She Hulk may be one of the worst tv shows I’ve never seen. Forget the feminist girl power side of things, that’s arguable how bad all that is. But the writing, character use, effects, story arcs, acting, cinematography, everything is poor (Score is actually good, while licensed music is terrible), the humor… Woof.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. She Hulk herself is a good character – in the comics – and the creators of this show have done her a giant disservice, making her little more than a self entitled, cry baby, narcissist – in a world filtered through the lens of arrogant selfish feminists who loathe their own interest in men whom they hate.
And being the lead actress is actually pretty good, it’s sad to see her painting with crayons when she could be using watercolors.
Why even consider wasting time on what I would do when I am a nobody in the scheme of the elite filmmaking world? Those two inept jackasses who did Rings of Power were handed the Kingdom keys for no reason – so hell, I can dream too. So… How would I fix this mess?
First – fix the tone.
A little comedy can supplement drama well – and it works both ways. Jennifer Walters is a lawyer – she has student loan debt, most cases will involve hundreds of hours of research, client meetings and so on. Instead of making her court cases the sum of a five minute talking point – why not show how over worked she is and her work/life balance is already difficult and showcase how its not a selfish, indignant choice to not be a hero – but even if she is the highest of moral value, its just so difficult to juggle a third life on top of two.
Show she is human and culpable. She makes mistakes, confuses cases and clients and while surrounded by a solid family and a mix of good and bad colleagues and other attorneys – perhaps her own pride stops her from taking as much help as is offered (instead of never needing help from anyone for no reason and creating her own solvable issues).
Don’t let everyone champion her at all times. She is an overstressed lawyer – a high pressure job – she should have blow ups and go full hulk when she doesn’t intend it. This can lead to classic comedy of errors moments. Instead of getting a new job as a diversity Hulk hire – imagine she has to build her own client list by fighting for them because she needs to money coming – like a real law firm…
Imagine a sequence where she is having a fight with an enemy or series of henchmen in her office halls, while transforming back to Jen and quickly showing her face in doors to say to potential clients “nothing to worry about, we’ll get you signed up in a minute!” Transforming back and forth and eventually overplaying her hand and accidentally sitting back down victorious but in front of a client as Hulk instead ofJen and her moment of OH NO, and the client reacting in an unexpected way.
Old tricks don’t have to be stale.
In the show currently Jen is a sexual woman, she fucks three guys in the span of give episodes. I’m all cool with sex positive female empowerment – but acting like a bed hopping jock is not the same as being sex positive. She even carries the guy she catfishes (he is shocked to see her non-hulk version the morning after and we’re meant to be feel he is an asshole for this, despite her effectively lying to him to get laid, shoe on the other foot much?) to bed, making him the weaker proponent of the hook up.
But there is great comedy to have here. Like using the honesty of the situation instead of trying to play up that its so hard being a woman. First of all, all women hold the rights to sex, that’s their privilege and as they should. Additionally she is in a highly coveted career, she is attractive, she has no kids. She would have her pick of the litter – but in this show all men are scum.
It would be such fun for her to go on a date with a guy and things to go well and have a touch of romance leading to the bedroom and dealing with the fallout as the guy is shocked while during climax she gains two foot of height and turns green. That’s a lot harder to explain to a sex partner than them finding your butt plug collection. Awkward. And goofy.
And Jen is one of those unique characters that breaks the fourth wall. And currently this has been used superficially at best. There is much more fun to have with this and part of that involves…
The look of the show.
This show has TERRIBLE CGI. And it is wildly overused. Stretching thin what they can do well. Here is a simple way to make this show completely unique among the MCU and maintain a distinct tone. DON’T HAVE A CG HULK – GET A 6’6’’ WOMAN TO PLAY IT ala Lady Farigno.
6’6’’ is not an unattainable height for a woman. And the body stand in they use in the show right now actually looks a fair bit like the lead actress – this would add such a fun and realistic but silly aspect to the show that allows for great fourth wall breaking while maintaining the tone and not just going “how shit is my CG? Why did this episode not end yet? Ooohhhh maybe red hulk will turn up!”
How about having a few fights crop up and the property damage is charged to her and it effects her thoughts on how she approaches things. She can be fighting someone and the side of a building gets caved in and she’s like OH MAN, THAT’S GONNA COST ME, DO YOU MIND SIR?! And starts trying to talk people down instead of Hulk Smashing them. Comedy from realism.
Hulk – played by the second actress is second guessing her use of force after a thug is revealed to have broken bones and she looks in a mirror with fear on her face. Did she go too far? And she asks herself who do you see when you look in the mirror? And we cut to regular Jen as a pure cut away: Don’t answer that. Comedy from the casting/characters.
ALL good stories feature growth for their characters. Jennifer should not be perfect from day one. From the first episode her ability to match if not excel beyond the Hulk is a HUGE storytelling mistake, because it infantilises challenges and is only praised by those with no concept of personal growth or challenge in life.
Iron man wasn’t a great character because he drank and was a dick and a womaniser and accomplished all technological goals and life scenario us instantly, it is that he is forced to drop elements of that character to become a “better” person and overcome the villain in his story.
This is why THOR has become a bad character. All jokes. No real strife and he is constantly “looking for himself” two movies in a row. He perpetuates this juvenile behavior. When it first happened in Ragnarok it was a change from his previous Shakespeare-lite persona and it felt fresh. Next movie – he’s the same. Not so fresh. CHANGE is important for character.
Jennifer and She-Hulk shows no change or depth in the show right now – there is a hint that in the finale (which has not aired at this point of writing) may show some consequence – but I don’t expect this to be followed up well considering how poorly they handled everything up to this point.
Not only does she need to start from a place with scope to grow, she needs to overcome adversity to become stronger – the argument in the show is that being a woman is the adversity – that rings hollow to a lot of women and INSULTING to men. It was certainly VERY insulting to the Hulk himself as a character.
Not to mention, instead of being wounded and getting a blood transfusion as in the comics, she saved the hulk and it accidentally got some blood in her. She has priority at all times. Take that away and let her have feelings over things out of her control and her desire for control could be an element of her personality… I mean fuck man, there is years of good writing to pick from, why are you ignoring it?
Hey look at that! Ive written more here about the character than the actual writers of the show have ever read about her. Which they admitted in interviews by the way.
Real actor playing Hulk version.
Less or no CGI.
Jennifer as a culpable human character with flaws – relatable.
Establish her life as real and then build the comedy on top of it.
Juggle work/life balance and find comedy within this.
Allow obstacles to enter to be overcame.
Treat the Hulk side as being both a blessing and a curse.
Allow other characters to be be real and not just there to bounce off.
Create consequence for actions. Find comedy in minor consequence.
Don’t try to change the world. MAKE A GOOD DISTRACTION FROM IT.