TALKING APES TV: “The Surgeon”

Happy Holidays Ape Fans!

Welcome to the holiday episode of Talking Apes TV! We are the podcast that takes an in-depth look at each episode of the Planet Of The Apes TV series from 1974 to find out why it still stands up after 40 years. This was also the year that kids were asking Santa for the newest toys and games like Twister, Connect 4, and, GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip.

Join Richard and Mark as they say their goodbye to TV’s Dr. Zaius, Booth Colman, in our opinion the best of the Zaius’.

In this episode, “The Surgeon”, which aired 10/25/1974, Alan is shot by a gorilla patrol. Galen and Pete take him to a medical center where we meet Dr. Kyra (Played by Jacqueline Scott who portrayed Zantes in the “Good Seeds”), someone special from Galen’s past.

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One comment

  1. I’m so delighted that it appears new eps are continuing, I’m up to “The Surgeon” podcast now and have been super enjoying them, awesome job, guys!! Though I haven’t always agreed with a few comments on some of the past eps, and I’m only a little ways into this one at the moment, it struck me how much your perspectives differed from mine a couple times over in just the first twenty minutes in, I had to pause to reflect 😉

    As it’s been harped upon recently, continuing the theme through the last few pods, this stood out to me, regarding the inability for the Annies to Get-Their-Guns. I completely agree that yes, realistically, they should always totally go for the gun, keep the gun, use the gun, not dispose of the gun, etc. And I tried to tell myself that theoretically, perhaps they ran out of ammunition and figured it was now worthless and/or dangerous to walk around with it, should they be spotted (as I don’t ever see chimpanzees with weapons, just the gorillas anyway, also with the horseback issue). That they may have lost it in a scuffle, had to use as a bashing implement and it got damaged, what have you. Most of all, as with so many of the frustrating plot points which are half the fun, as you are so invested in the story/characters that it adds a layer where analysis increases your appreciation, that logically we can’t believe they did this or didn’t do that or how could that really happen.. and we are told we must suspend disbelief and we have to tell ourselves that it’s for dramatic purposes or they would have no story to tell. I’m the first one that finds this hard to get over, because I cannot stand any seeming “stupidity” or so obvious deviation of character, it makes you talk back to the screen. None of which at all should be taken as anything less that my abiding love for the show and characters and story, I truly love it.

    That said, I feel there is another note to this particular issue.

    A big part has to be that if they were armed-to-the-teeth, they could probably get out of scrapes far more easily, have a more tranquil journey devoid of many action scenes or clever schemes or developing drama. But as an 80’s kid growing up with these kind of shows in the 70’s/80’s, I have found them to follow my ‘A-Team’ philosophy (of which I am also a huge fan), that me and my brother always referred to as the “toothpick theory”. For instance: no one gets killed on the “A-Team”. Bullets are flying, bodies are flying, cars are flying over cliffs, every episode, rinse and repeat. They have automatic weapons and are highly-skilled, can shoot a cigar out of a mouth or warning shot millimeters around the feet to hold villains at bay. They take (what always seemed to me to be) great pains to hold a scene or go back to it to show the aftermath of said car plunging pell-mell into the canyon, just to show the bad guys miraculously pulling themselves out of the wreckage and crawling away last second before it explodes. Every scene where there is a skirmish is like this, showing zero casualties. That the drama is ratcheted up that we know the bad guys are bad, they claim they want their enemy dead and will stop at nothing, but the good guys not only find a way to corral them in the end, they do it, if not peacefully, then with a sorta non-violent violence. They kill no one, they harm no one terminally or graphically, and they’re soldiers.

    I thought this was more indicative of the era, things not quite being what they were back then, how differently scripted television was and that perhaps also there is a component that scifi or action/adventure shows are regarded as having a partial minor audience. So going after guys with bazookas is R-rated, but it is done with a PG flair. I think this might be a large part as to why the guys may manage to hold on to a knife, but it isn’t used to hold against an ape’s throat, it is used to cut some rope or dig away dirt to find a groove that slides a panel that reveals an ancient artifact that Alan can adore. That it’s not about gun-play and that one of it’s resounding morals, I imagine, is that in their hearts they want to promote peace or make it a better world, show they aren’t as bad as or like the apes, that it doesn’t have to be that way, this is what they are fighting against. And that showing (maybe especially so) the heroes actually shooting back takes away that distinction. Pete, Alan, Galen are better than that. *We* are better than that. There is a *better* way. Our heroes are always better than that – the A-Team, no matter how dire the straits, don’t need your high-falutin’ weapons, they merely need a toothpick and they can do wondrous things (they literally did escape from a trap with just a toothpick), gumption and bubblegum.

    If not a kids’ show, per se, the genre(s) does lend itself to younger minds latching onto these flights of fancy and it appears to be family-oriented. Or just a more innocent time in broadcast television. I think all of that together makes for a hearty meal of why the guys can never freakin’ hold on to a gun, let alone use one. It’s just not about that.

    I also think you’re kinda off on a few aspects regarding the doctors’ flirtatiousness with each other, Kira’s and Galen’s possible breakup, I definitely saw those differently but I digress.

    Now I can go back to the rest of the ep, I cannot wait to hear the next one, Deception, I thought that was a rockin’ episode! I just wanted to say thank you for the amazing commentary and fun 😀

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