Reel Thoughts: ‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’ is an unfunny comedy that still has some highlights


Illustration by Daniel He

“She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” launched on Disney+ in August as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first attempt at a sitcom, and the series unfortunately flounders in this format.

Pavan Acharya, Assistant Campus Editor

Warning: This story contains spoilers. 

“The Office.” “New Girl.” “Seinfeld.” These are just a few of the most iconic sitcoms of all time. The newest cog in the Marvel machine, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” will likely not be joining that list. 

“She-Hulk” tells the story of Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany), an up-and-coming lawyer whose life is turned upside down when she is accidentally infected with her Hulk-cousin Bruce Banner’s (Mark Ruffalo) blood. Jennifer now must balance her legal career with her superhero life as She-Hulk — a 6-foot-7-inch green hero.

On paper, a legal comedy set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe should be comedy gold, and that is what this sitcom strives to be. However, the show unfortunately struggles to do the genre justice.

Each legal scenario played out in the series was simple enough that my eight-year-old brother could mostly follow along. None of the cases involved were creative or humorous enough to carry their own episodes or increase viewer engagement. And that brings me to my most significant complaint about the series: its humor — or lack thereof.

MCU films and television shows typically input a healthy mix of humor and goofiness amid cities being destroyed and giant blue beams shooting into the sky. But “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” is meant to be primarily a sitcom, a TV genre centered around situation comedy.

By design, “She-Hulk” has the typical sitcom archetypes, such as the quirky best-friend Nikki (Ginger Gonzaga), the sort-of clueless coworker Pug (Josh Segarra) and the dry old boss with no personality Holden Holliway (Steve Coulter). Unfortunately, the show doesn’t do much to flesh out these characters beyond the caricatures they represent. I literally had to Google all their names, even though I watched the show week-by-week. 

In typical sitcom style, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” randomly inserts jokes at every twist and turn, limiting the impact of emotional moments. However, Marvel’s latest television show does have its moments to shine, and some are pretty great.

The episodes dealing with Jen’s internal struggle of coming to terms with her She-Hulk alter ego are the standouts of the series. One of the highlights occurs in the seventh episode when Jen delivers a powerful monologue regarding her complex relationship with her She-Hulk persona. If the sitcom focused on Jen’s internal struggles head-on throughout the series, rather than in just a few episodes, Marvel could have had something really special on its hands.

It would also be criminally negligent if I did not shout out the kick-ass eighth episode featuring Matt Murdock, also known as Daredevil (Charlie Cox), in a supporting role. “Ribbit and Rip it” is one of the series’s best episodes because it does not rely on humor as a plot point. Instead, it focuses on the sweet dynamic and fantastic chemistry between Tatiana Maslany and Charlie Cox. 

“She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” also adopts a couple storytelling features to break up the typical Marvel mold. The show is the first Marvel project to break the fourth wall when Jen occasionally talks to the audience in fun little asides. 

The show pulls out its biggest swing in the finale when Jen literally goes to the Marvel Studios in California and confronts a robot named K.E.V.I.N., aptly based on real-life Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, about the episode’s lackluster ending. The ending is a bit daring for Marvel, criticizing the company’s overuse of giant action scenes and overreliance on visual effects. Although this is a fun jab at Marvel, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” as an overall product doesn’t do anything to break out of the MCU mold.

At the end of the day, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” is just another Marvel product with mediocre CGI, quips that go nowhere, random action scenes and out-of-place setups for future projects. If this is Marvel’s best attempt at creating a product unbeholden to superhero tropes, I fear the MCU may become a shell of its old self in the future.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @PavanAcharya02

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