I’m confused with exactly how interested I am in superheroes. When Spiderman or the reboot of the Batman series came out I wasn’t at all interested to see them. Eventually I did see the Spiderman trilogy and the first two were pretty good movies and the third tried to do too much and ruined possibly my favorite comic book character of all time in venom – although I was never a comic book guy, I knew him from the animated TV show and video game on Sega I owned where Spiderman and Venom teamed up to fight Carnage. I still haven’t seen the first Batman in the Dark Knight series and was hesitant to see the Dark Knight because of my (not) completely reasonable hatred of Christian Bale and his (alleged) bad breath, but I saw it and it was great, but most of that had to do with praising the career of the recently deceased Heath Ledger who was amazing in the movie as the Joker, but overall I think the directing was subpar and rushed – I felt like Spiderman 3 and The Dark Knight tried to do too much and The Dark Knight rushed it but overall got away with it whereas Spiderman 3 just threw in a bunch of plot but never let it breath and develop. What does any of this have to do with Misfits? Probably nothing, but I’m getting there.
I’m not excited for the final Dark Knight movie, or the Spiderman reboot, or any Superman reboots they might do, and I have no desire to see Captain America or the greatly overrated Thor which was an okay movie but horribly trite and we make fun of the melodrama of Bella falling in love with both a Vampire and Werewolf but for some reason Thor falls heads over heels in love with Natalie Portman after a night to the point where he’s willing to die for her and we’re okay with this? I was kind of into the Heroes television show though, and I think the reason for that was that they were regular people – at least until Peter and Sylar became more powerful than Superman and any emotional connection made with any character in peril became meaningless because they could just be brought back to life a couple episodes later.
I like watching real people. It’s what made reality television so good, but now it’s just caricatures, the prominent features of former real people exaggerated to outrageous proportions to up viewership. This show, Misfits, is real people – granted each character with defined characteristics because TV shows want defined characters – who get super powers but don’t decide to fight crime – at least up to the point that I watched so far, but I kind of hope they never do fight crime, because the charm of the show is that they’re just troubled youths who get superpowers that effect their life but they don’t decide to do anything drastic with their powers.
The show is centered around five young adults who are doing community service together after each getting in trouble. One driving without a license, another a semi-famous athlete caught with drugs, another for something I don’t remember, and the other two you learn in future episodes. This weird storm with Dr. Who like effects – i.e. shitty – happens upon the city and they’re struck with lightning and start feeling different – don’t let the cheesiness of the special effects turn you away.
Nathan is the star of the show. He’s a lovable asshole, always ready with something snarky to say or to mimic masturbating or humping or anything he can think of to get a laugh, but I think it’s less about getting attention as it is entertaining his self. You don’t get to find out what his super power is until the last episode of season 1, but you get a hint in an earlier episode. The show is assuredly more a comedy than super hero drama and he’s the reason why.
One of the girls gets the power to hear people’s thoughts, which I’d kill for even though I know it’d make me kill myself, and another girl gets the weird super power of having anyone she touches or anyone who touches her immediately want to bang the crap out of her and say terribly dirty things that are kind of comical like, “I’m so hard for you. I wanna rip your clothes off and piss on your tits.” Okay, so maybe it’s more disturbing than funny, but the feeling of the show makes disturbing things comical. Now that I think about it that power is pretty much rape. But it goes both ways. Sometimes she can make people want to do her and she’s basically raping them even though at the time they’re enjoying it because of the power’s effect, but also if people accidentally touch her they’ll try to sleep with her even if she doesn’t want them to. I never thought there’d be a way to make rape a super power, but they did, and for that I bow to them.
One of the guys can turn back time, but luckily he can’t really control it, and sometimes it happens when he doesn’t want it to happen. This makes for an easy deus ex machina, which is me using words to try to trick you into thinking I’m smart, but a deus ex machina is a term when a plot is wrapped up with something that came out of nowhere, the term coming from ancient Greek plays when a god would be introduced at the end of a play to resolve the conflict. It isn’t entirely that because the viewer has already been introduced to the power and knows it’s there, but it means that no matter what horrible thing happens in the show it doesn’t mean much because it can just be taken back. Even though this is my least favorite power on the show for that reason it makes for a very interesting fourth episode which tells of the characters back stories.
The fifth guy, the awkwardly funny protagonist Simon, has the power of invisibility. He’s who you root for in this show. Although I guess that’s kind of a spoiler because you don’t really know that at the beginning. But at the same time I think you’re supposed to. He’s the misfit of the misfits. He’s immediately made fun of by Nathan and continually called a pervert and melon fucker and things of the like and I think the viewer is supposed to feel sorry for him and like him because as the series goes on he’s really the only one who brings up the idea of doing good deeds with their gifts.
The show isn’t perfect, it probably isn’t even great, but it can be very funny at times – I found myself laughing out loud often, which isn’t something I do very much even when watching full on comedies – and the characters are very likable, even Nathan who is a tremendous dick. A lot of the endings seem sudden and wrapped up in too simple of ways, which takes away from the show. The show builds up this great tension and situations that seem impossible to get out of but then things get resolved in ways that seem cheesy. And the show is starting to feel like it might go the way of Heroes and try to do too much and be about superheroes rather than real people with super powers, but I’ll hold out hopes in that it will continue to be funny and entertaining and you should give it a try. You can watch the first two seasons for free at Hulu.com but you have to have an account or sign up for one because it contains a lot of cussing and some nudity…okay, a lot of butt cheek nudity.