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Thunder In Paradise #2

Yes, there's more. Aren't you really excited?!

On to the series proper, then, and the awful naffness of the pilot is mercifully now out of the way. In the space between the shooting of the film, and the making of the series itself, everybody has upped their game. Hulk Hogan has either been taking acting lessons, or is just enjoying himself more; Kelly The Obligatory Love Interest has ceased to be an appallingly fake New Yorker; and Jessica, Spence and Bru's daughter, has changed heads, which is a marked improvement. Best of all, however, Megan Of The Truly Awful Acting has gone. Killed off, apparently, in brilliantly rubbish fashion. Bru tells a guest star how it happened, in a splendidly silly aside. She was "in England for a business trip, driving on a foggy night... car in front of her stopped..." Now quite apart from the fact that if she was driving that fast on a foggy night then it's likely her own blasted fault, I love the fact that they had to send her to England to make it all happen. There is no fog in 'Paradise', I suppose. Bru then looks suitably sad, and comments that she was a "great girl". No she wasn't! She ruined the pilot! Still, at least she's out of the way now.

The first two episodes, then (technically episodes three and four), and they're a double bill that really do set up the feel of the rest of the series quite nicely. The first is "Tug Of War", in which Evil Uncle Edward (still evil at this point, though soon to be teetering on the brink of Actually Quite Niceness) tries to get the boys to send little Jessica away to live in England with relatives. So that she can get killed by murderous fog too, possibly. Meanwhile, the show's recurring bad guy Splendidly Evil Hammerhead, puts in his first appearance. Hammerhead is played by another wrestler, so you've pretty much got the entire plot of "Tug Of War" right there. Hammerhead and Spence wrestle. A lot. In between bouts, there's angst about whether or not Jessica is safe living with a pair of SEALs who spend their lives battling evil people, and blowing stuff up a lot. Strikes me that she's safer there than she is in a place where fog leaps out at people and kills them, anyway, but Spence is determined to be Very Responsible. This leads to some wonderful scenes of typically warped domesticity, where Bru tries to change his mind. Spence is all ultra macho hostility, and Bru, clad in apron and oven-gloves, is trying to get him to open up. This mostly involves weight-lifting, karate kicking and pasta sauce. And Bru has the best oven gloves ever.

It's a fun episode, though it has its dodgy moments. First up, the boys are helping the Navy to test a new surveillance system, which can apparently see through any stealth technology (except Thunder's). Their contact in the Navy is an old colleague, referred to constantly by Bru as 'Commander Brody', despite the fact that his nametag clearly says 'MacIntyre'. Brody (or MacIntyre) insists that it's a foolproof surveillance system, but clearly it has its disadvantages, as it's incapable of seeing Hammerhead when he comes to blow up Brody's boat. Fortunately for everybody, it's an A-Team style bomb, and doesn't actually do any damage to anything save the boat. Even the computer running the surveillance system doesn't get a scratch, and Spence and Bru are able to pick everybody up, including the most important part of the Navy's entire surveillance operation. It's a disc. A floppy disc. Yes, this is 1994, and the great hope of the world's most powerful military rests on a floppy. Bless. Hammerhead wants the disc, although why he thinks that Spence and Bru will have it, rather than the Navy, I don't know. Needless to say, this leads to wrestling, and lots of it. And to Spencer deciding right in the middle of the action that he can't actually send Jessica away after all. Aw.

Which paves the way rather nicely for "Sea Quentin", in which the captive Hammerhead is locked away in a special ultra high security underwater prison, occupied by a warden, his wife, and their obligatory highly intelligent little son, complete with equally obligatory pet dolphin. Spare a thought for the inhabitants of the prison, who are forced to live out their sentences dressed in peach jumpsuits, although in an act of remarkably sporting behaviour, Spence chooses to spend a large part of the episode in a bright pink skin-tight number. Hammerhead escapes, of course, which leads to copious amounts of wrestling when Spence goes into the prison to stop him. Happily, however, it also leads to Bru getting to do something for the first time. He has to break in the back way, hitching a lift with the dolphin, and then beat up all of the other prisoners in order to rescue the warden. This is the sort of thing that the show does well. Hulk Hogan, for all of his acting shortcomings, can certainly wrestle, and Chris Lemmon has about three dozen black belts under his… belt. Throw in a lot of underwater scenes clearly filmed in an aquarium, and vast amounts of scenes of both the outside and inside of Thunder, which make it blatantly obvious that the boat is bigger on the inside than the outside, and you can see that nobody ever intended for the show to be taken seriously. Hammerhead overacts with unrestrained glee, and everybody seems to be laughing at themselves. The only low point is the fact that fully half of the episode seems to take place back on the beach, where there's a boys versus girls volleyball match going on. This is basically just an excuse to have a lot of people (mostly women) wear very little clothing whilst bouncing up and down a lot. Evil Uncle Edward does join in at the end, though, showing that he has no real plans to stay evil for long. Oh, and we also get 'treated' to the sight of Hulk Hogan, clad only in a very skimpy pair of swimming trunks, and oiled to within an inch of his life, taking on the entire beach in a tug of war contest. Do Not Want. Thank you muchly.

The interior of a boat that clearly does not fit inside its exterior.

Seriously, it's like Aladdin's cave in there.

Jessica. New head, infinitely improved acting skills.

Pretty sea!

Thunder does angst. With layers and nuances and subtlety! Or not.

Meaningful emotional moments, Thunder-style.

World's finest oven gloves. Sharks!

Evil Hammerhead is evil.

Heroes In Beachwear.

Wrestling on a beach!

Wrestling on a boat!

Wrestling in a swamp!

Wrestling next to a swamp!

Not wrestling, I'm assuming.

Stop mugging at the camera, you lunatic.

Chris Lemmon modelling one in a long line of questionable shirts.
Actually, I say Chris, but it could just as easily be Jack there. :)

Spence and Hammerhead showing off the latest in tough guy apparel. Peach and pink. Yikes.

Um... no, never mind.

Wrestling under the sea!


... and inside. I love that boat. :)

Rather gloriously, these episodes see the first outing of the show's end theme song. Rarely did a song have such truly awful lyrics. They really do have to be heard to be believed. :)


( 2 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Nov. 18th, 2009 10:18 am (UTC)
Yep, that's the really cute Jessica who knew how to act. :)
Nov. 18th, 2009 11:48 pm (UTC)
She is good. It's odd, because the one in the pilot is played by the little girl from Three Men And A Little Lady, and she was perfectly good in that. Mind you, nobody is all that good in the Thunder pilot. :D
( 2 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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