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Judy, the Neglected Robinson

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Maureen Robinson had no episodes in which she was the main character around whom the story revolved (although she appeared in many where she was among the central characters in the story). Judy, her eldest daughter, seldom had a major rôle in the action of any episode. There are, nonetheless, a few episodes that could be considered Judy-centric, and a couple more where she receives more screen time than usual.

Marta Kristen has said in an interview that “Attack of the Monster Plants” was her personal favourite because it gave her a chance to act. It is the only episode in the series where the character of Judy is both pivotal to the story and actually appears a fair amount of the time with dialogue.

“Attack” is also interesting because it gives some hints into Judy’s personality (which is why such episodes are so popular among fans). Specifically, when she sharply refuses any salad, subsequent dialogue reveals that her relationship with her mother is sometimes a bit strained. It is not that they actually have particular problems to resolve; rather, it seems to be that Judy is just at an age where she resolutely feels herself to be an adult and resents any action of her mother that seems to treat her as a child.

Hades4

“Visit to Hades” in season two also featured Judy in a central rôle (and behaving in a decidedly un-grown-up way), although in comparison with “Attack of the Monster Plants,” it is clear that Judy was part of only one sub-plot in the episode, and not in the centre of the action dramatically. Judy’s tantrum in Morbus’ lair and her part in the fistfight between Don and Morbus (where she accidentally decks Don when aiming for Morbus) are obviously played for laughs. This is in marked contrast to the tense and dramatic story line around her in “Attack of the Monster Plants.”

In “Castles in Space” Judy is one of the main characters, but she is not central to the story. It is almost as if John or Maureen weren’t around, so Judy and Don had to be the adults in the episode. Despite this, I rather like the episode because even though Judy is peripheral to the action (and the whole Judy-Don romance even more so) I like to think that it at least acknowledged their relationship after its having been more or less ignored for the better part of a season.

“Space Beauty” might also be regarded as centring on Judy, but oddly enough, she doesn’t have much to do till the latter half of the story. There is almost the same feeling as with “Castles in Space;” there was no one else available to fill the required rôle, so use Judy.

Judy received more than usual screen time and dialogue, but is nonetheless peripheral to the plot, in a number of episodes, such as “The Magic Mirror” and “Princess of Space” (where most of her activity seems to be brushing out Penny’s hair). These episodes still reveal something to us about Judy. In “The Magic Mirror,” for example, we see her preoccupation with trying to get Penny to grow up and put aside her tomboy ways. In “Wish upon a Star” and “The Space Croppers” we see references made to her relationship with Don.

Hydroponic Garden

It is worth remembering, though, how Judy was portrayed when she was not a central character. Many people picture her stationed permanently in the background at the hydroponic garden while other cast members are at centre stage, or as part of the group when the family come up from below deck in an emergency. But in a number of scenes (particularly in the first season) we see Judy accompanying her mother on search parties, etc., and, like her mother, going armed. Judy was clearly a responsible, adult member of the crew, and, like her mother, didn’t get the stories we might like to have seen.

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