Monday, August 27, 2007

(reposted) review: heroes, or, "et tu, nerds?"

[this was originally posted a few months ago on the site i do with a.wach, (cuz i do! hence toby having to find this site with his e-sluthery skills!), but it's kinda burried, and i'm kinda blocked, plus it's the like a prequel to the whole comicon piece (makes sense that'd turn into a franchise), so i'm reposting it here. with a picture i stole from google image search and a new intro for good measure.]

[i chose this image cuz this "hero", the e-slut with a heart of good intentions, possesses the following special skill; she has an evil, superstrong dual personality (her dead abused sister? because that makes sense why?) that lives in the mirror and sometimes gets out (why and how now?) and takes over her (nubile) body to kill people, even possibly her son (who can fuck up computers with his mind-- does that mean he can access mommy's nudie site for free?) and her husband (who's forrest, not gunn, i know, i got confused, too, and not just because they're both black) (those are buffy/angel references, since we're probably all confused now, but gunn will come up later). long story short, that is the lamest "hero" quality i've ever heard since she's really only a hero when she keeps her cunty side in check/is weak/doesn't kick ass, in which case i'm a hero every time i see one of my neighbors take up two parking spots with their 1984 volvo and don't pull them out of their car and put my fist in their right eyeball. save me a parking space, save the world, kiss my ass.]

if you ever happen to be walking down broadway in new york city, past the long gone novelty store below madison square park where i once purchased a crown made out of plastic bones, past abc carpet & home/the world’s largest collection of candle holders, past the farmer’s market and the dizzy whole foods patrons and the bellowing black israelites, you’ll emerge from union square and soon find yourself outside a store called forbidden planet.

if you check your bag, you can walk among the comic books, the action figures, the japanese paperbacks filled with drawings that have to be violating some sort of republican legislation. but if you’re really curious, you might find yourself in front of a staircase towards the back. and if you take those stairs up, odds are you’ll see a room full of boys, age 12 thru 30 (at 30, still boys), playing various games involving maps, cards, and dice with at least 10 sides. the air will be filled with a mix of skin medication, sugar breath, and fear. you should make no sudden movements.

these, my friends, are true nerds.

if you come to my apartment on a monday night, all you’ll find is me, my latest trader joe’s slurry, and my stinky dog sitting on the couch watching heroes. i have no idea why i watch this show. i mean, i know why i watch it in as much as i know why i watch so much tv– because my parking situation puts me in a martha stewart-esque house arrest lockdown, and while there is no electronic anklet, both martha and myself have passed the time with crochet. due to my confinement, i’ve watched an episode of ugly betty, for chrissake. i had a season’s pass for drive.

drive, however, no matter how implausable and humorless, had the draw of the involvement of tim minear and nathan fillion. the former worked on buffy, angel, firefly, wonderfalls, and basically tons of television shows i have seen many, many times (except for angel, but it was worth sitting through every episode once just to see angel get supersized and end up shopping at today's man big and tall and dead).

nathan fillion was the star of both firefly and the film it spawned, serenity, plus he starred in slither, which was made by james gunn, a man who is not only the brother to sean gunn, who most people know as tv’s kirk from gilmore girls (but do not know was the inspiration for the name of gunn’s character on angel [all the weight gunn’s character lost over the course of the series, angel found]), but as the guy who wrote the updated dawn of the dead and married the office’s pam. pam, who was on a couple of episodes of undeclared for maybe five seconds each.

so, as you might have noticed, i am a nerd, too.

there’s a reason that the magic players have to hide, even in a comic book store, and that i don’t allow paragraphs like the one above to be uttered in casual conversation. nerds like us aren’t exactly smart, we just care way too much about something most people think is weird, stupid, or some combination of the two. most nerd obsessions are tv shows that hardly lasted (fire! fly!), games with instructions that take a month to get through (unlike social interaction, which has no instructions and is therefore no fun), and comic books which often feature mutants (hello) or normal-seeming types who have to hide their secret identities (yahtzee). if you fill that criteria, congratulations, proceed directly to finding your internet friends, do not pass go, do not collect 200 spacebucks.

but heads up– you are not a nerd if you follow heroes. or lost. or star wars for that matter. you stay downstairs with the rest of the people looking for spiderman 3 merchandise.

granted, i know plenty of nerdy types who like all of the things listed directly above, but a love of star wars is usually just the tip of their nerd iceberg. if your only claim to nerddom is remembering character names and owning some action figures from one of the most popular films in the history of time, then that pretty much makes you…alive. get in line behind every male under the age of 40 who knows who boba fett is. which is to say, every male under 40 with a pulse.

and if you’re obsessed with lost, that’s great, but if you can discuss your tv obsession around a water cooler with the same co-workers who own king of queens dvd sets and think rosie ruined the view, then you’re nowhere near nerd territory. sometimes, with tv shows, time makes all the difference– for instance, if you loved twin peaks in 1992, you were 1 out of 3 people who owned a television. if you love it now with the same fervor, then you have probably arrived.

and heroes…i don’t even know where to start. it’s like xmen, but the mutations are subtle enough for the characters to stay pretty (poor characters, having to hide their abnormalities behind gorgeous exteriors!). sure, it does have some visual similiarities to comic books– square jaws for dudes, capital B Boobies for ladies, and you can’t have a villian without giant brows or glasses of death.

but the thing most nerds really latch onto is a rich mythology. the trek universe, the different types of kryptonite, the legacy of the browncoats– these are all intricate histories that don’t and shouldn’t appeal to a mass audience, but, for some of us, they’re a joy to learn inside and out. heroes has some twists and more cameos and one-off characters than the love boat, but the mythology is paper thin. it’s not a world you can get lost in, because it’s too much like the one we already live in. star wars might be an international phenomenon, but at least it was creative (and talk about mythology– it’s the hero myth, plus ewoks!). despite the producer presense of bryan fuller (of wonderfalls [with tim minear!], which still has a strong cult following despite airing only 4 episodes, thus is nerd central), heroes lacks that creative spark. there are mysteries, but no mythology. it’s nerd programming for dummies. which i guess is why it’s such a success.

as long as i’m stuck in this house, i guess i’ll keep watching heroes. i don’t think i’ll ever care about it tho, certainly not as much as i care about captain malcolm reynolds, aka nathan fillion, and all those who flew with him. if you ask the kids upstairs at forbidden planet, they’ll probably say the same thing, but they’ll roll their eyes a lot more. in a way, the real heroes are the drama geeks who organize buffy sing alongs, the desk jockeys who use the word frak casually in office conversations, even the guys who show up at comicon in late july socal heat in full storm trooper gear. now if that was a tv show…it would probably be cancelled after 4 episodes. but i would have the season’s pass.


M. said...

b-b-b-b-b-b-b-but VERONICA MARS is going to be on it next season, fer cryin' out loud!

ok i could come up with some other responses but that knowledge is presently eating my brain with glee.

sb said...

yes, but if her talent ends up being "can wake up with perfect hair" or "can pat her head and rub her stomach at the same time" or something megalame to that effect, and it will, because they're sort of grasping at straws at this point, then no dice.

oh, i know! her talent should be solving crimes with her dad in a noir little southern california town named nepture-- and they should give her an eponymous spin-off! or, if not that, at least make her talent the ability to kill possible future pussycat dolls using only the power of her brain.

M. said...

You gotta admit that Claire has a kind of awesome power. Srsly. Also, I like to have a chuckle at the fact that Kring claims to know nothing about X-Men, yet has reversed the gender of every single X-Men-like character.

Oh also Wireless. Or Hana or whatever her name was. Why did she go away? Why did she not have Plot?

I like yr VMars idea. I am otherwise too tired to make sentences.