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The Boys' Latest Captain America Parody Has Fans All In On The Same Joke

"The Boys," has always been a particularly effective sendup of the superhero genre because of its willingness to imagine how horrifying it would be if beings like Superman actually existed in real life. Far from the paragons of virtue depicted in comics and movies, the 'supes of "The Boys" are craven, murderous, and fundamentally broken people whose access to godlike powers only brings out their worst qualities. While not all of them are homicidal like Homelander (Antony Starr) or full-blown Nazis like the aptly named Stormfront (Aya Cash), they all have demons hidden away. As showrunner Eric Kripke told Vanity Fair in 2021, "You should be extremely skeptical and suspicious of anyone who stands in front of you and says, 'I am your hero and I'm here to save you," also telling the publication, "Real heroes just quietly get along, without any praise of getting the work done."

Season 3 of "The Boys" will feature multiple new additions to the show, including Soldier Boy, a parody of Captain America played by Jensen Ackles. The actor first worked with Kripke on the showrunner's previous cult classic show, "Supernatural," and apparently landed the gig after a chance phone call. Like Captain America, Soldier Boy is a relic of World War II who spouts jingoistic patriotism, but like many of his fellow Vought heroes, he secretly embodies the dark id of the American political subconscious.

Soldier Boy is expected to play a central role in Season 3 and, to acquaint fans with the character, the show's promotional wizards have been employing some fascinating marketing techniques, the latest of which involves a fake PSA from Soldier Boy himself. Unsurprisingly, fans of the series have seen fit to engage in an entertaining bit of meta-humor.

Soldier Boy's anti-drug PSA has fans fabricating a history of heroism

A promotional YouTube channel for "The Boys" which masquerades as a propaganda outlet for Vought International, the show's in-universe megacorporation, posted a humorous pastiche of a mid-20th century anti-drug PSA from none other than Soldier Boy (via Vought International on YouTube). The 45-second clip perfectly parodies similar clips of Captain America from the MCU, such as those seen in the post-credit and bonus scenes from "Spider-Man: Homecoming," with Soldier Boy seated backward in a chair to warn impressionable youths about the dangers of substance abuse. "Remember, real heroes don't use drugs," the Vought hero says, clad in his star-spangled uniform while an American flag ripples behind him.

Fans who saw the PSA intuitively took part in the metafiction, pretending that Soldier Boy is a real-life hero of whom they claim to have genuine heartfelt memories. For instance, user Shubhang Tewary wrote, "I remember when this ad first aired on TV in 1984 ... Glad to see that he is back after so long." Spinning a yarn about their own past, user Robert Sole opined, "Soldier Boy turned my life around in 1984, when I was young and into some things ... I shouldn't have been, he inspired me to stop the drugs and make something of my life. Thank you Vought International. Now let's get Homelander to run for president."

For a show that's all about considering how unrestricted access to superpowers would affect the real world, the fake PSA is a clever way to connect fans to the themes of "The Boys" while also hyping them up for Season 3. Additionally, Jensen Ackles has always looked like he'd be right at home in the role of Captain America, and this footage proves it.