I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx

Pelvis First Through Any Unfamiliar Door


by Audra Puchalski & Hannah Ensor
Jan. 2, 2012

01

Electra Woman and Dyna Girl might as well be sisters, that’s how close they’ve become.  It’s not just their wrist-boxes that keep them related, close, akin.  No sex, but what if Spider Lady, while disguised as Electra Woman, seduced the real Electra Woman? Who would love whom? And for what qualities?

Knowing Frank’s middle name is tantamount to devotion, to walking on coals or remembering an anniversary, though for Spider Lady it’s an anti-anniversary, it’s every time she went out on a first date and called and called and when the date finally picked up, the date said, I’m not interested.  It’s your declamatory attitudes and the flap of your arms. Dates can be so unfair, they come in with some really firm idea of what they’re looking for (e.g. convex or concave belly) and if you’re not it, not that thing, then you must be an impostor.

Looks aren’t everything: belly, stomach, digestive system, eating, spiders, webs: belly webs.  Where’s the revenge? Under the rope? The rope is all I can think of, electricity buried incontrovertibly under rope-web.  But that does not, on its own, imply revenge.  Reasons for revenge would include:

  • you treated my religious relic like a fancy handbag
  • you knocked me down in the entryway
  • you stole my identity
  • and my Electra Car that’s really a go-cart.

 

Wait, but: who are these people?

So, you know method acting? Electra Woman and Dyna Girl don’t. If you’re looking for believable acting and realistic special effects, get out now. But if you’re looking for a television show that doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a television show, a television show that’s unabashedly artificial because it’s all about artifice, then Electra Woman & Dyna Girl is for you.*

Electra Woman and Dyna Girl are sometime-journalists, sometime-high-tech-superheroes, who fight crime along with the guidance of a fatherly-looking scientist named Frank. Frank mans HQ while the ladies get their hands dirty (but never the yellow of their modest leotards). In this episode, the catalyst for the action is an electra-tricky scheme of the evil Spider Lady. Spider Lady is a cackling, thieving villain with claws and spider webs drawn on her face with eyeliner. She also plays the lute. Unless it's a dulcimer. We can't tell. Tonight’s booty: not only the Golden Spider, the most sacred relic of the remote Baklavians, but also Electra Woman’s very identity. Spider Lady is also a master of disguise. Indeed, through directly confronting what being a master of disguise is, episode 01x07 of Electra Woman & Dyna Girl asks: how do we ever know who anybody really is.

That question is complicated, and the show knows it. Watching Electra Woman & Dyna Girl, you can never ever forget that you are watching a television show, because the acting is stilted and the sets are cheap. You can't help but think about the fact that an actress named Tiffany Bolling is pretending to be Spider Lady, cackling in an elevator and moving her hands around each other. Furthermore, you can't help but think about the fact that actress Deidre Hall is simultaneously pretending to be Lori the journalist pretending to be Electra Woman, and pretending to be actress Tiffany Bolling pretending to be Spider Lady pretending to be Electra Woman, who is really Lori the journalist played by actress Deidre Hall, though presumably actress Deidre Hall is also thinking about how Spider Lady does not know that Electra Woman is really Lori the journalist played by actress Deidre Hall. It's much more complicated than we even thought.

The only character in the show who doesn’t have a disguise or alter ego is Frank. He’s just Frank! But then we see his skeleton, meaning we see under the surface of Frank, past what makes him recognizable as "Frank," which makes us think maybe "Frank" isn't who Frank really is inside. Because on the inside, Frank is a skeleton. Point is: identity! How does that work? What, more than bones, are we? Electra Woman & Dyna Girl asks and asks. And in the end, we still don’t know, or maybe we decide that what’s important isn’t nailing down someone’s identity or separating it into neat boxes of “false” and “authentic,” or "lute" and "dulcimer"—-no, what’s important is not being evil.

And not being evil means loving your friends, which implies you know little details about them. The sacred, coveted objects in episode 01x07 are both the Golden Spider and Frank’s middle name, which is secret. We never find it out, but when Spider Lady disguised as Electra Woman doesn’t know, then Dyna Girl knows she is an impostor. So I guess what we're saying is identity is less important than not being evil, but also, identity is also less important than knowledge; specifically, knowledge of another human being you love. We think Electra Woman and Dyna Girl love Frank. We think this because of how at the end they nuzzle his head with both their heads. But that’s a spoiler, sorry. It’s just that so many things are more important than identity! Who even cares? Whoever we are, let’s love each other forever, and let’s not be evil.

 

02

Looks aren’t everything, in the words of Electra Woman.  However, Frank’s middle name is everything.  A non-revealing leotard is everything. 

These are her values:

  • electricity
  • womanhood
  • monks in brown robes
  • mannerisms
  • the restraining powers of dry white rope. 

Dry white rope is everything, though at first it may seem limp, laid on top like a blanket, not sticky or tangly or anything—don’t you see it’s a web, can’t you use your imagination?  Imagine it: flowing, feathered locks, pigtails held together (or apart) by the very hair of which they are made.  This must be a metaphor for the Freudian subconscious, or capitalism.  Was that a lute or a dulcimer?  Hammock or deadly web?  What about Spider Lady’s claws?  Are they everything?  Or are they nothing?

It turns out I don’t know nearly enough about spiders, so I feel held hostage by the inaccuracies.  Do spiders eat ladies?  I think not.  But they might bite ladies, and that might hurt and/or be damaging. 

Remember when Frank was a skeleton?  I wonder if that hurt, being seen inside of like that.  Sometimes I want someone to see me, I mean really see me, like my bones and everything.

 

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*To be fair, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl is not “for you,” because you are not its target audience. Electra Woman and Dyna Girl is, more precisely, for children (perhaps female children) of the mid-1970s. If you were a female child in the mid-1970s, then Electra Woman and Dyna Girl was for you, but you should probably grow up and watch CSI or something.

 

Hannah Ensor and Audra Puchalski live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they where they cackle & move their hands around, go to breakfast and get everything they want, discuss potential running shoe acquisitions, and then fall asleep suddenly even though they are not both quitting coffee. They also enjoy watching lizard dramas, like real, live lizards having drama with each other. Audra and Hannah are the co-founders of the journals Yes?Yes. and its subsidiary, The Horse Review.