She-Hulk: The Good and the Bad

The first episode of “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” aired Thursday, August 18th, 2022. Last Thursday, September 22nd, the sixth episode aired, and the final episode will be released on October 13th. 

The show is a sitcom-esque take on the life of Jennifer Walters (portrayed by Tatiana Maslany), Bruce (also known as The Hulk) Banner’s cousin, and how her life was flipped upside down when Bruce’s blood was introduced into her system after a car accident. 

The fact that the show is more of a sitcom, with a lot less action, brings a lot of controversy as fans debate if they are even going to watch the show. On the other hand, some people are enjoying the show because of the fact that it is completely different from anything seen thus far. 

Jen and Bruce in Episode 1: “Normal Amount of Rage”.

The Hesitancies 

Junior and comic book fan, Lili Fraser-Shade, sat down with me the other day to discuss their thoughts about “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” and why they are a little hesitant to watch the show altogether. 

As a comic book reader, Fraser-Shade knows a little bit about the comic book interpretation of She-Hulk and voiced some worries: 

“I am mostly worried that they wouldn’t be able to capture a lot of the charm that She-Hulk has in the comics. Also, I feel that they might kind of push for a characterization that doesn’t necessarily suit how I think of her from reading the comics because she’s this lawyer, she’s this powerful woman, and finds a lot of herself through that. But mostly, she’s charming, witty, compassionate, and funny, and I feel like that’s a difficult thing to capture with the trope-iness of TV, that you can get away with a lot more in the comics.” 

It is interesting to think about what the creators of “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” decide to carry over from the comics to the show, and if they can do this effectively. Fraser-Shade also adds, “I also think that with comics, you’re not catering to the same audience that you are for television.” It is hard to fully capture the same She-Hulk when you are bringing her to life on screen, and it is important to remember that not all avid Marvel movie and show viewers are the same people that read the comics. 

Another hesitancy that Fraser-Shade has with “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” is the fact that she is not as muscular as she is in the comics. They say, “I hate it. I don’t like that she’s just tall and toned. That’s literally not She-Hulk, that’s not the point.” 

Fraser-Shade adds, “It’s She-Hulk. She’s supposed to be strong. And it’s not like she isn’t strong, it’s just that [the producers] were kind of cowardly […] Give the people what they want […] The visual difference between her in the show and her in the comics is astronomical.” 

She-Hulk in the comics. You can see here how much taller and larger she is compared to the woman in front of her.

Some Good Things

Ironically, one of the big topics done well in the show is the concept of body image and how Jennifer comes to terms with being a Hulk. 

We see themes of body image even through The Hulk and how Bruce deals with people seeing him as this scary, rambunctious, and out-of-control creature. But, for Jennifer, it is the opposite problem.

One of the big plot points in a few of the later episodes is that Jennifer makes a dating profile posing as She-Hulk because she is not having any luck in the dating world as Jennifer Walters. She has a lot more confidence in herself as She-Hulk because she’s more toned, has better hair, and is tall. 

Her suspicions are confirmed when she gets date after date as She-Hulk. But, when she wakes up in the morning with a man she spent the night with and she is back to her normal self, the man seems upset and leaves without calling her again.

An interesting point following this incident is when Jennifer is sued by Titania (the antagonist of the season). Titania, portrayed by Jameela Jamil, decides to use the name “She-Hulk” for her new beauty line and takes Jennifer to court for using the name. Jennifer ultimately wins the case when she pulls up the dating profile, where she uses “She-Hulk” over and over again, proving that she was using the pseudonym before Titania did. 

Titania in Episode 5: “Mean, Green, and Straight Poured into these Jeans”.

I asked Fraser-Shade how they felt about the use of body image as a prominent topic. They say, “I don’t think that [body image] is a theme that shouldn’t be explored.” It is a topic that a lot of people can relate to and it is interesting to bring it into a superhero show. 

Finally, I asked Fraser-Shade what they think about the fact that “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” is more of a sitcom, and that it lacks action. They replied, “I love that! I don’t think superheroism has to be serious action all the time, that’s not the point. And, I think that when you go into something knowing that’s the genre that you’re getting, it’s a lot more enjoyable, rather than if you’re expecting another ‘Endgame.’”

The downfall of Marvel’s Phase Four is that now fans are expecting everything to be like the Infinity Saga. Those are pretty difficult shoes to fill. Because of this, the expectations of fans are raised, which leads them to be let down by subsequent movies and shows. The difficult task of Marvel fans then becomes being okay with everything not living up to the Infinity Saga or movies like “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” and not being the same genre. 

This is the case with “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.” Even though it might not live up to the action we were expecting (and let’s not forget about the sub-par CGI, writing, and increasingly annoying stock characters), if you look at the show as a stand-alone piece, it’s not half bad. 

Abby Doonan ('24) is the Arts Editor for The Anchor and was previously a staff writer. She is a theatre and communication double major from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Abby loves acting, any music that makes her dance or sing, hula hooping, romcom movies, and all things Marvel. She is passionate about arts journalism and strives to publish content that keeps you updated on all the artsy things!

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