MEDIA MONDAY: WONDER WOMAN SKATEBOARDS!
A little while back, I wrote extensively about Bart Simpson’s role as an icon in skateboarding. I stand by this assertion, as there are truly dozens of young skaters who were first introduced to the concept through The Simpsons. Bart was the cool rebel of the early ‘90s, and many kids followed in his footsteps. Now Bart is still 10 and we’re all in our 20s and 30s and someday we’ll all be dead. Fun! However, I have to admit that there is a pop culture icon that predates Bart not just as a television legend but also as skateboarding. In today’s trip down skateboarding’s pop-culture lane, let’s revisit an episode of Wonder Woman.
These days, you think of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, the Amazonian princess with the magic lasso and the bulletproof bracelets. She’s a badass warrior. Wonder Woman was the first, and arguably only so far, a movie from the DC Universe that was successful both financially and critically. I thought it was good, and in fact, I was enjoying it quite a bit until it turned out that the god damn villain was literally Ares, the Greek god of war. Get that money David Thewlis, but I thought that was silly. I will still watch the sequel, though, and only partially because it’s taking place in the ‘80s which instantly makes it rad.
Back before Wonder Woman got all serious, though, she had her own ‘70s television show. Wonder Woman ran from 1975 through 1979, and it’s a ‘70s network action show through and through. Wonder Woman is campy fun, though it isn’t an outright comedy like the legendary Batman ’66, which is personally my favorite version of the Caped Crusader. It’s not “good” in the traditional sense, but it is enjoyable. Lynda Carter plays Princess Diana aka Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman. Lyle Waggoner, who funnily enough tested for the role of Batman that went to Adam West, is her Steve Trevor. It has a lot of classic procedural elements. There’s a case of the week for Diana to solve. Sometimes they are supernatural in some way only Wonder Woman can stop. Other times she’s just taking on, you know, smugglers or some shit.
To Wonder Woman’s infinite credit, though, the show didn’t take itself too seriously. It was willing to have fun, and that’s what brings us to Wonder Woman skateboarding. Yes, back in the ‘70s, before even Bart Simpson has picked up the board, Wonder Woman, and she was Wonder Woman and not Diana Prince, skated.
It only happened in one episode, which is fittingly titled “Skateboard Wiz.” However, it’s not Wonder Woman who is the titular wiz. The premise of the episode is as follows. Diana is on vacation in California. Naturally, she brought her friends along so that the usual cast of characters can be there, mostly Steve Trevor. Alas, her vacation is hindered when she, naturally, stumbles upon some criminal activity. There’s a mobster who wants to buy up a beach club, and in fact, the entire town, to turn it into a gambler’s paradise. Even worse, an illegal gambling paradise. To make things even more complicated, a teenage girl named Jamie gets involved as well, and of course, Wonder Woman needs to save her and the town. This is where the skateboarding comes in.
A couple of goons kidnap Jamie, who is the titular wiz at skateboarding, leaving only her board behind. Wonder Woman is already in her normal gear, but when she sees the car speeding away with Jamie in it, and when she notices the board on the ground, she gets to spinning. You see, on Wonder, Woman when Diana needs to transform into Wonder Woman she spins in place. When she is already Wonder Woman, she spins and can become Skateboard IconWonder Woman. Namely, she has a helmet and elbow pads on now. It’s time for Wonder Woman to skate.
And she absolutely kills it on the board. She’s chasing down a speeding car and she’s catching up. Somehow her superhero powers extend to skateboarding. Wonder Woman blazes down the street (fortunately for her it’s downhill) and gains on the car, much to the dismay of the goons inside. Eventually, a truck stops the car, and so the goons get out. This gives Wonder Woman the chance to catch up to them easily and toss them into the air. Sure, she tosses them at the same time and one of them lands seconds after the first, physics be damned, but it works. Jamie is saved. In the end, the town is saved.
This is the only episode where Wonder Woman skateboards, but she’s a natural at it. She may be the most-natural skater I’ve ever seen. Does she do tricks? No, but I bet she could. She was just too busy trying to save a teenage girl. Is she supposed to do a kickflip too? Wonder Woman is not only a great skater, but she is also one of the only skaters I know who used her skills to stop crime and a serious one at that. Don’t just take my word for it, though. These are modern times, so I can show you Wonder Woman’s skating skills thanks to YouTube. Way back on November 24, 1978, right around American Thanksgiving, Wonder Woman was probably one of the first people to skateboard on television. I can only dream of having her natural skills. Way to go, Princess Diana. You are truly a legend of skating.
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