My good friend Bryan alerted me to the existence of this, a 1967 attempt at a Wonder Woman pilot commissioned by the producer of the Batman TV show.
Basically, Diana Prince gets berated by her mother for not having a man, then she runs through a revolving wall, emerging as Wonder Woman who (to paraphrase the voice-over by the regular Batman announcer) “knows she has the strength of Hercules; knows she has the speed of Mercury, and *thinks* she has the beauty of Aphrodite!”
It’s certainly something completely different. And I did laugh a couple of times at the sheer unexpected snideness of it.
Ultimately, though, it’s hard for me to get behind it enthusiastically. Part of what was so much fun about the Batman TV series is that the target of the humor was the establishment; Batman and Robin are basically policemen/boy scouts; in all their humorless do-gooding, they’ve got the law and the powers-that-be on their side. The show was a masterpiece of having your cake and eating it too; you get to sneer at the ridiculous dated morality (refusing to drive through red light; refusing to hit women, etc. etc.) while still rooting for that morality to win. Batman’s the show where even cops could laugh at crime-fighting and even hippies could cheer for the establishment.
This Wonder Woman pilot, though…it tries to make fun of Wonder Woman the way that the Batman TV show made fun of Batman…but it’s just not as easy to get the balance right. The main problem is just that Wonder Woman is a woman…and as such she can’t be assimilated to the establishment the way Batman can. Instead, because she’s a women, she’s automatically marginal in certain ways. As a result, making fun of her doesn’t feel edgy or clever — it feels hackney and tired and dumb…and, yeah, sexist too. Jokes about aging unmarried daughters who are desperate for men; jokes about women’s vanity; jokes about women being incompetent…where have I heard *that* before?
For WW humor, I much prefer Darwyn Cooke’s pissed-off 2nd wave feminist version, which makes fun of WW for being overly sensitive and clueless, but also ridicules men for being venal and predictable and generally getting their asses kicked. Gender roles and wars of the sexes can be funny, and often are. But even when it’s written with some wit, I just don’t find sexism all that humorous.
And as I’ve been pointing out at the end of each of these, this is the latest in a series of posts on post-Marston takes on WW. The whole series is here.