Justice League of America:  Proof that if there were superheroes in the world, we wouldn't be able to stop laughing at them.

Dear God.  I really want to know what's going through the heads of the people who pitch these shows.  Really.  The facts:  In 1997, CBS had a pilot for a show called "Justice League of America" put together.   Just in case you're completely geek-deficient, the Justice League was an organization of most of DC Comics' strongest characters mixed in with some of their most lame.  Sure, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are on the roster (hopefully, you've at least heard of THEM).  Yet also on the roster are Vibe, Power Girl, Booster Gold, & Gypsy.  If your response is "WHO???" then you're a normal, well-adjusted human being who was lucky enough to not read too many comics.  The Justice League of America show decided to walk the middle ground:  featuring superheroes that there was no way in hell for a normal person to know about AND characters that you might have heard about.  The Flash & Green Lantern are the most recognizable members.  After that, you've got The Atom, Fire, & Ice.  Fire AND Ice?  Isn't that clever?  :sigh:  I've got more to say but I think the best way to explain this particular trainwreck is to just inform you of what I've learned by watching this.

Lesson #1:  Mascara does NOT count as a costume.

Saying the costumes are terrible in this show is a bit of an understatement.  You'll see them as this article unfolds, but look up at "Fire" there.  What is it about the DC universe that makes people so easily confused by retarded costumes?  Clark Kent just has to take off his glasses to look like Superman....apparently Fire just has to put her hair in a scrunchie and lather her face in mascara to completely fool everyone.  What's even funnier is how Fire's earrings give away her secret identity at one point....but not the fact that she's not wearing a disguise of any sort.  Man.

Lesson #2:  Do NOT base your superhero show on reality television (or FRIENDS for that matter).

    

What do I mean by this?  The show Justice League of America is about superheroes....and their daily lives.  A lot of people have said that this show tried to be like Friends, and while I don't know if that's true, I do know that the show does have a lot to do with MTV's old show The Real World.  As the episode progresses, we the audience keep getting exposed to these weird interview clips with the characters telling us how they felt at the moment or something like that.  This brings up the major flaw of the show. 

Justice League of America is NOT about action.  It's not really about superheroes.  It IS about their daily lives.   Over the course of the episode, you get to watch how the Green Lantern can't keep a girlfriend, how The Flash can't keep a job, & how desperate Fire is to get an acting career.  There's even a sequence revolving around how they can't fix their television.  The actual story of the pilot seems to circle around Ice, or namely, this woman who gets superpowers and gets invited to join the League but doesn't have faith in herself, and, well, pretty much plays the squeaky shy mouse of a girl for an hour and half.  The show is played for laughs.  This is a bad move, mainly because it's not that funny.  So yeah, this show's a sitcom with people wearing rubber suits.

 

Fire dressed as a banana!  How could this not be comedy gold?

There's also a weird subplot about how Fire is getting stalked by a 22-year-old.  She calls his age ridiculous and says he's way too young and immature for her (Fire's age isn't mentioned but she looks to be in her late twenties).  What's kind of interesting here is that they kind of go out of their way to make people that are 22 seem retardedly young.  Of course, by young, they mean goofy and stupid.  Which is sort of a bad move.  I mean, if you make a television show that's based off superheroes with goofy powers and bad costumes, who do you think is going to watch it?  It's sort of like if the show "The Price is Right" changed their theme to include the lyrics "Screw You Old People, Hurry up and Die".  I guess what I'm saying is, if you're going to make a show targeting a specific demographic, don't go out of your way to make that demographic look bad.  Think I'm exaggerating?  How many 22-year-olds treat their local ice cream truck driver like a bartender as they down ice cream to drown their sorrows?   Sorry, I'm sort of bitter.  Let's move on.

Lesson #3:  If your group has a mentor, do NOT choose the tubby fat alien.

     

John Jones (spelled J'on J'onzz, you know, because he's a Martian) is the psychic shape-changing alien who's the Yoda of the group.  The less said about him the better.  Suffice to say there's a chubby fat bitch of a green alien training and giving orders to the Justice League.

Lesson #4:  Heroes do NOT threaten to dismember the bad guy with a chainsaw.

The Green Lantern has a magic ring that can create any object that he wants.  Over the course of the show he creates a whip, a helicopter, a key, an umbrella, and a freaking CHAINSAW.  When the Weatherman (don't ask...there's a rogue meteorologist running around creating tidal waves and hurricanes all over the place) won't give up his "weather control device," the Green Lantern pulls a chainsaw out of his ring and starts waving it around at him.  Jesus.  I thought the good guys weren't allowed to threaten to disembowel people with industrial equipment.  Guess I was wrong. 

By the by, you might have noticed that the Green Lantern....isn't green.  Since the character Fire's costume is green (because we all know that fire is best denoted by the color green), the Green Lantern is technically the Teal Lantern.  Wow.  You'd think that if you had a hero with a color in his name, they wouldn't screw with that particular part.  Lame.

Lesson #5:  The Atom sucks.

      

If I got superpowers and the only thing I could do was to shrink myself, I'd feel profoundly ripped off.  It's got to suck having a costume that makes him look like some sort of chunky He-man action figure (and the power to make himself the same size as a chunky he-man action figure).  Also note how The Atom is riding on Fire's shoulder in that second picture.  So very lame.  But not as lame as how the show introduces Atom's powers.  You see, there's an evil hurricane plaguing the city and all the heroes are out saving the day.  The Flash creates counterwind to stop it, Fire frees some trapped construction workers, and the Green Lantern saves a child from being crushed.  What does the Atom do?

     

The Atom helps an old lady who's cat is stuck under her porch.

Let's ignore how this is a terrible special effect.  Let's focus more on the fact that while everyone's out saving the day, the Atom is prowling around a suburban neighborhood desperately searching for someone that needs the help of a man who can shrink.  Jesus Christ, how often is that going to be necessary?  "OH NO, I dropped by pencil behind the fridge!" The Atom:  "I'll save you!"  My pet theory is that this old lady with her cat was actually bribed by the other members of the League so that the Atom could have something to do.  Oh yeah, and there's one more thing:

I can't believe there's actually a scene where the Atom limbos under a security beam.  In fact, I'd like to think it never happened.

Lesson #6:  Don't trust the Flash with your kids.

    

When a Tidal Wave of Doom is coming to the city, the Flash starts offering kids "piggyback rides to freedom".  If you looked outside your window and saw a man in a red spandex/leather suit carrying off your kids, what the hell would you think?  It also doesn't help that the Flash apparently is really good at watching people from the bushes....which is kind of impressive, since a candy apple red spandex suit isn't exactly what I'd call "camouflage." 

I don't really know what else to say about the torture that I had to put up with to watch this.  I've been on a "superhero" movie kick lately, and, well, I couldn't resist sharing what I saw here with you.  Keep in mind that while this review has LOTS of pictures of people in costumes, know that for about 90% of the show, no one's in a costume doing anything.  It's a whole lot of nothing revolving around getting a job and keeping a girlfriend while saving the earth.  Of course, while this is going on, the Atom just can't stop bragging about that cat he pulled out from beneath the porch.  There's a lot of talk online about why this show wasn't produced, ranging from "OMG THEY DIDN'T FOLLOW THE COMIC BOOKS AT ALL" to "WHY DIDN'T THEY USE THE WALLY WEST FLASH INSTEAD OF THE BARRY ALLEN ONE?"  So yes, only the most hardcore of the geeks care.  I think this wasn't made into a show because it just wasn't that good.  Like, at ALL. Sorry, comic book fans.  Take care.

-jared

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Copyright jared 2005 except for those snazzy images which are the property of their respectful owners.  So don't sue me.  Seriously.  Please?