Thursday, December 15, 2011

Episode 120: Minerva, Mayhem and Millionaires

Season 3 Episode 120
Original Airdate: 3/14/68
Special Guest Villainess: Zsa Zsa Gabor as Minerva
Guest Stars: Jacques Bergerac, William Smith
Written by: Charles Hoffman
Directed by: Oscar Rudolph

Minerva, Queen of the Mineral Spa, has been using her devilish Deep Secret Extractor to learn where millionaires hide their booty. Minerva's latest victim: millionaire Bruce Wayne. Mahvelous, dahling!

PE: The producers have a laugh at themselves this episode as they're cast as millionaires at the spa. I say that with tongue in cheek because we all know it was to save a few bucks.

JS: I'm wondering if they did that to pocket any remaining budget before they turned out the lights once and for all.

PE: Bruce Wayne comes out of one of Minerva's rooms with a big smile on his face so, let's not be coy, we both know what was really going on in that spa. Bruce tells Minerva that after every visit to her spa, he feels like a new man. She answers him back with "I feel like a new man too, Bruce!" That line might have been funny if uttered by an actress you could understand but mangled by Gabor's thick Hungarian accent, it sounds like she actually says "I fell like a newmanitou, Broosh." Then Bergerac shows up and suddenly we could use subtitles.

JS: Bruce obviously had a good enough time that he wasn't worried about them stealing his watch.

PE: Minerva's two henchmen achieved success long before they became simple henchmen. Atlas played outfield for the Dodgers in the 1960s (and was playing for them while he moonlighted on this show) and Adonis was actually Conan the Barbarian's dad. Bill Dough-zier searched high and low for new talent.

JS: So I have to ask. Was Aphrodite's role minimized out of deference to Zsa Zsa? I feel like we were denied a potential Bat-babe.

PE: Minerva's obviously not been in America long as she doesn't find it odd that Bruce Wayne talks to his watch. I guess she figures all these millionaires are nuts, dahling.

JS: I think the fact that she's a little nutty herself helps.

PE: Robin gasps at Minerva's insistence that the Caped Crusaders take it all off before their massage: "If we disrobe... we'd reveal our secret true identities." Ward accents the last bit with a hilarious nod towards his Robin-jewels.

JS: What I found odd was that they didn't just bring towels, they went full Toga.

PE: My "newly-discovered love for Adam West's comedic abilities" moment comes when Minerva's goons are leading the towel-clad Dynamic Duo towards a spa room. Batman jovially exclaims that he's looking forward to a eggplant jelly vitamin scalp massage and caresses the top of his headgear:
Atlas: Minerva thought we'd pop you into the Persimmon Pressurizer first.
Robin: Persimmon Pressurizer? Holy astringent plum-like fruit!
Batman: Only astringent until ripe, Robin!
JS: I guess we should start planning for The Last Precinct-A Day. I have to believe that watching a Stephen J. Cannell sitcom starring Adam West will straighten you out.

PE: What's with the goofy smiles between West and Ward just before they open the Pressurizer door? It looks, to me, like an on-set crack-up that got left in. Very funny!

JS: How many times in this series have they been trapped together in a too-small container? Fortunately it always makes for a good screencap.

PE: It took us 120 episodes but, yep, we finally get to see Alfred without pants.

JS: This will be a day long remembered.

JS: More importantly, we get one last romantic interlude between Alfred and Batgirl. I tell ya, it was a missed opportunity not giving the two of them a spin-off show...

PE: In his indispensable Bat-bible, Joel Eisner says that originally the Minerva role was written for Mae West but she was off doing the equally campy Myra Breckinridge. I'm surprised this wasn't originally intended as a return for Marsha, Queen of Diamonds (Carolyn Jones) as the plot would fit that villainess to a T. I can only imagine how different this episode would be if you could understand all the deadly threats coming from the mouth of Minerva/Marsha.

JS: Did you notice, in classic Commissioner Gordon fashion, he walks out with the criminal babe on his arm? Don't you think he would have tempered that a bit this season, with daughter Barbara always hanging around?

PE: Not as horrible an episode as I'd been led to believe, just not very good. According to The Official Batman Batbook, the producers knew this would be the last episode. So why not have a nice exit for our boys (and girl)? Instead, there's just a bit of unfunny banter about Batgirl always disappearing and the curtains fall. Not much fanfare for a show that was, at one time, a pop phenomenon.

PE Rating:

JS Rating:

Next up... We wrap up Season 3 and the entire series! Same Bat time, same Bat URL!

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