Fight Court: Jennifer Walters Embraces Her She-Hulk Side
Plus adventures in fashion with Pug and Nikki!
We’re halfway through the first season of ‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’, and while Jennifer is light years ahead of her cousin in terms of controlling her Hulk self, she still struggles to reconcile both halves of her identity. She tells Nikki, “I’m still Jennifer Walters. She-Hulk is just a thing that happened to me,” even as she works, dates, and fights as her green alter-ego. But Jen realizes just how important her She-Hulk side is when Titania trademarks the name and sues Jennifer for copyright infringement. Titania has been using the She-Hulk to promote a line of beauty and wellness products, from various serums and snake oils to booty blast smoothies. And while Jen initially rejected the reductive moniker, she takes umbrage with Titania’s exploitation of her name.
But Jen can’t have her big green cake and eat it too. She-Hulk and Jennifer Walters are one and the same, and the more time she spends in Hulk form, the more she is forced to embrace her newfound gifts. Jen notes that she does enjoy the dating success, the great hair, and the safety she feels walking home alone at night (Nikki quips that it’s every woman’s dream, and she’s not wrong). But these are personal gains. Jen’s hero’s journey will require her to share these gifts with the world, even if she is utterly uninterested in becoming a superhero.
Although any aspirations of superhero life are clearly not the focus of the series. And while some viewers may be waiting for Jen’s “I am Ironman” moment, there’s a lot to enjoy in the series’ decidedly low stakes. What other Marvel series would devote an entire subplot to fashion, as Pug and Nikki team up to get Jen an appointment with Luke (Griffin Matthews) an exclusive fashion designer for the superhero set. Both Nikki and Jen’s colleague Mallory Book (Renée Elise Goldsberry) want Jen to level up her look, as Mallory admonishes, “dress like you respect yourself and not like a football player pleading no contest to a DUI.”
Mallory defends Jen in the lawsuit, as she argues that Titania is profiting off of Jen’s fame to peddle snake oil (quite literally). But the judge demands to see evidence that Jen does use the She-Hulk name. That evidence comes in the humiliating form of Jen’s She-Hulk dating profile, where she describes herself as “mean, green, and straight poured into these jeans.” She-Hulk’s bad dates are presented as witnesses, including the hot doctor who admits he’s into She-Hulk but uninterested in Jen. The embarrassing gambit works, and Jen retains the rights to She-Hulk. Jen also gets to pierce Mallory’s frosty exterior, as the two share a drink and commiserate over terrible men.
Once again, ‘She-Hulk’ excels at subverting the Ally McBeal-style tropes and filtering them through a superhero lens. A growing friendship with a competitive female colleague, criticism of her wardrobe, an embarrassing dating history. These are all topics that have been explored in various “single girl in the city” sitcoms over the years. And ‘She-Hulk’ deconstructs all these scenarios with sly meta humor. The episode ends with another superhero cameo tease, as we see Daredevil’s yellow cowl in a hatbox in Luke’s shop. A meeting of the super-lawyers is coming!
(featured image: Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel)
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