802. The Leech Woman (1960)

Transformation, longer life, youth and vitality, these dreams surface in mythology, fiction, film, and even video games. Vampires, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, werewolves, superheroes, The Invisible Man, the impossible becoming possible captures the imagination. The search for the divine in all of us hooks us and “is the stuff” escapism is “made of.” Prairie Dogs, Diapers and Tutus, Nanite Organizing, Rulemaking, The Beverly Hillbillies. “I’m gonna spit in the ocean”, “The Earth has Male Pattern Baldness”, “The Sean Young Saga.” “Starring these Leeches” or “Get the salt! Lotta salt!”?

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[ahem]

JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED

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Damn, you beat me to it!

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Heh, I couldn’t resist!

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That is one of my all-time favorite Tom Servo riffs. He does it so perfectly, and if you love The Beverly Hillbillies you probably noticed the delicate and subtle way Kevin draws it out for just a leeeeetle bit longer than the original, for comic effect. Listen for it…

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What’s great about it is that it also sets up fun callbacks in later episodes. Like in Squirm, for one.

Movie text: “This is the story…”
Mike: “… of a man named Jed.”
Servo: “JEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!”
Crow: “That was inevitable.”

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Maybe it would’ve helped if I’d been a Beverly Hillbillies fan, too. But between that and the constant "Neeeeal!!! schreeching, not to mention the bots snarling their way through the pineal sketch, this one really wears on me. It’s squarely Average in my book. With a decrease in all that tedious, shouty aggression, I’d probably have ranked it higher. Since the movie itself holds together better as a movie than many others.

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I may have already said this in another thread but I love this about this movie:

The husband berates, ridicules, shames and generally emotionally and verbally abuses his wife for the entire first part of the movie, except for the parts where he is TRANSPARENTLY pretending he doesn’t hold her in complete contempt because he needs something from her. And then when – SPOILER ALERT – she has to choose a man to die and he picks him, he is SHOCKED. SHOCKED.
SHHHHHHHOOOOOooooOOOOoooOOOOOCKED

Actor Phillip Terry deserves an Oscar for how shocked he is. And it’s just perfectly, utterly revealing about life in 1960: a professional white man treats everyone else with scorn and ridicule, and then is totally blindsided when they treat him with anything but the respect and admiration to which he is naturally entitled BY GOD. He literally does not understand why his wife would want to hurt him! He cannot even fathom it! And it’s perfect.

Also I love alcoholic jokes so hic I’ll raise one EANAB* to The Leech Woman.

*Equally appealing non-alcoholic beverage, a term from my college days, and yes possibly an oxymoron

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The most important thing about The Leech Woman is that it was a reassuring sign that Season 8 was gonna rock out and be consistent.

The Season 8 premiere, Revenge of the Creature, was terrific in terms of both its theater jokes and in reestablishing the world of the show. But when The Leech Woman premiered, the show struck back with even funnier riffs and more excellent world-building. It showed that the premiere wasn’t going to be a fluke and that we were going to get this sustained quality all throughout the season.

Which we did.

I think what I like about Season 8 is that these episodes have a certain feel to them. I mean, yeah, we’d get color movies as well as movies from different studios, but these specific opening movies had this… I dunno, this kind of B-movie warmth and comfort to them? I’m not sure I’m putting that right. But it all felt comforting to watch, even if the movies themselves were bad and contained awful stuff.

The Leech Woman was sending a message as an episode, and that was, “Don’t worry, they’ve GOT this.”

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I’m always struck by how he doesn’t plead, struggle, scream, threaten, or anything when they tote him off to be tapped. So maybe all that Mastery Of Non-Acting™ wasn’t even the actor’s fault. Maybe it’s a director’s or writer’s terrible decision that’s to blame.

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Heh, I gotcha, I hear ya.

I have to admit, I always have to howl-laugh at “TELL HER SHE’S A WARTHOG! NEIIIIIIIIIL!”

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And it’s all encapsulated so brilliantly with Servo’s great riff: “Why?! This comes completely out of nowhere!”

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See I think it’s totally congruent with the white professional man of 1960’s inability to believe he could be treated the way he treats others: he literally cannot believe that it is happening, so struggling or screaming don’t make any sense. He just has to wait for whatever hallucination has gripped his mind to pass, at which point his horrible drunk wife whom he loathes will bring him a nice whiskey.

On an unrelated note, I also find the Jed! screaming to be just too much. I get why it’s funny, to me the annoyingness outweighs the humor.

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In case I didn’t make it clear, I love the episode.

If I have a gripe, it’s that the stinger doesn’t really seem that… odd or goofy or anything of the sort. I think I would’ve gone with the moment where June chooses Paul for the sacrifice:

“And I choose… him.”
[Paul FINALLY reacts after Mala calls for him to be restrained]
“June!!!”

Or maybe that hilariously stilted delivery when the safari adventure guy is transparently trying to clue June in on his ruse to get dynamite for their escape: “Don’t you remember?” [blinks rapidly] “The - expensive - gold necklace - you - asked - me - to - keep safely - for you?”

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I really enjoy this one. I actually dig the movie a little bit. It’s so cynical and jaded, but it actually enjoys being this way. It’s also very thick with melodrama, so it’s definitely worthy of riffing.

(But sheesh, the movie’s opening scene is just brutal. It never fails to make me really uncomfortable)

I’m a sucker for running gags, so I like the “JED!” and “NEIL!” riffs myself. Funny thing about “NEIL!”, I used to think I somehow always, always missed the line. One time, I essentially watched this twice in one day, paid extra close attention on the second time and realized it’s something Mike and The Bots came up with!

And you can already see everyone settled in after the excitement of 801 (something all eras and changes have in common, more comfortable on their second go). Bill is noticeably more improved with Crow as well!

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god-tier riff:

“Oh, I love going to BAR. I usually order SANDWICH and have DRINK.”

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Nanites Union Strike.

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Pineal Gland.

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I’m so glad that kind of person doesn’t make it to the heights of fame and leadership these days.

This is another one I haven’t seen in ages, and I feel like I need to correct that. Shame it’s not on the Gizmoplex. :frowning:

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“REAL Africa!”

“HOLLYWOOD Africa!”

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