A Man for All Seasons

SUPERMAN & LOIS is a (super)breath of fresh air in a landscape currently littered with superficial support and performed understanding.


Now let’s be clear — this is still a CW/Berlanti joint, so certain pillars remain I(c)onic: world-ending brawls intercut with earnest teenage drama; social justice centric b-plots with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer; and everyone, everyone, says the subtext out loud except when crucially important/the plot requires such.

But it’s also a very welcome bolstering — and a necessary defining of — masculinity, in all its myriad forms. And there frankly isn’t a lot of that on offer right now — right now we’re still in the world of post-revelation, and there’s not a heckuva lot of stock (or advertising dollars) in supporting The Man (literally).

Unless, of course, you’re talking about the one, the only, lookupintheskynotabirdnotaplane: Clark Kent.

And the writers clearly took the moniker to heart, and thought about what it means now, in 2021, to be a super” man. And what they came up with is an unexpectedly moving portrait of a father who more-literally-than-most has the weight of the world on his shoulders; two sons experiencing hardships emotional, physical, and metaphysical; and a father-in-law who’s motives and intentions are opaque, to say the least.

Which is a remarkably concise (if allegorical) portrait of the emotional landscape of the modern American male, to be honest.

There are a few choices here that really sell it for me:

  • Giving realistic adult drama equal billing with high-school heartbreak. This is key — Superman can beat up just about anybody, but he can’t stop the bank taking his mom’s house away.

  • Making Clark a father to two boys.

  • Engaging with masculinity in every avenue available to their narrative — toxic, mythic, compassionate, uncertain, familial, all of it.

  • Captain Luthor is a classic good-man-driven-to-extremes archetype, and the perfect vehicle to contrast with Clark. Both have tremendous power and both believe in their mission with rock-solid certainty. But one has a stable support system that serves as an emotional check-and-balance on his thought process — and the other lost everyone he ever loved to an Earth-X lookalike. Exploring how their respective senses of honor and duty therefore diverge is a good spine on which to build a season.

  • They choose to mine drama from misunderstandings, not arguments. That’s a small but fundamental choice, which means that no matter what happens the core family unit feels like a family. Like people who love each other even when they don’t particularly enjoy each other’s company. The boys are bummed when dad zips off to save the world — but thath

  • potential spoiler: I’m pretty sure they’re setting up a story where the kid’s powers only work when the brothers are in close proximity to each other. That’ll be a fun dynamic, and absolutely furthers the show’s theme of manhood being a partnership (just like everything else in this world).

If you’re not a CW devotee, this is a great place to dip a toe in, since it’s largely unrelated to anything that’s come before.

And if you are a CW devotee, you should also be watching LEGENDS OF TOMORROW because that is, bar none, the greatest superhero TV show ever made1

  1. images↩︎

Up next The Universe My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. J.B.S. Haldane Be Careful When You Cast Out Your Demons That You Don’t Throw Away the Best of Yourself. Friedrich Nietzsche
Latest posts On Selfishness It Begins America in 3 Paragraphs Atlanta Washington Post Goes Tumblr Inspiration of the Day See Movie Clips of Any Phrase 2020 Wildfires - Lacma On Wallowing San Francisco + Los Angeles Videogrep Is Awesome Eye Spy Entitled The Death of Privacy: Apple’s New Surveillance The Best of All Possible Dogs Partial{objects} Cobwebs Circles, Flat or Otherwise Plains Hog-Nosed Snake Pennyworth S2 Is a Shitload of Fun Be Careful When You Cast Out Your Demons That You Don’t Throw Away the Best of Yourself. A Man for All Seasons The Universe Catisfied I Tell You, We Are Here on Earth to Fart Around, and Don’t Let Anybody Tell You Different. COVID-19 Means No Hocking Loogies on Screen At Least 30,000 U.S. Organizations Newly Hacked via Holes in Microsoft’s Email Software — Krebs on Security Color Out Of Space Inceldom Is Just Crowdsourced Depression. Catfish