Ink & Paint: Omniverse? Feels More Like Omnifail

As anyone who's ever listened to me whine on the internet knows, I have a sort of abused girlfriend-y relationship with the Ben 10 franchise.  I keep going back, expecting it to live up to its potential, and it keeps slapping me across the face with a fish.  Seriously, it's a good concept (no, I don't care if it's a redux of Dial H for Hero), it's a solid cast, it's had a history of hiring strong creators, and I absolutely LOVE the voice cast.  But I swear it goes out of its way to personally infuriorate me for the fun of it.

Yes, I have some choice complaints about the "preview" that CN showed last night.  I feel absolutely terrible airing them - this might be the last project that the McDuffies got to write together before the Maestro died - but until I air them, they will drive me even more batshit than normal.

Mistake #1: Hiring a designer who does amazing aliens but ridiculously ugly humans.  Seriously, did Grandpa Max catch Brock's Disease?  Did someone decide meth addicts were "in", so that's why Kevin now looks like one?  What the hell happened to Ben's pupils?  The aliens, even the odd redesigns, are very distinct & appealling, but the moment the humans show up, all the super fluid animation in the world can't make them look not-disturbing.

Mistake #2: Writing out most of the supporting cast who we have come to love in the past few series.  It's fine to take the focus back on your title hero, but to write out characters with a hand wave like Gwen & Kevin were was just PAINFUL.  Yeah, they'll be back for the occassional guest appearance, but one of the things that made me like this franchise was their chemistry as friends & teammates, and losing that so abruptly & quickly & "we don't care"-esque is beyond aggravating.  It also conveniently removes the only regularly appearing source of estrogen in the cast, since we know Julie will only appear when we need a damsel in distress & nothing else.

Mistake #3: Replacing the versatile supporting cast with one "kewl" new dude who's sole personality trait appears to be "hypercompetant".  This has to be a named trope - I've seen it in too many superhero works for it to just be confined to the realm of fanfic.  Rook shows up, routes all the baddies, and proves that, hey, we don't need those two boring old characters we unceremoniously evicted with this super-awesome guy, right?  I'm sorry - if he were female, people would not be announcing Rook to be the bestest best new thing ever.  They'd see him for being a canon Mary Sue, since he functions the same role that countless fan characters with their own Omnitrixes & names like "Jenn 10" have since the franchise started.  Perfectly good waste of Bumper Robinson.

Mistake #4: The time-jumping apparently serves no purpose other than pandering to the fans who whined constantly about missing the original series.  Everything I hated in the original, they loved; so that means we'll have Ben being brain-damaged, and worse, the return of young Gwen - the only character in all of fiction I've hated so much I wished I could reach through the metaverse & punch.  Everything wrong with a "Girls Need Role Models" character is here - she's arrogant, she's nasty, she's obnoxiously hypercompetant, and when she acts like an ass, we're supposed to see it as okay somehow.  About the only thing that could make it worse was if they announced Meagan Smith was back to torture our eardrums again (the only brown note in any of the franchise's casts) [EDIT 9/3/12: Turns out she is back.  Yay.  Guess what series isn't getting a second chance to win me over again ever.].  If this proves to be a way to show us a new stealthy threat building through the years that will finally show the fans & writers it's okay to move on from Vilgax, then I will forgive it.  But for now, it just feels like pandering to bring back the people who hated Alien Force & Ultimate Alien because the writers - and therefore the characters - were capable of thought.

I don't know - maybe it's because I'm technically old enough to be the target demographic's mom, but I don't get the "OMG this is awesome!1!" praise this is earning on places like Toonzone other than responders having low standards.  The one thing I liked unconditionally was the chicken alien with the cockfighting spurs for gauntlets & food-based ADHD.  I honestly think that they deliberately squander any story potential for the sake of selling plastic shit, because they know that they can get away with this.  They can waste good talent on & behind the screen and have them phone it in and still say "it's #1 with boys 4-11 who haven't had their Ritalin yet!" like they always do.  To me, there is NO excuse for a professional work to coast, and unless they do exactly like I said in #4 about the slow threat, that is exactly what they appear to be doing.

And like the abused girlfriend fan I am, I will be right back there when my favorite characters appear or they actually prove me wrong & TRY.  Liking Ben 10 in any capacity SUCKS if you think at all, I swear, and no series should be like that.

Comments

  1. I honestly think that they deliberately squander any story potential for the sake of selling plastic shit, because they know that they can get away with this.

    It really is amazing how having a show with solid characters and solid writing can do more to sell me cheap plastic shit then solely beating me over the head with new stuff.

    "OH MY GOD BEN HAS A NEW ALIEN" means nothing to me unless I like said alien.

    It's probably why I have so many little pastel colored horses around my room now. "Friendship Is Magic" is solidly written, has likeable characters, and is delightful to watch which makes me want to buy the toys.

    And Disney, if your reading this, please get off your butt and make Mable Pines merchandise. If you want, I will even forward you my banking information so you can just take my money that way and cut out the middleman.

    You know why I want a Mable Pines plush? Because the character is likeable. I want to punch Gwen in the face. I want to punch the writers in the face for deciding that "strong headed, over competent and 'she tells it like it is yo'*" translates to "positive role model for girls".

    It's a weird day when cartoon horses are more of a role model for kids then cartoon people.

    * - I am not good with today's buzz words.

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    Replies
    1. I want to punch the writers in the face for deciding that "strong headed, over competent and 'she tells it like it is yo'*" translates to "positive role model for girls".

      Me, too. Apparently politeness & friendliness are "weak" qualities to TV writers. (Of course, a lot of what you say applies to my least favorite Pony, who appears to be everyone else's favorite. Showing that even good works sometimes don't get it.)

      It's a weird day when cartoon horses are more of a role model for kids then cartoon people.

      You'd think that other networks would look at MLP:FiM as proof that you can have a hit if you care as much about the characters as the merch, or look at Korra as proof that your female hero doesn't have to be ludicrously perfect. But that would mean looking at a response other than "What are our returns from Bandai this month?", and unless it's one of their comedies, CN is incapable of doing that.

      And yeah, had to post this way because LJ won't let me use it's openid.

      That's okay; LJ's refusal to play nice with other social media was one of my reasons for bailing. I can't figure out how to set this for replies to comments, so there's still a learning curve..

      Delete
  2. And yeah, had to post this way because LJ won't let me use it's openid.

    LJ!

    *shakes fist*

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