Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spectacular Spider-Man: "Nature Vs. Nurture"

First aired June 14, 2008.

"No,no,no, my yams!  I wonder if Romita's delivers turkey and fixings pizza?"
-Peter Parker

"I'm fine. Well, not fine, but alive. Just glad I started the turkey this morning, before the post-traumatic stress kicked in."
-Gwen Stacy

Peter Parker (Josh Keaton) is getting ready for Thanksgiving.  But it won't be an easy holiday.  His Aunt May (Deborah Strang) is in the hospital, having survived a heart attack. 

At Midtown High School, Peter's friends and acquaintances ask how Aunt May is feeling.  Even football star Flash Thompson (Joshua LeBar), who normally taunts Peter, is sympathetic to him.

Liz Allen (Alanna Ubach) asks Peter if he can help carry Midtown's Mustang mascot balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.  He politely declines, saying he may be taking care of his aunt on Thanksgiving.  Gwen Stacy (Lacey Chabert) offers to accompany Peter to the hospital to visit Aunt May.

Another friend of his, Mary Jane (Vanessa Marshall),  needs to talk to Peter.  His estranged friend Eddie Brock (Ben Diskin) went on a date with her simply to get back at Peter. 

Mary Jane wants a word with Peter.
Eddie holds a grudge against Peter for getting him fired from his job.  Eddie has been taken over by an alien symbiote costume and possesses powers identical to Spider-Man's and calls himself Venom. 

Peter talks to Eddie on the phone, not knowing Eddie has become Venom.
Peter and Gwen visit Aunt May in the hospital.  Her physician Doctor Bromwell (Dorian Harewood) says May is ready to go home.  She says she'll prepare the Thanksgiving feast, but Peter says he's got it covered.

Peter & Gwen visit Aunt May, Dr. Bromwell says she should be out by Thanksgiving.

However, it turns out that Peter is in over his head, he burns the yams and leaves the kitchen looking like a disaster area.  In the middle of this, Venom attacks Peter in his house.

"My yams!"

The symbiote has told Eddie/Venom that Parker and Spider-Man are one and the same.  They brawl outside the Parker house.  It ends when Venom webs Spidey to a fence.  He leaves him there, promising to make him suffer.  Since Venom is a combination of Eddie Brock and the symbiote, it refers to itself as "we".  As he swings away, Venom tells Spider-Man "we know who you are and everyone you care about!"

Spider-Man eventually frees himself and heads to Aunt May's hospital room, (correctly) anticipating that Venom will attack her.  They battle all over New York City.  Venom disappears in the middle of the fight, right after telling Spidey "we know who you love the most".

Venom leaves a "note" for Spidey.
Peter thinks Eddie is talking about Mary Jane.  He heads to the parade site and spots MJ talking to Flash.  Spider-Man realizes Venom is after Gwen. 

Eddie Brock approaches Gwen at the parade.

Spidey goes looking for Gwen (who is marching in the parade and playing sax with the Midtown Band), and eventually finds her tied to a King Kong balloon.  

Spider-Man tries to resuce Gwen, but Venom intervenes.  Spidey tries to reason with his old friend Eddie, asking him to stop fighting and endangering Gwen.  But the Venom symbiote has taken complete control over its host.

Venom pursues Spidey through a sea of balloons!

Venom and Spider-Man go toe-to-toe, turning the Macy's Parade into a battlefield, bouncing off the giant balloons. Mary Jane, Flash chip in too, trying to help rescue Gwen.

The Midtown High Mustang balloon.

Will Gwen be saved?  Can Spider-Man defeat Venom?  Will Peter's lack of culinary skills ruin Thanksgiving?

The crowd gathered for the parade gets ringside seats to a Spider-Brawl!

J.A. Morris says:

I'm a huge fan of Spider-Man, I grew up reading the comics.  And the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of my favorite parts of every Thanksgiving, so I love seeing Spider-Man and Venom crash the parade in this episode!  It's great to see them jumping over giant balloons and chasing each other through the streets and skies of New York City.

When Spider-Man web's Venom's mouth shut, he sprouts another in his stomach.  Eeewww!

Another great thing about this episode is Venom's voice.  Since Venom is made up of both Eddie and the symbiote, his voice is double-tracked, making an inherently creepy villain even creepier! 

Venom hitches a ride on the giant cat balloon.
Spectacular Spider-Man was a great series and one of the coolest things about it was it gave us "a year in the life of Peter Parker/Spider-Man".  We got to celebrate most of the holidays with Peter and his supporting cast.  Superheroes + holidays=greatness!

Gwen & her father Capt. George Stacy see what Peter's "cooking" has done to the kitchen!

We got some of the usual Thanksgiving tropes here:Cooking disasters, obligatory shot of the family around the table,but how many Thanksgiving shows have the a super-villain show up in the middle of cooking the feast?

Gwen, Aunt May & George enjoy some pumpkin pie.
In addition to Thanksgiving and fighting Venom, this episode takes Gwen and Peter's relationship to a new place.

One note about the pull quote at the top:Peter asks if "Romita's delivers turkey and fixings pizza".  That's a reference to John Romita and his son John Romita, Jr., who both drew Spidey's comic book adventures. 

Spidey swings past a lion balloon.

This episode can be found on dvd on The Spectacular Spider-Man:Season One set and you can purchase it as an instant video on Amazon. 

"Nature Vs. Nurture" has become one of my favorite Thanksgiving episodes and is highly recommended.  It's the last episode of this season and it ends on a high note!

Dr. Bromwell joins the Parkers & Stacys for Thanksgiving dinner.

J.A. Morris' rating:
4 pumpkin pies!

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