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



Mindset?! Ah, bullshit! As much as I love the camp of Who Wants to be a Superhero? the rampant hypocrisy and obvious scripting of this “reality” show drives me nuts.

I missed the very beginning of last night’s episode (damn kids! Can’t you just go to bed without all the brushing of teeth and reading of stories and tucking in? Don’t you see that daddy has TV to watch?!) so I missed the exchange between Miss Limelight and Mindset. Apparently, it went something like this:
MISS LIMELIGHT: People think I’m stupid!
MINDSET: I don’t think you’re stupid. I think you’re just playing a role.
ML: I’m not playing a role! This is how I really am!
MS: Oh, so you really are stupid. I get it.
Or something. But before this carefully edited drama can play out any more, the heroes are summoned to stop the newest super-villain in town, Bee Sting! The nefarious force of evil captures our heroes and forces them to… SPELL!

The horror!

I know these are just regular people and you can’t very well make them physically duke it out with super villains (actors) but come on… a spelling bee? Really? I guess you can’t make every challenge physical like the first one, but never in middle school would I have guessed that my destiny as a superhero would depend on “i before e expect after c.”

Full disclosure: even though I’m a writer by trade, I’m a terrible speller. If I was on that show when they revealed the challenge, I’d be all “Well shit. I’m done. Can I just turn in my tights now?”

However, as it turns out, most of them were terrible spellers. Even when they figured out the twist (“She’s BEE Sting, so everything has to be spelled with B-E-E!”) they couldn’t spell worth crap.

But I do have to say that releasing real bees in with them was pretty hard core. I don’t really think there were as many bees as they made them out to be (I suspect some sharp editing there) but it looked like people really got stung. I imagine the form you had to sign to get on the show read: Are you allergic to bee stings? Serious, we need to know, no fucking around: [ ] YES [ ] NO.

And here’s the first place I call bullshit on Stan. Mindset refuses to play along with Bee Sting’s weird spelling game. I was all, “Right on, Mindset! Stay true to your character! Live it, baby!” Yeah, his team lost points because of it, but fighting against the will of the bad guys is what being a hero is all about, right?

Apparently not.

Stan reamed him for letting his ego get in the way of helping his team. Said he was “a smart man, but not wise.” Stan seemed to be saying that sometimes you have to do the bidding of the bad guys in order to achieve “the greater good.” Really Stan? This from the “great power comes great responsibility” guy? I thought Mindset very elegantly stated his case, saying that to purposefully misspell a word would be tantamount to lying, and he respected the truth too much to do that. And that any of his team mates would risk minor injury in order to preserve the truth. To which I said, Fucking-A, Mindset! He was really playing the part of a comic book superhero; much more than any of the others.

But in the end, it wasn’t good enough. Clearly Mindset’s number was up, and no amount of well thought out rhetoric was going to save him. Pity too. As far as how to act like a hero in the made-up reality of funny books, this Mindset guy got it.

And this is what drives me crazy about the show. As Stan berated him his “pride” I could just as easily imagine Stan saying something like “A hero is always loyal to the truth! Even at cost to his own personal safety. That is what being a superhero is really about!” So Mindset, the ONE guy out of the entire cast to stand up to the villain gets the boot, and Mr. Mitzvah, who cowered under a blindfold whimpering “oy, meshuggna bees!” gets to stay. That’s great.

And the other great hypocrisy moment of the show: the heroes get their new costumes and Hyper-Strike doesn’t like his. He’s respectful about it, telling Stan that he just wasn’t digging the tights, and missed his old costume. Now, you’ll remember the hullabaloo from last season when Stan gave Ty’Veculus a ridonkulous costume, just to test to see if he’d object or not. He played along just to make Stan happy, only to be lambasted later for lying about liking his new outfit. He was ultimately told to put his old costume back on.

But this time, the heroes were all given decent costumes, and Stan seemed a little offended that one of them would dare to not like what he created. “I designed that costume myself, y’know” he chided Hyper-Strike. Instead of complimenting him on his honesty and letting him go back to his old costume, Stan motored ahead, saying “give it a couple days. See if you like it then.” And Hyper-Strike wisely got the hint, later in the show saying “Y’know what? Stan was right. I do like this new costume.” Silently adding, “There, I said it. Can I stay now?”

So my favorite is out. And, Whip-Snap’s story arc continues to build. The “overcoming adversity” element and “earning the admiration of her fellow team mates” story elements have been covered; I expect next week she will do something that “demonstrates her inner strength” or her “hidden bravery” or some-such.

I put Whip-Snap’s odds of winning it even-up now.

Oh, and if you’re not watching “The Aftershow” at, you’re missing some good stuff. Feedback, continuing his supergeek journey which will ultimately end in clinical depression and alcoholism, interviews those kicked off the show--in full costume, of course (him, not them). But Mindset is incredible in the interview, and just reinforced that this guy really committed to the idea of being a comic book superhero, and still is. His unspoken, "Stan, WTF?” is clear throughout. My favorite part, speaking of the spelling bee: “It was a boring challenge. Then they dumped honey on us. It was a little too Nickelodeon, if you ask me.”

For the future!


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