HAZMAT-RETRO HALL OF LAME (LOVABLY BAD TV): Bionic Babe Rules Globe! ~by Jonathan Kieran
*Two days of madness and drama. (Or was it five?) Nevertheless, back we arrive in the realm of cultural detoxification with a few modifications. Namely, I am introducing a new feature, a little more razzle to flesh-out the dazzle. A variation on the usual crap, basically. Without further ado …
HAZMAT-RETRO HALL OF LAME (LOVABLY BAD TV)
TODAY’S DUBIOUS HONOREE: THE BIONIC WOMAN (1976-1977, ABC) (1977-1978, NBC)
GUILTY OF VEHICULAR FANSLAUGHTER: Lindsay Wagner as “Jaime Sommers”; Richard Anderson as “Oscar Goldman”; Martin E. Brooks as “Rudy Wells”
RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: Cultural Greatness was apparently incomplete with a mere Six Million Dollar Man and therefore required a more expensive robot-woman with probably the most fabulous lady-hair in television history (too bad for you, Aniston) who could also defeat Bigfoot in hand-to-hand combat and outrun her own damn Bionic Dog. Gay children around the world were elated –and summarily doomed– by the introduction of the Begging-to-Launch-a-Name-Calling-Stigma “fembots” in Season Two.
DEFINITIVE DIALOGUE: “If that’s Shalon, she certainly has big feet. Oh no!”
BRUSH WITH GREATNESS: Lindsay Wagner snagged an Emmy Award as Best Actress in 1977 for her performance in the dual-role “Deadly Ringer” episodes wherein she played Jaime Sommers and trashy-wench imposter Lisa Galloway. (Insufferable footage, but skip to the 6:10 moment to see Lindsay get her Emmy). Wagner also was immortalized in action-figure (DOLL!) form, complete with multiple outfits, sweet “carriage house” living accommodations, and pretty decent plastic boobies. Studies are not conclusive, but experts believe the Bionic Woman doll enabled most gay boy-children to actually survive the 1970s.
LAMENTABLE LEGACY: Open to question. However, 9 out of 10 Disgruntled Mothers of 1970s Gay Boy-Children surveyed say: “The Bionic Woman made my boy gay and that bitch is the reason I don’t have grandchildren. I tell you what.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Wagner went on to become the “Queen of Miniseries TV” in the 1980s (Scruples, Princess Daisy, etc.) and starred in a string of somewhat ill-advised “Bionic Reunion” programs in the late-80s and early 1990s. These days she guides people towards the exact “Sleepnumbers” they never knew they possessed or needed and babbles a fair streak of garden-variety New Age gobbeldygook. But we love Lindsay Wagner almost as much as we love Jesus and we will BUY her funky beds and we will pay her to give us some hot meditation tips.
EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC: Any time you can get the immortal Sandy Duncan to guest-star on your show and the episode features a cast of character-names like “Nedlick”, “Dallet”, “Apploy,” and “Faler” you know you have bitten into the rich, delicious nougaty center of Badness. The lavender jumpsuits, pot-bellies, and ascots favored by the aliens are positively Smithsonian. “Attack, Sasquatch … Attack!”