Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 3, Episode 5 (Story 1)

Background

Given the dual disappointments of the previous episode and the title of this segment, I'm probably going to be annoyed at the bottom of the page. We will see.

Story 'Super Swami'

  Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 3, Episode 5 (Story 1)
Summary: First Aired Apr 19th 1970

Dawn in New York City [At least I think it is. Batman thinks the backgrounds they use are too dark]. Spider-Man comments that it's a nice day for the beach, but he's been a busy crime fighter and he's tired. He decides to catch up on his sleep by taking a nap in a metal tower. [Interesting choice. Not my first, but then again I can't stick to walls]

His sleep is soon interrupted as the sun morphs into a giant eye. [A giant red eye. May I suggest some Visine?] Said giant eye then emits a red bolt that causes various buildings and other landmarks to become invisible. This sends the crowd into a state of panic.

The man responsible for these actions appears on every television set in New York to deliver his ultimatum in "person". In trying to emphasize his Asian ancestry the series artists draw him in a stereotypical manner. He identifies himself as Koga, the Super Swami of Storms. [And I'm the Guitar Hero king of my house. Big deal.] New York must surrender to him or he will make the city disappear. He then whips up a blizzard to show people he's not kidding. [But he is confusing. I thought he was going to make the city disappear]

As Spider-Man tries to swing through the storm, he is caught up in the powerful winds and blown around in a circular pattern. The camera pulls back to reveal that Koga has taken a special interest in the wall-crawler and is watching him flail through his crystal ball. Then Spider-Man begins to bounce off the edges of the mystic sphere [Wait. He was in a summer snowstorm, now he's trapped inside a crystal ball?] To confuse the viewer even more, Spider-Man creates a makeshift lifeline between the sides of the crystal ball with his webbing [What? Do you ever walk out to your mailbox only to find out that you're literally trapped inside your TV set?] Spider-Man escapes from the crystal ball [Which, by the way, tears open like paper. They managed to forget it's made of GLASS] and quickly grows to full size under his own power, presumably. [They've stopped trying to make sense and therefore I will follow suit.]

Spider-Man discovers that he simulated the snow storm using dry ice. [Three bags of it can be used to blanket New York City? WHAT?!?!?] He begins to search the hideout - which involves web-swinging through a cave somehow - and finds the Swami to be in a separate room projecting images with a specialized machine.

Koga then throws a tantrum. He claims he never wanted to hurt anyone [But terrifying them is acceptable, right?] but now he has no choice. He aims his generic laser gun at Spider-Man and fires, claiming this is no illusion. Spider-Man begins to leap around the room and in front of a conveniently placed full-sized tri-fold mirror (like the one in department stores). Koga becomes confused as to which one is the real Spider-Man [In front of three mirrors? That's it, I'm done for now. See you in the general comments section. Maybe.] Spider-Man eventually disarms Koga, who then resorts to using a giant hydraulic rubber stamp to crush him. This fails. Spider-Man ultimately kicks Koga through an opening in the floor, which leads to the sewer (presumably).

The police are contacted to arrest Koga. Spider-Man explains that he used highly advanced science and mass hypnosis during his attack on New York.

General Comments

From the offensive depiction of Asian-Americans in this episode to the omission of key plot elements, this episode continues the bottom-of-the-barrel quality trend that started with the "Diamond Dust" episode. The only saving grace for this episode was that the basis for the crimes were advanced science and hypnosis. They're supposed to be confusing.

Factoring that in, there is still no justification for the bizarre and highly confusing manner that Spider-Man made his way into the lair of the Super Swami. Further there is simply no way that anyone would "lose" a person in front of a three-way mirror. No. Possible. Way. That was probably - and I freely admit I'm going out on a very shaky limb here - a jab at Asian Americans and their depth perception.

The only aspect of the Koga character that they came close to doing "right" was the voice. Instead of adding on another insulting dimension to the character, they gave him a distinctly American voice. You can say that is a disservice because they had the Spanish episode "Cloud City of Gold". And you remember how jacked up that was right? Going out on yet another limb, I will assume it's much more difficult to get an accurate Chinese accent than a Spanish one. This would have probably pushed the offense-ometer over the line. There may be better explanations, but I'm sticking with this one.

Overall Rating

1/2 web. This episode was clearly meant to fill time. No more, no less. I believe that having a Chinese villain may have been in response to the popularity of Fu Manchu-style movie villains. However they should have made him a more credible threat instead of a a third-rate Mysterio knockoff.

[How many trees died in order to draw this crappy episode? Seriously.]