Friday, June 21, 2013

Wonder Woman 3.6: Formicida

Airdate: 11/3/78

Buildings owned by a pesticide manufacturing magnate, Harcourt, are being mysteriously destroyed, and all clues appear to lead to a vampy villainess named Formidica, who seems to have a particular fondness for carpenter ants. She kidnaps an informer for Diane, and we learn, through her mousy alter ego, that they had both developed a pesticide but that he sold it too soon to Harcourt, who is now mass marketing it with potentially disastrous consequences for the environment. Formidica’s crusade is to destroy all the chemical tycoon’s plants and offices with the help of her genetically-altered six-legged friends, but Wonder Woman, with the help of Rover (who was programmed by IRAC to communicate with the bugs), stops her in her tracks – she’ll now get the chance to defend her actions in the court of law.

Fun but surely whacked-out episode features popular-for-15 minutes 70s starLorene Yarnell in the title role – fans of the disco decade should remember as one-half of the mime duo Shields and Yarnell, who had their own show for one season. Here she’s a real howl as the ant-worshipping vixen, and it’s great to see WW fsce-off against another campy super-villain, much like 
Batman did in his TV series ten years 

This episode also mines two veins of the era – one pop-cultural, the big “insect-invasion” subgenre of the 70s – and the other political, the controversial fallout from the publication of Rachael Carson’s 60’s book Silent Spring, opposing the use of DDT to kill mosquitoes, and everything else in the food chain. References, implicit and explicit, are made regarding that classic tome.

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