The Boys season 2 turns its satirical gaze towards the Oscars, parodying the #OscarsSoWhite trend that forced change in the iconic awards ceremony.
Caution: Spoilers ahead for The Boys season 2
The Boys introduces its own version of #OscarsSoWhite in season 2, with a hilarious but scathing piece of satire. Oscar nomination announcements are usually met with excited discussion and the buzz of celebrity glamour, but the landscape shifted in 2015 with #OscarsSoWhite. Created in response to the Academy consistently snubbing non-white actors, the hashtag prompted a wider conversation about the Oscars’ approach to diversity, or lack thereof. Change never happens overnight, but the campaign has made a measurable difference in facilitating progression.
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Since debuting on Amazon Prime in 2019, The Boys has been gleefully satirizing modern pop culture, paying special attention to the movie and TV industry. In the world of The Boys, Vought represent the duplicitous face of corporate capitalism, willing to plumb any depths in furthering their cause. Through Vought, The Boys has made harmlessly playful digs at MCU and DC movies, but also covered far more serious issues such as the #MeToo movement and homophobia. As confirmed by showrunner Eric Kripke, The Boys season 2 shifts its target to racism.
In “Nothing Like It In The World,” Homelander and Queen Maeve appear on “In Depth With Maria Menounos” to discuss the Compound V scandal. During their interview, Maria suddenly announces, “let’s talk #HeroesSoWhite.” Clearly a play on the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, it appears that Vought have been subject to off-screen social media criticism about their lack of diversity. Maria goes on to bombard Homelander with statistics proving a heavy bias towards white supes. Continuing the satire, Homelander fumbles his answer in comedic fashion, citing the one black superhero he can think of (A-Train) before resorting to Black Noir as a further example – a superhero who never removes his mask. Homelander defends Vought by finishing with “he [Black Noir] doesn’t identify with any race, really, so THEY’RE covered.”
The scene plays out like the archetypal “being called out for poor representation” interview – lots of deflection and zero culpability, all wrapped in The Boys‘ usual twisted humor. There’s also an appropriately bitter irony when A-Train is the only black hero Homelander can think of, but the speedster is kicked out of The Seven in the very same episode. Furthermore, the mirroring of #OscarsSoWhite subtly invites comparisons between Vought and the real-world movie industry, with both evidently suffering from a lack of diversity.
However, #HeroesSoWhite could be far more than just a satire of Hollywood and the Academy Awards. Racism is a key theme in The Boys season 2, with Stormfront revealed as a fully paid-up white supremacist, using horrific racial slurs against Kimiko’s brother and a black man she murdered while under the “Liberty” moniker. The Boys season 2 has yet to reveal the full extent of Stormfront’s plan and how her scheme might connect to Vought’s Nazi origins, but it’s possible that Vought’s lackluster attempt at racial diversity is directly related to their secret history. Viewers will no doubt discover more as Stormfront’s story unfolds.
As with the Starlight storyline in season 1, The Boys treads a fine line between its trademark style of black comedy and handling sensitive and serious issues in a respectful way. It’s an inherently thin tightrope, but one that The Boys has navigated successfully thus far, knowing when to shift between those two gears.
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