From a Movie Preview to the Superfriends

June 24, 2004

I'm still not real impressed with the summer movies that I've seen previewed so far. We went last night, and I had a flash of excitement seeing the submariners from Hunt for Red October on the screen. Wouldn't it be exciting to take those guys and make a new movie, without being constrained by a Tom Clancy plotline? But no, it turns out that is was just Sponge Bob Square Pants, playing with a toy submarine that was causing the crew so much havoc.

Oddly, when I laughed at the preview for fooling me, Mrs. skinnyonbenny looked at me like I had just sat on her cat. Sure, she thought I was really laughing at Sponge Bob Square Pants, but even if I was, does that make me an evil person?

We had gone to see The Stepford Wives. There's one scene -- set in Bette Midler's house -- where you see a big TV in the background. The show on the screen is "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law." You have to be a pretty diligent watcher of late-night Cartoon Network to catch this show, but it's worth it when you do. They've taken the old, crappy Hannah-Barbara superhero Birdman, and made him an attorney complete with suit (but his wings still stick out in back). He represents other cartoon characters in trials.

The episode in Bette Midler's house was my favorite one -- Black Vulcan was suing the rest of the Superfriends for racial discrimination. I don't remember the details, but anyone my age will recall that Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman got all the good capers, and the rest of the Superfriends got called in only when the whole legion of doom was scheming, or when something really, really bad was going down.

I don't know if it's true, but I suspect that they invented Superfriends, in an act of 1970's, two-dimensional affirmative action. Outside of that show, I've never heard of Black Vulcan, Apache chief, or that Asian superhero who could turn his legs into a tornado. I don't remember his name.

It's amazing how useful Aquaman turned out to be on that show. You would think that they would just keep him on the bench, calling him in when a ship was sinking or something. But, they always managed to work in emergencies that fish-telepathy could solve.

On the new Justice League cartoon, Aquaman has a makeover that would shock Clay Aiken. All of the characters have been pumping iron since the 70s, but on top of being buff, Aquaman has long, sexy, Fabio hair. He may have been using steroids to get bigger too, because his disposition isn't nearly as cheerful. Maybe he's just surly because emergencies in the 2000's don't require telepathy with fish nearly as much as they did in the seventies.