Undine is a henchwoman to the "clown prince of crime", the Joker (Cesar Romero) in the 1960s live action Batman tv series. She was played by actress Sivi Aberg. (b 1944).
Appears in -
Batman (USA 1966 - 8)
Season 3 - Episode 104
Surfs up, Joker's under - First broadcast in the US on the ABC network on the 16th of November 1967.
The story -
This episode is Batman meets the beach party movie, a pretty shoddy, but occasionally fun take on a genre already moribund by the time this episode was broadcast late in 1967.
At the beach at Gotham point, the Joker schemes to become surf champion, a stepping stone to his dream of total power (?). He kidnaps surf ace Skip Parker and uses a device to transfer Skip's surfing capabilities to himself. When the dynamic duo arrive on the scene, the Joker paralyses them with poison needles; then has his gang set them up to be turned into human surf boards. Batman and Robin escape the death trap and Batman goes on to beat the Joker on points in the surfing contest. As their plot unravels, the Joker and his gang flee, but are pursued and routed by Batman, Robin and Bat-girl.
Undine's appearance -
Undine is a beautiful Nordic blonde in her twenties. She has a slight Scandinavian accent. She appears in a white bikini throughout the episode.
Undine's Character and role in the story -
Undine is one of the very criminally minded and ruthless henchwomen in the series. She is an evil version of the type of beach babe who appeared in 60s beach party movies. She plays an active and very willing part in the Joker's evil doing. She helps in the Joker's 2 kidnappings, spies for the crime clown as his undercover agent in the Hang 5 diner at the beach, and is notably enthusiastic when the dynamic duo are paralyzed by deadly darts thrown by the Joker's men and are subsequently prepared to be killed by being turned into human surf boards. It's very apparent Undine enjoys committing crimes, gleefully revelling in the misfortunes of the victims of her gang. Just like the Joker - she is undoubtedly in it for profit, but for fun/ thrills as well.
Undine tries to escape with the rest of the gang when the Joker's plans are thwarted. She takes no part in the fight between Batman, Robin and Bat-girl against the Joker and his henchmen in the Hang 5 diner, simply standing around as it takes place. She is arrested by the police along with the rest of the criminals.
In the entire run of the Batman series, there are only a handful of henchwomen/molls who are as incorrigible and actively wicked as the male villains in the episode. A number change sides unable to take the extent of the villain's fiendish activities ( eg Blaze in the False Face episodes), some begin their reform by falling for Batman's charms, some are little more than passive decoration (mainly there, no doubt, to attract adolescent males and fathers to the show). Basically the series was often rather uncomfortable with female villainy, and more readily portrayed women as victims (Zelda the Great is more of a victim than a real villainess), naive, reformable dupes to a male villain (eg Finella and Susie, respective collaborators with the Penguin and the Joker), eye candy (eg Clock King's Millie Second), or simply comic buffoons ( eg Olga, Queen of Cossacks). When the series created its own female villains, obvious examples being Nora Clavicle and Zelda, it often didn't seem to know what to do with the characters, and the episodes featuring them (especially the Clavicle one!) ended up inconsistent, incoherent messes. Even Juilie Newmar's Catwoman spent a lot of time on mooning over Batman and trying to get him for herself, rather than concentrating on crime ( the character, in an all too familiar fashion, has now become a heroine of a sort in the DC comics, rather than a "pure" villain). All this having been said, at times, almost despite itself, a really bad, died in the wool, largely consistent villainess/henchwoman did appear in the show, with a significant role in the action - Undine comes into this relatively small group.
Undine is in an episode from the dying days of the series. Season 3 gives a general impression that they didn't care much any more, just threw together any old thing to get episodes in the can.Undine's episode Surf's up, Joker's under conforms to this grim pattern. Season 3 as a whole is staggeringly bad compared with the earlier ones, though even by late in season 1 the show had been declining in quality. Surf's up... takes inept pot shots at a genre which was dead in the water by the time it was shown. It makes surfer Batman look risible, not just the sanctimonious, po faced square, which he was in better episodes. The Joker's aims make no sense - how on earth does being a surfing champion lead to the sort of criminal power the clown of crime is aiming at (here then, Joker is indeed a clown, not merely a colorful, very malevolent criminal prankster). The Joker would be wiser to put that brain machine of his on the market, he'd clean up - legitimately.
Every beach party movie required its contingent of beach babes, and in Surf's up.. the main ones are Barbara Gordon (good) and Undine (bad) in obligatory bikinis. Sivi Aberg (Undine), who had already played one of a trio of henchwomen in Batman's famous Liberace episodes, is one of the most beautiful of the Batman molls ( the show displayed an awesome amount of 1960's pulchritude). Being a 60s prime time show, the producers felt obligated to damp down Aberg's fleshy charms by supplementing her bikini with an awkward top, which prevented any sight of some unclothed breast.
Undine is bad right thru. She's not some immature naive dupe, or a girl whose hard shell/commitment to villainy wavers and finally vanishes as the plot progresses. An enthusiastic and active participant in the Joker's activities, not just a criminal motivated by greed, but a thrill seeker too, who gets kicks out of crime - including murder. Undine is a character which presents a woman on a par with irredeemably bad male characters, a concept which, even today, is often shied away from in popular culture. Sadly, the show reverts to form and cops out by not having Undine participate in the final fight of the dynamic trio against the villains - she just awkwardly stands around as it takes place, waiting, it seems, to be arrested - something the Undine we've seen portrayed was unlikely to have done. And, given Barbara Gordon's clearly shown hostility to Undine in the episode, it seems ridiculous that her alter ego, Bat-girl, would have actually resisted taking a pop at the boyfriend kidnapping curvy criminal.