The Return!

December 21st, 2005  |  Published in old and busted

The Return! O.k. Episode 3: “The Return!” is up. It features a significant new development in our story that promises to rock longtime fans and make new fans say “My god! I need to be part of this!” If you’re just coming to Mensies, believe me … this is the episode that will make you go back to the beginning and read every strip!!

Speaking of long-time fans …

Last night’s Buck Rogers episode might be one of the most poignant explorations of alcoholism and spousal battery I’ve ever witnessed, as Buck travels to a planet where the men have become satyrs who sit around playing pan pipes all day long unless a child raises its voice, at which point they come stomping to the house to demand wine and food.

Buck struggles valiantly to fend the satyrs off, is bitten by one, and begins his own transformation into a man-goat. Will his human side survive long enough to rescue the mother, who had a perm before colonizing the planet of the satyrs but now has straight hair? Will the little boy get to fly among the stars like his father did before becoming a hideous pipe-playing drunk? Will we see Gil Gerard don the ugly fur-pants the other people playing satyrs had to wear?

Someone really did write that episode hoping to say something important through the magic of science fiction.

Second season Buck Rogers was clearly a troubled production. The writing team had somehow exhausted all its ideas making the first season … viewership was in the tank … and the shadow of “Star Trek,” barely a decade in the grave, loomed over everything, with the lingering odor of “Battlestar Galactica” still fresh in Glen Larson’s nose.

The only way out? Resettling the cast in an exploratory vessel, dressing Erin Gray in a Sailor Moon costume, and searching for humanity’s “lost tribes” in an episodic format heavy on topicality of the “very special episode” variety.

That last, according to Wikipedia (at the moment, anyhow) might be Gil Gerard’s fault because he “pushed for more serious storytelling for the show’s second year” and was punished for fucking with the writers by getting a pair of horns stuck on his head in a thinly veiled domestic violence allegory.

Update: From the official Gil Gerard Site:

> Q. What is your favorite episode of Buck Rogers?

— John, Mary Jo and Nicholas Tenuto. Illinois, USA.

> A. The Movie and the episode entitled “The Satyr”.

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