Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: The Secrets of Isis: "Class Clown" (September 25, 1976)

In “Class Clown,” a new student named Rudy (Alvin Kupperman) has been forced to transfer from another school because he constantly plays dangerous practical jokes in a bid to be popular and well-liked.

At his new school, he starts making the same mistake.  

Mrs. Thomas (Joanna Cameron) takes an interest in Rudy and reminds him that “making people laugh doesn’t mean you’re making friends,” but Rudy doesn’t get the message.

Instead, he orchestrates a practical joke in the chemistry classroom, using an inflatable life raft. And then, when he is forbidden from going on Mr. Mason’s class field trip, he ends up driving a runaway bus down a mountainside!

Another troubled student learns another lesson about being a good kid in “Class Clown,” a routine, instantly-forgettable episode of the Filmation Saturday morning series, The Secrets of Isis (1975-1976).  

Once more, Isis/Mrs. Thomas meets a student and sees that he or she is trouble, and once more she offers counsel. That counsel is ignored, and Isis is required to save the day.  

At the end of the tale, the offending student is “scared straight” and promises that there will never be a repeat of the bad behavior.

Case closed.

We’re nearing the end of Isis (just four or five more episodes, I believe, in the second season…), and by now the formula is well-established and kind of dull.  Nothing too Earth-shattering ever occurs, and Isis is never off doing something important (like rescuing a ship at sea, or preventing a forest fire...) when she is needed to help a wayward teen learn an important fact of life.

Occasionally the formula gets beefed up with an exceptional stunt or special effect.  Last week, in “The Hitchhiker,” for example, a car drove off a mountain, after traveling “through” a parked bulldozer that Isis had rendered intangible.  That was pretty cool.  This week, Isis levitates up into a class-room to end a dangerous situation in the chemistry lab. She also creates a stairway of mist that Rick and Rudy use to escape the bus accident.

Other times, the formula is so ingrained that the repetition just makes you think about other things, like how Isis could be doing some humanity some real good, somewhere, instead of acting as nurse maid to a bunch of entitled middle class American teenagers.

Is this really what Oh Mighty Isis had in mind, when she provided this power to her heirs? 

Next week: “The Cheerleader.”

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