Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Watching cartoons with Lily: The Super Hero Squad Show

Superhero Squad is a throwback to cartoons of my childhood, but it's more atavism than homage.

My parents complained that the cartoons I watched in the 80s were 30 minute long commercials and it's hard to dispute that about, say, the Transformers, but there were shows that were genuinely really good. I think Robotech still holds up, for instance.

It just looked like a lot of fun. I've been playing the free online game with Lily. I like the super-deformed look of the characters. The theme song was composed by Parry Gripp!

Cool people may know him as the lead singer and guitarist, for Nerf Herder, the band that performed the opening theme for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Even cooler people may know him as the man behind Itchy Tummy Piglet.


"Itchy Tummy Piglet, wee wee wee!"

Anyway, Parry Gripp, super-heroes, super-deformed super-heroes, how could it not be great?

And yet, it fails to come together.

There are two main problems. The first is that it's a boy's club. Though it does eventually get somewhat better, here's the lineup for the first season.

Sausage fest!

We do have one woman in the form of Ms. Marvel, who serves as a mom and humorless scold to the boys. While it's not a huge deal and I don't want to be all "Won't Someone Think of the Children?!" here, but when the only female presence is such a negative one, I have to wonder what they were thinking. Now it doesn't bother Lily (she'll watch any crap you put in front of her), but it bothers me.

The other thing I don't like is the tone. Too often it's silly without being absurd and tries too hard to be funny. If I had to sum up the problems with the show in a single sentence, it's that there's no joy to it.

I'm not saying that it's the worst thing I've ever seen or anything, but it's less than what it could be.

However, I do dig the online game a lot. It has a Magic the Gathering style collectable card game as part of it and that is astoundingly fun. Check out my Spider-man deck thrashing Wolverine.

Regenerate this!
Lily's favorite new superhero from the game is Emma Frost. This is how she looks in the game

This is how she's usually represented outside of the game.

I'm going to have a lot of explaining to do if Lily starts telling people she wants to dress up like Emma Frost for Halloween.


  1. The only thing I liked about Superhero Squad was that The Hulk kept taking on his alternate versions of himself during the title sequence. Other than that it was pure bunk.

  2. That's Lily's favorite part of it too. She especially likes the first one, where he turns into the baby. I like everything about the title sequence, from the music to the rotate the camera sequence with Magneto to the Hulk bit. I think that's why I was as unforgiving of the show as I was, because of the slow descent from "This title sequence is great!" to "What the fuck is this?" when watching the rest of an episode.

  3. Agreed. The title sequence was great. Everything else was crapola.