Okay, okay, so it's a dumb kids show. But it's kind of fun. Lobo Fuerte is the world's most stand-up hero, the Dudley Doright of pro wrestling. And everything's Lobo. He hangs out in his HQ, the Lobo Tower. His computer, the Lobotron. His car, the Lobo Ride. It's like Batman only somehow, dumber.
Turbine is his teenage sidekick and boy is this kid short a few brain cells. I guess he's supposed to act like a kid ... he always screws up so that he can learn a valuable life lesson later on. You ask me, a kid this nice and this talented would not also be so thoughtless and careless to screw up in the first place. It's a case of adults trying to write down to the level of kids and aiming way too low ... as with most shows like the Power Rangers. You don't have to condescend this much to make kids understand what's going on. But still, the shows kind of fun.
Maria Valentine is the other sidekick. Don't ask me why the girl has to be stuck in the #3 role. They make it very clear that she's just as capable as the boys yet she is not really part of the team. Any time trouble brews, it's Lobo Fuerte and Turbine to the rescue. Maria helps out on occasion, but as often as not she stays back at the base and watches the whole thing on the crisis monitor. Also, I like the actress a lot but she obviously is not very schooled in stage fighting. When they have her start throwing bad guys around she puts no force into the blows or throws. Her stunt double for the wrestling scenes is okay but she needs to turn it up a notch for her own stuff. I know we are not trying to scare kids or have them try wrestling moves on each other at home, but if you're going to use them in the show anyway what's wrong with making them seem real? Give them some impact ... show the harmful results and maybe kids will be LESS likely to try them at home.
Fourthly on the team is Laurant, the wise older guy who runs the computers back at Lobo Tower. Like all supporting characters he does not have a life, he lives only to serve Lobo & Turbine. Nothing wrong with serving the good cause but this show would have us believe he hangs around the HQ 24-7 waiting for Lobo's call to duty. And this guy is supposed to be from some Carribean locale, I guess? He's got the accent so of course he always hangs out in Hawaiian print shirts. And the Whelp even called him an "islander." Kinda non-PC don'tcha think?
Still, I think these slights are minor and unintentional. I wish they would not stereotype Maria as the "chick" and Laurant as the "island man-servant" so much but I don't think it's done out of gender or racial ignorance so much as sloppy writing. They started the characters with broad character traits and if they filled in more personal and specific traits they would become real characters and not just cookie-cutter cartoon characters ... but they haven't yet.
So why is this fun? It's dumb and it's cheesy. But there are some inspired ideas. I like the idea of pro wrestlers who fight crime in their off-hours. The Bat-Cave-like Lobo Tower is the epitome of superhero cliches and works as much as a parody of comic book heroes as an homage to them. The Whelp is the arch criminal of Union City. A little talking chihuahua right out of the Taco Bell commercials ... what a threatening villian! But the fact that the heroes take him so seriously lends him credibility and makes for a fun setup. It's so cheesy that they can't even make his mouth move like in the Taco Bell spots so they have a metallic cyborg mask over the pooch's head covering his mouth. I wonder what the Humane Society says about that? At first they at least had an indicator light on his collar that lit up in conjunction with his dialogue so it looked like something was happening and not just a voice-over. After the first episode though they ditched it. Now the dog just sits there on pillow looking around the room, trying to figure out what these silly TV show producers are doing while a voice-over rolls past him. It's so cheesy it's inspired.
If this wasn't a show for kids they would probably write the characters a little more depth and it might be an okay show. But it is a show for kids, and it's really pretty dumb. But there are some ideas here that I just love so I will continue to watch it and wait for it to get better ... which it probably won't.
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