Oh, thank God: Mister Schubert is back. I realize he’s a hopelessly overused villain, but he’s a significant presence and his episodes generally have some kind of a plot, no matter how thin it may be. After the last couple of just-jerking-around episodes, I’m happy to see something with a little more narrative drive to it. Also: Shubert is no longer a comedic buffoon. He’s back in amiable badass mode.
PLAY BY PLAY
Shubert’s on his own private sub, trying to find some crystals at the bottom of the sea that no one believes exist. These’ll mess up worldwide communications, and allow him to dominate the world through some typically vague Schubertian plot. They find the crystals, but they also find a force field guarding them. Realizing they can’t get through themselves, they create some kind of underwater ruckus (Never explained - is it a seismic thing? A magnetic thing? And how did they manage to pull this off? We never find out) that the outside world will notice, and the Cetacean is sent in.
They quickly discover the force field, and so Mark swims in to find a hole through it. The field is nothing more than a hokey split screen effect, so he’s able to find his way through it really quickly, and discovers a secret world behind it, filled with air and pine trees and leftover sets from Planet of the Apes, just like California! What are the odds? Pretty good, actually.
Because of the force field, Mark can’t contact the sub, but in pretty short order he comes across a mime in a bodysuit and a shower cap, who tries to run away from him. Another mime shows up who immobilizes Mark with a crystal weapon thing, and then Shields and Yarnel walk him verrrrry deeeeliberately and mime-like back to Ape village, which has been spray painted white. Meanwhile, Mister Schubert and Special Guest Sidekick Rene Auberjonois swim through the gap in the force filed that they saw Mark go through. Or rather, I should say their stuntmen do. Honestly, who do they think they’re trying to kid here? Obviously neither of the divers are the people they’re supposed to be. Rene is like eleven feet tall, and while the other diver is a little bit hefty, there’s just no way in hell they could have found a size sixty-four triple-extra-fattass suit for Schubert to wear. Nor, if they had one, would anyone be willing to risk Victor Buono’s life by making him do anything mildly strenuous like swimming. I mean, granted, he’s only thirty-nine (!) when they were filming this, but, brother, he is *not* a young thirty nine. Trust me, if you didn’t know when he was born, you wouldn’t believe he was that young: he looks more like he’s in his mid-fifties. The guy was a stroke waiting to happen.
Sure enough, once inside the inexplicable bubble-world at the bottom of the ocean, we see Schubert/Buono unzipping what is obviously, obviously, obviously not a real wetsuit (because, again, most dive shops don’t carry size sixty-four triple-extra-fattass). It’s more like a loose-fitting one-piece tracksuit. Sad, really. And yet, you know, they say Buono got the chicks. Or maybe the dudes, I’m not really sure which side of the fence he was on, to be honest. But whichever it was he preferred, the word is he got a lot of ’em. Weird, huh? I live in the sexually permissive disco era when personal beauty and cocaine and really boring music are all that matter, and I choose to exercise this permissiveness by makin’ it with a 400-pound man who looks old enough to be my dad! Hot! (boom-chicka-wa-chicka-wa-wa-wa)
But getting back to our story, Mark is taken to the Apes village, where he meets more body suited mimes (Man, the zipper budget for the costume department in this episode must have been through the roof!), who mostly speak in badly-dubbed castanet sounds, but can speak halting English when called upon to do so. They think Mark is evil, and take him inside their split-level ape ranch home, which doubles as their shrine. Inside, the building is obviously a redress of the Seabase set. There, Mark is trapped in a superimposed cube while the meanest of the bottom people - who looks indistinguishable from the others - plays pong at him. No, really. Whenever the ball hits Mark, he writhes in pain, and they ask him a question. It’s not the most effective interrogation I’ve ever seen since the point