I just saw the two-part season finale of Supergirl last night. It’s amazing how cheesy it is. But maybe that’s a good thing. I’m going to post spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you may not want to read this.
In the first part, National City gets taken over by Supergirl’s uncle Nod, who uses a mind control ray thingy to zap everyone into zombies who will do his bidding. One of the sort-of-not-a-villain’s ideas to fight Nod is to use a bomb to irradiate the city and break the hold of the mind control ray.
The problem is, it would kill 8% of the population. Supergirl is out of options, until she hits upon the brilliant notion: Give a rousing speech inspiring hope, and that will magically destroy the powers of Nod and restore National City’s citizens to their rightful state of mind. Needless to say she succeeds.
I can hear the trumpet fanfare playing. I can see the building-sized American flag billowing in the background, as Supergirl strikes a pose and looks inspirationally upward and to the left of camera at something we, the beleaguered viewers torn asunder with the worries and trials of our daily lives, cannot see.
The cheeseball factor of this show is just off the charts.
But that’s a good thing. Look, I get it. It’s not realistic. But that’s actually the charm of a lot of these DC comic book shows. Look at the state of the world today. Heck, even just the United States. We’re not doing too good. We need shows that are cheeseball if they also inspire hope.
The hope of Supergirl is amazingly unrealistic. And yet, we need to see universes where that is possible, and where that does happen as a regular occurrence.
The reason being is because it doesn’t happen here. What these kinds of shows do is inspire our moral imaginations to believe that such a world could exist. I have imagined giving a passionate speech that stirs the hearts of men, that persuades them to do something that is reasonable, just, and good. It is in part what inspired me to start this blog. This show makes me want to do that for others.
What is more conservative than the conservation of hope that things could get better? That not just our country, but our families and friends can survive the moral collapse of both major political parties, wars, economic strife, and social chaos? We need more shows and other media like Supergirl, because they’re what help keep our own hope alive and inspire us to carry on when things get bad.
And that’s the genius of this show, really. Because when Supergirl is talking to that TV camera, giving her speech of hope to wake the citizens of National City out of their trance, she’s not talking to fictional zombie people. She’s talking to us, who are in many respects in the same state of mind. It’s so meta. And that’s what makes it awesome.