She-Hulk is a show written by women for women, a premise that on its own already builds a bit of a fence for men inclined to write about how the MCU’s latest series chooses to tackle modern-day issues that affect women. Nevertheless, its Intelligencia conspiracy seems to fall short of depicting the very real dangers of online harassment.


It’s not as if She-Hulk’s sixth episode is the first one to address this matter. After all, Jennifer Walters’ Marvel come-up was greeted with a wave of posts on the series’ fake social media that just so happened to mirror many of the real-life views on it that can be found online. Regardless of that, the show now finds itself at a crossroads where its commentary may be insufficient for those that want these issues portrayed upfront on a pop culture product with such levels of exposition, and yet also a nuisance for those who simply don’t care for such content.

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Stalkers Are Real, Intelligencia Is Not

Up to now, Jennifer’s biggest outburst against the type of treatment women endure in their lives has been against the most undeserving target of them all, her cousin Bruce. It was arguably She-Hulk’s pilot’s most commented scene, with many people loving the dialogue acted by Tatiana Maslany, whereas others memed that the moment came against the original Hulk who has not exactly enjoyed an easy life, to say the least.

Since then, Jen has rescued women from being preyed upon by men at night, she has had to deal with her annoying former co-worker Dennis Bukowski, her own boss Holden Holliway, as well as a handful of awful first dates for She-Hulk, all seminormal occurrences for many women. It wasn’t until Nikki and Mallory came across the vitriol and hate spewed onto the Intelligencia site that a true abnormal threat popped on screen again.

In a day and age where popular social media icons like Amouranth are victims of stalkers threatening their lives, Mallory’s response to the nasty content posted on Intelligencia is rather dismissive of what should be an alarming situation, even for the almighty She-Hulk. Funnily enough, the writers were highly aware to include terms like swatting, which despite the script’s timing nods to the type of harassment suffered by trans woman streamer Keffals recently, and yet the show risks treating it as one of the minor subplots it constantly shifts onto for a brief period as part of its sitcom storytelling.

Suffice it to say, Mallory is a known She-Hulk villain in Marvel comics, so this could indeed be the start of her going down that bad path, but having Intelligencia come off as something that could only be the brainchild of a villain supergroup organization, instead of the harassment platform such forums are in real life isn’t very on-brand, even as She-Hulk struggles to define its identity nonetheless.

By most accounts, advocates for the most absolute forms of free speech would argue that a line is drawn when death threats and other potential criminal activity arises, and given Jen and Nikki’s vast array of tools at their disposal, this whole situation calls for a legal battle as much as it does for a superhero one.

She-Hulk’s Humor Really Isn’t Like Ally McBeal’s

Just like Ally McBeal, hardly anyone expects She-Hulk to be a beacon for how women should conduct themselves, however, given that the show has taken the opposite route of the comics to focus more on Jen than her superpowered persona, battling online stalkers the Jen way rather than with She-Hulk’s fists is a much more relatable narrative arc for a series that’s not big on superhero action sequences to begin with.

For a 90s show, Ally McBeal (a show that partly inspired She-Hulk’s script) has aged surprisingly well, but at the heart of the comedy’s lasting value is the fact that it had plenty of time to develop plot lines over 23-episodes-long seasons, giving each case the depth and attention it needed as well as some seriousness when required. Unfortunately, one of She-Hulk’s problems is lack of time, which causes it to steamroll past scenarios that would normally lend themselves to more intricate development, jokes, and messages.

Six episodes in, Jennifer Walters’ toughest battle has been a copyright claim from Titania, who ironically reminds viewers that a woman of She-Hulk’s might is weaker to real-life threats like frivolous litigation, as opposed to her rival’s pathetic attempts to fight her 1v1. If Titania is supposed to riff on the Kardashians‘ fame and line of beauty products, then it’s a good reminder to look back at when the billionaire Kardashian women have also been victims of online harassment or more violent crimes like gunpoint robbery as not even fame and riches guarantee absolute protection.

Victims of pernicious online bullying and harassment don’t have superpowers to fend off death threats, which is why treating this particular chapter in the She-Hulk story with the same swiftness as her other problems screams missed opportunity. On the other hand, having this be the main weapon of She-Hulk’s unknown antagonist would give a whole new meaning to everything she yelled at poor old Bruce.

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