I usually don’t write about pop culture and reality TV for two reasons. One, there is enough stuff happening in my own life to fill a blogspace. And two, I’m embarrassed to admit to some of the things I watch. But I could not let this one pass.
I was watching the Today Show a couple of weeks ago, and I saw three people in poorly-designed costumes chatting it up with the temporary hosts. “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?” chronicles the competition among a band of people who believe that they are superheros.
Their fake superpowers and their ability to change into costume behind a soda machine is judged by Stan Lee. Yes, Stan Lee. The brilliant mind behind Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, and Daredevil is taking these people seriously.
If these were cartoonists competing for a chance to work with Stan Lee on the next great comic series, I could halfway respect this. But these people are trying to live the life of a Peter Parker in this reality. And I can’t help but wonder who thought that this was a good idea.
I caught an episode of the series, and I don’t know what saddened me more. The fall of Stan Lee is pretty depressing, as is the sight of grown men and women (ages 20 – 40+) running through the park in bright polyester ensembles. But as an amateur comic and cartoon buff, I was stunned by the pitiful superpowers.
Monkey Woman. She is dressed like Jane of the Jungle, but her superskill is the use of high-tech weapons disguised as bananas.
Major Victory. His alter-ego is a former stripper. He has super-hearing and can levitate.
Fat Mama. Her outfit has a doughnut utility belt, and she has her own theme song. “Fat Mama, Fat Mama, I’m here to save the day. Fat mama, Fat Mama, I’ll take your food away.”
The winner will be immortalized in a made-for-television cartoon movie. If any of the aforementioned people win, Stan Lee will have to pull out every trick he has to keep this from being the tombstone of his career.
Cartoons and big-budget movies are supposed to make the plight of the superhero cool, exciting, and, with a bit of suspended disbelief, plausible for a couple of hours. Mr. Lee, please don’t take that away from us. I hope this is the first and last season of this foolishness.