‘Ms. Marvel’ or ‘The Boys’: Which Show Should You Watch With Your Kids?

Superhero programming on opposite sides of the family-friendly spectrum

“Hey dad,” said my 19-year-old son, “Did you see there’s a new season of The Boys out?”

I’m the editor of a pop-culture magazine, I said to him. It’s my job to know that.

“Do you wanna watch it?”


“Do you wanna watch it soon?”


“Like, really soon?”

He was like a three-year-old asking me if I wanted to go see the baby lion at the zoo. I promised Elijah that I would watch The Boys with him.

But a couple of evenings passed. I had important commitments at the poker table. Last night, he said,

“What do you think about The Boys after dinner?”

Fine, I said. “But Mom doesn’t like The Boys. Let’s all watch the Marvel show first, as a family.”

So we all sat down with the premiere episode of ‘Ms. Marvel,’ on Disney+. It’s a warm, humor-filled teen superhero origin story. Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teen from Jersey City, is a huge Avengers fan. She gets a magic bangle in the mail from her grandmother which gives her superpowers. “It’s not really the brown girls from Jersey City who save the world,” she says. Ah, but I’m guessing she probably will!

Newcomer Iman Vellani is super-charming as our heroine. Kamala Khan is kind of a dorky underdog but doesn’t exactly undergo tortured bullying like, say, Millie Bobby Brown in the current season of Stranger Things. She’s quite self-confident and talented and has nice friends. She’s just an ordinary middle-class Muslim girl who develops super-powers. The family dynamics are cute and wholesome and vaguely reminiscent of the ones in Pixar’s recent ‘Turning Red.’ The show plays with comic-book imagery and emojis in clever ways. It’s about as “gee whiz” as modern superhero entertainment can get.

“I really liked that,” Elijah said when it was done. “It was fun.”

Ms. Marvel was fun. Fun for the whole family.

Then mom fucked right off and Elijah and I watched The Boys.

Within the first five minutes, a character called “Termite,” who is a parody of Ant-Man, was doing lines of coke at a party with his gay lover. “I want you inside of me,” the lover said. And then Termite shrunk down small. The camera did a closeup of his lover’s dick. And I mean a CLOSE-UP 0f his pee hole magnified 1000 times. And then we got to see Termite playing around inside the dick. Then Termite sneezed from the coke, went to regular size, and his lover ripped in half, his guts strewn all over the bed.

“Ah,” I said to Elijah, “I remember when I used to watch shows with my dad about tiny gay superheroes going inside their lovers dicks and exploding.”

“That was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I would have been embarrassed to watch it with anyone, much less you.”

The rest of Elijah’s eagerly anticipated episode of The Boys featured two exploding heads, which is kind of a small number for The Boys. There was also a scene where a hideously burned Nazi superheroine gives a handjob to the evil protagonist, Homelander. And some media parody, and lots of boring conversations where we catch up with the characters we love to hate. It’s pretty standard fare for The Boys, whose entire mission is to take a big long pee over our superhero-bloated pop culture. Either you like it, or you don’t. But maybe don’t watch it with your kids, even if they’re 19.

Regardless, we in a time where a wholesome show about Muslim Pakistani teen with superpowers can live alongside a gay   coke addict with superpowers. One saves the world, while the other explodes penises when he sneezes. Either way you slice it, this is a golden age of content.

Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel or Homelander: who is more wholesome?

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Neal Pollack

Book and Film Globe Editor in Chief Neal Pollack is the author of 12 semi-bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction, including the memoirs Alternadad and Stretch, the novels Repeat and Downward-Facing Death, and the cult classic The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature. A Rotten Tomatoes certified reviewer for both film and television, Neal has written articles and humor for every English-language publication except The New Yorker. Neal lives in Austin, Texas, and is a three-time Jeopardy! champion.

3 thoughts on “‘Ms. Marvel’ or ‘The Boys’: Which Show Should You Watch With Your Kids?

  • June 15, 2022 at 2:41 am

    I’d definitely opt for Marvel Girl. Boys has a great premise and does some terrific work but shock for shock’s sake, all the exploding heads and various body parts can be wearying and more than a little lazy from a creative standpoint. After a while shock ceases to shock. As far as artistic goals go it always seemed to me a much lower bar than aesthetic engagement. Duchamp can have his urinal, some random guy can nail a banana to a wall at Miami Basel but I’ll take Degas every time. Same with Neal Adams and/or classic EC Comics (shock and aesthetic power can go together) over some flailing graphic novel goremeister.

  • June 27, 2022 at 11:49 am

    This is such a stupid article. Ms. Marvel is clearly the more family friendly of the two programs. The Boys is a superhero show for adults with adult orientated themes. The most you’d get in Ms. Marvel is probably subtle sex and dating references, basic teenage shit. Whomever wrote this really should really consider the content they make.

    • June 27, 2022 at 11:51 am

      The article was meant as humor, something you clearly lack! Thanks for reading, though.


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