Friday, March 18, 2011

TV's Wonder Woman's Costume's Big Reveal's Revelation!

Because I love using possessives, that's why. Oh, you didn't ask. Well, in that case, here's the first image of the costume for the National Broadcasting Company's new Wonder Woman television program starring Adrianne Palicki. Let me tell you-- with a get-up as eye-catchingly kaleidoscopic as this the producers definitely need to lens this program in the new "color" (or "colour") format I've been hearing so much about since the World's Fair. But I must warn parents. Take heed! If you allow them to watch this weekly serial, your children may become unduly influenced by Miss Palicki's variegated duds and experience a loosening of their moral fiber. In this event, they may be led astray down the garden path of flamboyant sartorial deviance that leads inevitably to beatnikdom and then... the grave.

Well, it looks silly but about as good as could be expected, I suppose. The colors evoke feelings of Mom's apple pie and baseball, the latex bustier and high heels fears of the whip. The accessories-- the tiara, bracelets and belt-- plus the stars down the leg are more Toei than Time-Warner; she's the Boobs Power Ranger or some space queen who'd aid the live-action senshi of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. She and Kamen Rider could work together on a case, then hang out at Starbucks. What else might they have done? With maybe a couple of tweaks this could actually work much better as the comic book version's costume than her current outfit. Goodness gracious, I'm afraid I wasn't prepared for how goofy it looks on a flesh-and-blood human being person type individual. Who isn't a 4-color drawing.

It can still work. At 5'11" (according to IMDB, anyway), Ms. Palicki is certainly statuesque enough for the part, and those clenched fists promise some feats of strength and combat derring-do. I hope she brings a dignified and powerful presence to the role and overcomes the costume. But I suppose a great deal depends on the show's approach.

The 70s Wonder Woman was extremely campy-- although even as a fan who never missed an episode, I was too young to appreciate this aspect and accepted it as straight adventure a la The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman-- and Lynda Carter had a self-awareness about her that made the star-spangled swimsuit work. Plus she had the advantage of looking like a comic book drawing come to life. Stunningly beautiful. As is Ms. Palicki, but even if the new show's scripts are superlative, her biggest battle will be with that outfit. I feel for her. Many a superhero has suffered ignominious defeat at the hands of insane haberdashers.

Any time you put someone in red, blue and gold rubber with stars and stylized eagles and W's all over, it's going to look garish. But most comic book costumes run the risk of making any actor appear ridiculous and by extension, the show in which she or he appears. If your Steve Trevor is played by Lyle Waggoner (late of The Carol Burnett Show), your intention is obviously to embrace this aspect. How Ms. Carter managed not to appear silly and undignified while pretending to deflect bullets with her bracelets truly is a wonder. She was Wonder Woman to me, and I adored her. Now that I'm older, I realize she pulled it off not only because of her physical embodiment of the part-- again, she looked gorgeous in the costume-- but also because she was in on the joke.

In this case, however, there's the David E. Kelley factor. God knows what goes on inside that guy's brain, but when that crazy stuff makes it to America's television sets, people tend to feel... ways... about it. Strongly so. Except for me. I've merely mildy disliked all his shows, to be quite honest, and largely ignored them. On the other hand, my very conservative mom has loved each of them, up to and including Harry's Law.

So my modest prediction is-- whatever this show's quality, people are going to be blogging the hell out of Wonder Woman when it airs. Oh yes, there will be blogging. There will be opinions. Opinions galore. People will discuss its ramifications and ascribe to it a certain level of importance. The costume will matter; it more than likely already does. I'm writing about it, after all.

Some will excoriate Wonder Woman and Mr. Kelley. Others will defend them. They'll want to tell you all about how they came to these conclusions. Some people may take offense. There will be comment hostilities following essays both thoughtful and asinine or both by turns (like this one). Chastisement and rapprochement in equal measures followed by more conflict. The comics blog world may never know peace again. I'ma stay the hell out of it and watch Super Friends:

Can Wonder Woman escape the fate of recent genre failures such as The Cape and the Bionic Woman (they even edgily dropped the "The" and still flopped) remake? Will the show please comic fans and a more general audience? In those plastic pants and leather high-heeled boots, if this Wonder Woman does she really will earn that superlative!

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