Western Animation: The Awesomes
The Awesomes, our bar is lower.
From the comedic minds of Seth Meyers
(Saturday Night Live
) and Mike Shoemaker (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
) comes The Awesomes
, a new animated show for adults streaming on Hulu
, about the greatest superhero team ever – after all the good members quit. Showcasing the voice talents of current and past SNL stars, The Awesomes
introduces a group of not-so-super heroes who just might find a way to save the world. The show premiered in August 2013 and was renewed for a third season in August 2014.
After Mr. Awesome, the world's most beloved superhero, announces he's retiring, he reluctantly passes the mantle and leadership of the eponymous team off to his son, Jeremy (aka "Prock"). Prock is incredibly intelligent, but he's not cut out for being a hero, being a rather nonathletic wimp
with no leadership experience. After all the other members leave, save Prock's only friend on the team, Muscle Man
, Prock is forced to build the team back up so the US Government will continue funding them. After filling out his roster with an eccentric group of superheroes who had been previously rejected for a litany of reasons, Prock and the new Awesomes have to learn to be a good team and prove themselves to the public.
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This show provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Frantic's parents, particularly his father, who calls him worthless when Frantic is introduced.
- The Ace: Perfect Man is an especially arrogant version of one, though he's actually more the Feet of Clay type.
- Affectionate Parody: Of superhero stories and tropes.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The robotherapists, who acknowledge this trope and claim that isn't going to happen. Subverted, they were deliberately created to be evil by Dr. Malocchio as part of his master plan.
- The Alcoholic: Teleportation Larry can't stay off the sauce for more than a few minutes, which makes him a liability almost all the time.
- All Love Is Unrequited:
- Prock has a crush on Hotwire, but she's already dating Perfect Man. Tomboy has pined for decades for Gadget Gal, who doesn't swing that way. And apparently Joyce Mandrake secretly is very attracted to Prock, which everyone, including herself, finds disturbing.
- If her slight nervous breakdown in "Robotherapy" is of any indication, Concierge seems to have a slight crush on Prock as well.
- All Your Powers Combined: A villain uses a special set of Powered Armor to do this to the Awesomes and the Euro-Awesomes. He's defeated by getting Prock's Blessed with Suck time stop ability and overusing it.
- Ambiguously Brown: Hotwire. Since as of the second season we've seen the rest of her family (actually, we saw her father in the first few minutes of the pilot episode, but we didn't find that out until later in the first season), all of whom have a noticeably lighter skin tone than she does, she must just really like sunbathing. Or possibly she's adopted.
- An Aesop: Parodied in "The Awesomes Awesome Show", where Frantic gets a gay action figure. When asked how he can tell it's gay he says "You can't, because at the end of the day, aren't we all the same?" complete with touching music. Also it comes with extra shoes and says "I am totally gay."
- Artistic License – Physics: Malocchio Jr's sonic scream somehow traveling across interstellar distances to hit Mr Awesome's space station at the moment he was performing a blood transfusion with Malocchio Sr.
- Artistic License – Law: So much was wrong with the trial of Perfect Man. First of all, Jocelyn Stone is the prosecutor yet has a TV commercial like some Ambulance Chaser. Second, she called Perfect Man to take the stand, when the 5th Amendment states that a person cannot be forced to incriminate themselves and thus cannot be called by opposing counsel. (Testifying in his own defense would be another matter.)
- Awesome McCoolname: Jeremy and his father's surname actually is "Awesome." Frantic's real name is Zip Danger.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Muscleman and Perfect Man in the first season finale, after Muscleman talks the depowered hero into it.
- Badass Normal: Gadget Gal and Concierge. Gadget Gal relies on (duh) gadgets to fight, while Concierge is more on the information gathering side of things.
- Battle Couple: Dine and Dash, Sumo's parents met while trying to steal the same thing, and soon became really good at fighting as a team.
- Becoming the Mask: Hotwire developed genuine feelings for Prock while posing as a hero.
- Big Bad: Dr. Malocchio for season 1. Malocchio Jr for season 2.
- Bittersweet Ending: Both seasons so far:
- Season 1: Malocchio's plan is foiled and the world is safe. But Hotwire is presumed dead, though she isn't really, and Perfect Man and the other heroes get all the credit for saving the world.
- Season 2: Maloccio Jr. and the PRICKS are stopped, Jaclyn is back to normal and on good terms with Prock, Prock and Hotwire are finally together, Maloccio Sr. is cured of his evil and Perfect Man not only saves the world from the invading aliens but fully admits Prock is a good hero. However Perfect Man's saving of the world overshadows the awesome's victory, Hot Wire is saddned by her failure to turn her brother back, France is destroyed, and , worst of all, the blood transfusion that cured malccio of his evil infects Mr Awesome with his evil super cells, turning Mr Awesome evil.
- Blessed with Suck: Prock's only power is being able to stop time, but his doctor warns that using it too much will kill him eventually. When a villain uses Applied Phlebotinum to copy the power, we see just how dangerous the power really is to its user.
- Boldly Coming: Muscleman has a fetish for alien women, caring little about what species; he'll do anything from human to Starfish Aliens. And beyond; in one episode he's shown having sex with what appears to be a potted plant with eyes.
- Break the Haughty: Perfect Man seems to be going through one. He's convicted of treason (though his ego and racism played a big part in letting that happen), he's passed over as a new member and is forcibly confined to the tower since he's a fugitive and found that most of the team thinks he's a joke.
- Brought Down to Normal: Dr. Malocchio's plan involves convincing Earth's superheroes to do this to themselves.
- Bullying a Dragon: Pablo and his sidekicks continue taunting Tim even after they find out he can turn into Sumo.
- Butch Lesbian: Gadget Gal's archnemesis, Tomboy, was an Armored Closet Gay case of this, topped off with actually having a crush on Gadget Gal herself.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: One Mudslide turns Prock into a ranty drunk who badgers Malocchio Jr. about his moral fiber.
- Carpet of Virility: Muscle Man possesses one.
- Characterization Marches On: Season 1 has Muscle Man start as the routine Dumb Muscle until he shows true sparks of intelligence later, and he has been developed to be a good listener and caring toward his friend Prock, along with becoming attracted to alien women. Season 2 has Gadget Girl cracking more jokes about her sexual tendencies than retro references, and even Prock's problems have become more about his rocky romances rather than superherodom.
- Complexity Addiction: Malocchio's reason for treating his plan to take over the world like a game. The only person on the planet immune to his mind control powers is Prock; he could have sent Perfect Man or some other hero in to take him out in an instant, but instead just screwed around with him for ten episodes. Comes back to bite in him in the butt later.
- Cool Loser: Prock is intelligent, dedicated, loyal, relatively mature, and he's not bad looking despite the jokes, but from the way the others talk, you'd think he was the biggest loser on the planet. Even before the series started, his love life amounted to A: supervillains who were using him to get close enough to kill his father or B: one spin-the-bottle kiss with Muscle Man's crazy sister.
- Crazy-Prepared: Prock qualifies as he has plans of how to defeat each member of the Awesomes (even himself) aside from Concierge in case they turn evil. He also has the Hologram Room protected so none of the team members can break out of it with their powers and has a system that can cover his team in a holographic disguise when they're in Awesome Mountain.
- Deadpan Snarker: Several characters, but Prock and Concierge are the ones to most frequently fill out this role.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Prock saves the world from the robotherapists with a Rousing Speech. Seconds later, he's back to being taunted for his emotional weakness and general uselessness.
- After the final battle, the Awesomes are only awarded "participant" status, whereas everyone else wins golden medals of heroism.
- Dumb Muscle: Muscle Man. This may be primarily intellectual laziness, as he figures out that Hotwire is The Mole before anyone else, correctly works out that the pageant is a trap (he's trying extra hard in that episode) and successfully fools Malocchio into believing he's made a Face-Heel Turn.
- Evil Former Friend: Doctor Malocchio to Mister Awesome.
- Evil Counterpart: The Astoundings of Earth-4. The Hotwire of that Earth is a hero, so what does that make our Hotwire?
- Expy: Seems inevitable in a superhero spoof, although most examples aren't too blatantly obvious:
- Mr. Awesome and Perfect Man are both Superman expies.
- Sumo is a Captain Ethnic version of The Incredible Hulk.
- Super Speed is not an unusual superpower, but Frantic's similarity to The Flash is reinforced by the fact that he wears a yellow costume similar to one of the Flash's early ones.
- Although his choice of costume is completely different, Impresario's power is basically the same as Green Lantern's (except that Impresario can't fly, and his constructs are purple ... and bear a disturbing resemblance to his mother).
- Gadget Gal is basically Sally Jupiter/Silk Specter. She's even more similar to Merry the Gimmick Girl and Merry's daughter Gimmix (of Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers); she's basically Gimmix if she were her mother turned young again, instead of a Legacy Hero using her mother's gadgets. Her looks is a fusion of Merry's costume and Silk Spectre's hair and fishnets.
- Black Irish is Batman. Right down to the raspy voice of recent incarnations, which is lampshaded when he takes a throat lozenge and his voice changes completely.
- Concierge's appearance, voice, personality, and background are all uncannily similar to that of Alice Tompkins from The Critic. The freckles and red hair, however, as well as job description, may be a nod to Iron Man's gal Friday/sometime lover Pepper Potts.
- Metal Fella is a rather obvious take-off of Iron Man. A genius billionaire playboy philanthropist who fights crime using a suit of Powered Armor. Or so we're led to believe. Turns out it's actually Hotwire.
- Jaclyn Stone, the best prosecutor in the biz, has an uncanny resemblance to Miles Edgeworth, also a highly esteemed prosecutor.
- Faking the Dead: Hotwire and Dr. Malocchio in the second season. The second one is involuntary.
- Fantastic Racism: An intelligent ape is prejudiced against humans. He's swift to clarify that he's got nothing against gay people, however; when he insults the team by calling them "Homos" he's mortified that they initially assumed it was short for something other than Homo sapiens.
- First Episode of the Second Season Spoiler: Metalfella's identity. It's Hotwire.
- Flash Forward: The first episode starts with one of these, to the culmination of Dr. Malocchio's plan.
- French People Hate Perfectman: In-Universe - We don't know exactly why, but Perfect Man is much less beloved in France than he is elsewhere. Season Two possibly explains this: he is insanely racist.
- Friendly Enemy: Dr Malocchio and Awesome Man. It helps that they were friends before Malocchio turned evil, and that Malocchio is very Affably Evil.
- Fun with Acronyms:
- Joyce Mandrake works to G.O.O.S.A (Government Office Of Superhero Affairs).
- U.M.B.R.E.L.L.A., which stands for Ultimate Military But Really Extremely Low Level Acknowledgement. This name is promptly lampshaded by Prock's teammates:
Hotwire: Sounds like they were trying really hard to make an acronym for "umbrella".
Impresario: And umbrellas aren't even cool. Why not do "dragon"?
- Gadgeteer Genius: Gadget Gal.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Mr Awesome and Malocchio in season 2 pass the time by playing Scrabble.
- Great Detective: Black Irish. "You don't find him, he deduces that you need to talk to him and he finds you. "
- Hate Plague: In "The Awesomes' Awesome Show" it turns out that the producer of the reality TV show has this ability and uses it to create drama above and beyond the normal reality television action.
- Hollywood Healing: Averted in that Prock breaks his wrist on his first mission, and the cast he places around it is still present through most of the first season. Plus there's the matter of that time-stopping power that often causes him nosebleeds and, as he has been told, may eventually kill him.
- Honor Before Reason: "Teleportation Larry always pays his debts." Even if it means teleporting back into a trap.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Prock, mostly when it comes to the women he dates.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Concierge is technically just the Awesomes' support staff—all of the support staff—but is one of the most reliable and useful members of the team. In the second season, she's promoted to full membership, complete with costume.
- Hypnotic Eyes: Dr. Malocchio can mind control everyone he looks at, but both Mr. Awesome and Prock are immune to this.
- I Always Wanted to Say That: Muscleman. "Finally I get to say to someone else what everybody has been saying to me all these years. You're an idiot."
- Ignored Expert: Prock tries to tell everyone that trusting the robotherapists is a bad idea because of the whole "evil robot" thing. They don't listen.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Jaclyn Stone looks exactly like Amy Poehler.
- Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Averted - Tim's mother is Korean, and his father is Japanese but raised in California. However, they posed as Japanese immigrants with heavy accents when they took on civilian identities.
- In with the In Crowd: Tim temporarily gets to hang with the delinquents at his school because they like Sumo's rage-induced rampages.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Gadget Gal was a member of the original Awesomes who retired due to old age. After being hit with a rejuvenation ray, she's turned back into a sexy twenty-five year old.
- Jive Turkey: Professor Doctor Astounding in Season 1 and Metalfella in Season 2. Lampshaded on both occasions.
- Kangaroo Court: Perfect Man is accused of treason in Season 2 and the prosecutor flagrantly manipulates him, badgering him into saying he sided with Malocchio of his own accord (when he was actually mind controlled). The judge makes no effort to intervene, and the jury immediately declares him guilty, very obviously because they don't like him (he's a teensy bit racist).
- Keet: Frantic, to the point of being more than just a little crazy.
- Knight in Sour Armor: The Awesomes as a team, but most prominently Prock.
- Legacy Character: Muscleman is this; his father and grandfather used the name Muscleman before him.
- Legion of Doom: Malocchio Jr. is putting one of these together in season 2.
- Love at First Sight: A couple of seconds after seeing Hotwire for the first time, Prock announces to himself: "Okay, this is the woman of your dreams, and you're going to marry her. That much is clear."
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Malocchio Jr. after injecting himself with the super-serum that gave his father powers.
- Me's a Crowd: Impresario learns how to do this, but turns out to be unable to reabsorb his energy duplicates, which have autonomy. After the others are destroyed, the sole known remaining duplicate joins the PRICKS.
- Mirror Universe: Earth-4, where the heroes are the bad guys and vice versa. Also worth nothing, Mirror Mr. Awesome supported his son's desire to follow in his (evil) footsteps, and Tomboy is a man (The Handyman).
- The Mole: There's a traitor on the team. Confirmed to be Hotwire.
- Momma's Boy: Impresario. Tim has some shades of this, though he's much more independent and it stems from his parents placing a lot of emphasis on his academics (plus he's like 11, still just a kid).
- Impresario seems to undergo some character development in a second season episode by managine to conjure up things that don't look like his mother.
- My Beloved Smother: Impresario's mother, to the point that his conjured constructs will look like her in some way. He manages to conjure up things that don't look like her in the second season, though.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Malocchio ("evil eye") turns out to be Malocchio's real name, and foreshadowed his fate.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Prock's drunken ranting convinces Malocchio Jr. to become a supervillain. Also, his unleashing a sonic wave messes up the blood transfusion process for Maloccio, turning Mr Awesome evil in the process.
- No Name Given: Most of the heroes, as well as Concierge. We only know Prock's (Jeremy), Sumo's (Tim), and Impressario's (Austin).
- Noodle Incident:
- No Sell: Both Prock and his father are immune to mind control.
- Not So Above It All: Despite his Only Sane Man tendencies, Tim is still just a kid and isn't above doing immature things. Concierge also takes drugs.
- Not So Different: Malocchio Jr. and Prock, to the point of We Can Rule Together.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Joyce Mandrake. Though she does allow Prock to set up a new Awesomes team, even when he recruited from the Rejects file, she doesn't have any problem with saddling the team with any new restrictions that pop up along the way.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Prock is a lawyer and some sort of doctor, who's also got expertise in computer programming and advanced technology design (as he designed the hologram room to block all of the Awesomes powers).
- Power at a Price: If Prock uses his time stopping abilities too much, it could kill him. He still uses them though.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Perfect Man, and Gadget Gal to a lesser extent.
- Pride: Black Irish's self-described greatest weakness. It caused him to abandon the Awesomes when Prock became the leader, and later lured him into Dr. Malocchio's trap.
- Product Placement: The first season endings have the characters plugging Jack Link's Beef Jerky.
- Psychic Nosebleed: Both Prock and Dr. Malocchio get these if they overextend themselves.
- Racist Grandma: Gadget Gal has some outdated attitudes about race, and her looking like a twenty-five year old means she doesn't get as much of a pass. Lampshaded in "The Awesomes Awesome Show" in regards to Frantic's homosexuality.
I don't call him "chorus boy" because he can sing, I call him "chorus boy" because it's offensive.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: A more literal example. Red eyes are a symptom of turning evil, being mind-controlled to do evil things, and using mind-control powers to make people turn evil. This is all common knowledge In-Universe and will even hold up in a courtroom.
- Samus is a Girl: Metalfella ain't a fella.
- Sexy Secretary: Concierge.
- Smug Snake: Dr. Malocchio. Especially when he says "All is going according to plan".
- Smug Super: Perfect Man. It's even in his name. He's incredibly condescending to the Awesomes throughout season 1.
- So Proud of You: Mr Awesome at the end of season 1 expresses his pride in Prock's achievements after Prock saves the world from Malocchio.
- Spanner in the Works: Teleportation Larry's drunkeness renders him immune to Malocchio's mind control (because he can't focus his eyes well enough to make actual eye contact), and because he can still teleport despite being drunk, most of the team is able to escape thanks to him.
- The Fishsticks ruin the Aggravator's plan to exploit the Awesomes by kidnapping her, forcing her to release the Awesomes to save her
- Stalker with a Crush: Muscle Man's sister has a thing for Prock... Even though she's married...
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: Malocchio's real name actually is Malocchio, and he has the ability to mind control people with his eyes.
- Straight Gay: Frantic is gay, and even has a boyfriend that visits Awesome Tower all the time. It's never mentioned before now because Prock never actually pays attention to anything Frantic does.
- Stress Vomit: Muscleman reveals that he rarely freaks out due to long experience with the bizarre things that happen around superheroes, but when he does, he vomits. The episode then has him vomit repeatedly.
- Super Hero Origin: Parodied in the third episode when the Awesomes share their stories campfire style.
- Super Serum / Psycho Serum: Dr. Malocchio discovered a way to give himself and others superpowers, but it turns them evil.
- Sweet on Polly Oliver: Averted and Inverted with two respective characters. The aversion happens with Prock. While Prock hates Metalfella at First Sight and soon warms up to him, his feelings are completely platonic. The inversion happens with Gadget Gal, who wants to bang Metalfella immediately. While he’s fully-armored. Yeah, if you’re reading this and you know how this can work without Gadget Gal breaking more than five bones give us a call.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Dr. Malocchio has publicly pulled off a Heel-Face Turn (via mind-controlling people into believing that), but it's clear to the audience and to Prock that he's still scheming to take over the world.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
- Prock would really like his father to acknowledge him as a superhero. There are hints that Mr. Awesome would be proud of his son if Prock stuck to things he was actually good at, but that's not where Prock's heart is.
- Joyce Mandrake wants the Awesomes' reality show and its spinoffs to continue because it's the first time her mother has ever understood what she does for a living.
- Wicked Cultured: In addition to his interest in destroying the superheroes, Dr. Malocchio is quite the gourmet and an excellent cook (he manages to concoct something not only edible, but quite palatable, out of only the ingredients "beans, grapes, cinnamon and tobacco"). He's seriously offended that his minions want to order pizza instead of having his latest creation for dinner.