I second your motion for a documentary to be made about the effects of this show on that generation of kids. It'd be fascinating. Or maybe really, really boring. Either way, I want to see it!

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    2. I can't believe I committed the cardinal it's/its sin in my comment.

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    3. Hey, these things happen. I've done similar things, and many is the time I've rued the fact that Blogger won't allow you to edit your -- or is that you're? -- comments once you've published them.

      On a somewhat related note, I deleted someone's comment the other day from one of my other blogs, simply because they typed the comment entirely in caps. I can't stand that. I'll do a sentence like that for emphasis on occasion, but an entire comment?!? That's verboten on my blogs.

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  2. For the love of Hugo Drax, you need to stop watching this cartoon! Your reviews are less blistering and your attitude seems to be softening. Next you'll go back and rereview Diamonds Are Forever and Never Say Never Again and LIKE THEM! You'll appreciate the subtlty of Joe Don Baker's performance in the Brosnan movies. You need to get away from this atrocity before it's too late.

    Do we need to have an intervention?

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    1. Well, I'm currently on a bit of a hiatus from it, so maybe the ties will be broken. But I have to say, the idea of it causing me to appreciate Joe Don Baker in "GoldenEye" is a prospect that distresses me. It brings up an image of me watching it and doing that thing where you laugh and cry simultaneously, and that's just no good.

      I don't THINK an intervention is necessary . . . but you might want to be on-hand with a copy of "From Russia With Love" just in case.

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  3. Replies
    1. I really AM way behind on that, aren't I?

      I will do my best to make it happen during June. Thanks!

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