Thursday, September 25, 2014

Muppet Babies Syndrome

I recently started listening to Trentus Magnus Punches Reality and in his first show Magnus defends Smallville. I've only seen a few episodes of the show myself, so I'm not qualified in commenting on the quality of it. I do agree with him that the premise of the show is the journey to becoming Superman, so having Clark put on the suit before the last episode doesn't make sense. One thing that I do have a problem with, and not just in this show, is what I call "Muppet Babies Syndrome."

What's that, you ask? That is the trope that we see, in TV and comics mostly, where just because characters know each other as adults, that means that they MUST have known each other as kids. Muppet Babies, Smallville, Flinstone Kids, A Pup Named Scooby Doo, etc, etc. All of these shows show horn in characters from other versions that, if you think about it, shouldn't be there.

Let's look at a typical person's life. They have friends growing up, that live near them and go to the same school. Fine, no problem. When they grow up, they go to college/get a job and meet new people. People that they didn't know as a kid. The older you get, the more people you meet. Some become closer to you than those you grew up with, some don't.

To take a character, like Superman, and say that EVERYONE he ever met in the comics knew him, at some point, before he put on the suit makes NO SENSE! You want Lana Lang, OK that works. Lex Luthor? I'm not a fan, but there's precedent there. Lois Lane? Um ... alright, if it make story sense. Green Arrow, Aquaman, Batman, and the ENTIRE Justice Society? Nope, sorry, I'm drawing the line. Superman was the hero that inspired others to become heroes, not the other way around.

Of course, the biggest problem with this is that DC then said "Wow, this show is successful. Let's bring all of that into the comics!" That was one of the things that made me stop reading the Superman comics. When Clark Kent runs into Lexcorp Tower claiming that he can talk to Lex since they grew up together, and I can pull out an issue where they first met, years after Superman made his debut, and no Crisis was involved, you lose me.

Please keep in mind that I have no problem with alternate takes on things. I can compartmentalize characters. Christopher Reeve =/= George Reeves =/= Brandon Routh =/= Tim Daly =/= Henry Cavill =/= Dean Cain =/= Tom Welling. Each exists in their own universe and doesn't affect the others. When they do bleed over, though, especially when they change the comics just because of this show/movie/whatever is popular and not for any valid story reason, that I don't like. Of course, I'm not buying new(er) comics any more, so it's kind of a moot point.

Let me stress that these are MY hang-ups. This is why I don't read the comics any more or watch Smallville. They have nothing to do with the products themselves by more my mentality. I know that I'll get annoyed by them, so why put myself through that? If you like this stuff, as Magnus obviously loves Smallville, good for you. We don't all need to like the same things.

OK, I just had to get that off my chest. We now return you to more light-hearted fare.

1 comment:

  1. The "everyone knew everyone back when they were kids" thing is one of my pet peeves as well. Low creativity, willingness to take risk, etc. by the writers. Plus, from the view of basic principles it starts looking like some form of elite predestined thing. THIS select group is going to do everything.