The Robot Chicken DC Comics Special aired this weekend on Cartoon Network, and it was kind of meh for me. I know comedy is all sorts of subjective, but usually Robot Chicken is amusing… their Star Wars stuff was funny. DC is ripe for parody, but the show didn’t really amount to much other than some tired Aquaman jokes and Superman kissing dudes. The Bane breaking Batman’s back gag was a little bit funny, but I don’t think I actually laughed out loud once. The whole thing felt like a missed opportunity to me.
Comedy value aside, the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special also continued the troubling trend of not giving female characters much to do. I know that being serious about a comedy show is never very fun, but we see this all the time with superheroes. Female characters get marginalized, wherever they may appear.
Case in point, Wonder Woman. First off, how they went a whole half hour without making a bondage joke I have NO idea. Second, Wonder Woman is part of DC’s Big Three, and their most famous female character, and she only had four lines in the entire show.
In her first scene, she made fun of Aquaman with Superman and Green Lantern. You can check out that scene here:
In her second scene, she again made fun of Aquaman with Superman. Her two lines consisted of mocking cruise ship passengers and congratulating Superman on his Aquaman burn.
Finally, in the big brawl at the end of the show, Wonder Woman busted up a bunch of villains and exclaimed “Yeah, droppin’ motherf***ers!! Who’s next?!” while looking like this:
And that was it.
She was also in the background for a few other scenes, but she had very little to do in the show. Mr. Freeze had more lines. Mirror Master had more lines. Firestorm had more lines. The smelly guy from the mail room of the Legion of Doom headquarters had more lines. Wonder Woman was little more than an afterthought.
This was true of all of the other female characters in the show. Lois Lane had two lines setting up a bit where Superman kisses all of his villains to wipe their memories. Abby Arcane had a line in a four second Swamp Thing bit. Ice closed an all freeze-related villain sketch that went on for a few minutes with all male characters before she popped up to do the closing line. Giganta stole Aquaman’s pants. Cheetah called Catwoman a bitch. Harley Quinn implied that the urine in the Joker’s flower that just sprayed Batman was, in fact, hers. All quality bits…
All told, seven female characters spoke eleven lines of dialogue in the entire show. A few more appeared in the background, like Catwoman and Zatanna and Stargirl (of course, since Geoff Johns was involved), but for the most part there weren’t many female characters and those who were there spoke very little.
Also, while most of the major male heroes were in the special, a lot of well-known female characters weren’t, particularly those headlining their own books. Batgirl, Batwoman, Black Canary, Huntress, Power Girl, and Supergirl were nowhere to be found. Nor was Hawkgirl, who a lot of people know from the Justice League cartoon. The show was pretty much wall to wall male characters, some of them rather obscure, with a lady very occasionally.
Ultimately, it’s bad enough that the show wasn’t funny. They didn’t need to do absolutely nothing with Wonder Woman and exclude female characters generally too. And good lord, people, Aquaman jokes are PLAYED OUT. Get some better, more diverse, material.