Who Wants to be a Superhero ends tonight

Having debuted six weeks ago, SciFi’s Who Wants to be a Superhero? concludes tonight at 9 p.m. ET. Either Fat Momma or Feedback will win, becoming immortalized in a comic book.

The first five episodes will air starting at 4 this afternoon, and if you’ve missed it, it’s an interesting series. That’s primarily because there are few reality shows that are this ridiculously fake, contrived and set-up. Stan Lee reads everything off a teleprompter, the special effect graphics are cheesy and fake, and the challenges are totally, obviously set up. When the superheroes were challenged to race to a finish line while passing a crying girl, they were directed to a “security office” that was identified by signs clearly printed on a laser printer and taped to the wall. In another challenge, they met with handcuffed “prisoners,” one of whom was a recognizable actress, never mind the fact that both overacted the entire time.

The show basically doesn’t even seem to be trying to fool us. The real question, then, is whether or not the cast is genuine within all of this fakeness, or if they’re just acting, too. The fact that some cast members are actors doesn’t help. It’s possible that this is a Joe Schmo-like set-up, and Fat Momma will win and learn that everything except her was contrived.

But I heard a radio interview with Feedback, aka actor Matthew Atherton, last week, and he suggested that nothing was meant to fool the audience, it was only meant to fool them. He said it worked, and that they fell for things such as the prisoner encounter “hook, line, and sinker,” thinking they were genuinely meeting with prisoners, for example. And even the most fake one in the group, Major Victory, whose over-the-top superhero act got him eliminated last week, says there was reality admist the fiction. His phone call to his estranged daughter, which caused the other two superheros and Stan Lee to cry, was, he told a newspaper, “a big burst of reality thrown in my face.”

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.