SMALLVILLE - 9.8 - "Idol" - Review -

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Mania Grade: B

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  • 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

SMALLVILLE - 9.8 - "Idol" - Review

"’s hard not to wonder when the cape and tights will make their appearance."

By Joe Oesterle     November 15, 2009
Source: Mania

SMALLVILLE - 9.8 - "Idol" - Review
© 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. 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,


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dewbak75 11/15/2009 2:13:26 PM

They didn't "make" Speedy a woman just for Smallville. The first Speedy in the comics was Roy Harper, who grew up to become Arsenal and now Red Arrow. The second and current Speedy in the comics is Mia Dearden, an HIV-positive former child prostitute that Oliver rescued from the streets shortly after he returned from the dead.



Madmardegan 11/15/2009 2:37:53 PM

the whole race thing threw me in this article---uh how bout Clark's best bud in high school, lana, cyborg, martian manhunter, etc.   But I can see your point as far as metropolis city folk go.

I really liked this episode because it focused back on Clark and his progress in seeing why being in the shadows will not work forever.  I intially thought it was Zod postin up his shield and was a little disappointed that it wasnt, but it still worked out.  There were some good lines in this episode too, this show does for me what few others do, and that is inspire me to do good deeds (while still being a jackass at times).  Not many other shows, besides the end of Heman episodes, give me that feeling of good morality like this one. 

these shows always rip off other ones, but i liked the spin with the news conference and the lois dangling scene (ala Supes 1 helicopter scene).  The dangling scene was pretty dope with what she was saying and how clark was going to handle it.

i dont know anything about sissy boy Queen's sidekick, and dont care, this show be about Supes and not Arrow, so when Queen's gets his own series then I'll care and hope he can fight better than Lois in that show and not get knocked out from behind in every fight scene

jfdavis 11/15/2009 2:52:10 PM

Now that you mention it, Zan and Jayna would have been better as Asian.  Not sure why they made them human either...MY biggest gripe was when they simply said "Powers activate." That was a way lamer omission than when the Borg didn't identify themselves during their Enterprise appearence...

Since you didn't mention it, putting Clark in glasses for two seconds waas terrible.  Lois should have noticed, when she put the glasses on, they were fake. Second, if she thought about it, wouldn't she now wonder why Clark doesn't bang into desks all day if he was really nearsighted?  

PAGE 11/15/2009 2:55:08 PM

Nice review Joe. As always. You forgot to mention one thing though. Which I'm actually glad the writers brought attention to. Clark seemed pretty pissed at Chloe when he realized that she had been eavesdropping on his personal conversations. She seems to be abusing her new found watchtower powers a bit don't you think? I mean, she did that when she put Oliver in "The Game" type scenario, and I'm not surprised Clark would have a problem with her involvment on such levels. I'm just surprised the writers are actually going where I hoped they would go with that. We'll see if that continues to play out in the rest of the season.

I thought they did a pretty good job with The Wonder Twins in this episode. They didn't use them too much, nor did they use them too little. I liked the Bedazzled Gleek phone myself. I thought it was pretty cool to put him in the episode somehow and that was a pretty cool "modern" touch.

I didn't even think about TDK during the press conference scene, but now that you mention it, yea I agree it was a rip off. I mean, it was pretty cool scene, but they could have done something a little more original. And I've been a long time fan of the show, but  I don't remember seeing this DA before, but I may be mistaking. Maybe Ponyboy76 or another fan of the series could job my memory. I'm looking forward to next weeks episode. Looks like it may take place in the future from the point Lois arrived and we'll get to see what she saw when she disappeared. Kind of funny how Clark looks like Future Peter from Heroe's with the scar on his cheek. Anyone else catch that?

samson 11/15/2009 4:04:35 PM

I was really surprised the writiers actually made, "The Wonder Twins" work within the Smallville mythos. They even managed to include their, "well meaning, but non the less, bungling attempts at heroism" themes from the old Justice League cartoon. After Friday's episode, I would actually like to see them pop up here or there.  Wow, never thought I'd say that.

Joe, I agree with you about the lack of diversity in Smallville. But, I had gotten so used to it, I stopped noticing. There is nothing "PC" about it. The Wonder Twins could have easily translated well as Asians. However, I will give the Smallville team some props; they made Martian Manhunter black. And, they did it without compromising the character. They didn't make him a "black hero." They made him a hero who happens to be black.  Should have done the same with Zan and Jayna. Mmm ... Jayna (said in my best Homer Simpson voice


soylentcola 11/15/2009 4:30:33 PM

I loved the homage to Gleek with the cell phones

WarCry 11/15/2009 5:28:19 PM

Jan and Zanya were aliens in every incarnation before this one, so really the only complaint could be they weren't "authentic aliens". Otherwise it just seems like you looking for something to complain about.

Madmardegan 11/15/2009 5:55:05 PM

Page and Joe, the DA is a new character. 

animefanjared 11/15/2009 7:32:52 PM

I always thought Jan and Zanya looked Asian, too.

ponyboy76 11/15/2009 8:28:18 PM

  Good review Joe and good episode. I am also surprised at how the writers managed to not make the The Wonder Twins suck. I was never a big fan of them in the cartoon, but they actually worked pretty well here. I stopped pointing out the lack of diversity in Smallville seasons ago. I mean if you look around they do have plenty of black people, as cops, thugs, or just citizens running away from danger, but that's it. They seem to be more like a black & white cookie and less like a pack of Skittles. Don't think I've seen too many Latino, Latinas, and very few Asians. I guess they don't like Kansas. I like you, always thought the Wonder Twins were Asian, but like it was pointed out they made Martian Manhunter black.
   As soon as the press conference scene came on, I said, The Dark Knight. I mean they even had Welling standing in a simiar position on the same side as Bale. And you are right, that was the first time this D.A.  showed up, which was kind of stupid but the writers always do that. How many crime bosses who have apparently been causing havoc on the streets of Metropolis, but we've never seen until that episode show up just in time for Clark to stop? Its a bad technique and it would be nice to have some fluidity but we are probably asking too much.
  I do like how the writers are handling Lois and Clark's relationship. Its very Superman-esque. I was a little worried that they were going to do something really lame in order to close the door that had been opened with Lois discovering Clark's secret but the Chloe option actually worked pretty well.
The glasses scene was okay And no JfDavis, he would be bumping into things because he's nearsighted, which means he can't see things at a distance.  He'd be bumping into things if he was "farsighted" People that are nearsighted don't really need to wear their glasses all the time depending on the degree of nearsightedness so the explanation he gave Lois was totally plausible.

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