Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman — “It’s A Small World After All”

As campy as Superman stories can get, Lois & Clark was more about their relationship, so it was a bit of a surprise when they did a shrinking episode.  For those who enjoy speculating about possible celebrity macro/microphilia, note that the idea and half the script-writing credit for this episode go to Teri Hatcher.

The story starts with newly-engaged Lois and Clark heading off to Lois’s high school reunion.  It turns out that in high school Lois and her friends were typical Mean Girls, and one of their victims, Annette, has plotted an elaborate revenge.  Annette has invented a shrinking formula, but rather than shrinking and tormenting her former frenemies, she goes after their significant others so she can enjoy their distress at their loved-one’s disappearances and pretend to comfort them (I’d happily work out my high-school catharsis with a three-inch-tall Teri Hatcher, but you do you, Annette).

Yes, that’s Tom Hanks’s younger brother Jim dressed as Woody the Cowboy.

While waiting for her nigh-offensive Scandahoovian-caricature minion to grab the next two shrinkies, Annette adds incriminating clippings to her scrapbook and endures Woody’s crazy suggestion to simply ransom her tiny abductees.

No dice, Woody; Annette would rather taste her classmates’ pain. You’re already swilling Chardonnay, Annette; lock up the cat and let Woody demonstrate You’ve Got A Friend In You.

Lets check in with Hans the Minion, who is subtly loitering outside the home of Mean Girl Julie and her husband Dick, waiting for the success of their surefire plan of sending mysterious gift bottles of shrink-formula-laden shampoo to their targets. Ain’t they a cute couple? Imagine what might have happened if the formula had kicked in thirty seconds earlier, before Julie left for work!

Not only does Annette keep her shrinkies in a house made of Legos, she forces them to wear degrading doll clothes.  I will forever treasure Elizabeth Anne Smith’s pencil-wielding here.

Because he’s really a Kryptonian, the formula doesn’t immediately affect Clark, and Hans has to grovellingly report this to Annette, who predictably blows her top and physically abuses her submissive minion. Lois continues the investigation into her friends’ missing partners, and Clark finally starts feeling the effects of the formula. Wallowing in second-act insecurity, he withdraws from both Lois and her investigation. Believing herself abandoned, Lois finally traces the missing people to Annette and confronts her.

ABC merged with Disney just before this episode aired, but even before then we were led to believe that boy-scout Clark would never engage in pre-marital hanky-panky, so tiny Clark there might well be getting his first spectacular feel.

Clark’s physician is aware of his Kryptonian heritage, and the data he obtained from examining Clark after being exposed to the shrinking formula allowed him to reverse the effects, so no epilogue interaction between tinies and their partners.  Still, coming on the heels of Gulliver’s Travels that February, “It’s A Small World After All” was one of the few bright spots in the mid-90s until the Honey I Shrunk The Kids series got up and running.

Originally posted:  25 Mar 2016

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