The Buzz: ‘SuperMansion’ Season 3, A Parody That’s Better Than The Real Thing
SuperMansion is a stop motion superhero parody show created by Robot Chicken alum Matthew Senreich and Zeb Wells. Unlike Robot Chicken, SuperMansion doesn’t air on Adult Swim, but instead airs on the free streaming service Sony Crackle. SuperMansion follows the misadventures of a team of superheroes, much like the Justice League or the Avengers, except a lot less competent. Among the cast of colorful characters is main lead Bryan Cranston who plays Titanium Rex, the leader of the League of Freedom and expy of Superman. Other heroes on the team include Tucker Gilmore as Black Saturn, a superhero whose only power is his parents’ vast fortune and is an obvious take on Batman, and Keegan-Michael Key as American Ranger, a WWII era superhero who was trapped in a time tunnel for 70 years and is a satire of Captain America.
The season three premier "Home Is Where the Shart Is” leaves plenty of exciting routes for the show to take. With all the members of the Injustice Club being pardoned after helping save the world from the Subtopian invasion, they now find themselves all honoree members of the League of Freedom. Now that they’re part of the team, the old members of the League find that they have some new roommates and there’s a lot of tension as the once enemies must now learn to work together. Of course, this is likely all just part of a grander scheme by Dr. Devizo, but what exactly he looks to gain from this merger is still unknown. Given that this was part of his plan C, perhaps things won’t go as smoothly as he predicted as he must deal with the consequences of Lex’s double cross and turn back to good.
One of the best parts of the premier was getting Lex back on the team. Her addition in season one quickly led her to become a personal favorite and it was disappointing how little of her we saw in season two after her departure from the League. No longer going by Lex Lighting, but instead Titanium Lex, Lex is shaping up to be a real leader as she does her best to keep order between the old League members and the new ex-villains. While, Lex hasn’t exactly gotten people fully respecting her just yet, she could prove to be the ultimate foil to whatever Dr. Devizo’s plan is, if she can actually turn the villains and heroes into a real team.
An interesting absence from the premier and the opening credits was the god like Zenith and her mortal host Portia Jones. Having been the newest addition to the team in season two, it looks likely that both characters have been written off the show. While Portia was a fun Ellen-esque parody, Zenith was one of the weaker characters of SuperMansion and disappeared halfway into season two after getting in trouble with her mother. Despite, Portia sticking around for the rest of the season, she eventually quit the team after feeling like she couldn’t contribute as she could no longer transform into Zenith. Portia will be missed, but with all the villains moving in, it makes sense to cut down on the already overstuffed League of Freedom.
Uncommon in most superhero works, SuperMansion has real stakes and consequences. Characters die and actually stay dead. Relationships that are broken aren’t repaired by the end of one episode and plot lines can run for whole seasons as Dr. Devizo plays the long game. It’s refreshing and exciting to see something superhero have some real sense of weight to it and isn’t something I would even expect from a show that’s main goal is to make people laugh. Even as a parody, SuperMansion somehow manages to do superheroes better than the properties based on actual superhero comics. The characters have depth and are constantly growing as we come to know them. They learn and change and that adds to the stakes and audience engagement.
The show is wonderful at foreshadowing. Every one of SuperMansion’s big reveals is slowly hinted throughout the seasons and it’s always a blast when they come to fruition. The show loves spreading out tiny tidbits and does it in way that’s not overly predictable or ham-fisted. I never know exactly where the show is going, but when it gets there I don’t feel like it came out of nowhere. Once you’re there you’ll be smacking your head in realization as all the foreshadowing adds up. This works wonders for the comedy and drama as the two work together to deliver satisfying arcs, plot lines and running gags.
The voice cast of SuperMansion continues to be terrific in season three as well. It’s amazing that the show is able to maintain such a talented core cast and bring in so many great guest stars. Bryan Cranston, Keegan-Michael Key and Chris Pine all as main characters is hard enough to believe on its own, but with guest stars like J.K. Simmons, Ron Perlman, Jon Bernthal, Anton Yelchin, Lake Bell and Phil LaMarr, the quality of talent is almost unmet. That’s not to underscore the other names in the cast as Jillian Bell, Tucker Gilmore, Heidi Gardner and Zeb Wells put on some of the best if, not best performances out of the entire show. Zeb Wells as Robobot and the Groaner have some of the best lines of the series and the delivery is flawless every time. Lines that normally wouldn’t be funny are made infinitely hilarious whenever delivered by Robobot.
Since SuperMansion airs on the completely free streaming service Sony Crackle, there is the need for some additional funding here and there with some necessary product placement. Usually, product placement is annoying and obnoxious, but SuperMansion has found the perfect workaround to it. Much like Happy Gilmore and Wayne’s World before it, SuperMansion doesn’t just embrace its product placement, it shoves it in your face. Rather than try and sneak it into the background, the show does its best to be as upfront as possible and even tie some jokes into what they’re trying to sell. In season one, after the League had its funding cut, the team took a sponsorship will Mike’s Hard Lemonade. In season two, the villains holed up in an abandoned pizza place that was run out of business by the next-door Arby’s. If you must have product placement, this is the way to do it.
SuperMansion is an excellent show that deserves far more attention than it currently receives. Sony Crackle truly has something spectacular on their hands and I can’t wait to see where the creators will go with the rest of season three. The only real critique that could be made of the show, is that it takes a little bit of time before SuperMansion really finds its groove in season one, but beyond that the show is a blast and is worth a binge if you’ve never seen it. No news has been made on whether there will be a season four, but there is supposed to be another special airing after season three at some point in the summer, so long as there are no delays. Hopefully a renewal is shortly on the way, but until then, make sure you give the show a watch and turn off your ad block so that you can give Sony Crackle some support. I can’t sing highly enough of SuperMansion’s superb quality, so do yourself a favor and check it out for yourself.