Tuesday, July 30, 2019

TV: Taking on the corporation

On THE BIONIC WOMAN, Lisa twice impersonated Jamie Sommers, an OSI agent, with special powers via her bionic legs, a bionic arm and a bionic ear.  Lisa was a small time con artist who underwent plastic surgery for the con.  She was a grifter and a complete opposite of Jamie -- Lisa even smoked.

Lindsay Wagner won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for her dual roles --  a woman who sacrificed her time and risked her life to protect others and a woman who just wanted the glory.

Well I looked at the granite markers
Those tribute to finality to eternity
And then I looked at myself here
Chicken scratching for my immortality

-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on Joni's album of the same name


When THE BIONIC WOMAN aired on ABC and NBC, there weren't that many superheroes on TV and there were, as is sadly always the case, even fewer female superheroes.  In fact, the only other female superhero was WONDER WOMAN, played by Lynda Carter.  Today, you can't go to the multiplex without a superhero film playing.  Some even star women, some even include women: WONDER WOMAN, the Justice League (with Wonder Woman), Storm, Phoenix and Kitty Pride in the X-Men films, Sue Storm in FANTASTIC FOUR, Wasp, Rogue, the Avengers films (with Black Widow, Scarlet Witch and, eventually, Captain Marvel), and, yes, CAPTAIN MARVEL herself.  That's not a lot of women.  Especially when compared to the number of male superheroes in those films: Hawkeye, Iron Man, Captain America, Falcon, Thor, the Hulk, Wolverine, Black Panther, Cyclops, Beast, Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Flash, Spider-Man, Ant-Man, Hell Boy, Iceman, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Quicksilver, Havok, Gambit, Blade, Deadpool, Green Lantern, Venom, Human Torch, The Thing, Mr. Fantastic, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, the Green Hornet, War Machine, Ghost Rider and SHAZAM featuring the original Captain Marvel -- to name but a few.

With all of these films, you might think strong acting and characterizations abounded; however, that is not the case.  Only a handful of real performances are contained in those films by actors playing superheroes -- Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, Gal Gadot, Robert Downey Jr., Wesley Snipes and Ryan Reynolds.

A lot of actors have done a good job of not embarrassing themselves, but we'd argue only those seven really accomplished something.  In fairness to the other actors, most of these films have been badly and poorly written.  The only one that we'd hail for writing would be CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER.

There's not a lot of originality in the genre and, when they move beyond origin stories, they tend to struggle which explains the constant rebooting.

Into this underwhelming world comes AMAZON's THE BOYS.  Lisa's envy of Jamie's life and powers is nothing compared to the characters in THE BOYS. Some of the credit for the narrative has to go to Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson who created the original comic books; however, the eight episodes of season one have already taken enough liberties with the original plotline -- especially with regards to Homelander.

Antony Starr portrays Homelander who is a Superman type character to the public but a notorious creep whose strongest trait would have to be vainglory.  Homelander is leader of The Seven -- the group of superheroes who are a brand marketed to the public with books, TV, movies, endorsements, public appearances, etc.  The Seven are responsible for billions of dollars in income for the corporation behind them.

Homelander's former girlfriend Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) is also part of The Seven.  She is the keeper of secrets and it eats her away -- whether it's being silent about herself (she's a lesbian) or about the 'heroics' of Homelander -- actions that aren't so heroic and, in some cases, are lethal to the public. The latest member of The Seven, Starlight (Erin Moriarty), looked up to Queen Maeve until she met her.  Disappointment there is nothing compared to when Starlight meets The Seven member she had a crush on, Deep (Chance Crawford).  A-Train (Jessie Usher), Translucent (Alex Hassell) and Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) round out The Seven.

These 'heroes' are not heroes with the possible exception of Starlight.  And wanting to expose them is a group led by Butcher (Karl Urban).  Butcher's wife worked for the corporation behind The Seven and then disappeared.  He blames Homelander whom he believes raped his wife.  Eight years on, he will not entertain the notion that she might be dead.   Hugh (Jack Quaid) is recruited by Butcher and Hugh's loss is much more recent (we see it take place at the start of episode one).  He's holding hands with his girlfriend Robin (Jess Salgueiro) when A-Train zips through -- through her, in fact -- at such a speed that he kills her.

Hugh has a fresh desire for vengeance.  The team also consists of Marvin (Laz Alonso) and Frenchie (Tomer Kapon).  Later, Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) will join them.

This team wants to expose the superheroes as what they really are.

That would be a huge blow to the corporation and not something they will easily accept.  Stillwell is the vice president of the corporation and she's evil to the core.  Even Homelander, whom she pretends to care for, is just another pawn to her -- someone to manipulate, trick and lie to.  She does this when she has him suck her fingers or pull down his pants, she does this with words and actions.

Shue is wonderful in the role and plays it tight and close to the vest with the exception of a burst of energy in one scene where we see Stillwell's joy that she is now next in line to run the corporation.

She's probably giving the strongest performance but everyone's brought their strengths to these roles including Jennifer Esposito as the deputy director of the CIA.

At the heart of THE BOYS is a struggle over what our world will be about: Truth or branding.  The government wants to use the corporation, the corporation wants to be over the government and the people are caught somewhere between.

It reminds us of the love-fest last week on THE VIEW when the ladies cooed over Joe Biden, former Vice President and forever War Hawk.  Making clear that the show needs not just new blood but actual young blood (34-year-old Meghan McCain was born middle aged), they couldn't stop from getting giddy over the near octogenarian Biden.

Though they were all embarrassing -- and Ana Navarro's head was as fat as her ass as she blamed "Bernie Bros" for the state of the country today  -- Joy Behar had to be the most embarrassing of all.  Now was the worst time ever for the world, she wanted you to know, now.


Do you mean climate change?

Because there were eight years when Joy and others could have demanded Barack Obama do something but they were silent when it came to demands, too busy praising him for doing nothing.

Do you mean wars?

Because we don't really hear about the wars on THE VIEW, do we?  When Rosie O'Donnell was a host, the wars registered on the show.  With her gone, really not so much.

The PATRIOT Act hasn't gone away and it started under Bully Boy Bush.  Joy's aware of that, right?

We'd say Joy was worried about the LGBTQ community but we all know that's not true.  Joy's most famous for being silent as Star Jones -- an original host -- would go on one program after another with one homophobic rant after another.

Joy didn't say boo.  Star went on one especially notorious homophobic rant against marriage equality.  Joy didn't hold her accountable.  It was the viewers who had to hold Star accountable.  And those who complained received this now notorious e-mail:

Debate is good for the soul.  I very much appreciate your view on this
issue.  As you might imagine, there has been quite a bit of mail on the
subject of same-sex marriages.  The opinions I expressed on The View
regarding this issue are my own and I have a right to them...but  I respect
the rights of others to disagree with me.

Some say to prohibiting same-sex marriages  is a violation of the right to
privacy.  I disagree:  In my opinion, who you have a right to love is
private, who you have a right to marry is a matter of public policy.

I see marriage as a sacred union between a man and a woman that is blessed
by God.  Consequently, same-sex Marriages don't fall within my definition of
"marriage". However, I very much support granted the privileges (domestic
partner legislation, reciprocal beneficiary legislation, medical, property,
insurance and
survivorship benefits) that come with marriage to same-sex domestic partners
as well as male-female domestic partners, because those are civil privileges
that every citizen of the United States should be entitled to.  Again...that
is my opinion.
In all honesty, this is not an issue that will make me go out and campaign
against it, but if I'm asked my opinion...I'm going to tell the truth.  I'm
not going to say what is popular.  I'm going to say what is honest.  I'm not
going to support a position nor will I be politically correct and pretend to
support a position when  I'm not comfortable with it...those are my own
personal values.

If we really think about it, everyone has their own comfort zone regarding
these kind of issues.  I put together in my own head and heart a mental and
spiritual list of the things I believe in and am comfortable with.  They
might seem inconsistent to others (for example, I very much support a gay
person's right to be free from discrimination in the work place even though
I don't support same-sex marriages), but this works for me.  My only goal in
this regard is to go to bed every night, wake up every morning and look at
myself in the face, knowing that I have not betrayed what I believe in.
Whether you agree with me or not, I will defend your right to your opinion
on this and other sensitive and thought-provoking topics.  I only hope that
you would defend my right to my opinion.

Star Jones

How hilarious that most people believe Star's later marriage failed because she paired off with a gay man.

But while Star was on the program espousing this hate, Joy didn't say "boo!"  Not once.

And it wasn't like Joy refused to speak up during the days of Bully Boy Bush.

She found time to celebrate Bully Boy Bush and Rudy G.  You know who she went hunting for?

Jane Fonda.

Yes, when Bully Boy Bush was in the White House, the biggest threat for Joy Behar was Jane Fonda.  She, Star and Meredith Vieira tore into Jane on air as they rushed to embrace conservatism.  They called Jane every vile name in the book.  It was so bad that Barbara Walters had to come on the next day and apologize.

It was the episode the day before Barbara's apology that showed the problem with the format of THE VIEW -- each panelist has to compete to portray herself as more outraged and up the ante.

It's not the conversation Barbara dreamed of, it's a public stoning.

It's a shame Butcher, Hugh, Marvin, Frenchie and Kimiko can't make their next mission exposing the ladies of THE VIEW.

But there will be another mission -- AMAZON has already announced there will be a second season of THE BOYS.  That's how it should be because THE BOYS is easily the best thing AMAZON has aired since HOMECOMING.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }