Wonder Woman - A Critical Evaluation
Several months ago back in Iraq I was sitting in front of a computer browsing Wikipedia (as I so often did) and I stumbled upon the Wonder Woman TV series. It seems that Batman wasn't the only superhero with a campy television representation. For reasons that continue to elude me, I vowed to download the show when I came back to the US. So here I am today with five gigabytes of cheesy 70s entertainment sitting on my hard drive. Let's take a look, shall we?
For those of you who aren't familiar with the character, Wonder Woman is a princess from "Paradise Island," a conveniently uncharted slab of land within the Bermuda Triangle that's occupied solely by immortal women (I'm reminded of Monty Python's Castle Anthrax). While intercepting a Nazi plane, Army pilot Steve Trevor crashes into his target and parachutes onto the island, but not before being shot by the opposing pilot and being rendered unconscious (apparently Nazi bullets cause people to pass out. Those crafty Krauts!). To make a long story short, Wonder Woman takes Steve back to the US. After an amusing fish-out-of-water sequence and foiling a Nazi plot, she decides to stick around disguised as Yeoman First Class Diana Prince (complete with standard issue superhero-disguising glasses) to keep an eye on Steve, who promptly throws out any intentions of adherence to the military's EO/sexual harassment policies.
It's just as well that she does, however, because despite being a relatively high-ranking member of the ambiguously-named "War Department," he's notoriously helpless and prone to capture. Actually, he wouldn't be in such a bad spot if they'd just tighten up their security. See, the War Department offices are on an otherwise unassuming street, clearly identifiable by a large plaque adorning its entrance. This entrance is completely devoid of any sort of guard post, checkpoint or other bad guy-deterring measures. Of course, you might think that such security is unnecessary in the middle of the nation's capitol but it seems that customs hasn't been doing a very good job, as the area is swarming with Nazi spies. And giving credibility to the notion that "military intelligence" is an oxymoron, many of these spies are close friends and colleagues of Steve's.
A typical episode involves Steve getting attacked/captured due to some harebrained Nazi plot. Wonder Woman then finds some excuse to slip away long enough to magically change out of her disguise and into her costume (a process which involves cheap 1970s-era special effects and backup singers), imbuing her with powers of super strength, increased hip size, bullet deflection and a truth-inducing lasso. She then proceeds to save the day. Some problems she might encounter along the way include losing her equipment (which is said to work due to "magic," sparing us from a dreaded treknobabble-type explanation) or being subdued with chloroform or other sleep-inducing chemicals (her one weakness, which receives no explanation), of which the Nazis seem to have no shortage. But inevitably Wonder Woman succeeds in the end.
Despite its cheesiness, implausible plot devices and thinly veiled feminist propaganda, this isn't such a bad show. Considering there's nothing better to do around here, it's a decent source of entertainment. Now if only Wonder Woman would get in the kitchen and make me some Wonder dinner!