Thursday, July 27, 2006

Who Wants to be a Superhero, Etc...

So Peabo had some heated words for me in the comments section. I put together an astounding reply to which anyone would have to be impressed. Unfortunately, WordPad decided to freak out when I went to save it as a back-up (ha ha, die Windows, die!). So long to an hour of my life.

Suffice it to say, I am brilliantly aware of international politics. So just imagine yourselves stunned at my insightful and irrefutable retort. Peabo (and you all) will just have to live in a whirlpool of mystery, wondering what it was I might have said to show him the error of his ways.

People keep sending me links about Stan Lee's "Who Wants to be a Superhero?"

I have an answer to that question: L.A.-entrenched failed actors looking for exposure.

Stan has been trying to sell this idea since "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" was in it's prime (ie: when Nathan freaked out North America by introducing The Reeg to his monkey, Coco). Thus, the name of Stan's show.

I thought it was a bad idea for a show back then, and I am still not entirely sold on the concept now.

Loyal Leaguers you may all be, but let's face facts: aside from Spider-Man and Batman, you think superheroes are pretty stupid, right?

I mean, if you were at a party and someone asked you to come up with a superhero idea, you'd probably tie a towel around your neck, grab a plunger and a shower cap, and declare yourself "Roto-Rooter Man/ Lady" (no discrimination here), and you'd get a big laugh. I'd laugh, too. That's good stuff.

That's pretty much what the show looks like it's lining up to be. Whether Stan was ever serious about trying to find a property to develop through his Pow! Entertainment company (ie: not Marvel), or whether he was just looking at the dollar signs tied to reality game shows is sort of irrelevant. The producers don't care WHAT Stan does with the winner.

Like American Idol, the opening tone will no doubt be ridiculous as chubby comic-loving dorks squeeze into homemade outfits and go before a panel of "judges" to pitch their concept. There will be a snarky voice-over encouraging us to make fun of the fat guy in the shorts, or the moderately unhinged guy in his Punisher-like commando get-up. A few people will be genuine or funny enough to move on to the actual final round.

The other night I found myself completely unable to watch TLC's new show "The Messengers" (which came on after two hours of shows about somethign called primordial dwarfism. Apparently, gelflings live among us). "The Messengers" is a reality/ game show which features wanna-be motivation speakers going through a harrowing experience, such as being homeless for a few hours, and then shouting at a crowd about how it sucks to be homeless. For a few hours.

I brought this up with Jamie about what an odd concept the show was, and she didn't even blink. "What do you want me to say?" she finally sighed after repeatedly being cued to be impressed, "They'll put anything on TV in gameshow format."

Judging from the list of contestants on the website, "Who Wants to be a Superhero" has gone for the quick-cash-in "wacky" factor. This seems rather obvious.

I would have thought long-term. Go for the hard-core geek audience and create what could be a nichey show about how comic properties are developed and how one can create a character as enduring as Spider-Man. I mean, Jesus. This is Stan "I developed X-Men, The Hulk, Spidey, the Fantastic Four and countless others" Lee we're talking about. If anyone could give a few pointers and career tips as he enjoys his semi-retirement, it's this guy.

This is not to say "WWTBS?" won't be fun and funny. If it works. But you know what's not funny two hours into the party? Roto-Rooter Man.

In comics, very few comedy comics stick, especially funny superhero comics. Even "The Tick" is mostly reprints these days. The original Red Tornado, Forbush Man, 'Mazing Man and Ambush Bug all had a few moments in the sun, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find a hard-core fan base or margin of profitability for any of the characters.

So, once again we're back to 1960-whatever, and Batman is hilarious. For three seasons. Frikkin' "Yes, Dear" has already surpassed that by 3 years.

Yes, I do like the campy side of superheroes. I'm all about movies like "Mystery Men", etc... but even those movies had a story (and "Casanova Frankenstein" is the best villain name ever. Seriously. I will be 90 years old and will still be jealous that I couldn't come up with that name).

I will watch the pilot so I have a common point of reference, but I'll be honest, it's a muted enthusiasm. I see 11 Roto-Rooter Men/ Ladies.

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