video Today on the TV tray: Giant carrots and Dr. Smith celery

Lost in Space, “The Great Vegetable Rebellion” (Feb. 28, 1968)

I’m pretty excited that my favorite episode of Lost in Space is on TV tonight. Yeah, I could watch it anytime on Hulu (and so can you, right here), but I prefer watching shows the old-fashioned way on a real TV.

This is one of those “so bad it’s good” episodes. As the story opens, Dr. Smith takes the space pod down to the planet they’re orbiting and cuts some flowers to bring back to the Robot for his birthday. He is startled by a giant carrot who says, “I witnessed your crime!”

Dr. Smith always tries to suck up to the alien of the week, and this time is no exception. He gushes about his adoration of vegetables and then blunders, “You’ll be pleased to know that I eat them regularly, cooked or raw.” Big Carrot, naturally, is incensed, and bellows to his assistant, “Did you hear that, Willoughby?! He eats vegetables! He enjoys eating vegetables!”

“No, no, I don’t enjoy it!” Smith backpedals. (See this amusing scene around the 09:00 mark.)

When the rest of the cast comes down to the planet to look for Dr. Smith, Big Carrot, whose name is Tybo, decides they’d all be much improved as plant life. He successfully turns Dr. Smith into a giant stalk of celery. Penny is well on her way to becoming a trailing arbutus. Tybo’s vision for Will is “a magnificent young sapling — a willow perhaps.” Major West and Professor Robinson he sees at first as “towering oaks,” though he later considers a teakwood tree for Major West’s new form.

But before Tybo can carry out this plan, the Professor Robinson and Major West outsmart him by shutting off the moisture control. Dr Smith is restored to human form, and everyone is rescued from peril as the talking carrot dehydrates.

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