How to Watch ‘The Cape’

Posted: February 1, 2011 in Threat Quality
Tags: , , , , ,

By way of explaining what may be the only reasonable way to watch “The Cape,” let me share with you a formative Holland-moment from my youth: the day I took a cleat to the crotch and learned to love “The Flash.”

It was little league soccer, the autumn of 1990, when I, a feisty young fullback, attempted to defend my goal by charging full-steam at the left winger in control of the ball. It was me or him.

Which naturally meant it was me. He took a big swing at the ball, sending it slamming into my hip and bouncing out of bounds. But on the upswing, his cleat – heel first – collided with my 10-year-old Most Important Bits. It was…unpleasant.

I lay there on the field, howling (as manfully as a 10-year-old can, I imagine) in pain, when my dad/coach came over to check on me. “How you doing?” he asked, apparently not having heard my manful cries. “You wanna…uh…sit out for a few minutes?” 

Now, it’s been 21 years, but I believe my exact words were “NOOOOOOOOOOOO I WANNA GO HOOOOOOOOOME”.

My dad was a firm believer in the “Walk It Off” school of amateur medicine, so I knew this injury must be serious enough, because HE ACTUALLY AGREED WITH ME. My mom drove me home, where I was provided with two healing aids: an icepack, and a VHS recording of an episode of “The Flash” from two nights ago.

I sat there, that Saturday noon, an icepack on my crotch and the greatest thing I’d ever seen grace a TV screen: a man in an awesome red costume zipping around fighting crime while bombastic quasi-Elfman music played in the background. And I’ll tell you, I got so absorbed by that show I (mostly) forgot about the testicular trauma I’d just undergone.

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is who I think “The Cape” is for: the inner 10-year-old in all of us, who needs to watch something silly and bombastic while putting ice on this wounded crotch we call life. Or, more appropriately, actual 10-year-olds.

“The Cape” is ridiculous beyond description – its lead character speaks primarily in clichés, and its most entertaining aspect is the supporting cast: A CIRCUS OF CRIME THAT HAS A STATIONARY BASE IN THE CITY. This is not a show for adult-thinking; it’s not a show to be taken seriously.

And if you ARE taking it seriously, then perhaps you didn’t notice the constant use of swirly tilt-cam last favored during the Adam West Batman series.

An adult writer would not pen the line, “Every cop-cell in my body tells me that guy’s bad news,” if he wanted the primary audience to be anything other than 10-year-old boys who wanted a superhero TV show they could get excited about. I mean, that’s a terrible line. You would not write that line for a show you meant to be embraced by adults.

“The Cape” is – much like “The Flash” 20 years ago – a series adults might like, but that’s a secondary concern, to giving kids a weekly dose of superhero adventure, with simple plots and motivations they can understand (why else hang the hero’s hopes on returning to his son – rather than his wife, whom he barely ever mentions?), even while adult audiences might roll their eyes.

And that’s an attitude I can fully embrace. Meaning: I’m in the minority, since the show seems to be hemorrhaging viewers with every passing week. So…I guess I’ll embrace it while I can, before it joins “M.A.N.T.I.S.,” “Birds of Prey,” and “The Flash” in the great dustbin of failed silly superhero TV shows.

Which, in a roundabout fashion, brings me to the other big news of the week: David E. Kelley’s “Wonder Woman” series has been picked up by NBC, a network that patently refuses to learn any lessons regarding superhero or 70’s-revamps.

To Be Continued…

  1. dagocutey says:

    LOVE your childhood story! Hate The “Crap”.

  2. sebastian says:

    To paraphrase Community, “The Cape is the worst show I will ever watch from premiere to finale”.

    My favorite line, from last week, “No one puts me in a cage.” — said defiantly by a man who has just been put in a cage, followed immediately by a flashback of him being stuck in a cage as a kid.

  3. Jeff Holland says:

    @Sebastion: That is the most 100% accurate way to put my interest in “The Cape.” (Well, 99%. I am watching “V” just to see how much worse it could possibly get. And with every episode, it reaches amazing new lows.)

    I don’t really have confidence in “The Cape” to do anything particularly clever with it, but in that scene you mentioned, where Scales flashes back to a little person mocking him, and transfers that hatred to Rollo? That is absolutely perfect.

    If the show realizes Scales is actually ROLLO’s arch-enemy, it will provide me with one more big stupid grin.

    Fingers crossed for a “SCALES vs. ROLLO: ROUND 3” act-opener at some point.

  4. “M.A.N.T.I.S.” was pretty goddamn awesome — like a paraplegic Black Panther/Batman. And Carl Lumbly got to be the Martian Manhunter later on. So, thanks, ’90s!

  5. […] I’ll bet if NBC were to check with a few people working at CBS in 1990, they’d hear a lot of good advice on why a licensed character isn’t the draw they might assume it is. […]

  6. […] So I no longer Speak TV with regularity, except when pilots roll around, or Aaron Sorkin does something dumb, or superheroes make their unfortunate way to television. Still miss you, The Cape, you silly old thing. […]

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