I don’t think most folks get how big of a deal it is that The Flash actually had Grodd as a major character this season. So for those of you who aren’t comic book fans and/or don’t watch The Flash let me explain. Grodd, or Gorilla Grodd as he is known in the comics is a Super-intelligent Telepathic Gorilla. Yes you read that correctly. Now in the comics he also happens to come from Gorilla city which is a city full of talking, super-intelligent gorillas with advanced technology and while The Flash didn’t go quite that far, the fact that they had an episode featuring a telepathic gorilla is a big f’n deal. And the reason why all comes down to an old entertainment maxim “Will it play in Peoria?”
Now the phrase itself dates back to the vaudville era, but the basic concept is still in use today. You see entertainment types have long recognized that while anything can have a niche market, it takes something that the average person will pay to see for something to truly become a success. Its the reason why the 1992 Flash TV show didn’t include some of the more “out there” elements of The Flash’s mythos. Such as Grodd.
Not only did the CW’s version of The Flash include Grodd (though sadly, not Gorilla City) but it has also done a hell of a job including other somewhat ridiculous characters from the Flash’s history including rainbow raider, the pied piper and the trickster. Now when you consider that The Flash is a spinoff of Arrow and you realize how hard that show has tried to avoid some of the sillier elements of the comics, up to and including refusing to actually call him “Green Arrow” you can begin to understand why this is such a big deal.
Granted superheroes are big business nowadays, but whether its FOX, WB, or Marvel, the studios producing the TV shows and movies have done everything they can to remove the more outlandish elements from these comic inspired properties, which is understandable in some ways. When you’re spending 300 million dollars or more to make a movie the last thing you want to gamble on is a superpowered dog in a cape, or a tiny fifth dimensional imp wearing a Batman costume.
Personally however I always found that a bit disappointing as it was exactly those outlandish elements that I loved the most. I used to say that comics were the only place you could get away with depicting an army of gorilla’s wearing jet-packs who had cloned copies of Hitlers brain inside. But thanks to Grodd that may no longer be the case. The technology to actually show something like that is finally here, and more importantly the audience, and producers brave enough to give them what they want are as well.
So say it with me folks PRAISE GRODD!