It’s time to again take all the fun out of comedy and be serious about gender roles in a special starring talking action figures! Though “comedy” might be stretching it a bit; the Robot Chicken “DC Comics Special #2: Villains in Paradise” wasn’t all that funny to begin with.
When the first Robot Chicken “DC Comics Special” aired backed in September 2012, I did a post about the lack of female characters in the show, and about how little the few women they included spoke or did. Things haven’t improved much with the second outing. While the first special had 7 women with speaking roles, the new one has 8.
Moreover, the 8 women who spoke and the 4 other women who were in the background didn’t have particularly good roles. Here’s a brief rundown:
- A girl scout tried to sell cookies to Bizarro.
- Lena Luthor, Lex Luthor’s daughter, actually had a big part, but it involved her selling coffee at the Legion of Doom headquarters and then dating Superboy and singing a song that included a line about how big his penis was.
- Poison Ivy was part of the Legion of Doom, but her rather curvaceous action figure body was barely covered by her costume and she spent most of her time onscreen suggestively touching her body.
- Catwoman was part of the Legion of Doom as well. She said “Meow” a few times.
- Iris West popped in for a quick bit where she was on a date with the Flash. She had no lines.
- Reverse Iris West, aka. Tina, was in the same bit, and her lines consisted of “My name is Tina.”
- Dr. Fate had a date as well, named Melanie.
- Aquaman was also on a date with an unnamed woman, but ditched her when her fish told him that she doesn’t put out and she doesn’t shave her lady parts.
- Ice was in the crowd at Green Arrow’s funeral.
- Harley Quinn showed up at the final battle and fought Wonder Woman for a bit.
- The Cheetah was shown in the aftermath of the battle, knocked out on the sand.
And finally, Wonder Woman. Her one big scene involved her being angry when Superman introduced Superboy as his clone because Superboy was actually her and Superman’s son. Here she is, looking angrily at Superman:
Wonder Woman was involved in another scene as well, on the invisible jet, but she was knocked unconscious the whole time and Green Arrow was trying to figure out how to fly it when he couldn’t see anything. And she was fighting with the group at the end.
All together, there were two female superheroes, four female villains, a couple of kids, and four dates for male heroes in the special. Very few of them had more than a line, if that.
Some other female characters were mentioned but didn’t appear. Lois Lane was name checked in a scene set at the Daily Planet, while Lana Lang was mentioned in a song by Lex Luthor’s high school band, Sexx Luthor. Oh so cleverly, they rhymed “Lana Lang” with “sweet poontang.” Interestingly, Superboy was in the special but there was no Supergirl. There were also Batman and Robin and no Batgirl or Batwoman. Green Arrow but no Black Canary. Aquaman but no Mera.
All told, it was another Robot Chicken “DC Comics Special” with another poor showing for female characters. It’s not particularly surprising given how the first one went, but it would have been nice of them to up the representation noticeably and be a bit more creative with their roles. Of the 12 female characters who appeared in the special, 7 of them were there as the romantic or sexual interests of male characters. Those who weren’t were background players. Maybe try a little harder if you do a third special, Robot Chicken. There’s nowhere to go but up.