The Incredible Hulk: Brain Child (1979) – Marvel SUPERHERO TV SHOW REVIEW


By Geno McGahee

It is a rare occasion when David Banner (Bill Bixby) needs help. Sure, he could use a cure for turning into that green wrecking machine, but he rarely is the guy getting help. You could argue that people give him jobs and that’s helping, but ninety percent of the fucking time he’s doing the shittiest work there is. For a guy that has gone through medical school and earned his reputation as a wonderful doctor, it has to be tough for Banner to clean shitters or take out the trash. That’s beneath him! So, no, they are not doing him any favors.

In the 1979 episode “BRAIN CHILD,” we see Joleen (Robin Dearden), a gifted sixteen year old that is being held captive at an institute. We are introduced to her as she is figuring out a problem on the blackboard as Dr. Bruno (Henry Rowland) notes that it would have taken him hours or days to figure it out. This left me confused. I’m not sure if Joleen is that smart or if Bruno is just a complete idiot. I know he’s a doctor, but the guy looked like a total fucking idiot. I’m guessing, and take this for what it is…just a guess, that he sucked his way to his doctor gig. It’s not who you know. It’s who you blow.


In her room, Joleen has this computer named “Max” that she has made and has even given a personality too. Since she has no friends, she has created one, but it was pretty unrealistic. Aren’t we just getting this artificial intelligence technology and isn’t it still not really there yet? How the hell did Joleen make a better one in 1979…and she even taught it how to love. WHAT?! I’m sorry. I don’t buy it, but we need to believe that a guy turns into a green muscle man that roars all the time. So, I guess we can buy this too. In this universe, that AI shit existed in 1979…which was before the Atari 2600…or just about the same time, right? Total bullshit.

Joleen escapes and stumbles upon David working on his broken down car. Before she gets there, Banner is telling his car that it shouldn’t make him angry. Remember, he destroyed another car when he hurt himself changing a tire. These threats cannot be taken lightly. As usual, a hot chick initiates a friendship with David and in return for fixing the car, David will take her to Los Angeles, but she has to stick with him as he does these shitty jobs picking vegetables with this group. Poor Banner. He deserves so much better than this.

Joleen talks to much and angers La Bruja (Madeleine Taylor Holmes), a witch doctor that looked like my grandmother and was just as much of a bitch. Joleen notices that the healing practices of this doctor are lies where she pretends to pull pieces of tumors out of the patient but is really just performing a scam. La Bruja doesn’t like the accusations and has Banner and Joleen detained. Banner is chained to a truck and Joleen is held while La Bruja makes weird faces and shakes bones in front of Joleen’s face. I’d make a weird face if somebody shook a bone in front of my face…especially if it was some dude. Keep it in your pants.


One of the things that I don’t like about the Hulk is that he lets terrible women slide on shit. Get this. La Bruja slapped poor Joleen and then ordered her goons to rough David up and wrap him up in chains and if you know anything about wrapping people up in chains, you know the guy in the black leather mask isn’t that far behind. He would have been cornholed if he was not the Hulk. So, La Bruja here is the problem, but Hulk comes in and kicks the shit out of all the guys and then gently picks up La Bruja and puts her into a tub of water. I’m totally against hitting women unless they look like my grandmother. Hulk should have taken that old bitch and tossed her into a wall like he did to the dudes. Why does she get a pass? Now, Joleen goes with the Hulk and one of the guys dunks La Bruja’s head into the water as everyone else laughs. That was unrealistic. Did Hulk just open their eyes that she was a total bitch by putting her into a tub of water? Just before that, they were willing to kill for her, but now, they all think she’s a joke? That didn’t make much sense at all. Had Hulk killed La Bruja, we could have avoided this entire problem here, but nope. I would have loved to hear “Hulk took La Bruja and threw her into a tub of water and then he held her under until she dropped dead. You go Hulk!”

What I liked about this episode was how David could be honest with Joleen. She knew he was the Hulk and he was able to talk about it. That had to be good. Most of the time, Banner has to keep it all inside with very few people knowing about his secret, but here, he can share. Joleen shares with him that she’s 16, not 18 like she first told him and he immediately began searching for Chris Hansen behind every tree. That’s the last thing he needs. First, he gets fucked out of his career, then his wife dies, then he turns green and rips up his good pants all the time and now he’s a registered sex offender. Thankfully, it didn’t happen.

Unfortunately for David, Mr. Arnold (Joseph Mascolo), a guy that works for the government, I think, and is overseeing Joleen, has reported that she was kidnapped and now David is wanted for it. If it wasn’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all. Mr. Arnold is the prick in this one. They always have that one guy that you want the Hulk to bend over and split like firewood, but sadly, that doesn’t happen here. Mr. Arnold is a rare case of a really big prick not getting the Hulk treatment. That pissed me off.


After a car chase, Banner and Joleen make it to LA and look for her mother. When they get to the first address, some old pervert says “I knew your mama honey” to a 16 year old and then calls her honey again. If I were Banner, I would have taken that old perv, kicked him in the balls, turned into the Hulk, and then kicked him in the balls as the Hulk, making him beg for a David Banner normal kick in the balls. What can I say? I hate perverts.

They finally track down the mother in some rat hole apartment building and for the second time in the show, Joleen gets slapped across the face. Her mother doesn’t want anything to do with her and goes so far as to call herself “simple,” which is another word for slow. Can you say slow anymore? I know there are a lot of groups out there that outlaw words like slow. If I can’t use slow, you can email me and tell me another word that they’re using for slow. I’m all ears.


When the mother storms away, David chases her, but she gets on the bus and is off like a prom dress. Banner pursues but then a cop recognizes him as the kidnapper and shot him in the back. He shot an unarmed man in the back. This was the 1970s though. So, I think it was OK back then. Of course, you don’t shoot Banner without having him Hulk up, which he does. He catches up with the bus and breaks open the doors to get the mother but I also noticed some poor guy in shorty shorts was getting dry humped by another dude. If you’re going to go, go happy I guess, but I would have written a strongly worded letter to the PVTA about the unwanted rub.


Joleen tries to kill herself which brings her mother to her senses and they reunite and start a relationship, but she does return to the facility to continue the study. I found that sort of weird, but I guess living at a facility like that is better than living with her mother in that shithole while she feels sorry for herself all day. Fuck that noise.

BRAIN CHILD is so/so. I liked it. it was watchable, but it wasn’t anything special. There wasn’t much Hulk to speak of but when he showed up, he made it count. Banner didn’t get any romance in this one, but she was 16 anyway. I guess he could have nailed her mother if he wanted to. If you are a die-hard Hulk fan, then watch it. Otherwise, I’d probably pass on this one. There are far better ones out there to check out.


Rating: 5/10