The best thing I can say about Powerless is that it’s not as awful as I half-expected it to be after the second Pilot. With the disappointment at the loss of the next great comedy (WHY DID YOU HAVE TO RE-SHOOT THE PILOT, NBC? WHY?) a thing of the past, I’m now able to see the show for what it is – and for what it’s trying to do.
Problem is, I still don’t love it. I don’t hate it either, but I probably wouldn’t be watching if I didn’t have to review it. And that says it all, doesn’t it?
Like before, I love the idea. I love the actors. But the execution – the one that was on point in the first version of the Pilot I saw – that has been lacking again and again and again. Sure, some jokes land, because if you throw a bunch of stuff at a wall, a few things are bound to stick. But even when the jokes land, it feels like it was more a happy coincidence and not part of a larger plan to amuse you.
In fact, at the end of the show, there’s a voice-over that says: That’s funny. Problem is, it isn’t. It really, really isn’t.
Absolutely nothing is.
Not ha ha funny, at least. Instead it’s like Powerless is swinging for the fences and, every once in a while, hitting a chopper that the third baseman mishandles and allows them to somehow make it to first (I’d apologize for the sports reference, but this is who I am). It’s not that they’re doing anything great, it’s that, sometimes, they can take advantage of the situation and do something …not as awful.
That’s not my biggest issue with Powerless, though, my biggest issue so far is – pacing. In this episode, and in the last one, it feels like Emily is really getting along with everyone. We just haven’t seen enough of how they went from point A to Point B. How did all these characters go from hating the new boss to gently teasing her about her endless optimism? How did they come friends? Why?
Comedies don’t get a pass on characterization because they get less time to develop their characters. If anything, the best comedies, the ones we remember, are the ones that give us distinctive characters in a short space of time. Powerless already has everything else it could need to keep people interested – it has the DC connection, it has great actors, now they just need the writing to catch up.
And they need the writing to catch up fast. With half the season already in the books and the ratings anything but spectacular, the future of the show could be decided soon. And right now, it just doesn’t look good.
Worst part? We really won’t miss it.
“The agreement states that we can’t make any kids, but it doesn’t account for the preexisting conditions.”
“I have a feeling this is all gonna end with a call from the Busch Garden’s coroner’s office.”
“Cold season is impossible to dress for, it’s like a wedding on the beach.”
Fun Easter eggs:
- Wonder woman plane joke! Yes, it’s invisible. Also, there’s a clock set to Themyscira time.
- Teddy’s list of cold villains includes some familiar names: “Mr. Freeze, Captain Cold, Frostbite, Killer Frost, Minister Blizzard.”
- Is Lex Luthor still the President? We have to assume to – he was PEOTUS in the Pilot. So, Teddy, you really don’t need to be that jealous about your brother speaking to him.
- Ferris Air: Teddy’s plane tickets, in the flashbacks, were from this airline, which we have to assume is a tribute to Carol Ferris, the love interest of Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and also one of a number of women to take on the Star Sapphire mantle in the comics.
- Big Belly Burger! That wrapper that Teddy suggests they should use to improve the product is clearly from the Arrow/The Flash mainstay.
Other things to note:
- Sexist jokes are only funny when you point out how sexist they are.
- I don’t get the Hobbit movie comparison, as I didn’t even care to watch the Hobbit movies. But it looked like it hurt. I was probably right not to watch the movies.
- Popping every kernel in the bag is impossible. IMPOSSIBLE.
- The gloves are really cool – and practical. They should have won.
- Emily’s attitude is starting to get on my nerves.
- The Killer Frost mention leads to this question: how intertwined is this world with the larger DCTV universe? Is this Earth 743 and that’s why Caitlin is evil here? Can we blame Barry for this as well?
What about you? Did you love the episode? Hate it? Share with us in the comments below!
Powerless airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c on NBC.