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She's A Marvel (The TV Broadcast)
posted November 2, 2006
 

imageCreators: Guiding Light Head Writer David Kreizman
Publishing Information: CBS, 1 Hour Including Commercials, 2 PM MT, November 1, 2006
Ordering Numbers: I'm pretty sure there's a podcast version available through CBS.com

2:00 -- My brother Dan, a Guiding Light viewer, has joined me for the experience of watching the Guiding Light half of the Guiding Light/Marvel Comics crossover on TV. "This has to be the worst thing we've ever gotten together to watch," he says. And we watched Elektra.

2:01 -- One of the child actors in this scene was in Syriana. We will refer to him as "Syriana" for the rest of the show, although the child hardly does enough to rate a mention.

One of the already-superheroic things about soap operas is that the kids frequently go to boarding school at age five and come back two years later 17-years-old and ready to have sex with all the people on the other side of the tracks. I swear this is where the idea of Terrigen Mists came from.

2:02 -- My brother notes that the character of Harley, around whom today's superhero-related plot spins, is known for dressing like a 12-year-old mallgoer, so the initial outfit, while ludicrous, is not her costume.

2:03 -- My brother warns me there are Easter Eggs in this broadcast for Marvel fans, even though he's not entirely sure what that means. This means that there are characters reading comics that they never read before, people making all sorts of comparisons using superheroes as models even though they've never mentioned comic books before, and, perhaps weirdest of all, a convention sign with Marvel's name on it in what looks like the first mainstream comic book convention to take place in the bowery.

2:04 -- The lead character talks about how she hates secrets, which I'm guessing is the lone stab at the metaphorical overlap this team-up provides.

2:03-2:05 -- The character experiences an electrocution of some sort. Somehow this passed without me marking the exact time in my notebook, which indicates the level of its dramatic impact. At the tail end of 2:05 on my clock, the characters take the electrocuted Harley to the hospital, where they meet with the calmest, least-upset doctor ever. This would in many cases be reassuring, like an arm wound or something, but with a corpse involved it's just sort of creepy.

2:06 -- This is also the first time we see a freeze into commercial that features Marvel comics art. Really, really, really generic Marvel art. Like gets sent back to the artist from the licensing department for more individuality and flair generic.

2:07:20 -- According to my brother, only four of the fifteen or so characters in the comic book art credit look anything like they do in real life. You'd think there are enough artists out there that make their characters look like actors for no apparent reason except maybe sucking up that one of them could have received this gig.

2:07:50 -- We know she's a superhero because she has some contacts left over from Jane Badler's character on V. No one else seems to pay much attention to the weird eyes, which is probably the most upsetting thing in the entire episode.

2:08-2:11 -- Pretty much still freaked out by the eyeballs. I make up dialogue for the characters to ask the lady about her weird eyeballs. Nothing clever, mostly a lot of "... and what the hell is wrong with your eyeballs!" and "... by the way, your eyeballs? AAAHHH!"

2:12 -- Our hero tests out her powers as Appliance Starter Lass. We notice that there's a toaster in the middle of the room without a cord anyone can see. My brother comments that having a battery-powered toaster would be really cool, because then you could drive around in your car and eat Pop Tarts.

2:13 -- Another character walks in and makes a beeline for the toast, and starts eating it. What a dick! Who walks into someone's house, walks over to the toast and starts eating it? He's my favorite character.

2:14 -- I ask my brother if the kid with Guy Gardner's haircut is part of the cast, and he informs me this is true, although he doesn't know who Guy Gardner is.

2:15 -- Our heroine fights two stout ex-cons to show off the non-appliance facets of her power. I'm not sure I would have assumed one from the other.

2:16 -- Dan informs me about 65 percent of this character's relatives on the show are detectives, like her; however, the two criminals she takes down are about 65 percent of the black people seen on the show this year.

2:22 -- I note that the character looks as old as her onscreen dad, and I'm told this is pretty common. Given that a number of superheroes are veterans of World War II, I probably should give this a pass.

2:24 -- I think this is the first appearance of the costume and the incredibly passive superhero name "The Guiding Light."

2:27 -- Springfield is apparently beset by such a high number of purse-snatchers, register-looters and cars-running-over-kidslers that a temporary respite has closed down the police department and made our heroine the town's champion.

2:28 -- I seriously consider turning the channel to Jim Rome, which on my usual list of things to do is way closer to "hitting myself in the face until I black out" than it is to "eating pop tarts in the car."

2:29 -- The bizarre blue streak of hair or hair ribbon vexes my brother and myself for the rest of the show.

2:30 -- My notes say "freaky deaky," but I have no idea what this means. I was still pretty traumatized by the eyes, though, so it's probably that.

2:35 -- My brother begins to point out cast members that used to appear on MacGyver. There are a lot of people on Guiding Light that used to appear on MacGyver.

2:36 -- My notes are getting really bad now. I'm even writing hate messages to myself in the margin.

2:38 -- Our heroine muses that someone named "The Blogger" isn't exactly Dr. Doom when it comes to arch-enemies. My brother and I rhapsodize how great it would be for Dr. Doom to come on the show right at that moment, crushing windpipes and declaring diplomatic immunity.

2:40 -- There are a lot of commercials on these things. My brother says the podcasts are only 35 minutes long.

2:42 -- Our heroine is against putting her family in danger by revealing her secret identity, which I think puts her on Captain America's side.

2:43 -- Our heroine claims she's afraid to touch her children because of the possibility of frying them with her superpowers. One would think this would end the "should I stay a superhero" discussion right away, but I'm not a Mom.

2:44 -- In an odd scene where she's having her powers analyzed, our heroine is wearing gigantic elf boots. How can anyone watch these shows and not be baffled by clothes choices for the duration of every episode?

2:45-2:48 -- Jim Rome gets a good one in about Terrell Owens, and talks about other players "smoking tree."

2:49 -- Our heroine can't swim to investigate the Blogger because to douse herself in water means to lose powers to those parts of her body. I can't believe Guiding Light has come up with the first superhero who keeps their superpowers by not bathing.

2:50 -- She didn't catch the bad guy, she caught the bad guy's volunteer sometimes helper. In other words, she caught the bad guy's intern. This scene could totally have been done with a Doombot.

2:51 -- As our heroine decides whether or not to stay a superhero, my brother suggests she could wash herself hobo style, with a wet rag to her pits, crotch and butt, proposing perhaps the most disgusting superhero secret identity page in comics history.

2:53 -- Our heroine dives into the water Business Lebron-style and rids of herself of her power in several seconds of crackling blue-lights, hopefully not killing anyone swimming nearby.

2:54-2:56 -- Superhero-style credits, in case any of the probably many enraged Guiding Light fans happened to wander back to the TV before the hour's end. I think I saw UDON credited for the comics portions, I'm not sure.

2:59 -- Never have two grown men been happier to see Jay Mariotti.

****

In some form or another The Guiding Light has been on since 1937, making it slightly older than Superman and the superhero comic book phenomenon. My brother and I concluded this crossover likely failed to satisfy fans of soap operas and fans of superhero comics, if not made them outright angry, because both sets of fans consider the other form frivolous in a way the object of their enthusiasm is not, and a crossover on this basis almost always plays to the more absurd, silly elements.