Hey everyone, I’m Orrin. For some background, I’ve been in journalism and social media for almost a decade and have blogged about television and movies a little longer than that. My love is writing about quality serialized shows and films across the gamut of the last century. I also do have a fondness for sci-fi but one thing I discussed with Deayres has been exactly what nerd culture is and the surprising fact that I don’t overlap with him on a lot of interests like anime, comic books, or video games, so he’s going to introduce me to stuff that I’m going to try including a couple weeks ago when he introduced me to “The Boys.”
“The Boys” isn’t the first work to parody the norms of superhero fiction—“Sky High”, “Mystery Men”, “Incredibles” and the underrated and short-lived NBC comedy “Powerless” are some of my favorites—but it might be in an extremely small category of shows that are treating the topic in a dramatic fashion.
In this particular canon, there is an elite team of seven superheroes called (not very imaginatively) “The Seven” and the show’s lens takes us behind the scenes of the heroes’ support team: Mainly the pissy PR staff who wants them to stay on message as well as a CEO of sorts played by Elizabeth Shue (an EXTREMELY underrated actress who was Oscar nominated almost 25 years ago and hasn’t been given much since) who has a major creepy relationship with the group’s leader Homelander. He’s not an isolated incident. We soon learn that the entire gang of superheroes are a self-involved bunch that, if not for the carefully cultivated image of the company’s PR team, would not be well-liked by the public.
There’s a group of underground rebels dedicated to exposing the group’s fraud called “The Boys” and their newest recruit is a sweet young 20-something (Jack Quaid, Dennis’ son with Meg Ryan) whose girlfriend was just torn to pieces through an accidental collision with the “superhero” A-train (this universe’s equivalent of the “Flash”). His love interest, the Iowa transplant to the big city Annie/Starlight is equally new to this high-stakes world and she’s our other audience surrogate. The performances and the way these two characters are written is the heart of this show and there’s a lot to love here.
“The Boys” isn’t a parody because it doesn’t make jokes out of a work of art (like, say, “Austin Powers”) but it’s definitely a satire as in something that seeks to ask provocative questions about society. Maybe superheroes don’t exist but we do have celebrities and idols in our society. Are they really worthy of the praise they get or are they just carefully managed PR images? Can heroism exist without the product being commercialized? These are the questions that “The Boys” has us thinking about. What do you think?