DCAU #260: Obsession

IN THIS ONE... Toy-Man is intent on kidnapping a living Barbie.

CREDITS: Written by Andrew Donkin and Ron Fogelman (did Rich Fogel and someone else go for pen names on this one? because this is these guys' only credit); directed by Dan Riba.

REVIEW: As a Toy-Man episode, strictly on the basis of his shticks and the action pieces they inspire, I've got to call this a success. The life-sized action figures, including the rocket-propelled astronaut and headless sheriff (Toy Story turns to horror), the cartoon helicopter, the kangaroo fight (a WB tradition), the toy soldiers, the Death Fist "video game"... There's lots of fun to be had with these, and the episode is visually splendid. Even when they save money on some shots - the lasso capturing Darci in a dark patch, the flashes on Superman during his electronic fight - it's done with an eye towards production value. It looks cool, not cheap.

I'm less enthusiastic about this being the culmination of the DCAU's marked interest in stalking. I've written about this before. About how the DCAU treats its female characters and so often makes them the subjects of the male gaze. In this, the Toy-Man stalks and kidnaps a beautiful model, the same model Jimmy ogles and Clark dismisses. None of this is a proper attitude towards women, including those in the fashion industry (after all, this is Lana's show and Clark respects HER, right?). Then it turns out Darci Mason is a living Barbie doll created by Toy-Man as a "companion", which may well creep you out even more. The way she talks about it, it seemed pretty innocent - he just wanted to play with toys and she got bored - but it still hasn't aged well. It's even a little absurd that she would be so ill-suited to childish games, and have the capacity to run away, when she's obviously been Asimoved, can't attack her creator, and that her heart can be reprogrammed if Toy-Man can drill his way to it (brrr, nice scene, all things being equal).

But we've sort of scene this before with the second HARDAC episode over on Batman's show, when a Batman murderbot started believing it was the real Batman. Darci makes it out "alive" though, so there isn't the same tragic atmosphere. She will return later in the DCAU though, so stay tunes.

IN THE COMICS: A journalist who looks a lot like Billy Batson (AKA Captain Marvel) is seen covering the fashion show.

SOUNDS LIKE: Darci is played by Nancy Travis (Three Men and a Baby, So I Married an Axe Murderer).

REWATCHABILITY: The high side of Medium - Looks and plays great, but I'm now weary of the shows' sexism.


LiamKav said...

You made a comment once about how you can enjoy Woody Allen's movies despite some of the... issues surrounding the man. It's obviously nowhere near the same level, but I almost have the same thing with the DCAU. I dunno if it's Dini with his Zatara fetishes, or Bruce Timm with his apparent obsession with Batgirl and Batman getting it on (something that seems to be getting worse as the years go on, if anything.)

It's the same reason I keep making jokes about there being a thief dedicated to just stealing the midriffs from women's clothing. It's not the sexiness that's the problem, it's that they have to all be sexy all time. At least Summer Gleeson was allowed to dress conservatively.

LiamKav said...

However, I seem to recall Hawkgirl and Wonder Woman being much better characters. Hope my memory is accurate.


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