There’s a lot of negative things you can say about Man From Atlantis: You can call it stupid, boring, tedious, ignorant, stupid, anti-intellectual, vapid, insulting, infantile, incoherent, poorly written, completely un-thought-out, a waste of time for all involve - and all those criticisms are bang on the money. I’ve made all of them myself, and I’m not taking any of ‘em back. But one thing the show has never been was flat-out embarrassing. Goofy, yes. So embarrassing that you actually feel badly for the actors? No.
Until now, of course.
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There’s this navy undersea research facility called “Triton.” Suddenly, Pat “Arnold” Morita comes up out of the dive hatch acting like a shrill-voiced five year old, and wearing a costume that can only be described as “Late Elvis Meets Early Kiss.” The naval officers are, understandably, pretty freaked out by this - I mean, you’re a thousand feet down, going about your nebulously-defined duties, living in what can only be assumed to be a Happy Days-Free environment, and the next - zang - Pat Morita has snuck up on you in a costume that’s both kinds of gay, and babbling like Stinky Muldoon on helium. That’s the kinda’ thing that’ll mess you up.
And mess them up it does! Arnold - introducing himself as “Moby” [Write your own joke here] - touches the crewmen, who each are instantly transformed from perfectly normal bad actors into horrifically embarrassing 30-something man-children capering around in an idiotic impression of what adults think kids act like, as portrayed by bad actors. It is so bad it isn’t even funny. That isn't just an expression - "So bad it's not funny" - I mean it literally: It's not funny at all, it's just awful, with no comedy potential whatsoever. I’m assuming each of these men’s wives (if any) filed for divorce the next day, rather than live with the same of it. “Painful to watch” is one thing, but this…this transcends it. I’ve already used “Embarrassing” too many times in this review, but words fail me as to how to adequately describe it.
The navy guys decide to go swimming without dive gear, and instantly drown. The officer in charge - a guy who looks like a cross between Captain Jack from Torchwood and disgraced Illinois governor Blagojevich - comes out, and instantly gets infantilized, but doesn’t go swimming.
Rather than go out and check for themselves, the US Navy decides to send in the Cetacean and its crew. The habitat doesn’t return its hails, so Mark swims over, only to have a gun pulled on him by Cap’n Jack Blaojevich. The gun turns out to be one of those novelty dealies that just has a fake flower pop out of it. He plays several other pranks on Mark before Mark forces him to suit up and swim to the Cetacean. On the sub, he seems hungover, and falls into a deep sleep. They head back to base, with Blago-Jack waking up enough to bemoan the fate of his crew. “Did I kill them?” I dunno. Are you Pat Morita? ‘Cuz he killed them. Or do you mean “Kill them with shame?” In that case, yeah, you did it.
They get to the foundation seabase, and Captain J.B. is fine, but Moby is somehow already there, and the navy guy instantly relapses into a wantwit. Others try to stop him, but they all get kidified as well. Mark tries to capture Moby, but Moby says “No, not you, you’re one of the down there people.” (Land Dwellers, meanwhile, are “Up There people”) Moby and Navy Guy escape, steal a car, and head to the pier. Mark and Elizabeth - who’s looking quite a bit chestier than usual in this episode. They really should shoot her from low angles more often - head to the pier in time to find random idiots capering around. There’s an old sailing ship moored there, and on Moby’s insistence, Captain Rod R. Harkness (Ok, I kind of wish I hadn’t gone with that one, it’s a bit too appropriate for Jack) takes a swan dive off the crow’s nest and sinks like a stone. An unconscious stone. An unconscious bad-acting stone. So there’s not much of a difference, really.
Mark rescues Cap’n Blago, and they take him to a hospital, as he’s in bad shape. I mean, clearly he’s a good enough actor to pretend to be in bad shape, right? So it must be real. Meanwhile, CW