Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.



My reactions to the Sci Fi Channel’s “Who Wants to be a Superhero?” episode 3.

It appears that Stan Lee and the producers went out of their way to cast people who were not comic book fans… because no real fanboy would keep making the dumb mistakes these contestants do.

But first! The introduction of The Dark Enforcer! Lumbering foot-falls! Smoke! 80s-era strobe effects! Cool new costume, too. I bet that guy is glad to be done with that stupid cardboard gun. In great comic book tradition the villain is revealed in front of the heroes with great fanfare, and the heroes are shocked, shocked! To find it’s their former teammate, The Iron Enforcer.

Quick word about reality show editing: don’t trust anything you see. In last week’s previews of this episode, we clearly see Ty’Veculus shout, “What treachery is this?!” when The Dark Enforcer takes off his mask. However, in the real episode, he says, “What’s this?” in a noticeably less dramatic fashion. So what gives? No doubt Stan saw the take and said, “Hey, let’s do that again, but this time I want you to say ‘what treachery is this?’ … and really mean it!” So they did it again for effect. Happens all the time. Even the producers of the category leader, Survivor, have admitted to staging events to make for better TV.

And once again, our heroes miss a great opportunity. They keep acting like contestants on a reality show, and not real HEROES. As soon as the lights dimmed, they all should have jumped up, ready for action. I can almost hear Stan saying, “A hero has to be ready to confront evil at a moment’s notice!” But they just sit there until this strange man freely enters the lair. One of them should have shouted, “Heroes, prepare for action!” or something… Stan would love it! Speaking of which, here’s another missed opportunity: they aren’t acting like a team. Sure, they’re being eliminated two at a time, but until only one remains, they should band together. They should come up with a team name, too, and a battle cry! Can you imagine if they had their own version of “Avengers Assemble!” ? Stan Lee would wet his pants.

I so need to be on this show if they do a second season.

So anyway, The Dark Enforcer is introduced. He says a few threatening words, the heroes react, and he leaves. It seems a little odd that the heroes let this new menace just stroll away, especially since he knows their secret hide-out. But it makes sense of you think like a comic book character (or Stan Lee)… The Dark Enforcer hasn’t really done anything yet, so there’s no reason to gang up on him. But again, a missed opportunity… one of the heroes could have said something like, “Dark Enforcer, you were once one of us. Now, you are an enemy. But unlike you, we are able to show compassion. You are free to leave. But cross us or attempt to thwart our efforts at establishing justice… and you will pay the price!”


First challenge: go get takeout? Come on… clearly the challenge wasn’t really about your taste buds, there’s something else going down. Feedback even says, “It seemed so simple, I thought it might be a trap. But there were no cameras inside the restaurant.” What?! You’ve never heard of a hidden camera? Come on, man! Think!

So naturally, most of these dullards fall for the trap and reveal their secret identity to the actor playing the waiter. This is the big problem: it seems like none of these guys have figured out that they are on ALL the time… Stan is always watching. He wants REAL heroes, not actors who chuckle at the whole silly concept of dressing up in tights the moment the camera isn’t on them. ALL THE TIME! These guys have to figure that out sooner or later. Only Feedback really gets into it and says the magic words: “a hero never reveals his secret identity.” Awesome!

Stan calls for an elimination, and Monkey Woman is out. I feel bad for her, because she really busted her ass on the attacked-by-dogs challenge. But, she gave up her real name without even being asked for it, and it comes out that she’s really an actress, not a real estate investor as she originally told Stan. Mr. Lee doesn’t put up with no lyin’ heroes! Turn in your costume!

Sadly, no clever send-off by Stan. I hoped for a, “Monkey Woman, you’ve climbed your last tree.” But alas, no such luck.

Next up, a challenge to test the heroes’ courage. I thought walking across a beam blindfolded was pretty extreme, especially considering that Fat Momma isn’t exactly an athlete. But as soon as I saw that there was no harness or safety lines involved, it was obvious that they weren’t really risking anything. And it should have been obvious to the heroes as well… in this day and age of constant litigation, do you really think a TV show would put you in real risk of bodily harm? Of course not.

But The Dark Enforcer was there to… um, mildly pester the heroes? Blindfold them with their permission? This is the problem with a villain on a show like this… if he’s not actually living with them to instigate inter-lair personality conflicts or to make day-to-day living bothersome for them (“Hey, who didn’t flush! Enforcer!!”) then all he can do is show up for a challenge and hurl insults. Since I’m pretty sure that most challenges won’t be strictly physical in nature, what’s this big oaf to do? He isn’t even very good at acting intimidating, in my opinion.

Everyone makes it across and “saves” the woman (by the way, nice use of sexy twins, Stan). This makes elimination hard… no one failed and was automatically on the chopping block. So Stan makes them each stand up and declare who they think should be booted from the show.

And finally they get it! Or at least, some of them do. In Stan Lee’s universe, the ONLY correct answer can be “If someone has to go, it should be me.” Only Ty’Veculus and Fat Momma actually name someone else, which results -- surprise, surprise -- in them being in line for elimination.

Ty’Veculus is eliminated… and I have to say, for good reason. He was a little high and mighty, saying that Lemuria had “a lot of growing up to do” and shouldn’t be on the show. Strong work, jackass, please turn in your BMX helmet.

After the elimination, Fat Momma gets in everyone’s face and says that they only volunteered to be eliminated because “you know that’s what [Stan Lee] wanted to hear!” Well, no shit. The two geniuses who didn’t say what Stan wanted to hear were up for elimination. This all just plays back into Stan Lee’s desire to find a REAL superhero… someone who is living the hero lifestyle 24 hours a day. The sooner these dumbasses get that, the better off they’ll be.

So, only five heroes left: Lemuria, Major Victory, Fat Momma, Creature and Feedback. Who’s going to take it all? Fat Momma is definitely out… probably next episode. After Ty’Veculus left, she said, “It feels like my spirit is broken.” Stan won’t like to hear shit like that from his heroes, so she’s a short-timer. I think Lemuria is soon to go, too. She’s too quick to let Fat Momma get her riled up, a hero has to be above that sort of thing. And she’s still not owning the hero lifestyle. That leaves Feedback, Major Victory and Creature.

Feedback is starting to scare me. He’s a little too geeky and intense. Major Victory is clearly having fun on the show, and that helps. Stan likes his heroes to have a little personality. He’s still smart money.

But Creature is my new favorite to win. She was the underdog, performing poorly in the first couple challenges, but she’s started to grow into the hero role. And Stan loves heroes that overcome adversity and become the true hero they always were inside! Or some shit like that. If she keeps it together and doesn’t do anything dumb next show, I think she can do it.

Speaking of which -- next time! Conversing with convicts! Speaking poetically! Revealing their deepest, darkest secrets! Wonder if that includes the fact that Creature has naked pictures of herself on her website?

Tune in next week to find out!


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