Spider-Man: “Maybe this long, sleepless night has put my Spider Sense out of whack.”
Sometimes, I write these opening paragraphs before I watch the actual episode, and from reading the title “The Peril Of Parafino,” I can already tell that I’m not going to like this one. I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or judge a TV show by some of its previous episodes that you’ve already really, really hated, but I’m going to go ahead and say that “Parafino” isn’t very good.
First, I don’t recognize “Parafino” from any of the Spider-Man comics, shows or movies. I will give the writers credit and say that every new character created for this show has been a complete disaster, but “Parafino” sounds exactly like the name that a fortune teller whose wife is cheating on him would have. Don’t ask me how I know this, but if you say “Parafino” a few times, you’ll find yourself feeling instantly less attractive to yourself and everyone around you. Secondly, the word “Peril” is used, which implies that there will be some sort of danger or suspense involved. But this is the 60’s Spider-Man show. We both know that that word is just not true here.
Plot: We start out at a prison, and common logic would dictate that part of this setting is going to explode, leaving a haphazardly-dressed insane person standing in the rubble, threatening vengeance/tyranny/simple violence on the world. Well, this cartoon is so manipulatively predictable that it makes me look foolish, because that doesn’t happen. Instead, we find out that a criminal named “Red Dog” Melvin has escaped. From the first glance, we know that this is the most intimidating villain that Spider-Man ever has, and ever will encounter, because he has a facial scar and is not costumed in a way that makes you consider what a moron he is before you consider the potential destruction he could cause.
Spider-Man swings around the city, looking for “Red Dog,” and from what I’ve learned about NYC from this Spider-Man cartoon, it should be pretty easy to find him. He’s not J. Jonah Jameson or Betty Brant, and he’s not Electro or a cop. That eliminates 95% of the population. Regardless, “Red Dog” is led inside Parafino’s Wax Museum where he is promptly waxed, leaving Parafino to talk about capturing Spider-Man. You know, regular Tuesday shit. Spider-Man blames his ineptitude on being tired and not the every other reason, and checks up on the Daily Bugle. J. Jonah Jameson is angry at Peter Parker for not being at work, and you know what? I’m on his side.
I know that it’s really easy to support Peter, because he’s Spider-Man and every time a dude shaped like a lizard or a scorpion kidnaps some scientist, he’s there to cover them in webs and save the day. But J. Jonah Jameson is running a business and one of his two employees, literally 50% of his goddamn workforce, is never there. Jameson is constantly wondering where Parker is, and while I know that Peter is off getting caught in Dr. Octopus’s traps, he should at least make the effort to clock in, or leave a note with Betty that he’s taking sick/gonna get punched by the Vulture leave for the day. It would definitely help to improve the sanctity of his secret identity, as Jameson could easily figure out that, since Peter Parker isn’t the killer robot threatening to hold NYC hostage for ransom, that he’s Spider-Man. After all, only seven or eight people live in Manhattan anyway.
This theory is supported by the fact that, when Spidey is inevitably captured by Parafino, Betty Brant literally goes door to door to find him, ending up at Parafino’s. Before you could use Foursquare to learn where people had checked in, you just had to hike up your Jehovah’s Witness boots and knock on doors to seek out who kidnapped your only co-worker. From the dialogue that Parafino and Betty have, I guess that Peter said he was going to the wax museum earlier in the episode, but why would he do that if he was already going there as Spider-Man? Is his subconscious trying to get him caught? This is so interesting and so stupid that I can’t tell.
This is Parafino, the villain of the entire thing, brought into the show because he is such a threat that he would provide “peril” for Spider-Man. Just take that in for a second.
Animation Woe: I know that, in order to differentiate it from the sheen of regular human skin, the animators made the wax sculptures twinkle and shine a bit, but wax sculptures don’t really do that. Wax sculptures usually just look like Elvis or John F. Kennedy being slowly suffocated in paste.
Also, at a certain point in the episode, to escape a trap that he was destined for, Spider-Man turns his webbing into a drill that drives a hole into the ceiling. I’m not even questioning the impossibility of it, but if Spider-Man doesn’t next turn his web into a gun to stop criminals immediately after running into them, then he needs to have his “Join The Avengers For A Day” Pass revoked.
“Pew, pew! I’m Spider-Man, and this is my web gun! Pew, pew, you’re all dead. Haha, I’m Spider-Man and bleed! Pew, pew!”
Amazing Spidey Quote: Spider-Man: “Betty, get the police!”
You’re Spider-Man, Peter Parker. Do at least one of your jobs.