Adventures of Superman goes to great lengths to show that most of its characters aren’t worth saving in these two frustrating episodes.
“The Golden Vulture” is about a salvage ship’s captain and his obsession with being a pirate. I mean, technically that’s not the plot of the episode, but every time we see the captain, he’s looking, talking, or acting more like a pirate than he was before. And sure, that’s something that very well could happen, even if going to extremes like making someone walk to the plank seems unlikely.
But the writers just can’t help themselves, and they have to take things a step too far, into a direction that no one would ever suggest. I’m talking about naming a character Scurvy – not, as we can tell, nicknaming the character Scurvy, but making that his last name, the same name as his father. That’s like making a show about astronauts and naming a character ‘Gravity.’
2.Jimmy, you fucking goon.
Let’s lay out how this whole episode comes to be: Jimmy is creeping on a beach alone, clad in just his swim trunks, and he sees a message in a bottle. He doesn’t just bring it home, but he brings it to work, like its show and tell. Lois gets involved, because of course she does, and they use Clark’s unannounced Superman powers to determine which ship the stationary came from, despite the message itself being washed off the paper.
So, Lois and Jimmy hop on a mail boat, and come about the Golden Vulture. While there, Jimmy gets passed a second note, which he’s smart enough to not say out loud that he received. That is, until Lois points out a bottle identical to the one he found the message in, and then he practically just goes “duhhhhhh I got a new note on the same paper, and look at dat dere bottle!”
I know he’s supposed to be new to this, but I can’t imagine why he would ever be employed, have friends, or be able to function in the real world when he’s this dumb.
3. Why Clark, instead of Superman
There show never makes it quite clear if Clark thinks of himself as Superman or as Clark most days. A major part of the Superman mythos, as overbearingly explain by David Carradine in Kill Bill Vol. 2, is that Superman is the real guy, and Clark Kent is his mask. But here, it seems like Clark may be the dominant personality, because he is loathe to help anyone as Superman unless it is absolutely dire.
He also does some really weird stuff to blur the line between the two, something that is constantly noted by his less than intelligent coworkers. Like, for instance: he flies to the ship as Superman, but apparently was carrying his suit and hat with him, because as soon as he lands, he’s back into Clark mode. Everyone thinks it is a little weird that Clark is there, but they wouldn’t bat an eye at Superman being there. Similarly, when Clark is made to walk the plank, Superman appears to give less than a shit, which is so impossibly out of character that even Lois and Jimmy notice.
Of course, because Lois and Jimmy are dull, they totally forget their suspicions of Clark being Superman when Clark pulls Lois in the water a s a goof. Because if Superman is one thing on this show, it is absolutely devoid of fun or joy.
I think we really need to define Jimmy’s age/what a boy means in the context of this show. Because “Jimmy Olsen, Boy Editor” is built around the premise of there being a “Boy’s Day” in Metropolis. So there’s a boy mayor on down, and Jimmy is the ‘boy editor’ of the Daily Planet. Now, Jimmy holds down an adult job, he lives with Clark, and seemingly doesn’t go to school anymore.
So, how he is a boy? Did boy mean ‘under 30’ in the parlance of the 1950s? I imagine dozens of 14 year olds with aspirations of a career in the newspaper in mind applying for this ‘Boy’s Day” position, only to lose it to a Planet employee.Continued below
That said, literally any child would’ve done a better job than Jimmy, who manages to publish unverified libel on the front page of the paper, and spends the day with a gun pointed at him.
5. Clark is such a fucking asshole
The entirety of the episode is Clark decided when/if he’ll save Lois and Jimmy from crooks. He has ample opportunity to do so, but basically decides he wants to see how this all plays out. Even when Lois manages to take their machine gun and fires it into the ceiling to empty the cartridge, Clark just laughs and says “oh, that Lois!” These two episodes, more than any other, reveal that the reason Clark doesn’t want his secret identity out there is because he enjoys being a layabout reporter, and hates helping other people, even his friends.