S1E02 - The Giant Bacteria

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Re: S1E02 - The Giant Bacteria

Post by Rusakov » Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:47 pm

Kooshmeister wrote:Well, the eyes are Morbulus', as opposed to the eyespots of real bacteria. It's important to remember the creature used to be a (more or less) ordinary kat, and the model sheet explicitly says he's turning into the bacteria monster, so it was never a true attempt by either Viper or Glenn Leopold to create an actual giant-sized germ. This explains why it's so un-bacteria-like.

Speaking of Morbulus' mutation, where did his tail go? I have this disturbing mental image of it falling off during his transformation. RazDumbfounded
Probably used as biological raw material by the bacteria.

After all... you don't really need a tail when you have a low center of gravity and giant feet! RazLaugh

And again, he probably didn't become a straight-up bacteria, just some weird amalgamate of him and the bacteria. :ugeek:
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Re: S1E02 - The Giant Bacteria

Post by marklungo » Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:51 pm

Here's something I've been meaning to do for a long time; write about "The Giant Bacteria" again, and elaborate why I gave it a D+ rating. In another thread, MoDaD asked me if I would change the grade; here's my response.
On reflection, I might upgrade it slightly to a C- since this was the first episode made and everyone was still figuring things out, and it does have some good moments. However, I still have some big problems with TGB, particularly the subway sequence. It's bad enough that it happened, but the way it's treated is even worse. Here's a scene where dozens of civilians are unambiguously killed, and it's almost immediately forgotten as the story moves on to the next cheap thrill. It shouldn't be that way! When someone dies, it should matter--even in fiction, even if it's just an extra (or a whole bunch of them). If Viper's monster killed that many people at once, there should have been major consequences for him and for Megakat City until he was finally dealt with. I hope your podcast will deal with that. (BTW, compare and contrast this story with a real life commuter train shooting that happened just a few months after it was first broadcast.) And thank you for giving me cause to write this rant, which I've been meaning to do ever since I first came here.

P.S. At least "The Giant Bacteria" isn't as bad as G.I. Joe: Resolute, the adult-oriented version of the cartoon from 2009. There, Cobra Commander actually nukes Moscow, killing 10 million people, but it's given no more emotional weight than the latest fight between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. Sigh... My point is that if you absolutely have to write a story with a mass killing, at least have the decency to fully deal with the consequences.
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Re: S1E02 - The Giant Bacteria

Post by marklungo » Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:56 pm

I just talked about this topic offline with Kooshmeister, and he reminded me of one more victim of the bacteria monster who I really should have mentioned: Dr. Zyme. Here's a perfectly likable character with a lot of potential (some of which he realized in "The Origin of Dr. Viper"), and he's killed off (maybe) almost as soon as he's introduced for no good reason.

Fortunately, there's still hope for the good doctor. Between his ambiguous fate and the fact that several of the show's villains have returned from the dead, Zyme can be brought back--which I hope the Tremblays will do if SWAT Kats: Revolution ever becomes a reality.
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Re: S1E02 - The Giant Bacteria

Post by Mikazo » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:27 pm

Hey, here's an idea. Perhaps they could make a sequel to the Giant Bacteria episode. Except in the sequel, the creatures would come around as a result of people overusing antibiotics and antibacterial soaps, thus creating a strain of resistant superbugs!

...what? I think it's a great idea. :oops:
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Re: S1E02 - The Giant Bacteria

Post by Kooshmeister » Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:41 pm

Stop me if I'm wrong, but that looks like a church in the background at the park:

Image
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Re: S1E02 - The Giant Bacteria

Post by Cait » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:08 pm

Kooshmeister wrote:Stop me if I'm wrong, but that looks like a church in the background at the park:

Image
It definitely looks like that ManxScared
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Re: S1E02 - The Giant Bacteria

Post by Mikazo » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:31 pm

Kooshmeister wrote:Stop me if I'm wrong, but that looks like a church in the background at the park:

Image
Obviously that's a cat-hedral. 8-)
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Re: S1E02 - The Giant Bacteria

Post by Echo » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:37 am

Mikazo wrote:
Kooshmeister wrote:Stop me if I'm wrong, but that looks like a church in the background at the park:

Image
Obviously that's a cat-hedral. 8-)
.....boooooooooooooooooo xD
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Re: S1E02 - The Giant Bacteria

Post by Kooshmeister » Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:05 pm

Mikazo wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:31 pm
Obviously that's a cat-hedral. 8-)
RazLaugh

So, over in a couple of other threads, particularly the ones about why Callie supports Manx despite being being pretty much the antithesis of everything she stands for and why Manx doesn't have any bodyguards, it came up that Callie doesn't come off quite as brave or intelligent as she does in other episodes. Aside from rescuing Manx at the park, she then proceeds to:

1. Drive towards the monster instead of away from it, and then just... stops the limo and sits there, and it takes her an embarrassingly long time to get herself and Manx out of the vehicle before it gets gobbled up. Although it's possible the engine was (as T-Bone might put it) clogged with crud, and she could restart the vehicle. Another explanation is that she spent an inordinate amount of time wrestling with Mayor Manx trying to get him out of the darn car. He seemed pretty resistant about leaving, after all, needing to be physically dragged, and, even then, only fully bolts when the part he's standing beside is seconds from being devoured. ManxScared

2. During the window attack at the lab, she just kinda runs off and abandons Dr. Zyme. She notices the monster's hand first, but doesn't shout a warning, makes an "Ew!" face and then just runs offscreen, more or less leaving him to get killed. She could've at least dragged him with her the way she did Manx earlier. Though, as with her just stopping the limo, my interpretation is she expected Zyme to follow her, as opposed to just standing there and going "Aaaahhhh!" like he did. zymeicon

3. Her choosing to remain and basically scold Viper was probably meant to make her look brave, but only makes her seem kinda dumb. I mean, Viper's busy gathering up all the katalysts and the door is right there. Run for it, Ms. Briggs! But, naw, she has to stick around and tell Dr. Viper what a naughty boy he's been and that he's going in time out once the SWAT Kats get through with him. Unlike the "stopping and sitting in the limo" and "running off and leaving Zyme" scenes, though, I... can't think of a fan theory for why she does this, beyond simply being so righteously indignant her anger overrides her common sense. CalSmile

These are probably explainable out-of-story as what's known as Early Installment Weirdness, that being examples of stuff that make it plain that the showrunners are still getting things figured out and to some extent making it up as they go. After all, although aired second, The Giant Bacteria was aired second, it was the first one made, so, as Mark Lungo suggested, it's possible that Glenn Leopold and the rest of the show's writing staff were still figuring out exactly who Callie Briggs was, specifically trying to find the right balance between damsel in distress and competent, brave bystander; it's obvious that there's a little more of the distressed damsel here in this episode.

But Callie's inconsistent bravery and competence isn't the only example of Early Installment Weirdness. Consider (with my efforts at explaining each):

1. The use of choppers to chase Morbulus' jet despite the fact we know the Enforcers have got jets. It's possible the jets weren't designed yet. And even after they were, the show seemed to use them sparingly.

2. This is one of the only episodes where we see reporters besides Ann and cameramen besides Jonny. And not only that, but ones who arguably have slightly bigger roles than them. It isn't Ann who interviews Feral, it's the black-haired guy in the blue suit (at the refinery) and the orange-haired guy with the polka-dotted tie (on TV). Although Ann does ask Manx one question and later covers the park dedication. Similarly, Jonny K. only appears once briefly in the background and despite Ann telling him to "Quick, get a shot of that!" it's another, nameless cameraman who is shown actually filming the bacteria monster while backing up. It wouldn't be until much later in Unlikely Alloys that we'd see other reporters, although we do see some news photographers in The Ghost Pilot and Destructive Nature reveals that at least the black-haired guy and the orange-haired guy were originally going to appear in it alongside Ann (referred to in the script as "her entire news team" but referred to as being alternately from WKAT and Katwitness News). I think this is because, going by the fact Ann and Jonny are treated by the Destructive Nature script as "guest characters," i.e. not part of the main recurring set of characters and explicitly identified as being "from show one" (i.e. The Giant Bacteria), that they just designed five or six or more reporters and cameramen, gave a few of them lines and something to do, and then picked the ones who left the best impression in the finished episode to become the recurring newspeople.

3. Callie being friends with Chance and Jake. Although, yes, their friendship is alluded to in Night of the Dark Kat, it seems that for whatever reason everyone collectively decided her knowing the SWAT Kats both as the SWAT Kats and as mechanics was either not very interesting as a story dynamic, or that it would've raised too many questions about whether she knows. Though one can argue that the "does she or doesn't she" angle could've helped make for an interesting recurring theme, the fact is that as the show went on, it gradually shifted away from their jobs as mechanics. The final time in the completed series we ever see them do anything related to their civilian job is towing a car which they ditch in A Bright and Shiny Future. Though Succubus! shows they were eventually planning to return to both their jobs as well as their friendship with Callie.

4. Feral being even more of an obstinate jerk than normal. And also being really stupid. The only other times he's as bad as he is here are one brief bit in The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice ("I give the orders around here!") and some parts of The Wrath of Dark Kat (mostly the flashback). And his somewhat mildly sexist remark of "Don't worry your pretty little head" in The Metallikats. Like Callie, I guess they were still just getting his character figured out. Though he would briefly return to this sort of overconfident obstinate dillweed in The Ghost Pilot ("Who needs them, Deputy Mayor? My Enforcers can handle anything!" and other such dialogue), by the end of season one and on into season two they'd pretty much gotten Commander Feral's character figured out pretty well and made him a much easier pill for the audience to swallow/were generally fairer to him (making Falk's idea that he'd genuinely turn evil in his original idea for Cry Turmoil all the stranger - no matter how much you try and defend it, Lance!).

5. Burke and Murray. This one doesn't require too explanation. At its most basic, it just seems like nobody writing for the show found them very interesting, and so after two more brief appearances they got phased one. Other reasons for nixing the irritating siblings would be that, again, there was a general shift away from Chance and Jake's mechanic jobs, and so there were less and less reasons for the brothers to keep appearing, and, as with Chance and Jake's friendship with Callie, Burke and Murray's continued presence around the salvage yard, especially as Chance and Jake's ostensible babysitters, might raise questions the writers didn't want raised, i.e. "do they know." 'Cause, I mean, c'mon; Burke and Murray are dumb but there's only so far you can stretch "they're just too stupid to notice any red flags." Why they got the axe is probably a mixture of all of these explanations, though the fact nobody liked writing for them is probably the main reason as, unlike Callie knowing Chance and Jake, there were apparently never any definite plans to bring the brothers back in season two; Lance Falk even admitted somewhere he only wrote them into Metal Urgency to meet Mark Hamill, and I'll bet that them appearing in the unused story idea Blackout was for the same reason.

6. All the death. Now, as evidenced by my body count for both seasons, loads of people die throughout the series, but it's mostly in vehicle crashes and explosions as opposed to being gobbled up or squished by giant purple smooze monsters. Zyme's demise is about par for the course. The standard scream-and-cut-away shot. But Viper feeding the farmer to the bacteria monster and the subway train getting engulfed and presumably everyone aboard dying horribly really push the envelope (to say nothing of Morbulus' oft-discussed horrifying mutation scene). My explanation is that this was sort of an indication of possibly just how hard-hitting they wanted the show to be, only to pull back from it after the finished episode got such a negative reception. Although Katscratch's even more violent death in The Metallikats was set in stone and couldn't be changed, it's obvious to me that, going forward, Hanna-Barbera was determined to at least partially cut down on the death... though considering the scripts for Succubus! and The Doctors of Doom it seems as though they felt that since the show was really hitting its stride they might try their hand at returning to their original idea of not merely more deaths, but more gruesome ones (Doctors of Doom would've rivaled The Giant Bacteria and Succubus! is a corpse-fest that would've outdone it).

There's probably other examples of Early Installment Weirdness in this episode, but these are the main six (well, seven) that I noticed specifically and have commented on over the years. What does everyone think? And has anyone else noticed anything unusual that The Giant Bacteria does which sets it apart from other episodes?
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