I've covered a few different animated superheroes here, but none quite like SheZow. The eponymous star of a new show on The Hub, she is a superhero decked out in a pink costume, complete with a miniskirt and white go-go boots. She has many of the usual superpowers (strength, speed, supersonic voice) as well as a collection of super-accessories like laser lipstick and hair spray that immediately fixes frizzy hair (her one weakness). And, oh yes, her alter ego is a twelve year-old boy.
Guy Hamdon and his sister Kelly discover a magic ring that belonged to their aunt, who also masqueraded as the female crime fighter. After accidentally putting on the ring, Guy transforms into his super form with the words, "You go, girl!" After a bit of an adjustment period, he comes to embrace his super-self and vows to protect the city of Megadale from supervillains and other dangers,
Observant comic fans will recognize this as little more than a twisted version of Captain Marvel from DC, a Superman-like hero who dwells in the body of young Billy Batson until he says the magic word, "Shazam!" The comparison is right there in the title. Others however, have chosen to once again look for problems where none really exist. Conservative groups have been attacking the show as an attempt to push the transgender agenda onto young children. These groups would have a legitimate bone to pick if not for two major things: the show is not about transgender/cross-dressing, and it's so colossally bad that who cares if it is?
I actually like the concept. Guy is your typical hyper-masculine kid who loathes girly stuff with the power and fury of a thousand dudebros. To take someone like that and make him a super-feminine superhero is a great opportunity. It's not about gender confusion, gender dysphoria, or any other element associated with the transgender movement. It's simply a unique take on the fish-out-of-water type of storytelling. Remember Toby Maguire when he was trying to figure out all of his new spider powers in Spider-Man? Just add in a scene where he also learns how to walk in high heels and you'll get the general gist of the concept.
You know when Happy Meals have a toy made either for boys (cars, robots, deer hunting equipment, etc.) or girls (ponies, princesses, or other pink paraphernalia)? That's pretty much The Hub in a a nutshell. The Hasbro-owned channel is really only known for Transformers: Prime and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Since the channel's inception, it has struggled with trying to compete with the big three of Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network. SheZow is The Hub's latest effort to try and drum up some ratings. Will it work? Not likely.
While a solid enough premise, SheZow just fails to deliver on so many levels. The art has an annoying wonky-for-the-sake-of-wonky look to it. One basic rule of animation is to make your eyes asymmetrical to make your character look more lifelike and less like a cardboard cutout. This does not mean to simply make one eye bigger than the other in every shot. The Flash animation is smooth, but the bright colors and style just don't work visually. It worked for My Little Pony, but since then, every new Hub show uses the exact same style of animation regardless of whether or not it looks good.
And the writing, dear God, the writing! The characters are far too obnoxious to be likable and have dreadful senses of humor. Imagine every lame gender-based trope you can, then cram it into a single show. Remember my Peter Parker in heels joke earlier? Well take that and make it worse. Several jokes aren't even inherently bad, but are just so mishandled that they fail completely. And the puns...puns everywhere. The puns are so "she-lariously" awful that they make Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin look like Shakespeare, and this is coming from someone who laughs like an idiot at every single "Veterinarian's Hospital" sketch from The Muppet Show.
"Maybe he just needs a good pun-ch to the face!"
Maybe SheZow just needs some time to develop itself. MLP: FiM was similarly cringe-inducing for much of its first season, but then really blossomed into a rather enjoyable series after that. Season one of SheZow has already aired in Australia and hasn't caused too much of an uproar, so maybe it has a chance. I do truly like the idea of a show that doesn't sit comfortably into one of the several boxes that tend to categorize programs, but if it doesn't get better, all I see is one more failed show from The Hub. Get your act together and go get it, girl!