‘The Boys’ boss breaks down agonizing Season 3 Termite scene

When Eric Kripke is afraid of things, he puts them on screen and blows them up. But the creator of The Boys, Amazon’s irreverent take on the superhero genre, isn’t at all afraid to tell you that the series is, at its core, a “dark satire on late-stage capitalism” and an “elimination of toxic masculinity.” . ”

Season 3, which premiered Friday, is even wilder: a musical interlude here; a powerful racist being dragged there for his actions; an exploding penis everywhere. In a way, The Boys’ excesses serve as a form of therapy, at least for those who work on it.

“The writers write what they’re passionate about, angry, or afraid of as it’s happening, which is why it addresses topics like over-policing and BLM [Black Lives Matter] and January 6 are all folded into this season. We write what we see,” says Kripke in a cheerful Zoom chat.

The first two seasons of the twisted What If Superheroes Were Sociopaths take comic book mythology and carefully metaphorically critique corporate power and what Kripke derides as “bro culture,” particularly in the workplace. In Season 3, that veil lifts a bit when these off-headline themes quoted by Kripke come into play — and a distinctly Trumpian language lands in the characters’ mouths.

“It’s not your idea,” he says. “I will resign myself to being a little less elegant than I may have been in the past. But I would say that the world is getting less elegant every year. It’s like everyone: I’m exhausted and frustrated and scared, but I’m just grateful that I have a job where I can write about it. It’s good, therapeutic. In my own stupid, creepy way, I can do something about it.”

“The crazy stuff is on the front of the cereal box, but we put a lot of fiber in the box,” adds Kripke, describing his approach as a Trojan horse: “And if a giant penis is my spoonful of sugar, then so be it.”

It refers to a scene early in Season 3 in which the eponymous, mostly listless boys, who work with the government to apprehend evil-gone superheroes, attempt to snag the elusive termite, a “super” in ant- Man-style they’ve tracked down to a bacchanalian. What makes the rambling, insect-sized termite fun involves the actor playing Termite this “giant penis,” and many viewers squirm. Then everything goes horribly, terribly wrong.

And those viewers will scream.

But Kripke insists the “crawling up a urethra” scene isn’t simply an attempt to trump previous seasons.

“We’re really trying not to get into the ‘How can we surpass ourselves?’ game. to decay,” he says. “I think it’s a trap. Something ends up being overblown or, more importantly, disingenuous. We always say, “Don’t go bigger; go deeper.’ In this case literally. What new facet of the character or world can we reveal? This constant notion of “What would happen if you brought superpowers that are ridiculous into the real world?” Eventually, if you had an Ant-Man ability, situations like this would happen.” He laughs.

“I’m thinking a lot more about how to further exacerbate character conflicts and stakes and reveal more about who these people are. I’m very worried about that. I almost never worry about the size of the set pieces.”

A man and woman perform a musical number that plays in a hospital "The young."

Yes, this is an actual scene from Season 3 of The Boys. The craziest superhero show on TV keeps fans off-balance with more water cooler moments and its ongoing dismantling of toxic masculinity. Pictured: Tomer Kapon as Frenchie and Karen Fukuhara as Kimiko.

(Amazon Studios)

The situations in this world somehow make queasy sense: imagine the waste of our own rich and powerful if they were literally bulletproof. But there are times when even those who work on the show say, “Whoa.”

Kripke says: “They play these moments; they are words on a page and reasonably harmless. Once it’s on its feet and you’re looking at newspapers, you cover your mouth with your hand: “Oh my God. Someone really had to do this. What have I done?’

“I think ‘Herogasm’ was a five day shoot that people came out of with a thousand yards of eyes. That is much.”

You read that right: “Herogasm,” an annual super-powered sexual encounter that will be portrayed in an upcoming episode.

“As part of the set decoration, there are huge pump bottles of lube everywhere. You’re at an orgy, right? Also, because of COVID, there are these giant pump bottles of hand sanitizer. Once every 10 minutes you could hear someone yelling, ‘Damn,’ because they’d just pumped a giant blob of lube into their hands.”

All this carnal carnage, however, has a serious purpose: Kripke and company are here to destroy the film-baked myth of manhood above all and female props with the bloody mace of The Boys superhero mythology turned upside down.

“We need to examine this John Wayne myth of the rugged, masculine, American individual and what a crap it is. Today they call it toxic masculinity and it has truly poisoned generations of boys in this country. There are generations of kids who can’t express their feelings because they’ve been told it’s kind of ‘female’ and that there’s something wrong with being female,” says Kripke.

“That’s why there are millions and millions of American men trying to live up to an ideal that 1) is unattainable and 2) John Wayne never achieved. It was made up. It was a myth and always was a myth. It was a terrible idea in the first place and never true… and is now being used to manipulate people.

“That energy has done a lot of damage. Everything from Putin to the NRA to our gun culture… I’ve always been so impressed with Trump when he’s recovered from COVID and had a chance to connect with people and reassure them they’re okay. But he did not do it. He went to the White House balcony and took off his mask,” Kripke makes the grand gesture of ripping it off, “and felt it necessary to prioritize machismo over compassion. You’re just like, ‘What’s so broken about you, how your father raised you, that you felt the need to be so powerful?’”

An actor dressed in a superhero costume walks in with his hands on his hips "The young"

This superhuman is definitely not human – Antony Starr’s portrayal of the sociopathic Superman Homelander in Amazon’s The Boys has never been more effective…or chilling than in Season 3.

(Amazon Studios)

The point is never clearer than in the show’s portrayal superman, homelands. Previously held in check by his desperate need for approval—people would probably love him less if they saw him ruthlessly let hundreds die or kill anyone he pleases—he learns a very contemporary lesson in Season 3: Ever worse he gets, the more his base loves him.

Kripke says of the actor, who brilliantly portrays the not-so-funny Superman, “Antony Starr and I talk about Homelander all the time as the weakest character on the show. He’s as open, nakedly needy as a certain former President. He appreciates how his day goes by how many people love him. It’s so pathetic.

“One thing I have a hard time understanding about Trumpism is how the most powerful man in the world could present himself as a victim all along, and millions and millions and millions of people bought it. His appalling genius taps into it her feelings of victimization.”

With that in mind, even the most conspicuous set piece becomes a goblin-like way of telling the truth to the Force—like a very, very elaborate prank.

“The sequence with Termite – that’s a really challenging sequence logistically,” says Kripke. “I am proud to say that we practically built this penis. That’s an 11 foot tall, 20 foot long penis. Built at incredible cost. Then VFX sweetened it and, excuse the pun, skinned it.

“When I’m in the studio and this huge thing is being built,” he says, “and I’ve got to spend Sony money and Amazon money on it… you just feel like you have the best job in the world. We always feel like we can get away with something: ‘When are they going to catch us?’”

‘The young’

Where: Amazon Prime

When: At any time

Valuation: 18+

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-06-06/the-boys-season-3-eric-kripke ‘The Boys’ boss breaks down agonizing Season 3 Termite scene

Sarah Ridley

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