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Things Only Adults Notice In She-Hulk: Attorney At Law

"She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" is a different kind of Hulk story than you might expect from the MCU. Unlike her cousin Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) tends to explore the goofier side of the Marvel universe — a place where people can get snapped away from existence for years, and where "It wasn't me, it was my evil clone" is a valid legal defense. The Disney+ show delivers a lot of fourth-wall-breaking and meta-commentary on the franchise's fandom, while also featuring more overtly comical stories than most of its predecessors.

Then there are the jokes and references that may fly over the heads of younger viewers but are sure cause plenty of raised eyebrows among older audiences. Given its natural irreverence, it should come as no surprise that the MCU's "She-Hulk" series is full of them. From classic TV references and superhuman drinking to two-timing heroes, here are some of the things only adults will notice in "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law."

Jen's origin mimics the 1970s Incredible Hulk show

Long-time Marvel fans who've followed She-Hulk's adventures since she first appeared in 1980's "The Savage She-Hulk" will know that Jen Walters got her powers after being gunned down by a mobster. Hoping to save his cousin, Bruce Banner gives Jen an emergency transfusion of his blood, which mutates her into a female Hulk.

In the MCU series, the mob hit origin is dropped (although one tabloid journalist quickly references it as a rumor). However, Hulk fans may recognize that Jen's MCU origin mirrors the Hulk's origin in the classic "The Incredible Hulk" TV series. In the pilot of that show, we learn that Bill Bixby's David Banner lost his wife in a car accident after the vehicle flipped over and threw him out. Unable to free his wife before she died, Banner began studying how humans develop superhuman strength, leading him to blast himself with gamma rays and become the Hulk (Lou Ferrigno).

In Episode 1 of "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law," Jen and Bruce experience a similar car accident when a Sakkaran spaceship causes Jen to drive off the road. This time, she manages to pull Bruce from the wreckage, but she gets some of his blood in her system, transforming her into She-Hulk. By the season finale, we see some of those clips re-used in a shot-by-shot recreation of the opening sequence of "The Incredible Hulk," with Jen taking David Banner's place. This suggests that Jen's MCU origin is meant as an homage to the classic TV series.

Rampaging toxic masculinity

Jen Walters' chauvinistic ex-coworker Dennis Bukowski (Drew Matthews) is a ridiculous caricature of male toxicity. He refers to attractive women as "it," rates himself "an LA 11," and refuses to let an attractive lawyer represent him since "she might be a future fiancé." Even Gaston from Disney's "Beauty & The Beast" was never this full of himself.

But Dennis is far from the only toxic man Jen has to deal with. From the Wrecking Crew and magician Donny Blaze to Jen's terrible online dates, the show is full of predators, buffoons, and shallow-minded clowns. By the season finale, the shadow organization Intelligencia (originally a group of hyper-intelligent supervillains in the comics) gets revealed as a group of misogynistic "hateful man-babies" obsessed with trolling She-Hulk online and stealing her blood in order to gain Hulk powers. Even worse, the Abomination (Tim Roth), a seemingly reformed criminal, lets the hate group use his lodge as a meeting room.

Even some Marvel characters who've typically been heroes are portrayed in less savory ways. Episode 6 introduces Mr. Immortal (David Pasquesi), who, in the comics, is the leader of the Great Lakes Avengers and struggles with romance since he outlives everyone he loves. In "She-Hulk," he's a selfish philanderer who fakes his death to get out of many marriages. Episode 8 sees the debut of Leap-Frog (Brandon Stanley) — a silly but kind-hearted hero who goes by Frog-Man in the comics — reimagined for TV as an entitled rich kid who kidnaps a costume designer to build his super-suit.

To be fair, though, not all the men in "She-Hulk" are egotistical creeps. Characters like Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Wong (Benedict Wong), Jen's co-worker Pug (Josh Segarra), and her father (Mark Linn-Baker) all help her on her journey.

People drink a lot in the show

Superhero movies and TV shows have come a long way since Superman informed Lois Lane, "I never drink when I fly" back in 1978's "Superman." Wolverine, Iron Man, and Thor have all been shown chugging back beers, martinis, and barrels of Asgardian mead to the point where it seems the best place to meet superheroes now is at the pub.

But even Thor would be thunderstruck by the amount of drinking that goes on in "She-Hulk." In the first episode, Bruce Banner brags about all the alcohol Hulks can consume, leading to a long night of binge drinking. The following episode finds Jen inside a bar getting sad-drunk after losing her job, and then treating herself to a celebratory drink once she's hired by a new law firm. A few episodes later, she gets so plastered that she forgets how to turn on her powers and nearly ruins her friend's wedding when Titania (Jameela Jamil) shows up.

Jen's lawyer friends also hang out at a bar where they deal with difficult clients by kicking back a few cocktails. Then we get introduced to Madisynn King (Patty Guggenheim) in "She-Hulk" Episode 4 — Wong's perpetually drunk, "Sopranos"-spoiling bestie who spends the end credits scene asking "Wongers" about his favorite mixed drinks. Careful, Wong. Casting spells while under the influence of a few too many gin & tonics is a good way to get your Sorcerer Supreme license revoked.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

She-Hulk gets asked rabbit food questions

While Bruce Banner has to deal with society treating him like a monster, something arguably worse happens to Jen when she becomes She-Hulk. People don't take her seriously — like, at all.

Shortly after successfully defending Emil Blonsky in Episode 3, She-Hulk appears on television to set the record straight about herself and her client. Instead, the interviewer informs the viewers that She-Hulk is there to share her diet and exercise secrets. At the end of "She-Hulk," a court reporter asks Jen about her future as a lawyer but ends the interview by asking her about her dress.

These questions are very similar to what Scarlet Johansson went through while promoting the "Avengers" films. During one interview, a reporter asked her co-star Robert Downey Jr. "existential questions" about how he approached his character growth over multiple films, and then asked Johansson about the diet she used to fit into her Black Widow costume. Annoyed, Johansson asked why she was getting "rabbit food" questions — something that new generations of MCU superheroines need to deal with too, apparently.

Toxic social media

MCU films and TV shows have received their share of backlash from certain viewers, with some audiences who feel new movies and series like "Captain Marvel" and "Ms. Marvel" are "too woke" and "anti-male." Social media channels are filled with negative comments from audience members who often ridicule a show even before it's been released. In the case of "She-Hulk," however, the showrunners managed to get the drop on this toxic element of the fandom.

In Episode 3, shortly after She-Hulk reveals herself to the world, the Internet blows up with tweets and videos on Jennifer's green alter ego, giving us a brief scene focusing on what people are saying. Not surprisingly, a number of the comments are very misogynistic, with "@NeilIsntSorry32" posting "Wow. Someone find a reason to cancel #She-Hulk." and @HardSeltzerSteve requesting, "No more female superhero plz." Meanwhile, a video clip expresses annoyance at She-Hulk being derivative of her cousin, arguing, "I have no problem with female heroes. I'm just saying: make your own."

Interestingly, some of these comments appear to have originated from real life. According to @shehulkupdates, when the show was announced in 2019, social media was filled with nearly identical comments. The writers seem to have taken inspiration from this backlash, reusing such toxic complaints to ridicule these kinds of commentators in-universe. Considering the show's meta-narrative, this satirical "She-Hulk" Easter egg fits quite well thematically.

Is Jen poisoning all her dates?

Jen Walters' love life is a big part of "She-Hulk," with her discovering that a lot of guys are into her big, green alter ego. Despite several terrible first dates, Jen manages to enjoy some romantic nights, particularly with Daredevil himself. But is this such a good thing for her partners?

We know from "The Incredible Hulk" (2008) that Bruce Banner's MCU Hulk blood is deadly enough to give Hulk co-creator Stan Lee a severe case of gamma sickness when he drinks a soda tainted with Bruce's blood. Bruce himself can't engage in intimate relations since that could potentially poison people with his bodily fluids. Since Jen's blood is now saturated with Hulk cells, could that mean that spending the night with her might leave her partners poisoned?

In the comics, She-Hulk has a very active love life, with a long list of romantic partners that includes Tony Stark, Hercules, and kind-of-but-not-really the Juggernaut. Since these men all seem to still be fully healthy, it's possible that Jennifer's irradiated blood is safer than Bruce's, but the rules for her MCU self have yet to be fully determined. Given all of this, it's probably good that one of Jen's dates is an oncologist. He might want to run some tests on himself real soon.

Jen is obsessed with Captain America

For over 80 in-universe years, Captain America has been a symbol of truth, justice, and decency for the MCU, making Steve Rogers the face people still look to when seeking inspiration. Unless, of course, you're Jen Walters, who finds inspiration in a different part of Rogers' anatomy. 

In Episode 1 of "She-Hulk," Jen speculates that Captain America died a virgin and bemoans how "that beautiful ass" never got to experience a night of passion. Annoyed, Hulk informs Jen that Steve Rogers lost his virginity in 1943 to a girl on his USO tour. Considering that Rogers was still mooning over Peggy Carter at the time, some Cap fans may have been surprised by this revelation.

Later in the show, we get a glimpse of She-Hulk's phone, which has a photo of Captain America's butt as her wallpaper. In all fairness, even the man himself has admitted that his butt is "America's ass." Still, it's doubtful that Jen selected the image out of a sense of patriotic duty.

Jen is a terrible driver

She-Hulk's fourth-wall breaks are a highlight of the show, but sometimes Jen addresses her audience at very inopportune times. Take Episode 3, where she chats with the viewers about all the cameos on her show during her drive to work. As she lists the more popular guest stars (Hulk, Abomination, Wong), she takes her hands off of her steering wheel and turns completely away from the windshield, even though she's clearly speeding along.

Naturally, this is just a cute green screen gag, and no innocent bystanders get mowed down as Jen reminds us of "whose show this really is." Still, considering that she got her powers after a very traumatic car accident, you'd think she'd be more careful — or at least invest in one of those self-driving Stark smart cars that Peter Parker used during his driving test. She-Hulk might be invulnerable, but between falling cities and blipping civilians, your average MCU citizen has enough life-ending threats to worry about. Eyes on the road, Jen!

New Asgard is really screwing with human society

Ever since "Thor: Ragnorak," Asgard has been through the wringer. After Loki released Surtur to battle Hela, the entire golden realm was utterly obliterated. Thor managed to get most of the population onto a ship, but before they could fly to safety, Thanos' army caught up with them and slaughtered half of the Asgardians. As a result, by the time they get to Earth, they're a shadow of their former glory, resettling as a small fishing village. It's easy to view the Asgardians as a traumatized people who deserve the world's sympathy. But is that really the case?

Episode 3 of "She-Hulk" challenges this by showing that not all the resettled Asgardians are interested in living quiet lives. The Light Elf Runa (Peg O'Keef) makes quite the name for herself on YouTube by using her shapeshifting abilities to impersonate celebrities, particularly Megan Thee Stallion. Runa also exploits gullible mortals like Dennis Bukowski, who gets conned out of $175,000 while dating Runa, believing her to be the real Megan.

Runa may not be alone in her bad behavior. When she insists that she deserves diplomatic immunity since "Asgard is not a place, it's a people," the exasperated judge simply tells her that "Thor's inspirational speeches are not admissible in court," suggesting he's heard this argument before. Asgardians do have a history of screwing with mortals — like Loki hijacking a plane as D.B. Cooper after losing a bet to Thor — so it stands to reason that New Asgard would bring some trouble.

An extremely meta finale

Jen's fourth-wall breaks are a staple of "She-Hulk," but the season finale takes this MCU meta-narrative to new heights by having her literally rewrite the episode while it's in progress. After coming face-to-face with the Intelligencia and learning that their leader, Todd Phelps (Jon Mass), has acquired Hulk powers from her stolen blood, Jen becomes frustrated by the plotline, which is basically a rehashed version of the MCU's "The Incredible Hulk" movie. She gets even more annoyed when former guest stars Titania (Jameela Jamil) and Smart Hulk pop up for no apparent reason.

Completely fed up, Jen decides to take the show in a new direction by literally smashing her way out of a Disney+ screen and marching into the MCU offices to complain to the show's creators. She goes on to beat up several security guards to meet with K.E.V.I.N. — a robotic parody of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige — and convinces the AI to drop the convoluted plot in favor of a family backyard barbeque scene, leaving many viewers scratching their heads over what they just saw.

Actually, this meta-conclusion does reference She-Hulk's comic book history, particularly John Bryne's "The Sensational She-Hulk" run from the 1990s, in which Jen frequently argues with the comic book's writers, artists, and editor during her stories and smashes through her panels. In "The Sensational She-Hulk" #9, Jen actually decides to take down the villain Madcap by ripping out the comic book page he's drawn on, crumpling it up, and lighting it on fire. She then demands that the artists redraw some of the scenery, prompting the disgruntled penciller to draw a rhino chasing after her. While Jen hasn't done anything like this recently in the comics, her MCU variant seems poised to exploit her meta-powers to the max. Banner's Hulk may cause a lot of destruction, but even his rampages can't compare to the trail of dangling plotlines, shattered fourth walls, and smashed stories left in She-Hulk's wake.