Oh, the things I review sometimes.
SheZow is the latest from the Hasbro/Discovery Networks collaboration The Hub, co-produced by Australia and Canada. You pretty much saw the series concept, even if the singer is hard to understand having to talk at superspeed. You can also guess the controversy on this show. Conservatives freaked out about it, liberals called it a good thing for transgendered kids…at an age where kids barely understand the concept of gender? I’m not even going to get into the transgender debate because frankly…it had nothing to do with the show. Or at least not the episode that popped up on the Hub’s website last night.
Possibly as a response to the controversy, the Hub posted the first episode of on their website…or at least part of it. From the run time I’m guessing this is one of those shows that has multiple short adventures rather than a full-length story. The episode only goes about 12 minutes and I don’t think the advertisers have taken that much time for themselves. Yet.
So if SheZow isn’t some commie-liberal attempt to subvert our youth (and despite my exaggeration there, I’m sure there are plenty of people who will push alternate lifestyles on kids past their parents because who cares about parents) is this then a good show? Wellllllll……………
“SheZow Happens” (wow, not even really trying with that title, are we?) tells of Guy and Kelly, whose family just moved into their late Aunt Agnes’ house. (Speaking of tasteless–yet I admit to being amused–humor…that bit with the urn.) In the basement the kids find a magic ring that belonged to Kelly’s favorite superheroine, SheZow. Guy starts fooling with it and ends up becoming the female crimefighter. Why is the ring magic? Why was it designed only for females? Does he still have his boy bits and why the hell would you ask that in a kids show? You think they’re going to bother telling us? This isn’t the kind of show with heavy continuity and plot threads unless they’re going against type. Again, this was only 12 minutes long.
So now Guy (all the subtly of a sledgehammer this show) has to become SheZow and fight bad guys, with his sister, a fanatic about the heroine, advising him. He also gets help from Sheila, a computer that also runs the Shevicle, SheZow’s transport. Oh, get use to the “she” puns if you’re going to commit to this show. They flow like beer at a keg party. Frankly it got annoying after a while, and that’s in the span of 12 minutes. They also have to keep Guy’s identity a secret from their family, more because their cop father hates SheZow, thinking she takes all the glory away from the cops. I’ve never liked cop characters like that. If you could handle a guy who shoots laser beams from his feet and can level a city block, there wouldn’t be a need for superheroes. So suck it up, whiny boy.
Lucky for Guy, his friend Maz is on hand to remind him he’s a dude…and according the character profile has appointed himself SheZow’s sidekick who can’t stick with one identity. The aforementioned Sheila has a smart mouth on her but honestly works to help SheZow, at least in the pilot.
So will this convince tween boys to run around in girls clothes? Frankly, I’d be surprised to see this catch on with boys..and barely with girls. The joke about guys being forced to wear a dress, usually to escape the bad guys, has been done before. Heck, it’s Bugs Bunny’s biggest go-to plan. I just have trouble seeing the joke lasting a full series, especially with all the “she” puns, where some word is replaced with “she” (like calling something “shemazing” or “shetastic” or something). You’d also think some feminists would balk at SheZow’s arsenal, which is as girly as you can get, which is really also part of the joke.
But beyond worrying that this is going to lead to a rise of pre-teen drag queens or something (kind of depends on how they deal with the running gag), had this been a female superhero I might have gone on board. Not because of the right-wing Christian that I am, but because there’s a lack of female superheroes on TV, even less than in comics. Let me she what I can gather off the top of my head, and see how many you even recognize:
- Micro Woman
- Electro Woman (and her sidekick, Dynagirl
- various Power Rangers
- Wonder Woman
- what the heck, let’s count Jamie Sommers
- Two of the Bionic Six
- Isis (before DC ruined another one)
- I think some of the Legion of Superheroes when that show was on
- a few in Justice League Unlimited
- The Powerpuff Girls
- XJ9 (alias Jenny the robot)
Except for the Power Rangers there aren’t a lot of modern shows on there, are there? You may find a few female crimefighters or mystery solvers but men still dominate the superhero ranks. SheZow could have worked fine as a female crimefighter without the gender-bending gag that I don’t think is going to carry very long. Then again I could be wrong about all of this. Only time will tell but it’s not my social views keeping me away from this show. there’s certainly an attempt to make a good show and they at least on the surface appear to want this to work. I just have trouble seeing a gag I reserve for F-Troop and Milton Berle/Flip Wilson carrying a kids superhero series. That could just be me.
But let’s drop the “transvestite” stuff, okay? That’s not what’s going on here. It’s barely pro-drag queen.