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Who Wants to Be a Superhero, the Finale: I Believe I Can Flyby Steve Wasser -- 09/01/2006
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The finale hits the ground faster than The Flash in a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato drinking contest! A bolt of electricity races from The Lair to power lines and into every television in America. Instantly, the image of Stan Lee is everywhere. Children gasp as their afternoon cartoons are interrupted! Pedestrians gawk in Times Square! Dan Didio does a spit take on Paul Levitz in the offices of DC Comics! The country is overcome by the image of Stan “The Man” Lee explaining the premise of his show for the last time. He concludes his dynamic summary with the promise that either Fat Momma or Feedback will reign supreme by the end of the day!
We cut to Stan, who sits in his office considering the finalists’ comic book covers. In a voice over, he explains that both contestants display the qualities of a true hero: courage, integrity, honesty, and compassion. Stan remembers meeting Fat Momma during the auditions. He was charmed by her theme song and message that all people can be selfless and heroic, regardless of their physique. In montage, we witness all of Fat Momma’s heroic moments throughout the challenges, including her inspirational presentation to a classroom full of students. Stan autographs her comic and logs onto ebay (lie).
Turning his attention to Feedback, Stan describes him as a compassionate, caring, and ambitious young man. In a series of flashbacks, we witness Feedback excelling in all of the competitions. Feedback once again explains that this contest is the culmination of his life’s efforts and that when his father died, he looked upon Stan’s heroes as role models. Stan expresses amazement about how influential superheroes have been in the finalist’s life. If Stan can’t understand Feedback’s admiration for Spider-Man and Captain America, he would shudder at my vow to live by the Code of the Froot Loops Toucan. Follow your nose, indeed!
In a bit that didn’t get old until this episode, the heroes go about their daily business while in full costume, doing dishes and fixing a meal. Stan interrupts them via the Kitchen Aid Wall Monitor and MegaMixer (KAWMaMM, in a bit that didn’t get old until this sentence) to announce the next challenge: he is going to grant their super powers AND teach them how to fly. He then commands them to invade Sweden and gets visibly angry when they don’t spring into action (lie). The Transport, um, transports them to a suburban home where they meet John, the stunt coordinator for the Spider-Man movies. Feedback is wide-eyed with childish wonder.
John explains that the heroes will start their training with trampolines, so they had better stretch out. In a sudden move more startling than a Pringles can full of flaming springy snakes, Feedback hits the ground in a perfect split. Apparently, plastic pants have more give than you would think. On the other end of the Ralph Dibny Flexibility Scale, Fat Momma explains that she’s a 42-year old mother that’s wearing a corset – she doesn’t do stretching.
Feedback takes to the trampoline like the male cheerleader that he was born to be, all crazy splits and giggles. He tucks into an effortless somersault and follows it with a perfectly executed back flip. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. All of this, of course, seriously intimidates Fat Momma. When she takes to the trampoline, she appears extremely stiff. She eventually succeeds in bouncing from her backside to her feet without losing a donut and is relieved to move onto the next stunt. I’m just curious to see if Feedback is going to stick his leg behind his head or use his own arm as a jump rope.
At the urging of John the stunt coordinator, the heroes change into their street clothes for a lesson in stage fighting. Feedback takes to it with the enthusiasm of a nine-year old who has had way too much Lik-M-Aid and Mountain Dew. Fat Momma is subdued and apologetically hugs each stunt man after practicing her hitting and kicking. At John’s instruction, our heroes face off. When they trade punches and kicks, they look pretty good! Feedback is a particularly good sport, providing a realistic bounce when Fat Momma kicks him while he’s on the ground. Or maybe she did kick him. After that whole split thing, I wouldn’t have blamed her at all.
All of this leads up to the challenge’s finale, the opportunity for the heroes to hurl themselves from a launching apparatus, across a green screen and into a pile of air mattresses. Feedback can’t wait to be flung and takes to the apparatus like Monkey Woman on a banana tree. Again and again, he leaps from the machinery and pulls off an array of flips and tucks. After finishing, he speaks enthusiastically of the experience but admits that the landings hurt a bit. Fat Momma climbs onto the machinery and begins to think about the family that depends on her. She also considers how much younger and more athletic Feedback is than she is. Deciding that the stunt is too dangerous, she declines to participate and steps down. John the stunt coordinator is charmingly supportive, giving Fat Momma a high five, a kiss, and a hug. He then leads the crew in a round of supportive applause.
In a montage, we see a quick snippet of the special effects that will be added to the filmed stunts. Fat Momma grows to five times her size, Feedback bobbles a large boulder, and both heroes soar through space.
Via their personal communicators, Stan explains to the pair that the challenge was all about appearances. He wanted to see what they would look like on screen and concludes that the results were “quite telling,” and I wonder if he was as jarred as I was by Feedback’s case of the freaky rubber tendons. Stan orders them back to The Lair, where Fat Momma is exhausted but insists on cleaning because she knows they will soon leave for good. Meanwhile, Feedback takes the time to practice his poses in front of a blown-up poster of his comic book cover. Then, he uses his toes to place a cigarette in his mouth and light it with a match (lie).
Stan asks for a one-on-one interview with each of the heroes. Sitting before the giant living room monitor, Feedback agrees that Stan should address him by his real name, given that this will be their last opportunity to chat before the final decision is made. Matthew speaks about what it means to be a superhero, and that it is about how you react to people and whether people feel that they can trust you. Matthew shares that his hero is Stan, the creator of Spider-Man. Stan is clearly touched by the sentiment and humbly thanks Matthew.1 2 Next-->
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