Superhero Reality Television
Last night I faced the reality that one 30 minute workout video was enough to incapacitate me for the evening. Curse you Jillian Michaels! Fortunately I had a variety of entertainment options courtesy of Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and HBO Go. My significant other sidled up next to me on the love seat, and after much convincing on his part I agreed to download and watch the 2006 reality show “Who Wants to Be a Superhero” on Amazon Instant Video. It wasn’t included in our Amazon Prime membership, but it was only $5.94 so it didn’t break my tiny bank.
The first season came out when I was graduating high school/starting college. During that delusional time period I was doing my best to suppress my geekiness and shed all shred of personality in favor of “recreating myself” aka attempting to “be cool”. In other words, I totally missed out on the show. But that’s OK, because I am thoroughly enjoying it a whopping eight years later and fully in touch with my geeky self! As with many shows, I pressed play with some trepidation. Reality TV is not a bastion of feminist ideals after all. I was worried that I would not like the show, find it offensive, and that that my boyfriend would be disappointed as a result. Happily the good far outweighed the bad (seriously, why are all the people in need of rescuing of the female variety?) and I give the the show two thumbs up. Or I would, if I could life my arms (push ups are not my friend).
We start the show with five women out of the ten people chosen: Lumeria, Fat Momma, Creature, Monkey Woman, and Cell Phone Girl. Cell Phone Girl really brought on the nostalgia with her flip phone! I still have a pink Nokia flip phone holding down a stack of paper somewhere…
Stan Lee interacts with the cast via a strange variety of television screens that pop up in random places. We see our very first elimination within moments of the cast meeting each other for the first time. That first elimination is really what got me hooked on the show. It was very clear that the qualities that Stan Lee was looking for in a superhero were all internal qualities. The first person eliminated revealed less than stellar motivations for participating in the show. As the episodes go on the cast is tested on their empathy, their willingness to help others, self sacrifice, courage, endurance, and moral values. It is fascinating to watch the true humanity of the cast be revealed in each challenge. The challenges are so unpredictable that I really have no idea what will happen next. Much to my boyfriends delight my reactions to goings-on of the show are entertaining on their own; they include: clapping, hugging myself, squealing, snide commentary, and lots of laughter.
The most agonizing thing is not being able to pick one person to root for. When I ended episode three last night I wanted the remaining five to all win. But alas, there can be only one chosen. Tonight I’ll finish watching the final three episodes (there are only six total) and probably cry, as my boyfriend has already told me he did when he watched it the first time. When is the last time Reality TV made you weep like a baby?
If you are in need of a break from reality, you really must watch “Who Wants to Be a Superhero”. And hey, there is even a season 2 that came out in 2007. You’re welcome.