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POWERLESS Recap: “Wayne Dream Team” Made Us Laugh, But Felt Too Familiar

POWERLESS Recap: “Wayne Dream Team” Made Us Laugh, But Felt Too Familiar

Fair citizens of Nerdist, beware! This post contains spoilers for tonight’s episode of PowerlessIf you haven’t seen it yet and want to avoid them then turn back now, because Superman is way too busy to fly against the rotation of the earth and save you from disaster.

If a half-hour sitcom can make you laugh repeatedly throughout a given episode, it can’t be that bad. But despite of this feat, the second episode of Powerless still felt underwhelming. Rather than lean into its unique premise for fresh and original jokes, it played more like a normal workplace situational comedy–the kind we’ve seen countless times before.

powerless-hudgens-tudyk

There were still plenty of great lines and funny exchanges, especially from Christina Kirk and Alan Tudyk, who were hysterical every time they opened their mouths. Kirk was the real standout here; her wry, cynical, matter-of-fact Jackie was pitch perfect when making fun of Emily, solving her boss’s problems, and explaining why she’s so loyal to such a dolt. If nothing else worked in the entire episode, her and Tudyk’s one liners were enough to make it a worthwhile watch.

But as for the rest, it all felt far too familiar. While making a Fantasy Superhero League a popular pastime in this universe was a funny gag, it wasn’t strong enough to provide a major plot point–one that amounted to the revelation that sometimes employees waste time on the internet. Likewise familiar to anyone who’s seen The Office or any number of similar series was the undercurrent to this story: the new boss trying to be both friend and superior to her underlings.

POWERLESS -- "Wayne Dream Team" Episode 103 -- Pictured: (clockwise) Ron Funches as Ron, Christina Kirk as Jackie, Danny Pudi as Teddy, Jennei Pierson as Wendy -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/Warner Bros/NBC)

I was far more interested in the development of the Rumbrella, because inventing safety objects for normal people living in a world of superheroes is far more fun and original than whether or not the new boss is welcomed with open arms. The show can obviously write great jokes, but it will need to make the situational comedy much stronger to become something more than just a stereotype of itself.

So while I wouldn’t call this a bad episode, because it did make me laugh many times, hopefully future plots find a way to use its great premise in a more meaningful way, instead of as a superficial dressing on old, tired tropes.

powerless-ron-pudi

Now just a few more thoughts…

– I really hope Jack O’Lantern is going to be the primary recurring villain throughout, because it’s great how little anyone cares about the mostly harmless threat from above.

– Line of the night goes to Kirk’s response to Van Wayne’s question about what was wrong with the Dream Team photo: “There are no women or minorities.”

– That also was one of a few jokes about social issues, along with Emily quickly realizing her comments to Ron could be easily misconstrued, as well as the issue, and often misuse, of the word “bullying.”

POWERLESS -- "Wayne Dream Team" Episode 103 -- Pictured: Vanessa Hudgens as Emily -- (Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/Warner Bros/NBC)

Even though it has only been two episodes, it does feel like Vanessa Hudgens could turn down the over-the-top enthusiasm a little bit. Even on a show with a silly premise, making her character Emily feel more authentic would go a long way to making the absurdity that surrounds her funnier. She’s the show’s straight man, but somehow she feels like the most cartoonish character at times.

But what did you think of this weak? Was it super or did it deserve to be locked up in Arkham Asylum? Tell us what you thought in the comments below.

Images: NBC

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