I was enjoying this show, but last night’s episode was pretty bad. Since the whole show is strongly scripted, more than many other “reality programs”, it’s pretty inexcusable to eliminate a character because she once threw a shampoo bottle in a pool and jaywalked while delivering clothing to the homeless. They got confused about the source material, I think, and briefly decided it was, “Who Wants to be Inspector Javert?” or maybe even “Who Wants to be Jesus Christ?” Stan Lee, who is being set up by the show as the supreme authority on all things superheroic, ought to know that lot of his own characters have done things like break laws and been hypocritical at various points. Then there was the weird obsession with whether Major Victory taking off his cape indicated that he was still acting like a stripper. Come on, that’s just dumb. Putting down his cape for women to cross was a nice improvisational quote of an old genre staple by Major Victory: he should have gotten mad props for it.
For those of you not watching the show, I suppose it’s an interesting case of how to translate the conventions of a specific cultural genre into a popular entertainment that doesn’t set out to just appeal to fans of that genre. You have to take advantage of what a larger public “knows” about something like what a “superhero” is. But in this case, the larger public in question knows a decent amount about the genre: they’ve got at least three iconic touchstones, Superman, Batman and Spider-Man. Superman’s the Big Boy Scout that Stan Lee seems to be using as his instruction manual for superheroic virtues, but just about everybody knows enough about the other two points of reference to know that the concept of “superhero” has more capacity to it than that.