Friday, October 21, 2005



Did tonight's episode of Smallville suck.

I don't often pop up to denounce anything Superman, but tonight's episode was unforgivably awful.

That said, I want to be clear that in the first thirty seconds of the show, Lois presented us with two fabulous reasons to continue watching that I hadn't noticed previously.

There are three terrific boobs in this picture. Can you pick the one which ruined the episode?

Yeah... this was the Aquaman episode of Smallville.


Look, I am going to go out on a comic fan limb and admit that I read Aquaman. There's something appealing about an irritable sea-King I find interesting, but I always thought Marvel's Namor was... well, sort of dippy.

Just not The League's cup o' tea

Oddly, in the past five years, it's become a staple of comedy to make fun of Aquaman, and I'm not really sure where that came from. It's not that Aquaman doesn't have some room to poke fun, but have you looked at the useless line-up of the Superfriends? Samurai? The Wonder Twins? Robin the Boy Hostage?

Anyhoo, last season on Smallville Clark met the future Flash, so this season he had to meet somebody else. I guess it was going to be least confusing if he met the Crown Prince of Atlantis. In, you know, Kansas... Kansas, with its towering green mountains and shimmering fjord-like lakes. Yes, Smallville is filmed in lush, mountainous Vancouver. Thus creating the effect of what I like to call Canadasas, the magical Kansas where Clark Kent grew up.

Re-writes were necessary to make Aquaman fit into the world of Smallville, and we learn that "AC" (Arthur Curry for those of you wondering if Aquaman has a real name) is a surfer dude from Miami. Sure, in the comics he's from somewhere under-populated and with actual light-houses like New Brunswick, Canada... but, oh, hell, it's Smallville.. he's a guy from Miami who is written to speak with the irritating lingo of Southern California, repeatedly referring to everyone as "Brah". As in "Ready to go, bro'?"

We learn young Arthur has travelled via water passage all the way from Miami to Canadasas in order to stop the scheming Lex Luthor from testing a new sonic weapon intended for use by the Navy. Why? The weapon kills not just submarines... it kills fish.

And fish, we all know, are Aquaman's finny friends. It isn't covered in the scope of this show, but I assume Aquaman can still talk to fish, and this is why he's upset.

Truthfully, it's sort of tough to tell how Aquaman is feeling at any given time. I hate to be the one to say it, but Aquaman isn't much of an actor. He's not much of an actor to the point where one wonders what the hell the casting agents were thinking beyond the fact that the actor physically looks built enough to be a swimmer. The "surfer dude" take on Aquaman (appearing her for the first time, I assure you), has the same ring of surfer dudes written by the 40-year olds writing "Saved by the Bell". It's awful and unwelcome, and apparently was a huge problem for the actor playing Aquaman.

I looked up actor Alan Ritchson on IMDB. Apparently, this is it. Aside from appearing on American Idol during auditions, Aquaman here hasn't ever been in front of the camera before. And if that wasn't painfully obvious to the poor folks working on the episode, they should all get two demerits.

In his two scenes with Lex Luthor actor Michael Rosenbaum, one can almost feel Rosenbaum flailing, trying to get something out of Aquaman other than hammy posturing and stilted line delivery. Actor Tom Welling is serviceable as Clark Kent, but, let's be honest, he's not exactly John Malkovich. So the scenes with Clark and AC have a sort of dead-weight/ marking time feel one doesn't particularly take a shine to in hour-long TV.

But what's an Aquaman to do? He ends his scene by declaring billionaire corporate tycoon Lex Luthor is "a tool", and storms out of Lex's office.

So very, very phoned in by all parties.

If the powers-that-be at DC decided that Aquaman needed some screen-time, they really couldn't have botched the job any worse. From confusing priorities for Aquaman to a pointless romantic subplot between Aquaman and Lois, to casting a guy who wouldn't have made it as an extra into a high-school play, what could have been an interesting episode turned into so much chum.

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