SciFi: Who Wants to Be a Superhero? (Episode 2)

The heroes’ assignment this week was a test of raw courage. An old lady had locked herself out of her house, but the back door was unlocked. All the heroes had to do was climb over the back fence, cross the yard, and touch the back door. Unfortunately, there were two attack dogs in the back yard.

One by one, the heroes donned padded gear and helmets, then attempted to cross the yard. Ty’veculus was barely staggered as both dogs hit him with full force, their jaws locking onto the heavy padding on his arms. The hero then walked across the yard — the growling dogs writhing back and forth, refusing to release him — and touched the back door. Total time elapsed: 16 seconds.

Not everyone fared so well. Fat Momma attempted to distract the dogs with crullers, but to no avail. The dogs hit her and she hit the ground, crying “uncle” a few seconds later. The bombastic Iron Enforcer crawled to within two feet of the door before he, too, admitted defeat. Cell Phone Girl, complaining of a headache, lasted a mere four seconds before she relented.

The true star of this challenge was Monkey Woman. Before her attempt, the simian superhero declared that she would not fail; she was seeking redemption for her failure in the costume change/lost girl assignment. Immediately, it seemed that Monkey Woman was doomed to failure. The dogs took her down in a matter of seconds and it seemed that she was severely overpowered.

Every hero had either completed the challenge or cried “uncle” in less than a minute, but even after nine minutes of being mauled by the dogs and never regaining her feet, Monkey Woman continued to fight her way across the back yard. Nearly ten minutes passed before she stubbornly dragged herself and the horrifying hounds to the door.

The challenge completed, Stan Lee announced that there would be another elimination. Four heroes — Cell Phone Girl, Creature, Iron Enforcer and Lemuria — were on the chopping block. When asked whether she should ignore grave danger because she has a headache, Cell Phone Girl lamely replied that she still had a headache. Not surprisingly, she was asked to turn in her costume. “Your minutes are up,” Stan Lee said.

Following the elmination, Stan Lee announced that the heroes would each receive a new costume. The results:

  • Lemuria is far less likely to fall out of her costume.So much for the 18 – 34 year-old male demographic.
  • Major Victory has shiny, shiny shorts.
  • Ty’veculus almost got kicked off the show.

The new costumes didn’t look too bad, for the most part. Ty’veculus, however, must have drawn the short straw, as his new duds looked six kinds of silly. Rather than admit that he wasn’t happy with the new costume, Ty’veculus pretended to be thrilled with it. Both he and Feedback (who had mocked Ty’veculus’ new outfit) wound up under the axe, along with Iron Enforcer.

This is where the show really started to break down and feel scripted. Iron Enforcer’s costume makeover was almost non-existent. As far as I could tell, the only thing Stan Lee’s designers had done was given the guy some new pants. His reaction to the new outfit wasn’t anything worthy of elimination, but Lee called him out anyway, claiming that something about the costume just didn’t feel right. The problem was (as it had been before) Iron Enforcer’s massive gunSeriously, the thing is huge.. Reiterating that heroes don’t kill people, Lee asked Iron Enforcer to turn in his costume.

Last week, I said that there was no way they’d get rid of Iron Enforcer because every reality show needs someone for the audience to root against. I was wrong, but I was right. As Iron Enforcer left the secret lair, Stan Lee appeared to him again, offering a chance to return to the show as his new supervillain. Iron Enforcer consented and was reborn as Dark Enforcer.

This came as no surprise to Laura, who has maintained all along that Iron Enforcer was more suited to supervillainy than superheroism. We both agreed that the entire elimination sequence was clearly scripted and Iron Enforcer was likely a plant from day one. Despite this obvious departure from “reality,” the show remains enjoyable. With the Iron Enforcer out of the heroic mix, I suspect that the plants have all been weeded out and the show should feel a little less scripted going forward.

8 thoughts on “SciFi: Who Wants to Be a Superhero? (Episode 2)”

  1. This is definitely one of those shows you have to watch from the beginning. My wife walked in on this one and though she is open to most of the things I watch, she saw the guy describing his gun and she ordered me to change the channel (thank goodness for tivo, this crap is just too funny).

  2. I watched to show again on tape.

    I don’t think Iron Enforcer was a plant. Iron Enforcer, when asked to be a supervillian, has this totally dumb look on his face. His mouth just sort of falls open. If he’d known it was coming, he could have at least kept from looking so pole-axed and stupid.

    Instead, I think they picked someone out that they knew would fail from the beginning. Had Iron Enforcer tossed the gun and tried to work with the group, he might have stayed. But really, anyone with people experience could have picked this guy out as the outcast of the group.

    Tyveculus was their backup for super-villian, I bet. He also got the “costume not quite right” bit on the off chance Iron Enforcer made a turnaround. I wonder how many other people got that where it wasn’t shown?

    It is, in fact, “scripting,” but in the way that all of these shows can be scripted. By leaving the correct material on the cutting room floor, everyone can be made to look like a villian or hero.

  3. [Comment ID #3056 Will Be Quoted Here]

    While you make some interesting points, I still think Iron Enforcer was a plant. In fact, I’m pretty sure he deliberately failed the second challenge in order to give Stan Lee another reason to oust him. He was less than two feet from the door when he threw in the towel, and he’s the strongest of the heroes (with the possible exception of Ty’veculus); I just can’t see any reason to give up when the goal is so close.

    As for Iron Enforcer’s reaction to Stan Lee, I’ll have to directly disagree there. The entire thing looked staged (obviously it was) and scripted to me (which is where you and I disagree). I actually rewound the reaction shot on the TiVo so my wife could see exactly how put-on his reaction was. I didn’t buy it for even a second. That’s a perfect example of how subjective even something so simple as how “real” we feel a reaction is.

    I also understand that the producers can pick and choose what they want the audience to see with respect to each individual, but there’s only so much you can do with editing when you’ve got a strong personality like Iron Enforcer; either he’s going to come across as an arrogant, self-centered blowhard or they’re just not going to show a lot of him.

    The third alternative is to actually have two sets of dialogue for him: one in which he’s a jerk and the other in which he’s portrayed as a really nice guy. That option would require massive scripting and completely pull the rug out from under the whole idea of a spontaneous “reality” show.

  4. First off, great commentary on the show. I’m a huge fan, and wrote a big review of episode one myself.

    I agree with you 100% about Iron Enforcer failing the dog challenge on purpose to justify him being kicked off so that he could become a supervillain. It’s obvious that the invitation to become a supervillain was staged – I don’t think anyone thinks he was just walking down that road and was surprised to encounter that TV with Stan Lee’s face.

  5. [Comment ID #3060 Will Be Quoted Here]

    My first reaction on seeing Iron Enforcer come so close to completing the challenge only to throw in the towel at the last minute was a sort of gloating, “in your face” satisfaction (Sad, isn’t it? They’ve got me right where they want me.). It wasn’t until a few beats later that the incongruity of his sudden surrender struck and I started suspecting that he had taken a dive on purpose. After his elimination and recruitment by Stan Lee, it all made perfect sense.

    I’m okay with rigging the deck a little for dramatic effect. So long as Iron Enforcer is the final plant (or at least perceived plant), I think the show will remain spontaneous and fun.

  6. I actually rewound the reaction shot on the TiVo so my wife could see exactly how put-on his reaction was. I didn’t buy it for even a second.

    Ain’t nuthin’ getting by you, pal! The nerve of them to even try.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *