aliens, mutants, freaks

Bodies as Unreliable Signifiers. The Inconsistency of Smallville's Character Construction


It is “Ring Day” in high school in the Smallville’s season two episode “Red” (2002). When Clark Kent buys a ring against his parents’ wishes, the ring puts him under the influence of red Kryptonite (which up to this point in the series is an unknown substances). In accordance with the Superman mythology, the red mineral causes a complete character change in Clark, lowering all his inhibitions. He experiences improved self-esteem, sexual needs, and a hedonistic desire to buy material things with his parents’ stolen credit card. Clark wants to party, to smooch any girl, to listen to heavy metal music, and to drive his new motorbike. In short, Clark exhibits typical signs of machismo teenage rebellion parsed down to iconic media clichés. Of course, towards the end of the episode, Clark is saved by his parents and friends and freed from the influence of red Kryptonite. Back in tune with his good character, he repents and apologizes to friends and family. Yet, some uncertainty remains; this well behaved Clark Kent is not as stable a character as he had appeared to be. Change can happen fast in the world of Smallville.

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Zitation: Kulle, Daniel (2014): Bodies as Unreliable Signifiers. The Inconsistency of Smallville's Character Construction. In: Cory Barker, Chris Ryan, Myc Wiatrowski, Hg.: Mapping Smallville. Critical Essays on the Series and Its Characters. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 145-160.

  • McFarland
  • 2014