‘Supermansion’: a superior superhero spoof
By Tyler Spinosa
It’s the latest stop-motion madness from the people who brought you “Robot Chicken” and “Titan Maximum.” “SuperMansion” is a wildly fun parody of superhero teams like the Justice League with a dark comic twist. Stoopid Buddy Studios, a division of Stupid Monkey LLC, are infamous for their stop-motion odysseys into insanity and their hilarious mockeries of pop culture super heroes throughout “Robot Chicken’s” eight seasons over 11 years on [adult swim] as one of the network’s current programs.
With that illustrious history fueling their creative power cores, it was only natural that they would forge an original program that utilized their conceptual and animation strengths in a show that is as epically silly as it is visually stimulating. “SuperMansion” defiles your childhood with a smile and a handshake while kicking you in the genitals with the immoral activities of people who are exclusively meant to live above the moral high ground.
Titanium Rex, voiced by Bryan Cranston from “Breaking Bad,” is a Countertype of Superman, in his late 60s with erectile dysfunction, who leads the less-than-noble League of Freedom. Alongside him are Black Saturn, a spoiled and inept take on Batman, and American Ranger, the intolerant, overly patriotic imitation of Captain America voiced by Keegan Michael Key from “Key and Peele.” Rounding out the group is Brad, a drug fueled pink version of the Hulk; Cooch, a promiscuous mutant cat-woman with a short attention span and Jewbot, a dry-witted humanoid robot who renames himself after he discovers that his creator was Jewish.
These eccentric haphazard half-heroes live together in a mansion where they have dangerously overextended their governmental expense accounts for non-heroic purposes. Because of the League’s wild spending habits, a no-nonsense military accountant named Sgt. Agony (Keegan Michael Key), is hell bent on shutting down the League of Freedom because of their wild misuse of taxpayer money and their vulgar antics.
“SuperMansion” shows an appreciation and knowledge of the superhero genre in a tongue-in-cheek way that translates into the irreverent joke writing. The relationship between Black Saturn and his arch nemesis Groaner, a skull-faced clown with prop-based schemes, comically mirrors the Batman-and-Joker dynamic. Black Saturn desperately tries to get Groaner to acknowledge that they are obsessed with each other, while Groaner continues to reinforce his scathing indifference, cleverly mocking the brooding intensity of the most famous rivals in superhero history.
Other superhero tropes are toyed with, like Titanium Rex’s backstory. Here we are shown that Rex is one of many exploratory beings from the Earth’s core sent to find the surface. Rex is seen off by his family before his final trip, and then never seen again by his compatriots when his pod is the only one to ever make it to the earth’s surface. Once there he promptly lifts a bus over his head to save a woman and her child, causing him to immediately be recognized as a hero. This portrayal slyly inverts the Superman origin by sending him as the only one of his kind to ever burrow out of the core of the planet instead of being the only one to ever crash land on it. This event also makes his relationship with the public more about his vanity than selflessness.
Additionally, American Ranger joins the current League of Freedom after he is unfrozen from a time capsule left over at the end of World War II. In the past Ranger fought alongside Rex and a fallen League Member named Omega Man. When he returns to the present he is much less amenable to the societal changes around him as you would expect from his Marvel counterpart, and tends to remain stuck in the past. He is unaffected by aging unlike Rex and his wife who have aged considerably and is unaware of their sexual relationship during his absence.
All of these elements are thrown together into a half-hour of hilarity that is not suitable for a young audience. It is exceedingly fun to watch Stoopid Buddy Studios make an original program that utilizes the tropes they’ve so often mocked and jabbed at in existing fictional universes in their own radioactive creation, while employing their trademark humor and world class stop motion animation.
With the recent trend of superhero team movies, spin offs and remakes you’d find your time much better spent nestling into your couch for a few episodes of “SuperMansion” to get your comedy/superhero fix. Fans of “Robot Chicken,” superhero teams and all things [adult swim] will enjoy a healthy dose of ridiculousness Sundays at midnight.