Talkin’ Nerdy: Another Robot Chicken Epic Fail

Once again, Twinsanity would like to give the ol’ thumbs down to one of Robot Chicken‘s attempts at “comedy”. While Robot Chicken can be hilarious when they get a good concept, when the show misses the mark it reeeeealy misses the mark. Such is the case with this Avengers skit, entitled “A Critical Component”:

The main “joke” in this sketch is obvious: The RC staff are implying that the 2 non-super powered Avengers, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are weak and useless in relation to the so-called Tier 1 Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor. The thing is, the 18-20 year old me would’ve agreed with this sentiment, but I see this sketch now, especially after having seen The Avengers at least 8 times now, that this skit fails all across the board. First, the obvious technical gripes (WARNING: lots of nerd nitpicking ahead):

  • First, it would seem that no major toy company ever bothered to produce a Black Widow action figure, since Natasha in this skit is just ‘Fantasia’ from RC’s “Beast and the Beauties” skit in a black catsuit.
  • Second, why is Hulk so tiny? In the movie, old Jade Jaws towered over the other team members, as he is supposed to, but here, he’s rail thin and actually looks smaller than the others. RC has a Savage Hulk action figure, so why didn’t they use it here?
  • Third, why was Hawkeye wearing his comic book costume rather than his movie costume? OK, that’s more of a personal nitpick, but I prefer Clint’s movie costume; I always thought his purple mask and cowl costume looked kind of silly, no offense to comic fans.
  • Fourth, what kind of ending was that? Black Widow is killed in battle, and the others are just “eh, whatever” about it?? Not only that, but the circumstances behind her death are ridiculous and illogical, but more on that later. RC has a tendency to get unnecessarily dark, typically ending sketches by killing off characters, etc., since we all know that darker = funnier. And so all of the male Avengers are bi-curious?? What the what?!?

-Now, on to the main reason why this skit fails, namely, this notion that Natasha and Clint are weaklings who serve no purpose on the team other than eye-candy. I know several people who share the belief that these 2 characters are useless; even comedian Bill Maher echoed these thoughts in an episode of HBO’s Real Time. He said, and I quote: “If Thor is a god, then why do we need the other Avengers? I especially don’t see why we need the 2 Avengers whose only powers are a bow and arrow and big (breasts) and a hand gun.” Now, far be it for me to question Bill Maher, but I’m not sure that Black Widow’s only contributions to the Avengers are a pistol and a rack. Let’s examine Black Widow a little closer, shall we?


That’s not what I meant and you know it, ya horn-dogs! I meant let’s look closer at her SKILL SET.

  • The Black Widow is a world class athlete, gymnast, acrobat, aerialist capable of numerous complex maneuvers and feats, expert martial artist (including karate, judo, ninjutsu, aikido, savate, various styles of kung fu, and boxing), marksman, and weapons specialist as well as having extensive espionage training.
  • She is also an accomplished ballerina.
  • Natasha has received the Red Room’s variant of the Super-Soldier Serum. As a result, her physical and mental abilities had been enhanced slightly beyond human limits.
  • The Black Widow has been enhanced by biotechnology that makes her body resistant to aging and disease and heals at an above human rate; as well as psychological conditioning that suppresses her memory of true events as opposed to implanted ones of the past without the aid of specially designed system suppressant drugs.
  • Due to the Super-Soldier Serum, the white blood cells in her body are efficient enough to fight off any microbe, foreign body and others from her body, keeping her healthy and immune to most, if not all infections, diseases and disorders. Also, it takes quite a bit for Natasha to become intoxicated.
  • Her agility is greater than that of an Olympic gold medalist. She can coordinate her body with balance, flexibility, and dexterity easily.
  • Her bodily tissues have been augmented to superhuman development. She possesses exceptional durability, strength, endurance, and stamina.
  • Natasha’s reaction time is similarly enhanced and functions with the peak of human efficiency and capability, bordering on superhuman level. It is possible for Natasha to dodge a bullet even at point blank range.
  • Natasha has a gifted intellect. She displays an uncanny affinity for psychological manipulation and can mask her real emotions perfectly. Like Steve Rogers, she possesses the ability to quickly process multiple information streams (e.g., threat assessment) and rapidly respond to changing tactical situations.
  • Natasha is an expert tactician. She is a very effective strategist, tactician, and field commander. She has led the Avengers and even S.H.I.E.L.D. on one occasion.
Useless? I think not.
Just to be fair, let’s also take a closer look at Hawkeye’s special skills. (So sorry, no more hot Natasha pics.)

While Hawkeye has no superhuman powers (with the exception of the period when using Pym particles to become Goliath), he is at the very peak of human conditioning; he is an exceptional fencer, acrobat and a grandmaster marksman, having been trained from childhood in the circus and by the criminals Trick Shot and Swordsman. This includes considerable strength, as a supervillain found out when he tried to use the superhero’s 250 pounds-force (1,100 newtons) draw weight bow and found that he could not draw back the string to launch an arrow.
Hawkeye has also been thoroughly trained by Captain America in tactics, martial arts, and hand-to-hand combat. Hawkeye excels in the use of ranged weapons, especially the bow and arrow, and carries a quiver containing a number of customized “trick arrows”. In his role as Ronin, Barton shows great proficiency with the katana and other melee weapons. He has gained a reputation for being able to “turn any object into a weapon”, and has been seen using items such as tin plates, coins, sticks and other debris to great effect against his enemies.

That’s pretty darn impressive I’d say. Furthermore, one of the so-called A-List Avengers, Iron Man’s special talents come from his genius brain, his enormous wealth and his teach armor. No super powers. Captain America is an enhanced Super Soldier whose been augmented to be as strong, fast, agile and durable as a human can get, but is still not technically superhuman.
It’s at this point where a DC fanboy (or girl) usually pipes in with this: “There’s another superhero who doesn’t have any super powers yet still manages to hold his own on a team of A-list heroes. maybe you’ve heard of him…..”

That’s right. This guy here is one of THE most popular and formidable superheroes in the world and he hasn’t got a single super power to his name. Now if you’re going to say or even imply that Batman is useless, then you’d better start running before you finish saying it. 
But, you say, that sketch wasn’t wrong, someone like Hawkeye or Black Widow would get pwned if they had to fight a ‘God-Eater’. You can’t beat someone like Ego the Living Planet or Thanos with an arrow or a karate kick. That’s true, but here’s the thing about that: anyone possessing half a brain wouldn’t send a non-powered human to go head-to-head with omni-powered cosmic being in the first place. There’s a statement that a friend of mine passed on to me: “Superman averts Armageddon while Batman takes care of the crazies”. You wouldn’t send Batman in to stop a giant meteor from destroying a nearby town, that calls for metahuman might. The same way you wouldn’t call in Superman to stop a serial killer who’s been picking off public figures one by one. That calls for detective skills and street savvy. So the skit’s line “You can’t beat a God Eater with a karate kick” is stupid and should be obvious to anyone with the IQ of a slice of pizza; Black Widow isn’t equipped to take on a threat like that head-on; she’s a spy who specializes in stealth, espionage, interception, infiltration and one-on-one combat with normal humans and operatives. Any team tactician worth their salt would know that and coordinate their team members accordingly.
So that’s why I say to the writers of this skit:

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