In an effort to reinvent the workplace comedy and look at the comic book universe from a totally different angle, NBC has created POWERLESS, a show that follows employees of RetCon Insurance, a company in the fictitious Charm City that specializes in regular-people coverage against damage caused by the crime-fighting superheroes. Set in the DC Comics universe, the show fuses together two genres of television for a comedy that is absurd, hysterical, and wildly entertaining.
Vanessa Hudgens plays Emily Locke, a type-A and well-meaning insurance claims adjuster who goes head-to-head with her new jerk of a boss Del (played with self-centered pitch perfection by Alan Tudyk). The pilot episode focuses on the rivalry between the two, but also introduces us Locke’s ragtag group of co-workers including her sweet and reliable cubicle neighbor Teddy (Danny Pudi), the eccentric and Aquaman-obsessed Jackie (standout Christina Kirk) and LOL-worthy twins played by Kate Micucci and Josh Fadem — who may or may not be a nod to the Justice League’s Wonder Twins.
The novelty of the show is perhaps its main draw considering there hasn’t been a TV series or film that has given us an “ordinary” human perspective on the fantastical world of comic books with such hilarious results. It’s almost comes off as an anti-comic book television show – something that is refreshing and subversive in its own special way. That said, the novelty could potentially have a limited shelf life, but with Hudgens giving a surprisingly impressive performance as a lead, the always brilliant Tudyk and a team of talented comedic actors, there’s hope that the show will continue to evolve.
Powerless adds levity to a universe in which the humorless Batman V. Superman exists, busting at the seams with off-center humor without going off the rails. And while the workplace comedy/comic book universe mashup may not vibe with some, it will certainly garner a following of the Community ilk.
Dino-Ray Ramos watches too much TV, enjoys reality singing competitions and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer