Wednesday, August 18, 2021

TV? What if . . . the possibilities are . . . limited

What if . . . DISNEY+ turned a classic cartoon into an animated TV series during the woke era?


Apparently, it would flat out suck.

WHAT I? was a comic book series beloved by us. It features issues that explored the what ifs of, for example, Spider-Man being part of the Fantastic Four, or if the Avengers had disbanded (in the face of Hulk and the Sub-mariner attacking humanity), or if Hulk had killed Wolverine, or if Captain Marvel hadn't died or . . .

You probably get the idea. The point of the comic book title was to explore possibilities and to make you think.

Few bother to think in the woke era as DISNEY+ demonstrated with episode one of WHAT IF?, "What if Captain Carter was the First Avenger?"

The animated episode frequently came off like A-Ha's "Take On Me" video -- but with none of the zip or excitement. Please note that THE GOLBERGS did a homage to that music video in "Couple Off," and they did it much, much better.

Every TV show you could think of is much better than the first episode of WHAT IF?

So what if Peggy Carter became the first Avenger?

Oh, wake us up when the woke era is gone-gone. Honestly, this is an example of all that is wrong with some of the current whining -- yes, whining.

So what if Peggy, and not Steve Rogers, had the serum and became Captain America?

They have no context, they have no understanding, they just have woke on their side.

In the world of TV and movies, women are woefully underrepresented as heroes. When they are part of the film or TV show, they're rarely part of the action. THE GALAXY OF THE GUARDIANS did damn little for the women in the two live action films -- in fact 'stews' flight attendants) did more action on TV and in film in the 70s. THE AVENGERS film franchise did put Black Widow in the action (as did the Captain America films) and it even turned the women of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY into superheroes. But far too often, we're left with women in roles of weakness (the same Avengers franchise refused to ever truly acknowledge Scarlet Witch's power, by the way) or women doing nothing.

So we do get the woke sentiment. It's an anger we share.

But you don't make Peggy Carter Captain America. In fact, you can't. Which is why she's CAPTAIN UK or some sort of nonsense.

Captain America was a comic book character created for propaganda purposes -- that's in the comic and in the real world. The US is still at war but today appears to be beyond comic book characters who can rally support and enthusiasm. (We could be wrong, we hope we aren't.) But Steve Rogers inspired within the comic world. He rallied other soldiers just by being Captain America. Peggy, a British citizen, can't rally American troops the way Steve could based on his citizenship.

So the whole exercise is pointless. And the audience is left bored and detached. That's woke writing for you. There are Americans that they could have used. For example, we've always been huge fans of Hellcat. And we're thrilled anytime she pops up (not very often). But What If Patsy had been the First Avenger? That would have been a better story. Because, honestly, without an American to rally US forces, what do we have? The way the 'history' has been told in the US, you have Nazis in control. Weak Steve Rogers fighting with just heart and soul was every G.I. It's something that Peggy can't pull off.

We're supposed to cheer Peggy on, after she has super powers, when she says to this man that he's lucky to even be in the room. He's said that to her repeatedly before she had the serum.

That's 'woke' writing for you too.

Good writing would be a scene where Peggy saves the sexist and he either immediately realizes (becuase of action) that he was wrong or she just smirks at him because he'll never learn.

Bad writing is talky. That's the key to this supposed action comic book: Talky.

And 'statuesque' which long ago became code for big. Peggy becomes big. She doesn't look very womanly before the transformation. After the serum, she's a huge, plush Betty Page come to life. Apparently, the super serum is just testosterone judging by the way Peggy ends up looking. It's so different than how Steve transformed. Back in the original comics and in later portrayals, he never became a neanderthal or the Hulk. He became a man with more defined muscles. So it's sad to see that Peggy transformed resembles She-Hulk.

She's apparently hot. Both Steve and Howard Stark are lusting after her. Which is another unfortunate part of 'woke' writing.

'Woke' writing demands that time be spent, with any female character, telling you that she's desirable.

Again, we reject that.

If Chris Evan's Captain American is hot, it's because of what he does -- and that tight costume. We don't have to endure various people lusting after him in a movie.

So why does 'woke' writing always seem like a Barbra Streisand film? Good or bad, the film's going to have Barbra told how gorgeous she is and include plenty of close ups of her finger nails and, of course, her ass. It harms a lot of moments that the actress Streisand succeeds in. And it harms the storytelling as well because the 'woke'sters want to tell you that woman can do whatever men can do (we happen to agree in most cases) but then they want to flutter and flatter the female character for her 'desirability' the way they never do to a man.

This is a badly drawn cartoon. It's poorly written. And the 'acting' is rather sad and removed. The voices frequently come off flat and don't really seem to emerge from the bodies we see onscreen further distancing the viewer. It's distant and, what's worse, it's limited. The whole point of the WHAT IF comic book was to expand, to revel in possibilities. But the show plays out like it's created by someone walking around in blinders.

WHAT IF? has only one saving grace, it's Josh Keaton who has previously voiced Tony Stark and Norman Osborne. Josh's appearance here is not revolutionary, he's not the next Lauren Olivier or a new Orson Welles. But he is Steve Rogers. Thankfully, he is Steve Rogers. Him and not Chris Evans because the character is a huge step back and it would have been so sad if Chris had played him. In the end, the best thing about the episode is the people who avoided it -- avoided being in it and avoided watching it.







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