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Short Review: She-Hulk, Attorney-at-Law

November 2022

Ribald in places, plagued by what plagues TV shows in general (mainly repetition, especially in visuals and sets); but on the whole this series took the risks of playing up more humor and "4th wall" dynamics, to the extent that we literally see a She-Hulk crawl out through the holding screen for Disney-Plus programming and address the audience and then go on a hunt for the "writer's room" where she castigates the script-makers of She Hulk, Attorney-at-law for taking the "easy way" out on a particular episode.

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The show strives to be entertaining and simply refuses to take itself too seriously, though it does make small efforts to address (briefly) things like revenge-porn; male-and-female power dynamics within corporate structures (in this case, the corporate law firm where Jen Walters aka She Hulk gets her paycheck); some street crime; the dilemma of manufactured identities overwhelming original identity to the extent a person in a costume refuses to get out of the costume. This then creates a severe crisis in hygiene. The "inside-jokes" about comic book fandom doesn't stop there, in an episode that looks like an expanded version of a put-down joke about comic book nerd conventions, we get an unhappy male cluster group fostering their alienation and highlighting it by using code words, that is, referring to women primarily as "females" as if they may actually be a separate species.

Also on display is the Marvel-way of taking down their super characters a few pegs through derision or personal malfunctions before unleashing them upon a problem only their superpowers can beat, and letting them beat it (which is where an inside joke is hatched in the final She Hulk, Attorney-at-law episode in which the script gets to have its cake and eat it too: we get CGI action and internal script complaints about using CGI action to cap-off an episode).

Tatiana Maslany is Jenn Walters and she is both likeable and a perfect contrast to the statuesque She Hulk (played by Malia Arrayah), and the two are physically a funny Jekyll/Hyde pairing that at times could have been exploited for the sheer poignancy of it all, but that probably isn't a place the writers wanted to go, based on the evidence, as they keep plying the audience with humor to get them to like the show, a sort of flattery that, judging by some of the negative reviews out there on the internet, didn't work.

There's a lot of darkness in the Incredible Hulk universe, but She Hulk, Attorney-at-law isn't about that, but about, well, the better-gifted and more personable Lady Hulk who, in a sort of cathartic (for the writers at least) becomes a strutting, sexual conqueror that 'smashes' Daredevil (Charlie Cox). That the show simply isn't a screen version of the actual comic book character is just one more example of Marvel (Disney?) trying to leave comic books behind (except for the name recognition) and to stuff the captured skins with the same old American TV show programming.

If, like me, you're unable to take the Marvel shows seriously as true representations of the comic book characters, but rather that they are variations of the characters, sort of like a What If? variation (Not the TV show What If?, but the comic book What If?), then you can cut the show a lot of slack and try to enjoy it on its own merits apart from the lack of connectivity to the comic book version.

The Abomination played by Tim Roth also appears, linking the show to the Shang-Chi movie of 2021.

She Hulk TV Show Reviews

"infused with dated #girlboss energy"Variety

"She-Hulk is just pure fun"Radio Times

Marvel's first true comedyMSN News - Mens Health

I felt so empoweredDecider – MSN

“She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” — 3 stars (out of 4), based on first four episodesChicago Tribune

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Original page November 27, 2022