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Review: OHR House: Heroes 
 PostThu Oct 16, 2008 8:32 pm
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This is a review of OHR House: Heroes - Season One.

this review is for week three

What happens when nine famous OHR heroes are picked to live in a house and work together?

In the wake of OHR House, many imitators, tangible or not, have cropped up. With the show now in its third season, especially with its four month hiatus between first and second episodes, the most recent one is RedMaverickZero's spinoff, OHR House: Heroes. In this show, nine protagonists from popular OHR games are applied to the tried and true stick-'em-all-in-the-same-house-and-see-who-comes-out-with-a-head-still-on-their-shoulders.

The cast includes Bob the Wandering Hamster, Sam the Sheep Rancher, Arfenhouse' Housemaster, Neke: The Woman Of Mystery, Mr. Triangle from his titular series, Bob Surlaw from Walthros, Julia from Pitch Black, S. Kikraizer from Trailblazers, and Kyle from the Timestream Saga series.

We've followed them so far as they've struggled through such obstacles as wacky critters, some of whom totally have it in for our titular heroes, dodging paparazzi, surviving a week in a dive of a motel ran by Timestream Saga's Vulpes, drug addiction, and, of course, each other. The whole thing is played for laughs, but as most RMZ games, it's heavier on charm than actual humor. The funniest part to me was in the first week when Kyle formed an I-vote-for-you/you-vote-for-me alliance with Bob Surlaw after the latter had already won immunity for the week, only to realize it later and break it off without telling Surlaw.

The occasional sight gag is one of the things the show does best, especially with the detail put into most of the animations and map layout, never forcing you to take the dialogue's word for it. It's definitely endears Housemaster to the viewers despite how generally annoying the guy can be. At least one of them played out in a way that makes sense at least visually, but when you take the characters involved into account, you gotta wonder why Julia wouldn't just cover up with her hands, or why a girl who's been so modest up till and after that point would be sunbathing topless to begin with.

Most of the characters you know already, and I'm not talking so much about their having starred in well-known OHR games so much as their role in the cast. There being two girls, one is obviously the manipulative slut while the other is an overdramatic prude. Housemaster's the crazy prankster. Bob the Hamster's the celebrity who hates getting his picture taken and RPG hero. He's shown a tendency to tell enough stories that he cold almost be a raconteur. Almost, not quite. Bob Surlaw is some mix of his own naivety with his creator's taste for surrealism. Mr. Triangle is the Jerk who might at least have a Heart of Bronze-Plating. Sinister Kikraizer, who has inexplicably lost reptilian qualities of the alligator/shark he was in Trailblazers, is the guy who's in it to win, but his biggest problem is that, in a show that depends heavily on audience participation, his schemes to get his housemates voted out never extend to keeping him in the house, when they aren't so short-sighted he never should've bothered in the first place. He's a good case for why a villain in a show like this should never be out in the open, and when they are, make their plans impressive enough that even if they are put on the chopping block, the audience has enjoyed watching them tear down the house from the inside so much they don't want to see them leave. We'll see how it pays off for him when Week Four comes out. Back on topic, Kyle and Rancher Sam play straight man to the rest of the cast, though Kyle tries to play more heroic while being easily manipulated, while Sam is more adventurous and idealistic. 'Course, the market was pretty saturated with Straight Man types at the beginning, but most of them have been slowly coming into their own and finding new ways to drive the plot instead of just commenting on it as it runs along.

If I've got one major complaint about OHR House: Heroes is the fact that the stakes never seem high enough. It's more about drama than being dramatic, like you were watching a normal reality show, only with fictional cartoon characters. The formula gets predictable and dull. What will Julia misinterpret this week? Who will Housemaster pick as his latest victim? Who's Kikraizer hoping to get everyone to vote for? What wacky creature will Sam be chasing? RMZ's always had a charming way of telling a story, but if the story isn't go anywhere, the charm can wear thin pretty quickly. Variety is indeed the spice of life, and even with more characters starting to come into their own there's still a level of redundancy there, which is why Kyle got voted off so quickly: aside from being something of a douchebag, the story had no need for him, at the time, when half the cast was already playing things straight. Now with Julia becoming the resident drama queen and Bob's rather anticlimactic increasing disillusionment with fame, Sam kind've has the marketed cornered when it comes to being the normal guy. Of course, it's possible this is the fault of the source material, where the heroes didn't need so much depth if they were just perspective characters, and we're just gradually getting to know who they are in ways their original games couldn't share with us, it says a lot for JSH's method of not caring how closely the character resembles the source in OHR House.

All in all, if you're a fan of RMZ's games already, you should like this one. If you enjoyed the Halloween Quest series more for its charm than its resemblance to Kingdom Hearts (which Week Three even pokes fun at), then you'll enjoy this. It has fun parts, like Powerstick Man, just in general (an interesting parallel to Pepsi Ranger in the current season of OHR House), various cameos, and a little of the referential humor that's inevitable in these kind of shows. It's basically a popcorn show, a guilty pleasure at worst, kind've like real reality TV. There are much worse ways to spend a half-hour, but you won't take a whole lot with you out of it and until it overcomes its Dog Bites Man syndrome, that's about all it will be.

Of course, this is all coming from one of the guys who wrote the outlandish fun of OHR House: Season 2, so I could be totally biased.
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