ComicsAlliance Recaps ‘Smallville’ Episode 1.7: Craving
Love it or hate it, the Smallville TV show has been one of the most popular mass media adaptations of a comic, reaching millions of viewers each week with stories of what Clark Kent's life was like before he became Superman. Now, we're marking its passing by having ComicsAlliance's Chris Sims and David Uzumeri, two guys who have never actually watched the show, watch and review every single episode of the tenth and final season.
David: Welcome back to Smallvillains, the weekly feature where Chris Sims and myself flagellate ourselves for your sick, twisted pleasure.
Chris: Our original plan for this week was to take on Jeph Loeb's Red Kryptonite episode from Season 2, but with the announcement that three-time Academy Award nominee Amy Adams had been cast as Lois Lane in Zack Snyder's upcoming Superman film, we realized we had no choice but to go with a different selection: Season 1's "Craving," in which Amy Adams stars as a Smallville High student with a Kryptonite-enhanced eating disorder.
David: I really wish we'd watched the Loeb joint. I hate everyone who recommended this with a fury equivalent to a thousand suns.
Chris: Yeah, it was... well, it was not very good, but to be fair, it was exactly the level of quality you had to expect from a Season 1 episode of Smallville about space meteor bulimia.
David: No, I think it might have been worse.
Chris: Our story this week opens on Smallville High student Jodi Melville, as played by Amy Adams in Tyra Banks/Eddie Murphy fat makeup.
David: I .... oh my God. I never caught that her last name was Melville. Get it? Herman Melville? Moby Dick? Whales?
Chris: I did. Someone thought they were being very clever.
David: I quit.
Chris: C'mon, Uzi.
David: ...okay. Let's try this. Jodi Melville. Going places nobody has gone before Tyler Perry.
Chris: Right from the opening sequence, it's obvious that Jodi has some body issues, which are introduced with all the subtlety you might expect from the first season of Smallville. And by that, I of course mean that she says "Nobody likes me, I'm fat."
David: She also gardens in the family greenhouses, which look like the worst-disguised grow-op in the history of discreet midwestern marijuana cultivation, and the soil is infected by Kryptonite. Unfortunately, their kryptoponic experiment meets with disastrous results! I'm done after the word "kryptoponic." I've contributed everything I never need to popular culture.
Chris: This was maybe the craziest thing about the entire episode, and that's saying something: Jodi tells her father that she's only going to eat fresh fruits and vegetables from now on -- which actually seems like it would probably be pretty healthy -- and then there's a pan down to the soil where she just pulled up some carrots, and there's a GLOWING GREEN SPACE ROCK.
David: It's green! That's, like, healthy, right?
Chris: And not only that, but her father reaches down, and you think he's going to pick it up because IT'S A GLOWING GREEN SPACE ROCK, but he just grabs a couple of leaves and looks at them like they're the interesting thing.
David: I mean, no wonder it gets blended into a oozeshake that looks like an extra can of slime from Double Dare.
Chris: Seriously. It makes everyone in Smallville seem dumb as a bag of hammers that they don't realize that things that look like the cartoon version of radioactivity might be out of the ordinary.
David: Well, they live in a town where weird crap happens all the time, and -- as established in this episode -- everyone blames Luthor's plant for it. In a town that was victim to an extraterrestrial meteor shower. Seriously.
Chris: To the show's credit, they do actually do something interesting once Jodi gets to school by showing that despite her claims that nobody likes her, Chloe and Pete seem really friendly. It actually does a good job of illustrating the idea that no matter how other people actually percieve her, she only sees the negative parts. Of course, Chloe then tries to convince her to help them with algebra by offering to buy her food, which is hilarious.
David: Chloe is pretty much the master of trying to please people in the most unknowingly insulting ways possible, and I can't even look at Pete Ross anymore without thinking of his, well, gigantic dong in the porn video he shot. Out of the three actors in that scene, Amy Adams won the long-term class competition, and she's wearing a damn fatsuit. But no, seriously: Sam Jones III looks like one of those statues of Priapus your grandparents or parents get you vacationing in the Middle East since you think a little statue with a prodigious phallus is funny, and they're right.
Chris: The scene at school also introduces Dustin, and again: Kudos to Smallville's casting department for finding an actor who looks like the resident smarmy jerk in every high school ever. I could watch Pete bounce a basketball off that kid's head for hours and get as much out of it as four years of therapy.
David: Yeah, he looks like the stereotypical high school jock douchebag in every single high school drama. He's just lacking some acne, but the small gut plus the letter jacket plus the shoulder-length unkempt hair = That Guy You Totally Couldn't Stand.
Chris: We should also point out that it's Pete who stands up for Jodi against the jerky kid, because of course Clark is otherwise occupied with not doing anything for anyone else, ever.
David: It's Season One! You can argue it's on purpose here! Or you can argue that he's too tied up in trying to get with Lana that he's shut off the emotions of his friends and all acquaintances in his vicinity.
Chris: Lana, who has a boyfriend. Clark Kent, you are school in the summertime: No class.
David: Whitney is astonishingly accepting of the guy, considering he basically hits on his girlfriend right in front of his face.
Chris: Well, once you beat a guy up and leave him tied up in a cornfield to die, I guess you owe him certain allowances. In any case, Clark's method of homewrecking this week centers around a birthday party that Lana's aunt is throwing for her that sounds awesome, despite the fact that Lana is a selfish, unappreciative jerk about it.
David: To be fair, it's a somewhat common experience, having relatives making a bigger deal than you want out of events you'd rather just experience with close friends. And bringing Lex Luthor's Mansion of Holy Crap I'm So Awesome into the equation would freak me out too.
Chris: That's true. I mean, when I was a kid, I had a couple of surprise parties thrown for me that I just hated, but from the few times she shows up, it's clear that Lana's aunt is really doing her best here, and Lana's just rolling her eyes at the whole thing. But you do bring up the interesting point that Lex is involved for absolutely no reason.
Chris: We've talked before about how weird Lex's relationship with the rest of the cast is, but seriously, why would he be involved with letting Lana's Aunt Nell plan a party for Lana at his mansion, especially when his friendship only seems to extend to Clark? The only thing I can think of is that Lex and Nell are hooking up.
David: I'm willing to buy that maybe Nell got attached to Lex earlier this season, but at at the entry point we had, it doesn't make any sense. I'm sure we'll get "um, actually"ed about this in the comments, though. The thing is, Lex's friendship with Clark is insanely creepy in and of itself. It's a ... let's say 20-year-old hanging out with a 15-year-old because the latter saved him from a disastrous car wreck. You gender-switch it, and pretty much anyone would go "wassup pedophile" to any 20-year-old with a 15-year-old. If Lex and Nell are hooking up, in the context of this show, that action would be remarkably mature and age-appropriate.
Chris: Lex Luthor is down with the AILFs. Regardless, Lana's party is the social event of the season of the week, which is why Jodi was so upset that she didn't have a date, until she started mainlining radioactive V8 and dropped 50 pounds overnight.
David: I love how nobody really questions her miraculous weightloss other than Chloe. The entire school is like "oh, she's skinny and hot now! OK! We'll roll with that!" Even her dad doesn't seem to notice. Granted, there's an intermediate stage, but still.
Chris: Yeah, but again, there's only three stages. Amy Adams in a Fat Suit, Amy Adams With A Bulky Sweater On, and Amy Adams Lite.
David: Amy Adams Regular for the last option, more like, with awkwardly dyed hair. It just reminds me of the fourth season premiere of Doctor Who, with the magic diet pills that made everyone super-skinny but led to these little fat starfish monsters that tried to take over the world. But that came out after this, and I'd rather not think about the possibility that Russell T. Davies ripped off Smallville, although I'd believe it.
Chris: Also, this completely supports her body image issues. Pete seems to like her just fine when she's heavy, but once she hits that intermediate stage, he is literally struck speechless. Clark has to speak for him to agree to her offer of a date.
David: But he was patronizingly nice to her before, so he gets a pass from her swath of revenge!
Chris: Either way, her sudden hotness reveals itself to have a price, as her Kryptorexia leaves her continually hungry, which leads her to go absolutely sickhouse on a refrigerator full of junk food.
Chris: Seriously, tearing open the Jello with her teeth like a hand grenade and then squeezing it one-handed into her mouth was amazing.
David: I adored the special effects in this episode, the same way I enjoy things that are hilariously awful. I love how it's a big reveal later that she has a heightened metabolism, after she's shown being super-skinny and needing to suck up lipids to survive, like a "fat vampire" as Chloe puts it.
David: FLAB THE IMPALER! (with thanks to Tim Walker, from the Peanut Gallery of My Condo)
Chris: Well done. Anyway, there's not enough food in Jodi's house to keep her going, so on a dark and stormy night, she runs out for the delicious taste of Church's Chicken, presumably because Popeye's didn't want to pay for the product placement. And as we all know, greasy fried chicken and wet roads don't mix well, and she ends up plowing into a deer. Or at least, a hilariously bad CGI representation of a deer.
David: And I mean, deer's a decent replacement for fried chicken when you've ruined your car, right? I'd say that I'd love to have seen her at the actual chicken joint, except that we do get to see her with fast food, and it's basically an embarassment to entertainment.
Chris: Yeah, that's the thing: If you're looking for high fat content, I'm pretty sure that a six-piece from Church's beats out a live deer. But that doesn't stop Jodi from getting out of her car to finish it off, which is when we find out that she has gained hte super-power of... A GIGANTIC MOUTH.
David: I honestly could not stop laughing at this scene. I mean, the matter to make her mouth expand comes out of nowhere, and she just eats this huge deer to the bone. It's hilarious, straight-up B-movie horror stuff.
Chris: Having tasted the flesh of the living, Jodi goes to school the next day and decides to awkwardly seduce Dustin into fumbling with the zipper on her jeans in the boiler room while she tells him how bad she felt when he made fun of her, and then she attempts to eat him alive while Clark watches with his X-Ray vision. I am not kidding.
David: And people wonder where the characterization from Superman Returns came from, seriously.
Chris: Yeah, there are long, uncomfortable scenes of Clark using his telescope to watch Lana make out with Whitney from his barn, and then getting really angry and flustered when someone walks in on him.
David: That was a great line: "Don't you ever knock?" "...it's a barn, Clark."
Chris: Fortunately, nosiness comes in handy, as Chloe is able to dig up documents proving that it was Jodi who hit the deer -- which I have to think was the most specific Freedom of Information Act request of all time -- and combined with the fact that she's been shoving cafeteria food in her face like Jughead on PCP, she becomes their most likely suspect.
David: Well, it's Smallville High, where being a sixteen-year-old with any curiosity whatsoever makes you a better journalist than people with decades of life experience, because, for some reason, people think all of this is related to environmental damage due to industry rather than the gigantic... but I've harped on this. Either way, Chloe is very eager to appoint herself judge, jury and journalistic executioner.
Chris: Things come to a head on the night of Lana's birthday party, as Clark and Chloe realize that Pete's date will end up with him getting the life sucked out of him, and you can go ahead and make your own Sam Jones Sex Tape joke there, because it's just too easy for me.
David: The fact that Jodi's mouth literally expands multiple inches doesn't exactly dissuade me from coming up with immature dirty jokes.
Chris: That's not the only thing that exp-- OKAY NOW YOU'VE GOT ME DOING IT.
David: Look, we're not responsible for our actions while under the influence of Smallville.
Chris: It's probably best to move on. Jodi attempts to suck -- Jodi attempts to CONSUME Pete, but is interrupted by Clark, who decides that it would be an awesome idea to fight in her greenhouse, which is full of Green K and lit only by blacklights.
David: Look: this is three greenhouses in the middle of the midwest. How has this not been shut down by the cops already? Because I swear to God, when I think of three greenhouses in Bumcouple America, I think of a dope grow-up.
Chris: Surely there was an episode about Kryptonite-enhanced drugs, right? I mean, there had to be.
David: If so, I'm left with a bevy of questions: do you smoke kryptonite or snort it? Do you have to inject it? I remember when Lex Luthor injected kryptonite venom. It had a side effect of terrible stories.
Chris: If radioactive carrots caused this much trouble, I don't even want to think about what Kryptopiates could do. Anyway, Jodi's about to beat Clark to death with a shovel...
Chris: ...but then she manages to see a perfect reflection of herself in shards of glass through the magic of CGI, and gets sad.
David: I don't even know how to make fun of this anymore, because she actually looked at her own reflection and realized what a monster she was, which is the kind of ending I'd give this episode if I were trying to make fun of it. At least she'd stopped drinking the bizarre Secret of the Ooze that she was mixing in a blender earlier.
Chris: Then they take her to the hospital, the end. And I have so many questions about this. Is this what happens to all the first-season Meteor Freaks? Do they just go to the hospital, the end? How does the hospital treat people who ingest magic radioactive veggie smoothies?
David: "So, what was going on, kids?" "Oh, she just ate some meteor rock syrup that made her eat a deer and also Dermott from Venture Bros. She's cool now, and very sorry. Can you make her not eat people, and I guess be fat again? Love, Worst Superboy Ever."
David: The level of self-awareness it gave me regarding my threshold of pain.
Chris: Amy Adams was decent enough. I actually liked that her "seduction" of Dustin came off as awkward, like she was actually a girl trying to act sexy who didn't know how. And again, Michael Rosenbaum was great as Lex Luthor, the best and most likeable character on this stupid show.
David: Actually, you know what? I really enjoyed Annette O'Toole in the awkward scene where Clark was trying to ask Lana to her own birthday party to "fend off the fans." The winces and the smiles and the questioning glances were dead-on, and that was a good job on her part.
David: She faced away from him the entire time, and it allowed her to express the fact that what he was proposing was the dorkiest, lamest thing ever, to take a girl to her own birthday party when she has a boyfriend already who isn't there.
Chris: Which he then completely fails to do, because of course he does.
David: Look, preventing a Kryptoponic apocalypse is a hard job.
Chris: At least he has a decent excuse this time, but again, we see Lex being a solid bro and telling Lana what a good guy he is. Which is completely insane that this is a show that wanted to have Lex Luthor be the cool dude who lets you party at his mansion and gets your friends summer jobs, while also wanting him to turn into the Most Evil Man In The World by, like, Season 4.
David: Once again, all this show makes me think of is how rad it'd be if Clark hadn't been the worst friend ever and let this multimillionaire with nearly infinite resources in on his secret. Like, a Clark/Lex bro team would be unstoppable. But it doesn't feel tragic at all, it just feels like Clark is an emotionally distant dunce.
Chris: Exactly. They're trying to set up a tragic fall, but it's just that Clark's a jerk. So, uh... those are our high points?
David: I hear The Fighter's pretty good!
David: Everyone who thought that Amy Adams being cast as Lois Lane would make a good episode to watch. You are low points -- all of you, individually, and collectively. Also, super-stalker Clark Kent continues to bug the hell out of me. It's a godawful characterization of a character known for being a moral paragon. it doesn't come across as a rare moment of humanization, it comes off as "wow, Superman is a creepy stalker."
Chris: This episode was trying so hard to be one of those shows where Teen Problems are done as metaphors that can actually be really entertaining, but instead it's a complete failure. It was somewhere between the episode of Buffy where Willow gets addicted to magic and stumbles around like she's actually on heroin, and that episode of Saved By The Bell with Jessie on caffeine pills, only not as funny
David: I haven't seen either of those, but I'll take your word for it - "On a VERY SPECIAL EPISODE of SMALLVILLE..." it just needed to be part of the TGIF rotation. I guess that's what they were aiming with this season, since I think it was an inaugural WB show.
Chris: It was the most ludicrous, exploitative attempt at Supermanning up eating disorders, with utterly bizarre consequences. Even that After School special where Helen Hunt did Angel Dust and then immediately jumped out a window was handled with more sensitivity than this. Also, can we talk about Kryptonite for a minute?
David: Please! Let's! Because it's still just "meteor rock" this season, as far as I can tell. Studied by "Dr. Hamilton," who turns out not being Emil, much to my disappointment since I was hoping for another Jimmy Olsen situation.
Chris: The "Meteor Rock" in these early episodes is just ridiculous. I mean, I'm fully aware that they wanted a springboard for multiple plots, and that's fine, but the crazy "oh it does anything and it's everywhere and it also hurts Clark but also gives people super-powers completely at random" logic of it is sloppy as all hell. Presumably more people than just Jodi ate the vegetables the Melvilles were growing. We see them buying some in the opening shot. So why doesn't everyone get powers? Why does Jodi get powers that apply to her speciic situation? Is that the deal? Is it PSYCHIC METEOR ROCK that gives you super-powers based on what you're thinking about if you eat a carrot it was next to?
David: I think it's psychic meteor rock that makes you think about a cheap plot device more than any writer involved.
Chris: Again, going back to Buffy, the Hellmouth in those early seasons was the same sort of plot Macguffin as the meteors in Smallville, but at least there it follows a certain logic where it makes sense that in a place shaped by magic, a girl who got ignored would turn invisible, or whatever.
David: Well, magic allows a certain space for creativity based on symbolism that the science that supposedly fuels the Superman mythos doesn't. I guess this just didn't let this fact stop them.
Chris: It's just lazy. Kryptonite: It's everywhere and does everything.
David: Deus Ex Kryptonite.
David: I'm infinitely glad we only have one more retro episode to go before this show's finale on my birthday.
Chris: That's right! You're getting the greatest present of all: No more Smallville.
David: At least until we're complaining about lighting effects on Adrianne Palicki's pants in a few months.
Chris: I'll take Wonder Woman delivering seven-minute David E. Kelley speeches about the nature of the legal system over this stuff any day of the week.
David: And so we will.
Chris: So, next week... Season 9 Finale, just to get us back up to speed?
David: Honestly, basically every commenter ever has told us that finales are an awful idea to watch. I really don't think we'd enjoy another finale after the disaster that was the dumbass Doomsday episode. Tomorrow is our final nostalgia slot, and I'm still down for some Senor Jeph Loeb.
Chris: You say that as though watching Smallville itself wasn't an awful idea. But sure, we can hit some Red Kryptonite.
David: Ha, yeah, I think I owe you an apology forever for this.