Saturday, November 03, 2012

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Land of the Lost: "Baby Sitter" (November 8, 1975)

This week’s episode of Land of the Lost is titled “Baby Sitter,” and like “The Pylon Express” it’s a good, solid Holly (Kathy Coleman) episode.

In “Baby Sitter,” Will (Wesley Eure) and Rick (Spencer Milligan) are off to map distant corners of the Land of the Lost, but Holly wishes to remain at High Bluff to finish sewing a dress.  

She reminds her father that he has been preaching “self-sufficiency,” and that she can’t ever pass that character test if he doesn’t provide her the space to do so.  Marshall sees the wisdom of this argument and agrees that Holly can stay behind, on the condition that she keeps Chaka (Philip Paley) nearby as a companion.

Will -- proving more unlikable and nasty by the episode -- attempts to mock Holly, first complaining about “women’s lib” and then trying to terrify her with stories about the nearby and mysterious Zarn.  Holly doesn’t take the bait, but the Zarn hears Will’s words of warning and decides to conduct some “research” on Holly.

So while Rick and Will are gone, Holly must not only teach Chaka how to defend himself from the bully Ta, she must contend with the mischievous Zarn.  Holly gives as good as she gets, and the Zarn is impressed with her.  The two even form a friendship of sorts.

When I was growing up, Will was always my favorite character on Land of the Lost, but watching the series again in 2012, I wonder why the writers chose to make him so strident, and so mean to Holly.  

Watching the second season this time around, it seems abundantly plain that Holly -- in a very important sense -- is becoming the series’ most important and most developed character.  

We know what her destiny is (via “Elsewhen”), and we’ve seen her resourcefulness before (“The Search,” “The Pylon Express”) but this episode goes some way in revealing that Holly also possesses the latent capabilities of a leader, and furthermore, that she can hold it together when faced with a bully -- The Zarn -- herself.

An interesting moment in “Baby Sitter” sees the Zarn lecturing Holly about pack politics.  He describes how Ta is the “alpha” Pakuni, and how even if Chaka does wins a fight, he will be right back, by the end of the day, treating Ta as the alpha.  

One of the things I admire about Holly in this episode is that she sticks to her guns and doesn’t let anyone -- not Ta, not Will, and not the Zarn – bully her into backing down.  Poor Chaka is a different story, but Holly is truly impressive here.

It would be really great if someone familiar with the original series created a new, more adult version of Land of the Lost, but one in which a new family ends up in Altrusia…and finds an adult Holly already stranded there.  

She would be living the life she once feared as a child -- that Ronnie/Rani warned her about in “Elsewhen.” It’s been a future without her brother and father.  

But we would see that Holly is doing fine, is quite capable, and has survived and even flourished.

One can dream, right?

Next week: “The Musician.”

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:17 PM

    John I always liked LOTL "Baby Sitter" episode because we got to see Holly at the center of the story. Will was written multiple times to be the mean brother to his little sister. However, you would think in order to survive he would have been written to become more mature as the series went on. I read earlier this year at a convention Sid & Marty Krofft are working with David Gerrold on a new LOTL novel to base a new serious film on.