austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Could've tripped out easy but I've changed my ways

The second Lost Superfriends adventure: Roller Coaster, with guest commentary from bunny_hugger.

This is a Wonder Twins specialty, meaning it starts with a neighborhood teen doing something foolish because the peer pressure exerted by the gang he wants to join leaves him no choice, and they rescue the dummy in the least efficient method possible. In this case, Dennis wants to join The Dragons, a team of Conan O'Briens playing Fonzies, by riding the Dragon roller coaster at the abandoned amusement park at the edge of Metropolis. Luckily, the abandoned amusement park has left the key in the power box because never in movie or TV show history has an abandoned power supply ever been just turned off.

The Wonder Twins are leaving the Mepropolis [sic] Theater where Superman is playing, with Zan mentioning how he liked that movie and felt an affinity for the guy with the pointed ears, which I think might be a Star Trek joke. They spot people riding the Dragon roller coaster across the street and, knowing that it may go off the rails any moment, transform into an eagle and water so they can ... cross the ... empty ... street, as soon as Gleek the Space Monkey finds a bucket and gets his head out of it. Maybe they get a per diem for using their Exor Powers. They fly up to the roller coaster and tell the kids they shouldn't be riding it, which even if the Conan Fonzies agreed about would seem to be the wrong time to do anything about it.

Zan tries the brake, which he breaks, and Jayna discovers the power box is now locked (the key fell out), so with the roller coaster falling apart, they send Gleek to the Hall of Justice to fetch the Atom. Taking the form of an ice car and a walrus, of course, the twins join the track. Jayna grabs the rear car, with the Conan Fonzies, but Dennis's car breaks loose, so while the Fonzies are safe Dennis must wait for Gleek to find the Atom. Gleek gets to the Hall of Justice, where Atom can't understand a word he's gibbering, but he decides to follow.

With the tracks collapsing, and the Dragon going into its sixth minute of riding which puts it at about the longest roller coaster ride in history --- Roller Coaster Tycoon's Peeps would have no complaints about ride time ---, Zan suggests another transformation, but Jayna says there's no time, for some reason, and they have to shut off the power. Atom arrives and zipes into the power box, where he hopes to pull out the fuses; when he pulls out the last, the car brakes to a halt mere feet along the drop to the missing tracks. It was at this point while watching that bunny_hugger proclaimed, ``Roller coasters do not work like that! Morbo says goodnight!'' Which is all very true.

I can't really fault the setup of the episode; even if the Wonder Twins went to the impressionable-teen-doing-stupid-thing well a little too often, it's at least plausible to me that teens might use an abandoned amusement park as a way to haze new recruits. The power being available is mighty fishy, though, and the Wonder Twins really blow what ought to be an easy save for them. Even if you grant Zan's destroying the hand brake, is it plausible that they couldn't break into the power box and turn it off? Or given that they have no trouble catching up to the roller coaster twice, why can't they do it a third time? Heck, why not have Zan turn into an Ice Roller Coaster Track and swipe Dennis's car away.

Ultimately, the episode's just not logical enough to be satisfying, and not so illogical as to be amusing. The Wonder Twins can do much better, and should.

Something that interests me about these Wonder Twins Stopping Teen Gang segments is that they have a relentless drumbeat of Don't Give In To Peer Pressure, and Don't Do Stupid Things You Think Will Make You Cool. That's a positive message, certainly, but it was during this era that Saturday Morning cartoon writers were given marching orders to tell stories in which The Group Is Always Right, and Don't Raise Troubling Questions against them. Thus the way, in Dungeons and Dragons, that the annoying kid whats-his-name was always proven wrong even when his suggestions about what to do sounded more logical and reasonable than what The Group wanted. I'm curious how the Wonder Twins got to be the exemplars for Just Because Your Friends Say Something Doesn't Mean They're Not Idiots.

Trivia: The patent diagram for the QWERTY keyboard was patent number 207,559. Source: The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting, Darren Wershler-Henry.

Currently Reading: Hershey: Milton S Hershey's Extraordinary Life Of Wealth, Empire, And Utopian Dreams, Michael D'Antonio.


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