Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Amazon of the Week: Wonder Woman

Meant to get this posted yesterday. Oops.

I've been resisting featuring Wonder Woman as Amazon of the Week for no other reason than she's an easy, obvious choice. But if I keep putting her off, she's just going to become the Elephant in the Room that I'm trying hard not to talk about, so I might as well get her out of the way. After all, she's obvious for a reason.

I've already talked at length about the comic book version, so I think today I'll focus on the TV version instead. That's the way that most people - myself included - first experienced her.

Like a lot of guys who grew up in the '70s, I had a huge crush on Lynda Carter as a kid. I'd be lying if I said that her costume wasn't part of the show's attraction, but it wasn't the main draw. She was a superhero and I was all about the superheroes. I couldn't afford a lot of comics, but I could watch TV for free, so she and The Incredible Hulk and Super Friends and re-runs of Batman and The Adventures of Superman were my first and primary exposure to a lot of these characters.

In spite of the gender difference, I never saw Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman as being different from the other heroes, which is pretty remarkable considering the times. That's not reflective of any especially enlightened thinking on my part; it's all to the credit of the show and how the character was written. Wonder Woman was as capable and heroic as any other superhero on TV and she never mooned over Steve Trevor or any other man. She was obviously fond of him, but I always got the feeling that she was laughing at him a little bit (and Lyle Waggoner's Steve Trevor was very often laughable in his ineptitude; when he was head of the IADC, his first reaction to a villain's scheme was always, "Let's call the police!"). Without preaching or even really mentioning it out loud, the show taught me that women could be strong and independent and I've enjoyed knowing women like that ever since.

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