Thursday, August 03, 2006

Who Wants to be a Superhero? I do! I do! Pick me! Pick me!

I think Who Wants to be a Superhero is now my favorite reality show. It might just be cooler than The (pre-Celebrity) Mole. Reality shows may have their twists, but only Stan Lee can twist them like this.

Most reality shows are about physical challenges and coalitions. The Mole was about that and perception as you tried to figure out who was hired by the network to screw the other players. Who Wants to be a Superhero is all about character. Stan Lee tasks the players to the spiritual standards of the superhero, such as honesty, integrity, and perserverance. During the elimination ceremony, Stan Lee can call out a player on questionable performance, ignoring civilians in distress, or even making fun of another hero's costume.

The twists started early in the first episode. After assembling the heroes in a mansion, Stan Lee has them all transported to a secret lair that all but one contestant will enter. One was eliminated before the first commercial break! Turned out, Stan Lee had placed a spy in their midsts: the traitorous Rotiart (which, as he points out, is "Traitor" spelled backwards. I was cursing myself for not noticing all week!). Rotiart snitched on the questionable characters of Levity, a toymaker by trade who planned to sell action figures of himself for $500 each, Creature, who was flirting with the other heroes, and Iron Enforcer (Steel Chambers can't be his REAL name, can it?), who Stan Lee doesn't like because of his huge-ass gun. Of the three, Stan eliminates Levity, which I'm sure has nothing to do with the fact that he was gay.

Their first physical challenge was, starting in civilian garb in public, to secretly change into superhero form when summoned and run to the finish line. What Stan Lee didn't tell them, however, was there was this lost little girl near the finish line (planted by him) crying for her mother. Of the ten superheroes, only Cell Phone Girl, Fat Mamma, Lemuria, and Major Victory lent a hand. Major Victory in particular hammed it up as much as possible, especially on the way over, and called out for the girl's mother a couple times before taking her to the security office. Cell Phone Girl looked to me like she had got on to Stan Lee's game just after passing the girl, because I could've sworn she had a crafty look on her face. As for the other players, Feedback cooly and indescretely slipped behind a barracade to change, Monkey Woman (who I keep calling Monkey Girl) changed in a tree, and Tyvyculus (or however his name was spelled) changed behind a portapotty, which my brother tells me was labelled "Construction Workers Only."

As you can imagine, Stan Lee wasn't pleased, but he could only call out three of them per ceremony and eliminate one of them. Called out this time was Nitro G, who didn't bother to hide while changing, Monkey Woman, because she apparently looked right at the girl (but so did Creature, didn't she?), and Iron Enforcer, because Stan Lee doesn't like his gun. Each had to say something to convince Stan Lee not to eliminate them, but in the end, Nitro G was cut.

The second episode begins with Stan Lee reading questions written by the heroes. In question was Major Victory's previous job as a male stripper, Fat Mamma's fatness, Creature's unwashed dreds, and Iron Enforcers body odor and apparent use of steroids, which he neither confirmed nor denied but definitely defended.

Next, the heroes were taken to a house where an old lady had locked herself out. All they had to do was go around back to let her in... while being bitten by trained attack dogs. Fortunately, they were given protective padding. Iron Enforcer got within a foot of the back door before giving up. Tyvyculus managed to wrestle the dogs to the goal at the back door, while Major Victory impressively carried the dogs by letting them hang from his arms. But what was really impressive was Monkey Woman. Win or lose, the other contestants finished in under a minute. Seeking to make up for her earlier disgrace, Monkey Woman was dragged around by those dogs for a little over nine minutes before she reached the door. She was probably helped a little by the fact the dogs' goal was to keep her down but not necessarily away from the door, as they had a tendency to drag the players in that direction. I liked her before, because she reminds me of the Monkey King of Japanese folklore and has that skimpy outfit, but now I'd have to say she is my favorite hero on this show just for fighting those dogs so long.

Then there was another elimination. On the chopping block this time were Cell Phone Girl, for complaining about a headache and quitting after four seconds, Creature, for laughing while losing, and Iron Enforcer, for quitting inches away from victory. Cell Phone Girl gave the weakest speech and was eliminated, which I don't mind since she had a lame gimmick anyway.

Next, everyone got a costume makeover which some cool transitional effects. Everyone's upgrade was pretty cool, though I preferred Monkey Woman's original costume (more jungle-y), except for Tyvyculus and his feathered helmet. Feedback, who looks like a movie superhero now, went as far as to say, "You are now officially Stan Lee's biggest fan." Tyvyculus pretended to like the new costume at first, but, after an unsuccessful modification, went back to complain about it, at which point Stan Lee told him to put his old costume back on. Iron Enforcer's new costume was pretty good, but Stan Lee couldn't help but think something was missing...

Immediately after the makeovers was another elimination. Stan Lee called out Tyvyculus, for not being honest about his outfit, Feedback, for making fun of Tyvyculus's costume (I bet you thought I was kidding!), and, yet again, Iron Enforcer, for defending the use of steroids and because Stan Lee didn't like his gun. I was pretty much able to guess who was going to be eliminated in the previous rounds, but this one had me stumped. None of these guys felt to me like they should be cut out at this stage. I was definitely suprised that Iron Enforcer got eliminated, since he was such a solid antagonist for the other players. Apparently, Stan Lee felt the same way...

As Iron Enforcer was walking dejectedly down the street, Stan Lee appears to him again. He finally figured out what was wrong with Iron Enforcer's makeover. Iron Enforcer just didn't make a good superhero... but he'd make for a terrific supervillain. Stan Lee gives him a new makeover befitting his new role of standing in the player's way, and transformed him into The Dark Enforcer!

Now, up to this point, Who Wants to be a Superhero seemed pretty cool, but hadn't really done anything to make me at all excited. But when that happened, me and my siblings couldn't help but exclaim, "That is so AWESOME!" several times, as there was simply no other way to express how awesome that was. No other reality show that I know of really had that sort of twist. Sure, The Mole had a villain, but Who Wants to be a Superhero not only gives you a villain, but an origin story to boot! "Rejected by Stan Lee, Iron Enforcer returns as the villainous Dark Enforcer to thwart our heroes!" Did I ask how cool that was yet? Because that is cool. And just as wacky is Tyvyculus' reaction in the preview to the revelation: "What treachery is this!?"

This show is awesome, man. Wish I had known about the tryouts so I could've been on. Of course, first I'd have to have had made superhero identity and costume. Maybe I'll try out for the sequel, probably as Tech Weaver. Now I just need a costume...

I am Storm!

I am very strong and very protective of those
I love. I am in tune with nature and are
very concerned with justice and humanity.
Unfortunately, certain apprehensions and fears
are very hard for me to overcome, and can
often inhibit me when I most need to be strong.

Which X-Men character are you most like?
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