The Incredible Hulk: Half Nelson (1981) – Marvel SUPERHERO TV SHOW REVIEW


By Geno McGahee

With Wrestlemania just behind us, could there be a better time to do a review about a Hulk episode involving pro wrestling? Then again, the 1981 episode “HALF NELSON” isn’t too flattering on the wrestling business and they didn’t seem to know a lot about it outside of the fact that there are occasional midgets. You don’t see midget wrestling that much anymore. I can’t say that it’s a shame. It seemed right up there, or down there, with midget tossing. Remember that? What was that about? Fucking tossing midgets.

In this episode, we have David Banner (Bill Bixby), walking the streets where he hears a ruckus. He walks into the alley and sees two thugs ready to corn hole a midget. As he approaches, one of the thugs takes out a knife and asks “you looking to get involved?” Of course he is. Have you seen a Hulk episode where bad shit is happening and Banner just walks by and says “fuck them”? No. He will always try to help even when he should mind his own business.


The two thugs rob David and that’s when the midget, Buster (Tommy Madden), lays into him, noting that he was just about to beat those two thugs down before David showed up. That’s total bullshit. One of the thugs had him from behind has Buster just kept repeating that “you’re going to be in a world of hurt” and “you’re going to be sorry.” I know it’s background dialogue, but you’d think that they would mix it up a little. He just keeps saying the same two phrases over and over again. When the thugs are gone, Buster notes that he is “commando-trained” and “size means nothing.” That’s not true. Size is everything, right? Or is it not the size of the ship, but the motion of the ocean? Whatever the case, I have heard that little people are hung like horses.

With no money and no place to go, David agrees to stay with Buster for the time being and is invited to a wrestling event where Buster is headlining. WHAT?!!! All you pro wrestling fans out there. Have you ever went to an even where it was headlined by midgets? I’m not saying that you can’t have a good midget match…wait a minute…yes I am. Midgets do not belong in the ring. There. I said it. But back to the point. A midget headlining a wrestling card? I call bullshit.


As Buster takes on some grease ball, we get shots of the crowd having a lot of fun. They are way too enthusiastic, but they were probably getting a free lunch for being an extra. When you get the action in the ring, you realize that they shot the midget match at another time when nobody was in the crowd. Sometimes, they get wider shots and you see the empty arena and Buster playing it up like he has tons of spectators. Hey, he tried. I give him that.

In the audience, Banner is having a great time, laughing hysterically at the action. I don’t think that he has much respect for little people. He may even snap and say “who said that they were people” if you questioned him on it. Now, Banner has been all heart from day one and is the most accepting guy in the world, but everyone has some bias or hatred in their heart and I think we found it here. Banner hates midgets.


The more Buster talks, the more he brags about himself and it gets old fast. Banner was one of the biggest names in the medical field and this little fucking shit is running his mouth like he’s king shit. He even notes that everyone knows him and that he can get whatever he wants, whenever he wants, including the blonde babe, Mitzi (Elaine Joyce). He doesn’t care that she is taken by 65-year-old fake Russian wrestler, Gregor (H.B. Haggerty). Buster just wants to buster a nut and tries to impress the babe with his bullshit, but this bullshit is going to fuck him in the ass.

Apparently, the mob was screwed over for a lot of money by some wrestlers and Mitzi is willing to screw any one of them that is willing to spend the cash on her, including Buster. So, that little shit says that he knows who took the money, is going to have some of the money, and that David is involved too. This gets Mitzi wet and she plants a kiss on Buster as Gregor storms over, ready to stomp a mud hole in both he and poor David. David helped that little shit out and this is the thanks he gets? Ridiculous.


David gets invited to a party by Marsha (Sandy Dryfoos), who is short, but I don’t think she’s an official midget. She has a thing for Buster and has friends that are exclusively little people. At the party, David feels out of place as all these midget faces are at his crotch level. “While you’re down there,” is a comment I can imagine him saying. Why not? There is even a decent looking midget chick there that likes David, but if he’s not willing to screw a full-sized girl because of fear of hulking up while having sex, then a midget is out of the question. You hulk up during intercourse with a little person, you’ll never find the body. It’s not a good idea.

We learn that Buster wanted to be doctor but fell in love with pro wrestling, which puts David into advisor role. He really looks down on pro wrestling and I know he’s a doctor and I know he’s educated, but wrestling can be fun. He was just at a shitty show. If the Junkyard Dog was there, David would have a better respect for the business, but he doesn’t know a thing about it and neither does the writer of the episode. I think they just watched REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT and that was all they needed to know about the game.


The mobsters find out that dickhead midget Buster is involved and so too is David. They find poor Banner and chase him down as some guy with a broom that looks like the grandpa from WILLY WONKA is sweeping the outdoor steps. Is there a connection here? The Oompa Loompa were midgets too, right? Well, as David is dragged into the alley to have his ass handed to him, the grandpa guy took his golden ticket ass into his house and locked the door. David escapes the goons and runs over and that mother fucker would not let him in. Poor Banner is left to deal with the mobsters and it goes as expected. They fuck him up and he Hulks up and then he fucks them up and they run away, but there was a nice change this time. He was still pissed at the Willy Wonka guy and threw a metal fence at him. I wish the Hulk chose to grab him, drag him outside, yank down his pants and give him an everlasting gobstopper and split him like firewood.


Now, whenever the Hulk makes an appearance, Jack McGee (Jack Colvin), will show up and he does, immediately speaking to that asshole from Willy Wonka. When the 10 thousand dollar reward for the capture of the Hulk is noted, McGee starts getting pressure from this asshole to pay up, even though there was no capture. Remarkably, McGee does give him 30 bucks for his cooperation, which is like 100 bucks today. I didn’t like the fact that McGee gave that prick any money. Why are they rewarding bad behavior?

Everything comes down to the big night, where once again, Buster is headlining the event. Before the match goes on, Mitzi shows up and starts getting romantic with the little guy, but things go sour. She calls him a lying little shit, more or less, and exposes him for the fraud he is. Buster calls her a “dumb doxie,” which really offended her. I’ve never heard of the term “doxie” but it probably translates to “cunt.” She flips out, calls him a “shrimp”, and storms out. With her missing, Gregor is on the warpath, looking for Buster and David. He’ll teach them for banging that dumb doxie.


On top of McGee at the stadium, Gregor hunting them down, the mobsters seeking him out, David learns that Buster has implicated him in the stolen mob money. Now this was the point where David should have hulked up and beat the midget to death. It would have been totally justified, but they didn’t go in that direction. He forgave him, but he still had to deal with the bullshit. The first piece of nonsense was McGee, who barges into the locker room. Thinking quickly, David grabs a ski mask and pretends to be a wrestler…an angry wrestler, yelling at McGee and telling him to fuck off. This must have felt good. That fuckhead has been nothing but a pain in the ass for Banner since day one. Screaming at him had to be fantastic.

Gregor sees David in the mask and initially thinks he’s “Deadnot,” but when he realizes that he doesn’t have the right physique, he figures it out and chases David to the ring. An impromptu match begins and David gets the holy hell beat out of him by the faux Russian. McGee panics, realizing that the man behind the mask will turn into the Hulk if he gets too pissed off, but nothing can stop Gregor as he puts the pain on poor David. The Hulk emerges and it was pretty cool-looking to see the Hulk rip through the ski mask. It was almost creepy. He tosses Gregor out of the ring and runs away to the locker room. He beats up the mobsters and runs from the cops…but one of the cops had a clear shot and went to kill the Hulk. McGee hit his hand away and Hulk got free. I wonder if McGee will be arrested for interfering with police business. I also wonder if the mobsters returned and killed Buster. I assume they must have. I can’t imagine their boss telling them to forget the money. They were beat up, sure, but they weren’t killed. They still have a job to do. Buster will be dead in a week.


I really enjoyed HALF NELSON, even though it was rather critical of wrestling and I like wrestling. At one point, when Hulk runs out of the ring, the whole crowd is applauding and only Jack McGee is standing. He should have enjoyed the moment. Just stand there and take it in and then see if you can get any of that wrestling groupie pussy. It has to be better than newspaper reporter groupie pussy, right?

I recommend this episode. It was very entertaining and silly fun.


Rating: 7/10