REALITY FATALITY pt. 6
My reactions to the Sci Fi Channel’s “Who Wants to be a Superhero?” episodes 6.
With sadness I bid Who Wants to be a Superhero adieu. It has been a strange, short ride, and Stan “The Man” Lee has once again demonstrated that he stopped being relevant to the comic book world about 30 years ago. Oh Stan, you loveably crazy old kook!
The show started with a montage of everything that’s happened to the finalists, Feedback and Fat Momma, up to this point. All the challenges have been silly and lighthearted, and for all the ballyhoo about “testing the integrity” of the heroes, Stan’s decisions about who got eliminated certainly seemed arbitrary. This was especially apparent with Fat Momma, who never really excelled in any of the challenges, and flat-out dropped the ball on some. When she just walked through the last challenge (the one in which my fav, Majority Victory, was eliminated) her I-don’t-really-seem-to-give-a-shit-edness was really glaring. Stan dismissed this in his loving voice over, saying that at times Fat Momma “seemed to lose her way.” Where the final results scripted from the get-go? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit to you that they were.
Feedback’s montage again showed just how serious the guy is about this competition. Like, a little scarily unhinged serious. The tearful “Spiderman helped me become an adult” may actually be heartfelt, but good Lord it is creepy. I don’t think he’s putting on an act, I think he really is that big of a geek.
The first challenge: not really a challenge at all, but an opportunity for the finalists to go to a mini “stunt school.” It actually looked very cool. I thought the fake fighting was really telling, it’s amazing how some clever editing and sound effects can completely change what you think you’re seeing.
The trampoline/flying through the air stuff looked like fun, and the true inner geek in Feedback could hardly contain himself. His wide-eye looks of wonderment were a little unnerving. The Scientist put it best when she said that his enthusiasm was just embarrassing. It’s good to be excited about what you’re doing, but holy crap, this guy looked like he had just been handed a golden ticket.
And once again, Fat Momma fails the challenge. She outright refused to try any of the aerial stunts… I have to wonder that if before the attack dog challenge she had said, “y’know what, I just don’t think I want to do this. I’ll take a pass” Stan would have been so forgiving. Oh Fat Momma, don’t worry, the rules don’t apply to you!
The final “challenge” : sit down and chat with Stan. Once again, Stan can’t be bothered to make an appearance in the flesh, remaining behind the Big Brother screen. Which is totally awesome. Maybe Stan doesn’t appear because he’s only a floating head in a jar? Hmm…
When asked, Feedback reveals that Stan himself is his personal hero. From anyone else, I’d think this is blatant ass-kissery, but from this geek, I believe it. He once again brings up his dead father, which just brings everyone down. Feedback says everything Stan wants to hear… being a hero isn’t about acrobatics or fighting prowess, it’s about your true inner person, blah-ba-blah-dee-da. Again, I think he’s 100% sincere about everything he says. Crazy Stan Lee has finally found a kindred spirit.
Fat Momma is less inspiring. She’s had a good time on the show, learned a lot about being a hero… but it just doesn’t hit the same hot buttons as Feedback.
For the big final reveal they go to Universal Citywalk where they are greeted by literally dozens of people who happen to be passing by. They didn’t do this elimination on the roof of the lair like all the others, obviously because if Feedback didn’t win he’d immediately throw himself over the edge.
Stan appears on the jumbotron and introduces the finalists to the already bored crowd. What follows is a stunningly dumb video of the heroes “fighting crime.” Fat Momma is shown eating a donut to activate her powers…
Ugh. I still cannot for an instant get past the concept that Fat Momma has to eat a donut for her powers to kick in… she’s clearly a cartoon, and why Stan has kept her around for so long is mystifying. Oh, right, that’s what the script said to do. Anyway.
She is greenscreened in over a cityscape where she is shown fighting… Chickenman. Which isn’t a fucking “chicken man” at all… it’s an actual baby chick greenscreened over he same cityscape. I sat jaw agape at the pure insipidness of what I was seeing. Stunningly stupid.
Feedback’s moment on the big screen is better, he’s again totally into the hero act and it translates well to the big screen. And it’s a good thing it does because…
Stan comes back and makes the announcement that surprises no-one: Feedback is the winner. The producers cleverly edit out the sound of Feedback ejaculating in his pants as he whoops it up. He is joined by his wife, who is surprising attractive for being married to such a giant geek. As I write this I look at the picture of my own beautiful wife and silently thank God for occasionally throwing us geeks a bone.
Feedback shouts, “I’m a SUPERHERO!” at the top of his lungs while the crowd disperses to find an elephant ear vendor. Decrepit old Stan Lee finally makes an appearance in the flesh and shakes his young protégé’s hand, finally making Feedback’s every dream a reality.
As it ends, I can’t tear my eyes away from Feedback’s wife. She seems like a normal person, and I really have to wonder what her real take is on all this. I’m sure she supports her man and all… but I keep thinking of what MY wife would think. I’m sure the next time Feedback’s wife (Mrs. Feedback? Spouse of Feedback?) is at the beauty salon, it will go something like this:
“Oh, yes, right, that was my husband who won that reality show. Yes, he’s a superhero now. Heh, yeah, he’s super all right. I’m very, uh, very proud of his, um, accomplishments. Oh yes, he got to keep the suit all right… yeah, actually, he never takes it off. Wears it to bed. Um-hmm… but that’s okay, because he’s a real winner. Stan Lee stopped taking his calls… our friends are a little annoyed that he’ll only answer to ‘Feedback’ now… our children are mortified… but, it’s great! Being married to a superhero, is just, um, just great.”
What started as a kinda-cool, kinda-geeky in-crowd thing pretty much ended up an embarrassment for everyone involved. Doesn’t that mean I won’t try out if they do a season two?
Fuck, no! I want to be a superhero, too! Excelsior!