Smallville Sells Out, Invites You Along

Illustration for article titled Smallville Sells Out, Invites You Along

There's a fine line between creative genius and creative whoredom, and thankfully our friends at Smallville are happy to demonstrate just how fine that line really is. Consider the announcement of a new partnership between the show and Stride Gum. And it's not just a casual partnership — it's actually going to significantly alter the plot of the show.

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Take last night's episode, for example: the reintroduction of old friend Pete Ross, who has gained superpowers from chewing kryptonite-powered chewing gum? That's kind of awesome. Finding out via press release that the whole thing came from a promotional deal with Stride Gum? Slightly less so. Thankfully, Stride Gum and Warner Bros. want to make it up to the fans by... giving them a new take on Choose Your Own Adventure. Huh? I'm not so sure that that's a good idea, but you can judge for yourself.

According to Warner Bros., the Stride-sponsored episode last night is only the start of an "innovative online promotion" for the Superboy Is Angsty show:

The writers and producers of "Smallville" have developed the beginning and the end of an all-new comic book adventure and will leave it to fans to determine the direction of all of the action in between... Fans can go to cwtv.com and read the opening pages of this new comic book adventure. They'll then be presented with two options (four pages each) which take the comic book in two different directions, and they can vote on the direction in which they want the story to go.

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The promotion runs twice weekly until April 7th, and each vote enters you into a sweepstake that can win you the slightly-less-than-grand prize of a "VIP weekend at a national comic book convention plus a year's supply of Stride gum". Second prize, of course, is two years' supply of... Oh, you're there ahead of me already.

The CW, Warner Bros. Television Group and Stride Gum Offer Fans The Opportunity to Create Their Own "Smallville" Digital Comic Book [Time Warner]

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DISCUSSION

I did think it was amusing that for all the money the desperate gum company obviously threw at the show, what did they get? A snide conversation and a plot that made their product the cause of the problem, not the cure. It pretty much made the makers appear totally incompetent within the Smallville universe and not terribly bright in our own. That's not enough to redeem the writers for one of the laziest, insanely annoying episodes they've ever put on the screen, but I suppose it's hard to get too enthusiastically creative when you're told "write a story about chewing gum". I do hope there's a director's commentary on the DVD, when it appears. That'll be entertaining, regardless of whether they play it honest or keep shilling.

In all, this was most definitely a dismal, failed experiment. Dear Smallville guys, DO NOT DO IT AGAIN.