SMALLVILLE - 9.8 - "Idol" - Review (Mania.com)

By:Joe Oesterle
Review Date: Sunday, November 15, 2009
Source: Mania

She Needs a Hero.

Form of a steamy sex dream under a red sun. Shape of a psychiatrist’s couch. Ol’ Lois Lane has it pretty bad for co-worker Clark Kent, and her vivid romantic fantasies have landed her in therapy. Clark, for all his powers, has never been able to read the subtle signals of flirtation but seems to finally be somewhat aware of Lois’ attraction towards him. This of course does not sit comfortably with the independent Ms. Lane, and she is only too glad to avoid the subject when the FedEx man asks her to sign for a package large enough to contain four undercover policemen, a few hundred kilos of cocaine and a serious stain on The Blur’s reputation.

It appears from the giant “S” insignia calling card left on the side of a skyscraper the Blur has broken up covert sting operation and everyone in Metropolis, including the politically mobile and surprisingly sinister District Attorney Raymond Sacks, is openly questioning if this Blur is more foe than friend. Even Lois is starting to wonder if her secret phone pal screwed the pooch on this one. All of this Blur-doubting sends Clark to Chloe’s Watchtower pad for guidance, advice and the sudden realization he has followers on Twitter.

 

Super Fans.

Two of Clark’s biggest supporters, Zan and Jayna, a.k.a. the Wonder Twins from Saturday morning cartoons of yesteryear fame, are not the run of the mill Blur groupies – these kids have super powers of their own.

Now I personally have been dreading this episode since I realized it was going to feature the most famous team of water/animal transforming siblings in the history of ever.

I was never a fan of Zan and Jayna in their previous television incarnation (I was always a Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog guy myself) and with my automatic (and deserved) mistrust of the majority of writers who have contributed to nine uneven seasons of Smallville, I was more than a bit apprehensive at the idea of these two rather undeserving, undeveloped characters getting a featured part.

Was my anxiety well placed, or did the Wonder Twins, against enormous odds, clutch up and actually save the day? The answer is – eh. They certainly didn’t bother me as much as they could have, but at the same time, they didn’t leave me hoping for a spin-off either.

 

White Again.

This episode had a lot going for it – both good and bad. As far as the Twins themselves are concerned, I enjoyed the bedazzled Gleek encrusted phone, and thought the special metamorphosing effects were impressive enough for T.V., but I did think for a show that has often been criticized for being “too Caucasian,” the higher ups at Smallville dropped the ball when casting Zan and Jayna. At the risk of sounding racist in this ultra P.C. world we’re all living in, I always assumed if Zan and Jayna were ever portrayed by human actors, they would be Asian actors. Maybe it’s my hang-up, but I have Asian friends who told me that growing up they liked the Wonder Twins because they also believed Zan and Jayna to be of Asian heritage. It’s also interesting to point out that a large urban area like Metropolis doesn’t really seem to have too many people darker than “beach tan” living within city limits.

If I were on a budget, and I needed to make fictional characters seem slightly alien, I’d hire any other ethnicity than those of European descent so as to seem wildly exotic in “White Person City.” Oh yeah, and I would have given them pointy ears too.

By the way, I know much of the Superman universe was created in 1938, so I understand why many of the characters are always portrayed as white. But if these guys are happy to re-imagine Green Arrow’s sidekick, Speedy, to a woman (a white woman no less) then why not take a chance on another cultural affiliation when the opportunity presents itself with lesser known, lesser established characters.

Ok, enough of the soapbox, the Wonder Twins were adequate, but purple actors would not have made them any more interesting.

 

Sacks Sucks.

I have a question for the group. As many of you know, because I point it out every other article, I have not been a loyal follower of this show until this season. That said, is this D.A. Ray Sacks a recurring character, or was this his first time on screen? If the latter is the case, then I found him to be a wholly unbelievable character. I hope this guy has been a snake in the grass ancillary character for a few seasons now and has finally shown his true colors. I do however fear, this may be his first appearance, and in that case the whole corrupt politician thing seemed more than just a little rushed and convenient.

 

Dark Knight Anyone?

And while I’m on the topic of D.A. Sacks, did anyone else feel like the news conference scene was ripped right out of The Dark Knight Returns? Aside from the fact that I didn’t really buy into the reality of Lois being able to burst on to the podium and interrupt a planned media event, (yes I realize she has press credentials) Lois’ unscheduled interruption mirrored Harvey Dent’s false admission that he was in fact the Batman.

I have to admit, the unlikely scenario of a district attorney showing up on the rooftop of a major metropolitan newspaper with a team of his goons and tossing the star reporter off the building bothered me. However, the ridiculous idea that said star reporter somehow managed to grab on to a flag pole during a panic-stricken free fall, and that the flag pole was more than capable or supporting the weight of a 115 pound nosey newspaper gal, or that the gal herself is even capable of holding on to the pole for more than a few minutes did not anger me at all. Plus it’s always fun to see Lois’s own “wonder twins” from different angles. I know I cry all the time about the impracticality of the writing on this show at times, but that scene, rational or not, seemed very Superman to me.

And so lady bug Jayna hightails it back to brother Zan and convinces him to fog up the view, giving Clark the chance to save the day while also saving his secret identity. Whether or not the Wonder Twins were creating this diversion for that purpose is unclear, but they were definitely saving the hero from himself, or at least from compromising himself.

 

Now We’re Getting Somewhere.

I liked this episode despite its flaws, and what I liked is it seems the writers are at long last making an effort to bring Clark and Superman together. This means Lois is going to be suspicious of Clark, she may even place herself in dangerous situations to prove that Clark is indeed Superman, and best of all, Clark will wear glasses. These are some very basic Superman tenets, and for whatever reason, we the fans respond well to those time-honored precepts when applied to these characters.

Now that Clark is bespectacled, it’s hard not to wonder when the cape and tights will make their long awaited appearance. From the glimpses of next week’s coming attractions, it’s not likely to be any time soon, but my gut tells me if you have been an on again off again fan of this show, next week may be a good time to get back on. Lois kissed Clark and she seizured up an ominous foretelling of Zod’s ultimate revenge. For the first time since I started watching this show, I am looking forward to next week.

 

Signing Off.

And so fair citizens of Smallville, until next week, once again this is Joe Oesterle, your mild-mannered blogging, reviewer guy saying, “Really, Lois, supposing that man had shot you? Is it worth risking your life over ten dollars, two credit cards, a hairbrush, and a lipstick?”

 


 

Joe Oesterle is an award-winning writer and illustrator, but what he often fails to mention is that many of those awards were won on a New Jersey boardwalk. Pick up his latest books "Weird California" and "Weird Las Vegas" in any Barnes and Noble near you, and look for his next book, "Weird Hollywood," due out soon. www.JoeArtistWriter.com And if you enjoy stories of old-time comedians and oral sex, be sure to check out Joe’s latest article on his own blogsite, http://joeartistwriter.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/buddy-hacketts-allegeded-contractual-obligations/



Mania Grade: B
Title: Smallville
Episode Title: Idol
Starring: Tom Welling, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, David Gallagher, Monique Ganderton, Adrian Holmes, Alessandro Juliani, Stephen Lobo, Dylan Neal, Allison Scagliotti
Written by: Anne Cofell Saunders
Directed by: Glen Winter
Network: The CW Network
Series: Smallville