hereīs not much to be said about "Whirlgirl" that hasnīt already been said. Thus, instead of actually writing a whole new review, please enjoy this article that I wrote about Whirlgirl for my old college newspaper!
It's difficult to take a superhero seriously when she wears a miniskirt. The standard skintight spandex combo serves the dual purpose of allowing the hero maximum flexibility and giving the audience something to ogle, but a miniskirt just seems impractical.
This is just one of many problems with Whirlgirl.
"Whirlgirl" is SHO.com's new flash-animated Web series, a science-fiction cartoon found at
www.whirlgirl.com. New episodes of this continuing saga are uploaded every Friday.
SHO.com is the Internet Web site of Showtime Networks.
Whirlgirl is a sad example of what happens when geriatric executives decide that they need something to appeal to "the kids." After watching "Tank Girl" and "Johnny Mnemonic," they think anyone can write sci-fi, so they recycle some old cliches, throw in a few buzzwords like "cyber" and "virtual," and voila. Even the ill-conceived name 'Whirlgirl' reeks of test marketing and backroom planning.
According to the site, Whirlgirl, a.k.a. Kia Cross, is a "21st century 20-something" computer programmer whose secret power is "whirling."
Although the site is not too clear on the concept, "whirl" seems to mean "get mad." Because the local evil corporation ran sinister experiments on her infamous cyber-pirate mom, Whirlgirl has the amazing ability to lose her temper at will.
Together with a ragtag band of intellectual rebels, Whirlgirl fights for truth, justice and the American way in a future dystopia ruled with a "virtual fist" by generic corporate weasel Ty Harden.
Whirlgirl's assistant is Stekatta, "sensual and androgynous, slim, blonde and definitely hot." Stekatta, we are told, "tells it like it is, and when she smells B.S. she sounds off about it." Wow. Rebellious.
It is obvious that Whirlgirl aims at the pubescent demographic when it is revealed that Stekatta really just wants to be Kia's lover.
Whirlgirl's other allies include Sid X, Ty Harden's disgruntled son who gets the power of "streamkinesis" from a large jewel that his father had implanted in his forehead. The logic behind this move is not explained, other than to say that Harden is, well, evil.
Sid is still readjusting to life outside his father's laboratory and all he wants to do is "party!" Sid's power will save the world, the site helpfully informs us, if Kia can convince him to "keep his pants on" long enough to do so.
"Whirlgirl's" creators apparently saw Austin Powers, boasting that citizens in this retro futuristic world dress in fashions borrowed from the '60s and '70s. They also seem to have some vague notion that young people today are only into clubbing; Kia spends her days furthering her career and her nights dancing at a hip club with her "neobeat poet."
The episodes themselves, however, do an adequate job of showcasing flash animation technology. The movement is smooth and fluid, but most of the time characters just stand around talking. The sound is crisp and sharp but the actors fail to put any convincing emotion into their performances.
One feature allows the audience to create its own Whirlgirl episode. Although this sounds interesting, it consists of nothing more than reorganizing a number of premade scenes.
And in a truly odd twist, www.whirlgirl.com also includes an advice column where bewildered males can consult Whirlgirl herself on questions of romance and courtship. As everyone knows, masked rebel malcontents best understand the inner workings of the female psyche.
For all its efforts to be trendy, "Whirlgirl" is all too obviously the soulless product of a cynical corporate agenda.
For more information on Whirlgirl and her many knock-offs, check out Angelo Maceriīs excellent in-depth study of the subject at Fuzzball Saga.
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