Who Wants to Be a Superhero? (Season 2)

Who Wants to Be a Superhero? (Season 2)

"Who Wants to Be a Superhero?" is a reality show hosted by Stan Lee. Contestants dress up as comic book superheroes of their own invention. Each week, Lee challenges the contestants to represent what "superheroes are all about." Three or four supervillains will attempt to defeat the superheroes.cite news|last=Moran|first=David|title=CCI Xtra: "Who Wants to Be a Superhero?"|publisher=Comic Book Resources|date=2007-08-08|url=http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=11513|accessdate=2007-08-17] cite web|last=Love|first=Brett|title=Who Wants To Be A Superhero? season two -- An early look|publisher=TV Squad|date=2007-07-20|url=http://www.tvsquad.com/2007/07/20/who-wants-to-be-a-superhero-season-two-an-early-look/|accessdate=2007-08-17] One or more of the superheroes deemed the least deserving are eliminated every episode until only one remains.

Season 2 premiered on July 26, 2007 on the Sci Fi Channel cable network.cite news|last=Garfinkel|first=Jacki|title=Season Premiere of "Who Wants to be a Superhero?", a "Top Chef" Reunion, and More Watercooler TV|publisher =Media Village|date=2007-07-20|url=http://www.mediavillage.com/jmentr/2007/07/20/jmer-07-20-07/|accessdate=2007-08-14] It is slightly different from the first season, using a great deal more special effects and requiring a higher level of suspension of disbelief than usual for a reality show. Notably, the heroes actually hold conversations with characters such as villains, and even Erin Esurance, an advertisement cartoon.

Characters and contestants

The ten contestants, along with summaries of their (fictional) characters, are:

* The Defuser (aka Jarrett Crippen / Austin, Texas) is an expert paramilitary superhero who uses non-lethal weaponry to stop villains. He has the unique ability to function at 110 percent. On September 6, 2007, the Defuser was chosen as "the next great superhero" by Stan Lee.

* Hyper-Strike (aka John Stork / Plainfield, Vermont and Chicago, Illinois) is a martial arts expert with super strength and agility and he can manipulate his own Chi (spiritual energy) and that of others. He also possesses the unique ability of using his sweat as a weapon. He tied for second place in the season finale.

* Hygena (aka Melody Mooney / Sherman Oaks, California) fights crime and grime making weapons from all types of cleaning utensils. Mooney has stated that she got the idea for her superhero persona while attending Comic-Con with her husband, where she realized "that to properly combat the odor problem on the convention floor would probably require some sort of superhero." She tied for second place in the season finale.

* Parthenon (aka Dan Williams / Orlando, Florida) was raised in Schererville, Indianacite news|last=Inawat|first=Ron Matthew|title=ChicagoPride.com Interview with Dan Williams|publisher=ChicagoPride.com|date=2007-08-01|url=http://www.chicagopride.com/news/interview.cfm/articleid/113409] and is an archaeologist who gets his mystical powers from an ancient gauntlet called the Armaguard, which he discovered in Greece. He has referred to himself not as a "gay superhero," but rather a superhero who "happen [s] to be gay," and has said that he sees himself as a gay role model.cite news|last=Masaki|first=Lyle|title=Interview with Dan Williams of Who Wants to Be a Superhero?|publisher=AfterElton.com|page=2|date=2007-07-24|url=http://www.afterelton.com/people/2007/7/parthenon?page=0%2C0|accessdate=2007-08-20] cite news|last=Juergens|first=Brian|title=Gay TV Rec
] He was eliminated in episode six for failing to bond with the children featured in the episode.

* Whip-Snap (aka Paula Thomas / Dallas, Texas and Los Angeles) was raised in Texas, and has a mastery of the whip. Due to her time spent on the streets, she has also developed a sixth sense that alerts her to danger, and if her bare skin touches a villain, that villain is turned into sand. When Paula was asked about her character she moved Stan Lee by telling him she based much of her character's hard past on her real life. She was eliminated in episode five due to her own self-doubt.

* Basura (aka Aja De Coudreaux / Oakland, California) uses her mystical powers to turn trash into treasures. She enlists the help of all bugs everywhere and can tell how an object was made by merely touching it. She was eliminated in episode four for not being assertive enough, as well as her hesitancy to help a mother look for her child.

* Ms. Limelight (aka Trisha Paytas / Byron, Illinois and Los Angeles) is a caped-crusader who absorbs the powers of action stars on TV and in movies. She sports a mirror used to distract her enemies, and she developed night vision from the large amount of time she spent in dark theaters. She was also eliminated in episode three for being unable to perform under pressure for two episodes in a row.

* Mr. Mitzvah (aka "Sir Ivan" Wilzig / Miami, Florida and New York City) is a real-life Bruce Wayne who lives in a castle. This multi-millionaire's mission, under the guise of Mr. Mitzvah, is to save the lives of children. He sports a Star of David paddle, which is able to deflect any attack. He was eliminated in episode three for failing to face his fears for a second time and secluding himself from the other heroes.

* Mindset (aka Phillip Allen / Coral Springs, Florida) is a telekinetic time traveler on a mission to end all war. Originally named Omnicron, Mindset is the viewers' choice on the show winning his place by Internet voters earlier this year. Eliminated in episode two for putting himself ahead of his fellow superheroes, hurting Limelight's feelings by accusing her of putting on an act, and refusing to play by Bee Sting's rules in her spelling bee.

* Braid (aka Crystal Clark / Bloomington, Illinois) makes herself any age, race, or gender and can turn her hair into crime-busting tentacles. She was eliminated in episode one for failing to gather information from a crime scene, and for being laid back in most challenges rather than taking action, in addition to caring more about explaining her powers than aiding the victim.

Several of the contestants appeared on the show using names other than those they auditioned with. Besides Mindset (Omnicron), these include the Defuser (Takedown), [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztVpj6daWeo Takedown's audition video on YouTube] ] Parthenon (Paragon),cite news|last=Masaki|first=Lyle|title=Interview with Dan Williams of Who Wants to Be a Superhero?|publisher=AfterElton.com|page=2|date=2007-07-24|url=http://www.afterelton.com/people/2007/7/parthenon?page=0%2C0|accessdate=2007-08-20] Whip-Snap (Lady Reckoning), Hyper-Strike (Super Impact Man), and Mr. Mitzvah (Peaceman, Mitzvah Man).


* Bee Sting (Anna Easteder) - An escaped female villain who covered the superheroes with honey and poured a swarm of her pet bees on them during her "Spelling Bee" at an abandoned school. She hasn't been seen since Dr. Dark plagued the heroes.

* Dr. Dark (Yan Feldman) - Stan Lee faked his own kidnapping when it came to the "Rescue Stan Lee" test where he dressed up as the villain with a distorted voice. Another Dr. Dark is plotting against the heroes and working with Bee Sting. Dr. Dark apparently likes playing tricks on the contestants. Many of the season's tests revolve around his plot to clone Stan Lee, whom he seems to have a grudge against. The Defuser, Hyper-Strike, and Hygena finally defeated him after their training with Balls Mahoney.

* Evil Stan (Stan Lee) - A clone of Stan Lee that Dr. Dark created from the DNA he took from Stan's pencil. He was maximized when Dr. Dark fed him more electricity and was destroyed when his power supply was cut off.

Episode summaries

A green box indicates that the superhero completed a task; yellow indicates that they were nominated for elimination, and red means they were eliminated. A plus sign means that the hero was singled out for praise by Lee in that episode. Blue indicates the winner.

Episode 1

"Originally aired Thursday, July 26, 2007"

Lee introduces the heroes and brings them to the lair. As Stan is talking on his monitor, a mysterious villain enters his room and the monitor turns off. It soon turns on where the cloaked supervillain gives the superheroes the opportunity to save Stan Lee who is placed behind two waterways. The heroes split into two teams to turn off all the water valves. The blue team, which consists of the Defuser, Braid, Ms. Limelight, Basura, and Parthenon, manages to shut off the valve in time. The Defuser in particular stepped up, leading his team and providing strategies such as locking arms to prevent the stream from knocking them down. Unfortunately, the red team, which consists of Hygena, Hyper-Strike, Mindset, Mr. Mitzvah, and Whip-Snap, is unable to complete the task in time. After the challenge ends, the supervillain reveals himself to be Lee in disguise and that he faked his own kidnapping. Next, they must investigate a robbery at a warehouse. The heroes each talk to the evasive Mr. Long to discover clues. Later, they go outside and see that the tires to their vehicles have been taken off. As they put the tires back on, Basura, Hygena, and Parthenon noticed the challenges of helping an elderly woman and helping a man carry heavy boxes. None of the superheroes noticed the lost dog. The show ends with Mr. Mitzvah, Braid, and Ms. Limelight nominated for elimination. Mr. Mitzvah was seen as "unnecessarily rude" with Mr. Long, Ms. Limelight was nominated for "letting her team down" and for apparently ignoring the elderly lady, and Braid, the first hero to be eliminated, for "not being heroic enough." Then a mysterious villain, later identified as Bee Sting, says she will come after the superheroes.

Episode 2

"Originally aired Thursday, August 2, 2007"

The superheroes confront Bee Sting at an abandoned school, where she forces them to compete in a spelling bee. Each word has "be" in it and must be spelled with "bee" instead. Bees are released into their chambers for every word they spell wrong. After the heroes complete her challenge, they are covered in honey for their efforts. They arrive back at the lair where they change out of their superhero costumes and into civilian clothes. The next day, Lee has them put their ruined suits back on, and he interviews each of them one by one about their characters' origins. Then he issues them all new costumes. While most of the heroes were pleased with their new outfits, Hyper-Strike was disappointed with his and could be seen moping around the lair. After everyone celebrates the new suits, Lee calls for an elimination. Mr. Mitzvah, Ms. Limelight, and Mindset are nominated for elimination. Lee says that Mr. Mitzvah behaved in an unheroic manner during the Spelling Bee, and, because of his concern for his own wellbeing, he was unable to effectively help his team. Ms. Limelight was unable to articulate her superhero's abilities to Lee during her interview with him, and Lee felt that a superhero needed to be better able to perform under pressure. Mindset, however, is the second hero to be eliminated: Along with putting himself above his teammates by refusing to play the Spelling Bee according to Bee Sting's rules, he spoke inappropriately to Ms. Limelight, stating that she was "putting on an act" (in his exit interview he clarified that he was only saying that her "ditzy" persona is more like one of "the roles we all play in life" rather than a deliberate deception, though at the time she and the other contestants — along with many viewers — took him to mean the latter). The remaining heroes receive their communicators in the library. Meanwhile, Bee Sting makes a call to Dr. Dark.

Episode 3

"Originally aired Thursday, August 9, 2007"

The heroes awaken to learn that Dr. Dark had been seen at nearby Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park. When they arrive, Dr. Dark instructs them to form teams of two, and that one of each team must ride the roller coaster Tatsu and search the track for four colored squares that corresponded with park locations. The other team member must go to these locations and retrieve a number that is part of a combination to one of four locks on a door, behind which, ostensibly, is Dr. Dark. In the park are fans who test the heroes by trying to stop them for picture-taking, which would reveal whether they would remain focused on the task or be distracted. Basura and Parthenon are the only ones to stop for the fans, but after a short time they continue on, telling the fans they had a task to do but will return. All the heroes arrive with their combinations except Hygena and Ms. Limelight, who were missing two numbers but were helped by Parthenon, who had discovered that all of the combinations contained the same four numbers. They open the door to discover Dr. Dark is not inside; instead, he appears on a television set and taunts them, claiming that he has found their lair.

When the heroes return to the lair, they find a note from Dr. Dark suggesting there may be a mole within the group. This stirs dissension among the heroes until Hygena reminds them that Dr. Dark is the true enemy. When Mr. Mitzvah leaves the room, The Defuser says Mr. Mitzvah could be the mole. Parthenon is uncomfortable with the group talking behind Mr. Mitzvah's back, and when Mr. Mitzvah returns, he answers the group's questions about him. Lee asks the superheroes to complete a mission report, which yields the following:

* Everybody thought they could have performed better.
* Two of the superheroes felt they let down their partners.
* Whip-Snap and Mr. Mitzvah were thought of more as sidekicks than superheroes.
* Parthenon, Hyper-Strike, Basura, and Mr. Mitzvah were accused of being the mole.

After Lee shares the results of the mission reports with the heroes, he calls for an elimination. He informs the remaining heroes that he has discovered who the mole is: no-one, and that they failed to consider where the idea of the mole came from (Dr. Dark himself). He then criticizes most members of the group for being willing to talk about a fellow superhero behind his back. Mr. Mitzvah, Basura, and Ms. Limelight are nominated, and Mr. Mitzvah is eliminated for consistently failing to demonstrate courage. As the remaining heroes begin to leave, Lee calls them back, saying that the day's events had been based on teamwork, and, as such, there would be another elimination. Hyper-Strike takes Mr. Mitzvah's place among those who had been nominated due to his failure to encourage Mr. Mitzvah to face his fears, but Ms. Limelight is eliminated in the end due to her inability to perform under pressure. The six remaining heroes return to the lair, where they discover that someone had broken in and stolen their secret identities.

Episode 4

"Originally aired Thursday, August 16, 2007"

As the heroes return to the lair from the previous episode's elimination, they realize that someone has broken in and trashed the place. The Defuser assumes a leadership role and leads the group on a search through the lair to see if anything was stolen. The superheroes notice that the safe containing their secret identities had been broken into and that their identities are missing. Parthenon also notices that Lee's prized possession, the first pencil he ever used to write a comic, is missing. The next morning, Lee contacts the superheroes, and informs them that, in addition to their secret identities, the safe also held a $50,000 check from Esurance to the Friends of the Urban Forest. Lee instructs the heroes to go undercover as civilians to retrieve the stolen check and secret identities from Dr. Dark's agent, who was going to pass off the package fifteen minutes later. Each superhero needs to find people who are willing to give them a jacket, a pair of pants, and a pair of shoes to wear while they are undercover. While the heroes search for these garments, each of them is approached by a woman who claimed to have just lost her daughter, and she asks for their assistance in finding her. All of the superheroes except Basura decide to help the woman; Basura is reluctant to abandon the task at hand to help the woman. Eventually, each of the heroes manage to pull together a disguise, and Erin Esurance contacts them, saying that the only known thing about the agent was that the agent is wearing blue jeans, and that the agent has been instructed to hand over the package when asked, "I need ears. Can I have yours?" Parthenon succeeds in locating the agent and retrieving the package, which contains the stolen check and identities, but not the pencil.

From here, the superheroes are taken to a comic book store, where they met Mike Richardson, the president of Dark Horse Comics. The heroes comic book covers were revealed, and Richardson tells the heroes that he looked forward to reading their comic someday. Later on back at the lair, Lee rewards Parthenon for retrieving the stolen goods from Dr. Dark's agent by allowing he and one hero of his choice to make a phone call to home. Parthenon speaks to each of the other heroes, who explain in turn who they would like to talk to, with the exception of Basura and Whip-Snap, who both say that they don't really have anyone to contact. In the end, Parthenon decides to let Hygena make the phone call, and she speaks to her husband Mark while Parthenon talks with his partner Derek. After the calls were made, Lee asks the heroes to complete another mission report, and the following comments were revealed to the heroes:

* The Defuser is quick to seize control.
* Whip-Snap is open about many things, but I still feel there’s something missing. (The Defuser admitted to making this statement)
* Hyper-Strike has yet to come out of his shell. (Again, The Defuser admitted to saying this)

After the heroes are shown the results of the mission reports, Lee calls for another elimination. Once on the rooftop, Basura, The Defuser, and Hygena are nominated for elimination. Lee is concerned with Basura's unwillingness to help the mother look for her child. He nominates The Defuser because he felt that he needed to lead without inhibiting his fellow superheroes, and Hygena is nominated because, due to her inability to step outside of her comfort zone, her own phobias got in the way of her goals. Basura is eliminated because, Lee says, because, "A superhero needs to be an assertive and decisive leader, and in that aspect, Basura, you’ve fallen short."

Meanwhile, Dr. Dark is seen in a lab, where he claims that he has finally succeeded in extracting Lee's DNA from the stolen pencil.

Episode 5

"Originally aired Thursday, August 23, 2007"

The heroes awaken to an electric mess and alarm. A breaking news story reveals that Dr. Dark is redirecting electricity for his own use. To stop him, the heroes must travel though his redirecting electric tunnel and remove five electric fuses—though it contains the weaknesses of the heroes, which were copied from the folders stolen at the end of episode three. All of the heroes were able to get the fuses out and restore the power.

The heroes had a night at a restaurant, and they had to work off their bill when they did not have money to pay it. The next day, Dr. Dark took a page from the Dark Enforcer's book by revealing embarrassing secrets of the superheroes:

* Whip-Sn

* Hygena: Has a private love of burlesque dancing.
* Parthenon: Has a bedroom themed after the pilfering pirates of old.
* Hyper-Stike: An embarrassing moment from his circus past when he had to deal with a waxy floor and slippery costume.
* The Defuser: He did not join his classmates for graduation from high school because he was always goofing around, and while under the influence of alcohol, he destroyed a public bathroom.

After Dr. Dark left the lair, it was time once again to fill out mission reports. The heroes said the following:

* The Defuser and Parthenon are believed to be the strongest.
* Whip-Snap tends to overreact when under pressure.
* Hygena is underperforming her tasks.
* More than half the heroes believed Whip-Snap was the weakest.

Whip-Snap was clearly devastated from what the mission reports had to say.Hyper-Strike would later speak with Whip-Snap, saying he was one of the heroes that voted her the weakest. Hyper-Strike believed it would be weak of him to call another hero weak without telling it to them himself.

After the mission reports, Stan Lee called for an elimination, nominating Whip-Snap (on her self-doubt), Hygena (on allowing her fears to slow her down when completing missions) and The Defuser (for giving a fan a piece of his costume). Whip-Snap was sent home.

After the heroes went to sleep, Dr. Dark used the electricity he collected to create a clone of Stan Lee.

Episode 6

"Originally aired Thursday, August 30, 2007"

The heroes wake up to find that Stan wants to test their code-breaking skills. He says that it is a very elementary code that a fourth grader can solve, thus they will solve it at a school with the help of fourth graders.

The fourth graders are split up and assigned a hero, where they work together with their hero to solve the part of the code that they have (a fourth of the code was given to each hero). Parthenon was the first to finish, but he did most of the work himself without allowing the children to help. Hygena was the last to crack her portion of the code, but she allowed the children to participate. Hyper-Strike is shown as bonding with his group better than the others. The Defuser says that he could not have solved the code without the assistance of the children.

Afterwards, the heroes are duped by an evil clone of Stan Lee to do random things at a park, which they all blindingly obey, thinking it's the real Stan telling them to misbehave. Most significantly, Parthenon borrows a mother's cane to do a tap-dance but does not return it to her, the Defuser asks a random citizen for advice on how to handle a "Super Wedgie," and Hygena causes traffic problems. Eventually, the Defuser gets suspicious, but he doesn't say anything to Evil Stan.

The heroes are then told to investigate a crate in an abandoned building where Stan Lee's first pencil is being hidden. Hygena finds the pencil, but the crate is closed on the heroes and Dr. Dark taunts them with an hour-long deadline before he ships their crate to a "dark place." Hyper-Strike and Parthenon lead the team in finding a way out while The Defuser merely helps due to his feeling that the two are better leaders in this situation.

After the heroes broke out of the crate and returned to the lair, Stan (who assures the heroes that it really is him) tells the heroes to fill out another mission report. The following was said, all regarding the crate mission:

* Hygena could have been more involved.
* The Defuser shouldn't have dropped the pole (the Defuser defends himself by saying that he did not drop the pole, but it broke by itself, which it did).
* Parthenon was pushy in getting his point across.

On the rooftop, Hygena, Parthenon, and Hyper-Strike are called for elimination, Hygena for her continued meekness as well as disrupting traffic, Parthenon for his pushiness as a leader and inability to bond with the children, and Hyper-Strike for inadvertently putting the schoolchildren in danger by revealing his secret identity to them (it was, however, in an attempt to show children not be ashamed of their real names). In the end, Parthenon is asked to turn in his costume, as it is revealed that none of the children from the earlier code-cracking endeavor consider him to be their favorite superhero.

Soon after, Dr. Dark enlarges Evil Stan to skyscraper size and sends him out to destroy the city.

Episode 7

The superheroes attempt to stop a now giant, rampaging Evil Stan by going to a power plant and cutting off its source of power. However, the place is guarded by attack dogs (which was similar to a challenge on Episode 2 of Season 1). Hygena formulates a plan to offer herself as bait and distract the dogs while the Defuser and Hyper Strike work on shutting off the power. While the Defuser hates to see a fellow superhero go down, he pushes himself to move on. The Defuser and Hyper Strike form a human chain between two electrical towers, shutting off the power supply to Evil Stan and causing his destruction. Back at the lair, Stan rewards the superheroes with action figures of themselves.

Next, the superheroes are sent to be guests on the talk show "Reality Remix". The hidden test was to see if the heroes would reveal any personal information even when there weren't any visibly active cameras. All three of them failed this challenge.

At the nomination ceremony, all three of the remaining heroes are nominated for elimination. Stan announces that the superhero who will be leaving the lair this week is no one, and that they will all get to stay as finalists for the last episode.

Episode 8

The final three learn action maneuvers from ECW wrestler Balls Mahoney, perform in front of a green screen, and then defeat Dr. Dark. Stan Lee speaks to each of the contestants as their real selves. At Universal Studios Hollywood, he announces that the winner is the Defuser.


External links

* [http://www.scifi.com/superhero/] - Official Season 2 page on SciFi
* [http://www.theheroeslair.com/ The Heroes Lair] - Unofficial Season 2 Website run by Dan Williams (Parthenon)
* [http://celebrealityremix.podango.com/ Interviews with reality stars of Vh1, MTV, and SciFi]
* [http://youtube.com/watch?v=RNCmqOhzyKU Video] of the "Who Wants To Be A Superhero?" Season 2 Premiere Party at Sir Ivan Wilzig's ("Mr. Mitzvah") Castle
* [http://www.scifi.com/superhero/ Who Wants to Be a Superhero?] - Official Season 2 page on SciFi
* [http://annaeasteden.com Anna Easteden Official Site] Official site for actress Anna Easteden who plays supervillain Bee Sting

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