Who Wants to Be a Superhero? (season 1)
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". One or more of the superheroes deemed the least deserving is eliminated per episode. Season 1 premiered on July 27, 2006 on the Sci Fi Channel cable network.
Characters and contestants
- Rotiart (aka Jonathan Finestone / Los Angeles, CA) - Was a spy planted by Stan Lee to help weed out the least worthy superhero. (His name spelled backwards is "Traitor.") Left on his own (because he wasn't an actual contestant) in Episode One.
- Levity (aka Tobias Trost / Lakeside, MT) - Eliminated in Episode One for "discussing" profitability of his character for his toy business. In his exit interview, he says that Rotiart manipulated their "discussion".
- Nitro G (aka Darren Passarello / Staten Island, NY) - Eliminated in Episode One for failing the first challenge, 'Quick Change', by changing in plain sight and bypassing a girl in distress.
- Cell Phone Girl (aka Chelsea Weld / La Crescenta, CA) - Eliminated in Episode Two for failing the courage-oriented challenge by quitting in only four seconds, explaining that a headache was the problem.
- The Iron Enforcer (aka Steel Chambers / Brooklyn, NY) - Eliminated in Episode Two for not demonstrating Lee's ideas regarding a hero's behavior and values. Recruited by Stan to return as a supervillain, The Dark Enforcer.
- Monkey Woman (aka Mary Votava / Seattle, WA) - Eliminated in Episode Three for giving away her secret identity without being asked and for concealing being an actress during her audition.
- Ty'Veculus (aka E. Quincy Sloan / Bakersfield, CA) - Eliminated in Episode Three for failing the self-sacrifice challenge by recommending Lemuria for elimination, questioning her motives and reasons for being in the competition.
- Creature (aka Tonya Kay / Coldwater, MI) - Eliminated in Episode Four following the revelation of her past as a litterbug and for breaking the law on the show.
- Lemuria (aka Tonatzin Mondragon / Los Angeles, CA) - Eliminated in Episode Four for being the only one to fail the inmate challenge.
- Major Victory (aka Chris Watters / San Francisco, CA) - Eliminated in Episode Five because of Stan Lee's concern that he was becoming a "parody of a superhero".
- Fat Momma (aka Nell Wilson / Los Angeles, CA) - The final superhero asked to turn in her costume, in Episode Six. She came in second place, with no specific reason is stated as to why. She also made an appearance on Let's Make a Deal winning $2,000.
- Feedback (aka Matthew Atherton / Las Cruces, NM) - He was dubbed as "the next great superhero" by Stan Lee.
Episode progress table
|Fat Momma ♀||IN||IN||IN||IN||IN||NOM||NOM||IN||IN||OUT|
|Major Victory ♂||IN||IN||IN||IN||IN||IN||NOM||NOM||OUT|
|Monkey Woman ♀||IN||NOM||IN||IN||OUT|
|The Iron Enforcer ♂||NOM||NOM||NOM||OUT|
|Cell Phone Girl ♀||IN||IN||OUT|
|Nitro G ♂||IN||OUT|
- ^1 The Iron Enforcer came back as the villain The Dark Enforcer
- ^2 Monkey Woman was eliminated without nominations due to lying during her audition
- ^3 Fat Momma was Second Place, but no reason is stated as to why she was 2nd place
The superheroes and their alter egos were introduced. Each character was profiled in true comic fashion and they had a party. Stan Lee then gave the heroes their first lessons about the show and informed them he was looking for the "human" qualities that make superheroes great. The heroes searched for and moved into their secret lair. Before they entered, Rotiart was unmasked as a spy who had been secretly recording their interactions to help Lee deduce which of them might have less-than-noble motives. Lee admonished 3 of the heroes: Levity for discussing the profitability of his character; Creature for flirting with the male heroes; and Iron Enforcer for his violent tendencies and bravado. Levity was then sent home, with Lee explaining that superheroes are not greedy. Lee gave each superhero a secret communicator so he might interact with them privately. The 1st challenge was a "Quick Change". The contestants were to be summoned by Lee in public. They had to find an inconspicuous location where they would not be seen, change into their costume and then race to a destination "in true superhero-like fashion". However, a child actress in the role of a small girl who needed help finding her mother was placed en route as a surprise to see if the heroes would respond to someone in need. Lee explained that in the superhero world, things are not always as they appear to be. Following the challenge Lee revealed its true purpose. The goal was not to change into their costume and then reach the designated point, but to help those in need; in this case the lost little girl. 6 of the remaining 10 heroes did not stop. Lee then called forth 3 heroes: Nitro G for changing out in the open as well as missing the girl; Monkey Woman for appearing to notice the girl but not stopping; and Iron Enforcer for his questionable heroic nature after 2 failed tests. Lee asked each of them why they should not be eliminated. After each hero replied, Lee made another cut. Nitro G was sent home.
The show opened with Stan Lee appearing on the television, announcing another challenge. Each hero was to write questions to ask each other anonymously, then send the questions via pneumatic tube to Lee. Lee soon announced a second challenge, focusing on valor and will. Following the challenge, Lee announced the remaining superheroes would be treated to new costumes. While most of the costume updates were uneventful, Ty'Veculus's caused a bit of controversy. His old helmet was replaced with a Centurion-style one including a large feathered ridge, and his suit had become golden padded armor. Upon inspection, Lee commented that the suit wasn't what he had in mind and questioned the designers. Following several interviews with the other superheroes regarding Iron Enforcer's complete inability to fit in, the camera cut to the suitless Enforcer walking down the street. Suddenly, Lee appeared on a junked TV as Iron Enforcer passed it. Lee announced, "Hey, Iron Enforcer... During your makeover something was bothering me, and I couldn't put my finger on it, but now I know exactly what it is. You make a lousy superhero... but you'd make a great supervillain!" Enforcer agreed to the new identity, and the design team from earlier pulled him into a van for transformation. Out stepped a tall, black-suited villain with a skull-like mask. Stan Lee announced the arrival of his newest creation, The Dark Enforcer, and said that life for the superheroes was about to become a lot more difficult.
The episode started with Stan Lee interrupting the heroes' breakfast for a meeting. Lee said that often, a hero's villain defines the hero, and drew comparisons to Spider-Man's Green Goblin, Superman's Lex Luthor and Batman's Joker. As murmurs went up from the heroes, the lights flickered, then failed, building to Dark Enforcer's entrance. He told the heroes that this had been a test of self-sacrifice and that while he could not know the true motives of those who had nominated themselves, they had given him the answer he wanted. Lee told Fat Momma that while she had failed the challenge, she had nominated Feedback out of concern and that in her own way she was trying to save him. Ty'Veculus, Lee said, had no such noble motives. The Warrior of Light was asked to turn in his costume. All of the remaining heroes except Creature and Lemuria embraced Ty'Veculus in a heartfelt goodbye. In the lair, Fat Momma lashed out at the other superheroes, accusing them of dishonesty and manipulation in nominating themselves. In an interview, Lemuria stated that Lee would have to "do a lot more than that to outsmart me" and she would "do anything, whatever it takes to stay in the game." In the final moments, Fat Momma vowed to see all the other heroes eliminated before her as "payback" for Ty'Veculus.
As a new day dawned, the remaining superheroes patrolled the streets of Los Angeles to do some super deeds. A new inmate, a towering African American male, was brought in for Major Victory and Feedback. Major Victory went first. After being told he looked ridiculous, the Major agreed and removed his cape and gloves. After a bit of talk, the inmate asked Major Victory about having his handcuffs removed to make him more comfortable. Major Victory moved behind the inmate—though the inmate protested—and patted his shoulders 3 times. Upon return Major Victory stated in an interview, "Feedback has to hug that guy 3 times? I'm gonna miss Feedback!" Feedback met the convict next. By this time, the man was asking repeatedly to have his handcuffs removed, or he would go back to the van. Feedback interceded with the prison guard and asked him to remove the convict's handcuffs, then began conversing with the convict. When asked why he was in prison the convict told him, "Murder, man. 4 counts." When asked if he felt remorse or regret for the families of his victims he said he felt none because his own father had been murdered. Ultimately, the failed challenge tipped the scales and Lemuria was asked to turn in her costume and leave the lair. Following the elimination, Major Victory promised Stan that, despite old habits dying hard, he would keep his costume on at all times, except when he had to go to the bathroom. Feedback emotionally and tearfully thanked Lee for allowing him to stay in the competition this long and explained that after the loss of his father, Stan Lee's characters were the men he looked up to. He said that Spider-Man helped him make the shift into adulthood and that he tries to live up to the ideals set forth by Spider-Man. Lee said he wasn't sure he deserved that honor but was genuinely touched by it.
The episode began with Stan Lee summoning the superheroes to tell them they would soon face the "toughest judges of all": school children. The heroes visited the Arma J. Shull School and were introduced to a class of 4th graders. As a surprise, Lee had mock comic book covers in the classroom, one for each of the heroes. Following the unveiling of the covers, each of the heroes talked to the children about their origins, powers and messages. Feedback told the children the story of the origin of his powers which, while detailed, went right over the heads of the young children. Fat Momma had the children sing her theme song, and gave the children a message about bullying and how they should not let it get to them. Finally, Major Victory humorously explained his superpowers of speed by running around the room, and his powers of sound by singing. The heroes were then given a challenge to follow clues that would lead them to the Dark Enforcer, who was spotted at Universal Citywalk. Major Victory finished the challenge in 15 minutes and 25 seconds. Feedback reached the Dark Enforcer in 15 minutes and 40 seconds. Had he not stayed behind to put every bit of change back into the woman's purse, he would have finished faster. Fat Momma, who stopped repeatedly for French fries, chicken fingers, a massage, and the short-haired woman's candy apple, completed the mission but her time was not posted on-screen. Back at the lair, Lee announced another elimination. Before the heroes could assemble on the roof, Fat Momma locked herself in the bathroom and asked to speak to an executive producer. She told producer Scott Satin that she wanted to leave the show out of fear for Feedback, who she felt was taking the show so seriously that it would devastate him to be eliminated. Stan left the heroes to talk among themselves. Feedback assured her that if he were eliminated he would have no regrets.
The lair was quiet as the finale opened. Suddenly, a surge of energy poured forth from Stan Lee's television screen, traveling down the wires and out of the lair, activating televisions around the city. Stan Lee announced from "every channel" that he would soon be crowning the next great superhero. As Lee gazed at comic book covers featuring Feedback and Fat Momma, he reviewed the various challenges they had faced and the superheroic traits they had exhibited through the course of the competition. Matthew went 1st and spoke again of how his father, suffering from chronic pain, had killed himself. Following his father's suicide, Matthew looked to Lee and his comics for male role models. Lee, he said, was his hero. As he had before, Lee said how touched he was by Matthew's words. Nell said that her best moment during the show was when Lee told her he was proud of her. She said that her father was her hero. She believed that a strong man was the center of a strong family and that with her father growing older she knew that he wouldn't be with her much longer, so she cherished every day she had with him. Lee then told Fat Momma that she was one of his heroes. As the season ended, Feedback flew off-screen and was seen flying through space.