Metahumor Must Die, and We Must Be Its Killers

Thank you, Screen Rant.

To preface, I never wanted to touch She-Hulk: Attorney at Law with a 10-foot pole. It was cancer to me: a toxic contagion that completely destroyed all life that came within a few meters of it. Just like you would not risk death by placing a poison dart frog in your mouth, I won’t risk my mental stability to watch this show.

And I knew all this before I heard anything about it.

You see, I’m a bit of a junkie for odd facts. Here’s one: the comic book series She-Hulk had to be rebooted twice before anyone bought it over X-Men. If you ask me how I know this, I’ll tell you that my dad was really into comic books (that’s a lie; he was more into video games).

So naturally, as soon as I got a whiff of the show, I was incredulous. Yeah, good luck was my only thought before throwing in the towel when it came to new shows to watch. There was no way they were going to pull off anything remotely good when it came to quality, and as for actual humor, the selling point of the show, well…

Are you starting to notice a trend in modern humor? If you have, you’re probably one of the many ists and phobes prowling the streets wishing nothing but ill on the favored groups of 2023. Ask me how I know? Because it’s apparently political to not laugh at the “humor” we find in She-Hulk and Velma.

But what is this hilarious humor we find in this brave, green, empowered Disney+ TV show? Will it have us laughing until our sides ache? Shall we be begging for the release from chuckles that hold us captive? Will we repeat the jokes to our friends and coworkers, bawling with laughter once we manage to get the words out?

No, no, and no. It’s none of that. Enter–metahumor.

Metahumor. Needs. To die.

So, naturally, after She-Hulk came out, I wanted a peek–just a tiny glimpse–of the utter hellscape of writing everyone assured me it was. So finally, months after the show came out, I finally permitted myself to watch a Screen Rant Pitch Meeting on the show. This guy’s pretty funny. I thought. This might be…enjoyable.

How wrong I was.

There was nothing wrong with the Pitch Meeting, I can tell you that. But no amount of “actually it’ll be super easy barely an inconvenience” and “X is tight” will be able to disguise the utter turd that She-Hulk was. We could talk about the paper-thin characters, the plot held together by popsicle sticks and pond scum, the CGI that looks prehistoric, or the actors trying to be obnoxious as possible, but the worst thing about this show has got to be the point of it all.

The show is a comedy. Or more accurately, it’s supposed to be. If you laughed at She-Hulk, I do not want to be your friend (except Dan Wells, and that’s because he has Brandon to protect him from my wrath), unless you laughed at it for the sheer and utter lunacy that thought it could call itself a show. But it’s supposed to make you laugh, right?

Anyway, metahumor has been standing in the corner for a few minutes at this point, so let’s go ahead and introduce him: this is the main source of “humor” in the show. Metahumor makes fun of things on a larger scale, more than what the story or universe has laid out for us…in theory, at least. Fourth wall-breaking is an example of metahumor. Sometimes it works…other times, it’s miserable

I will give you one example.

If you asked me to give you the definition of “bullsh*t”, I would say, “The season finale of She-Hulk season 1”.

Basically, She-Hulk breaks the fourth wall and tells the watchers exactly what they’ve been thinking all along: the show doesn’t make any sense and is ultimately pointless. You, the watcher, try to click away, but She-Hulk breaks through the Disney+ menu and into the Marvel writers’ room, where she finds the AI who’s been writing the script and forces it to resolve the story.

What. Have. You. Done.

This is supposed to be funny. Instead, it gives me an orgasmic reflex and a sudden urge to end my own life. Let’s just ignore, for a moment, that this scene automatically nullifies the notion that this slideshow was ever a “TV show” in the first place. It certainly wasn’t a story.

But let’s let that go for a second. Even if it’s not a story, even if it’s insanely insulting, even though it’s a waste of your time, even though everyone associated with this little project was insanely unlikeable, at least it was funny…right?

Lemme put it this way: the “writers” behind this atrocity are talentless hacks, possessing only the most basic understanding of how stories are supposed to work, fed up on the idea that they can do whatever they want without meaningful repercussions. They are not writers. They are not comedians.

Good humor is well-reasoned and refers to a larger picture. However, this picture can’t be too broad: the more niche yet broad the meme is, usually, the funnier it is. You can take a small group of people (Elden Ring fans) and then make a maidenless joke, and everyone will laugh harder than if you make a joke about the ubiquity of laundry or dishes. Yes, humor is hard.

Well, apparently the absolute idiots behind She-hulk realized this early on–and, instead, took the easy path. They went for a cheap fourth-wall break that excited absolutely no one, pretending to have some kind of commentary on how bad the show really is. They planned on exposing their critics for the selfish man-babies they really were, but the only thing exposed was their own incompetence (and perhaps a few other things that we didn’t need to see).

I’m getting sick just thinking about it. If you want the TL;DR, metahumor is cheap and overused, oftentimes being touted as the pinnacle of the Art of Funny. Don’t be a talentless hack. Be a hard-working, well-meaning writer instead.

That’s all.

Really.

Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Plus, I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to check out the Resources tab. It’s full of super helpful material and I promise it will help you out. Until then, writers!

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Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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