Lois & Clark & Chris & Ronnie: “Season’s Greedings”/”Metallo”

Chris: Hey there cats and kittens, and welcome to another installment of Lois and Clark and Chris and Ronnie, 2022’s fourth most popular website for tracking the overlapping of the casts of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Seinfeld. I think I can speak for both Ronnie and myself when I say that we don’t know why you keep coming around, but we’re glad you’re here. After two less than stellar episodes last time, we’re gonna see if Lois and Clark can bounce back with the help of a couple of classic super villains, namely Toyman and Metallo. The episodes also include Christmas, the Jeffersons reunion every Superman fan was clamoring for in the 90’s, the return of Lucy Lane, and Denise Richards. We’ve obviously got a lot to talk about, so let’s get down to it.

Remember last season’s “Pheromone My Lovely”? The one where Morgan Fairchild sprayed the Daily Planet staff with a love potion that compelled them to behave like assholes and was generally considered to be the series low point as well as a low point in the lives of anyone who saw it? Well, the L&C must have figured there was nowhere to go but up with the “gas that makes people lose their inhibitions” plot because they tried it again with “Seasons Greedings” and fuck me if they weren’t right because the result is one of the better episodes they’ve done. I know, and it gets weirder too. Sherman Hemsley, best known for playing George Jefferson in The Jeffersons, is Winslow Schott; a bitter, recently unemployed toy designer who channels his anger at Metropolis via a toy rat that sprays a chemical that turns everyone in its range into a greedy, childish monster.  He’s angry because the kinder, cuddlier toys that he loved making have gone out of fashion so he instead produces a toy that brings out everyone’s inner shitty kid, which is what he thinks Christmas does anyway.


I bet they never thought they’d be reunited behind a standee of an atomic rat.

So, yeah, we’re back to the people aren’t acting like themselves plot, but this time they’re acting like rotten kids instead of horny teens. The results are night and day. First, and most importantly, it’s not actually fun watching Terri Hatcher and Dean Cain behave like selfish children. They whine and pout and say mean things to each other and play nasty tricks on people. I particularly liked Clark using his super breath to win an M&M eating contest with Jimmy and breaking one of Lois’s heels with his heat vision. It has a goofy wholesome vibe that never makes me think about Lois trying desperately to pleasure Clark against his will. And it’s consistent with the general Christmas theme of the episode. Making a story about how Christmas has become too commercial is as beloved an institution as, well, Christmas. The whole episode is good natured and charming and written by… Dean Cain? That can’t be right. Okay, well, I’m actually getting confirmation that yes, Dean Cain wrote one of the warmest, nicest episodes of L&C so far. I told you shit would get weird.

Ronnie: If you’re a group of children, and a strange man asks you to come over here to look at a toy, kindly refuse, especially if he counters the “are you a weirdo” question with “i’m a toymaker”. That way you won’t get doused with the juices of the Atomic Space Rat, ever a shitty prop designed by the department of same name, which creates greed in children. Like, I dunno. From experience I don’t think you need to spray children with anything to make them greedy and selfish. The first instance of this is a fat kid going from saying “leave Danielle alone” so she can finish a snowman to taking all the snowman’s accouterments from himself and stoking a bullying incident that requires Superman to intervene. We all know what happened to Nick Stahl in Bully and in real life, so maybe Superman’s presence isn’t so ridiculous after all. In any event, I think Toyman widely overestimates the popularity of something called the Atomic Space Rat. Why not smuggle in the greediness formula in something cute as opposed to grotesque vermin associated with the plague?


Sign of the times: I saw it was $14.99 and thought “god, that’s cheap”

Toyman, like all of Superman’s rogues, has a storied history. He’s gone through numerous incarnations, from a guy who used toys to commit crimes to a child killer to a child molester to a literal toy-man in Superman: The Animated Series. He’s definitely best when not taken too seriously, because alternatively he’s killing Cat Grant’s son and being very edgy and 90s. (Comics 90s, not 90s 90s, which has different connotations.) Lois & Clark’s Toyman is about at the right pitch; he’s a bitter asshole who feels neglected by the very people he devoted his life to entertaining. He’s petulant and childish himself. There’s no child murdering or molesting in sight. My favorite scene of his is when he goes up to some longshoremen who he clocks as being alone on Christmas, and “if you’re very lucky, smashed out of your mind on the cheapest alcohol known to man”. The lighter take befits Sherman Helmsley who, wouldn’t you know it, is a pretty fine comedic actor. Bringing in these sitcom vets almost feels like using ringers, but I’m not complaining.


A Ma and Pa Kent reaction shot is worth a thousand words.

Chris: I dunno, I think the fact that the Atomic Space Rat is fucking gross kind of underlines how greed is an impulse that transcends logic or aesthetic. Like, if it was a cuddly teddy bear you’d be more sympathetic to the kids for wanting it and dislike Schott more for tricking them. As it is, it’s like yeah, that’s how people work, it doesn’t matter how loathsome the thing is, if you tell them it’s valuable, they’ll tear each other to shreds for it. I don’t know if that’s the literal intent of the show mind you, that’s just what I took from it. Anyway, Isabel Sanford plays Ms. Duffy, Mr Schott’s one time secretary and current accomplice. The casting of Sanford is notable and curious because she too is best known for The Jeffersons, where she played George’s long suffering wife Weezie. Why did Lois & Clark decide to reunite the famous couple for this, or any, episode? I sure as shit don’t know, but they’re obviously great together and I’m sure there were lots of people who were thrilled to see them side by side again.

It’s another weird parallel to “Pheromone” too, as that episode centered around Morgan Fairchild, who was, like Hemsley and Sanford, something of a 70s and 80s TV icon. But while her love story was cruel (she get’s used and thrown away by Luthor), “Seasons Greedings’’ is sweet. Schott finds love with Ms. Duffy, gives up his evil ways, and saves a poor orphan girl from being run over, prompting her to speak for the first time in years. Also Dick Van Patten runs the orphanage, which doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but still bears mentioning. Does Schott even end up going to jail? It’s as if Cain was personally offended by “Pheromone” and deliberately set out to do a better job of a similar premise, it even has a mirrored plotline for Jimmy. Remember how Jimmy got sprayed with the potion and made a fool of himself in front of a lingerie model? Because there was a lingerie show at the Planet for some reason? She ended up blowing him off like any right thinking person would but was nice about it. That counts as “scoring” to Jimmy though, so. Anyway, this week has a similar plot with Jimmy flirting with, then alienating 90s it-girl Denise Richards with his childish antics. But at the end of this episode, Lois explains the situation to Richards and, in possibly the least plausible moment in the show so far, talks her into going out with Jimmy. Truly a Christmas miracle.


Silly costumes…come on, people, let’s get real.

Ronnie: I definitely get the sense that this was the year’s “blow off” episode, in that the stakes are lower than usual and the plot is designed to get the players to do comedy, something they aren’t necessarily doing week to week. A stretch of the acting muscles to be sure. You’ll see this happen in a lot of shows; I’m thinking specifically of Smallville when Lionel Luthor and Clark switched bodies so you got to see John Glover and Tom Welling do impressions of each other. The same whimsy infects “Seasons Greedings”. Whatever, it’s the holiday, who gives a shit, let’s have Lane Smith do the twist and whine to his wife that he wants to go to Graceland.

Can I say “Season’s Greedings” gave me newfound respect for Dean Cain? Because it did. This episode is downright charming, and to think it (allegedly at least) came from the mind of a co-star in God’s Not Dead: Dead Again is astounding. Maybe there’s more to Dean Cain than meets the eye; maybe he’s not just a hatemongering huckster who preys on idiots who childishly hold onto hope that Bigfoot exists. My favorite scene in the show is when Ma and Pa improbably visit the newsroom to drop off presents–remember, they live in a different state–and Ma threatens to spank Clark for using his powers on Lois. There’s absolutely no need for them to be there yet their presence is always welcome. They are a sounding board for when Clark has to deal with a problem.

I wondered if Dean Cain’s humanist streak extended to his other writing credit and…it’s a Season 3 episode about Lex’s bastard son trapping the duo in virtual reality for some reason. So maybe like most of us Dean Cain was enchanted/terrified by the prospect of VR. Who knows? Oh well. Can’t win ‘em all.

Odds & Ends
-Lois: Where’s Clark? Superman: Oh, uh, those old ladies are going over him pretty hard. Superman’s willingness to sell his alter ego out never gets old.
-A runner in this episode is that Lois lacks the enthusiasm for the holiday season that Clark does. It soon becomes apparent that this is because she is a rootless cosmopolitan. She phones her sister only to find out she’s in Venice…California, and when calling her father (sports medicine doctor!) she has to specify which daughter.

Chris: Here’s a thing about me, I like the name Johnny. I just do. If you have a character in your story who’s a rascal of some kind or another named Johnny, and then you have people say the name Johnny a whole bunch, I’m at least twenty percent more likely to enjoy said story. I can’t help it, it makes me laugh every time someone says where’s Johnny, oh my God, I think that’s Johnny, look out for Johnny, etc. It’s a hilarious name and I’m always happy to hear it. Anyway, Metallo is a Superman villain, he’s a robot (or cyborg, whatever) with a human brain and kryptonite heart. The brain belonged to a guy named John Corben and he was a shit as a person and then he was a shit as a robot, you can see where this is going. In Lois & Clark John Corbin, or Johnny, is introduced as the ne’er-do-well boyfriend of Lucy Lane, Lois’s kid sister last seen in “Neverending Battle”, the third episode of the first season. Apparently she’d moved away and decided to return to finish school. While she was gone she must have hit the Jimmy-Olsen-Clinic-for-Radical-Reconstructive-Surgery because she’s played by Roxana Hall instead of Elizabeth Barondes.


He’s a douchier Anthony Michael Hall!

Lucy’s working as a waitress while she’s studying and Lois and Clark are grabbing a meal where she works and catching up when Johnny (Scott Valentine, who looks enough like Sylverster Stallone to have played a recurring character on Family Ties who’s whole deal was he looked like Rambo) pops up and asks her for money. Lois immediately deduces that Johnny is a dirtbag and we see that she’s correct when he’s fatally wounded later that day in a botched robbery. But that’s not the end because Johnny’s accomplice sells his body (well, I guess his brain and skin?) to a couple of bother slash mad scientists who promptly plop that brain (and skin?) into (onto?) a robot skellington and a supervillain is born. Johnny immediately goes out looking for kicks, immediately comes across Superman and just bodies him right in front of God, Lois and Jimmy. It’s pretty funny. So now Johnny is feeling pretty good about himself, kicking Superman’s ass has confirmed that he’s the new swinging dick in town. And Clark is freaked out, remember, he thinks he just got beat down by his work friend’s sister’s boyfriend, he has no idea that Johnny is rocking a metal endoskeleton powered by a kryptonite battery.

“Metallo” manages to hit the same goofyass sweet spot “Seasons Greedings” found the week before. It’s not quite as charming because it doesn’t have the holiday theme or the sitcom professionalism of Hemsley and Sanford, but it still works. For one thing, Valentine makes for a pretty good Metallo. He’s dumb and beefy enough to seem like a low rent hood, but doe eyed and sweet looking enough that you could see how his bullshit might work on Lucy. He really does look like Stallone if his face hadn’t been smooshed at birth and he hadn’t pumped his body full of steroids (and whatever else) for a few decades. And the scientist brothers, played by John Rubinstein and Christian Clemenson have great, bickery chemistry. Clemenson especially is always nice to see, he’s one of those guys who just shows up places, but for me his most notable credits are playing Socrates Poole on the late, great Adventures of Brisco County Jr, Abel Koontz on Veronica Mars and looking vaguely like David Hyde Pierce.


You get shot and next thing you know you wake up with a metal chest. Seen it a million times.

Ronnie: Metallo is one of the few Superman rogues who Superman has trouble with but could easily be dispatched by the likes of Hawkman or Plasrtic Man. That’s because of Metallo’s chief gimmick: his Kryptonite heart. He stands in the line of Superman baddies who persist not because of personality or capacity for memorable stories (you can name top 5 Joker stories, you’d be hard pressed to name one Metallo yarn) but because his power weakens Superman enough to make stories interesting. Throw him on the pile with Parasite. Lois & Clark reimagines John Corben as “Johnny Corben”, who’s basically Andrew Dice Clay in The Adventures of Ford Fairline without the grace and humor. He’s the kind of loser who passive-aggressively badgers his girlfriend for her tip money and is always scheming for the next big thing. I hate him.

Fortunately for me, he becomes a monster-man pretty quickly. He gets shot so his buddy takes him in to become a cyborg. One annoying thing is this first scene has robot sound effects go off with each movement Corben makes, as if we’ll forget he’s a cyborg anytime soon. Yet the show DOES forget to include these sound effects throughout the rest of the episode. Consistency is for the birds. I like how Corben’s first action as Metallo is to harass a woman. It’s in service of holding up a gas station, but the harassment is important. Metallo doesn’t have a real consistent personality throughout the comics and various adaptations, so meathead potential date rapist is just as valid as any other interpretation. The best villains are a window into the hero’s soul, and I cannot think of a better opposite force to Superman than Dice.


The scene where they interview one of the scientists’ ex-wives, who is now a hot dog vendor, is certainly a choice.

I think the episode works because there’s incredibly low stakes. All Metallo wants to do is beat Superman and hang out with his girlfriend, I guess. The priorities don’t change despite a massive increase in powr. He gets a horrific exit, especially if this Metallo doesn’t reappear in the series. Superman melts the lower half of his body, which is the cyborg equivalent of being crippled, and then one of the scientists yoinks his Kryptonite heart, causing his motor skills to hang on a word indefinitely. He’s functionally dead. Lois at first opposes Jimmy taking photos of a half-melted robot who once went out with her sister but relents as part of a useless subplot about Jimmy wanting a raise so he won’t be turned homeless. Again: horrific. I wonder what’s going to happen to Metallo. Is the city going to have to chip him out of there?

Chris: I think that’s the end for Metallo, or at least Scott Valentine, as he’s only listed as making one appearance on IMDB. And I think that’s good because his death is good and memorable and also because Superman has him pretty well figured out by the end of the episode. Once he realizes that Johnny was powered by a kryptonite heart, all Superman had to do was keep his distance and use his other powers to wear him down until he could, well, cripple him. Metallo is a good one off villain for a show like Lois & Clark because Clark isn’t as used to a universe where anything and everything is possible so he could easily be confused and freaked out by a seemingly normal Joe successfully fucking him up. The Superman in the comics or a Cinematic Universe movie lives in a world filled with all kinds of crazy menaces that look and sound like normal people but actually aren’t. But L&C exists in a world where the number of truly dangerous foes is low enough that he could be surprised by one and kryptonite has been scarce enough that it’s not something he would automatically think of as the source of his problem.


Perry’s look of confused contempt at Jimmy is, I believe, a surrogate for the audience.

Speaking of kryptonite, “Metallo” is also one of the few shows to work in references to a few of the other off screen threats that have appeared in previous episodes. There’s a shout out to Intergang and a couple mentions of Lex Luthor, both in terms of his company’s impact on the city and Lois’s personal relationship with him. It’s the kind of easy to fit in detail stuff that makes the show seem more cohesive and I wish they’d do it more often. Like when Lucy points out to Lois that they both have lousy taste in men, it not only is a character moment that bonds the sisters, it also creates that moment out of the actual history of the show. Like I said, I wish they’d do it more often. Anyway, yeah, you’re right on the money with your assessment of the stakes as low. I mean, like the episode with the gangsters, you kind of have to overlook the fact that whatever technology the scientists have developed to kickstart the plot are far more significant than anything that actually happens within the plot itself, but that’s just comics. Still, it’s never not funny that these guys consistently develop technology that would make them billions honestly but instead they use it to empower mulletted mooks to punch out ATMs or whatever.


He kinda looks like the “you double dipped the chip” guy from “The Implant” episode of Seinfeld…that also starred TERI HATCHER.

Ronnie: This show marks Lucy Lane’s triumphant return, played by a new actress (Roxana Zal, the youngest Primetime Emmy Award winner in recorded history), and I’m not sure why they bothered. I guess the writers sought a personal connection between Metallo and the Daily Planet gang, but they may as well not have bothered, as Lucy does little to transcend the stereotype of the flighty young sister with bad taste in men. I kept expecting her to do something to impact the plot but no, she’s basically window dressing. Her presence doesn’t illuminate Lois’ character or anything. She never appears again so this isn’t a building block to anything else. I should note her role in the comics, besides being the Goofus to Lois’ Gallant, is to be the love interest to Jimmy Olsen. Easy to see why that didn’t happen here; Jimmy is a child.

Despite my complaints I found this to be a pretty good episode. Metallo was faithful enough to the source material and it’s one of those characters you can do on a budget, and the scientist brothers’ bickering is legitimately funny at times. This season seems to be intent on throwing different problems at Superman and asking him to solve them; in this case it’s what to do when an enemy has Kryptonite on him. The solution is to fight from a distance using breath powers and heat vision and such. That’s why I think you’re right that Metallo deserves to be a one and done, because it’s treading the same ground unless the writers were to give him a modified or new gimmick. Unlike comics, television isn’t asked to run for decades upon decades in multiple publications so Superman doesn’t necessarily have to develop a rogues gallery, although one would be nice. In any event, Metallo is too one dimensional to make the cut. Toyman maybe, but Metallo? Nah.

I hope you enjoyed yourselves but it’s time for us to close this one out. Next on the docket are some episodes that are slightly less enticing than the debuts of Toyman and Metallo; one is set in Chinatown, so we’ll get to see how racially and culturally sensitive a mid 90s ABC show can be, and another is Superman going blind. Whether it’s part of a nefarious scheme or because he masturbated too much, I guess we’ll find out.

Odds & Ends
-Clark regards his beeper with the same level of comprehension as a gorilla holding a Rubik’s Cube.
-Clark tries his tight five for Letterman. “What do they call a guy who’s happy with his job? A ‘gruntled’ employee?”
-”We’re scientists. We don’t know anyone on the street.”
-Clark tries all the combinations of the numbers to crack a password.
-I don’t for a second believe Corben knows the word “chassis”, much less how to pronounce it.
-In 1987 Scott Valentine was in a movie called My Demon Lover, a movie that IMDB describes as being about “A homeless street musician (who) becomes a demon when sexually arroused.” Who wouldn’t want to watch that?


Leave a Reply


Next ArticleDeliver The Profile Gimme Morbius Episode 1: Morbius