Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: The Secrets of Isis: "The Show-Off"

In “The Show-Off,” an episode of Isis originally aired November 1, 1975, a high-school kid named Steve (Harry Gold) nearly falls off the school roof after climbing a ladder while trying to hang a banner. 

Isis (Joanna Cameron) rescues him, but Harry is embarrassed.  He feels the need to show off, in part, he says, because he is short.

Later, on a school camping trip, Cindy Lee (Joanna Pang) gets her foot stuck in a bear trap and Steve tries to impress her by saving her himself, instead of asking for help.

This time Andrea comes to the rescue, and tells him that there is no shame in needing help, and that he should concentrate on doing well the things he loves.  To that end, Steve is an ornithologist.  

Know thyself,” Isis recommends, stressing the importance of Steve being himself.

After over-coming his need to show off, Steve and Rick (Brian Cutler) get trapped in a mountain cave with Rofu, an angry, runaway gorilla. 

Of course, this necessitates another rescue from Mighty Isis…

“The Show Off” alters the standard Isis formula a bit.  Usually, the story finds Isis trying to help a kid who has done something bad.  She shows up just in time to help him realize how wrong-headed he’s been about something (like bragging, or handling a dangerous gun). 

But this week, Isis and Steve resolve Steve’s problem -- showing off -- and the third act involves an unrelated (and odd…) matter: an out-of-control, runaway gorilla.

And what a gorilla it is.  Rofu is a man in a suit, and this just may be the worst gorilla costume you’ll find on seventies television.  But I wonder who came up with the idea of making a runaway gorilla the threat of the week, especially in an episode about showing-off.

Whatever. It was the seventies, right?

In terms of her ever increasing stable of powers, Isis demonstrates in “The Show Off” her ability to control animals, and bend them to her will.  “I have a way with animals,” she note simply, and then observes that she and Rofu will now be “lifelong friends.”  A few episodes back, Isis tangled with an angry bear, but instead of communicating with it peacefully, as she does with Rofu, she trapped it and startled it by surrounding it with a ring of fire.

Next week: “The Outsider.”

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