She-Hulk's Disney+ Gag Is The Finest Practical Joke Of The Streaming Era

This article contains major spoilers for the latest episode of "She-Hulk: Attorney At Law"

Across the span of nine episodes, "She-Hulk: Attorney At Law" has been performing a balancing act, showing the progression of Jennifer Walters' story while preemptively trying to stay ahead of the reactions from toxic Marvel fans. It largely works, if only because the creative writing team have surely seen this play out anytime the Marvel Cinematic Universe deviates from the norm. And this show does just that. A lot.

At the core of its being, "She-Hulk" is a legal superhero sitcom set within the world of the MCU, with Tatiana Maslany starring as a very charming lead character with a penchant for breaking the fourth wall and addressing the viewer. For all of the things you could poke a hole at with this show, Maslany is undoubtedly not one of them. In last week's episode, Jen has been dealt an awful hand, with the online incel group known as Intelligencia shaming her through the widespread posting of revenge porn. It leaves Jen in an emotionally devastated position, naturally.

About halfway through the finale, it feels as if there's still so much to wrap up. Todd transforms himself into a men's right wrecktivist through Jen's stolen blood, Emil Blonsky is in his Abomination form, Smart Hulk has arrived from out of nowhere, and in the middle of all of this is Jen trying to make sense of everything.

Overwhelmed by trying to fill the Marvel quota, Jen does something none of her superhero counterparts has ever attempted.

You'll be surprised you're doing the green mistake, Voila!

In the blink of an eye, we're brought back to the Marvel home screen on Disney+, which made me think my laptop was acting funny for about half a second. In a truly hilarious fourth wall break, Jen breaks free of her rectangular streaming option, before hopping into the "Assembled" rectangle. But rather than thrusting Jen into the "making of" documentary about her own show, it instead gives her access to the actual Marvel Studios campus.

After sneaking her way into Marvel Studios à la "Blazing Saddles," she confronts the writers of her own show, in addition to the AI known as K.E.V.I.N., a playful twist on the Marvel CEO Kevin Feige. "Deadpool" may have broken the fourth wall, but Jen is the only Marvel super who has actually obliterated the medium she emanates from. And it's kind of great.

It's a really funny sight gag that sets the rest of the finale into motion, especially since I've never seen a streaming show do anything like this before. The advent of streaming offers up the world of entertainment at our fingerprints, so it makes perfect sense that a fourth wall-breaking character like She-Hulk would play on hopping from one show to the other.

It's also yet another way the series pays tribute to the "She-Hulk" comics.

This wasn't the first time She-Hulk kicked a panel in

The series has played around with Jen's knowledge that she's a character in a TV show, but this is the first time she's actually put a halt to everything around her. I may not be well-versed in the comics run of "She-Hulk," but what I am familiar with is that Jen's innate ability to break free beyond the comics panel is nothing new to this character.

For example, take the image above, in which Jen literally rips free from the pages of a comic book onto a different page. It's a trait that the character has always possessed, especially during the John Byrne run of "The Sensational She-Hulk." Even "She-Hulk" head writer Jessica Gao says that this tie to the Byrne's material was vital to Jen's evolution as a character (via Marvel):

"It felt natural that not only that she was in a show, but that she would have opinions about the show, especially since she just was completely betrayed by the makers of this show. It just felt right that she would go and complain to the ultimate lord of Marvel, which is K.E.V.I.N.."

I have complicated feelings about the later implications of said fourth wall break as the episode goes on. It's unlike anything I've ever seen the MCU attempt, even if it does play up that their projects are heralded by an AI in favor of a human being. But it's good to know Marvel can take the piss out of themselves every once in a while.

With gags like these, the series makes itself clear that they're familiar with where "She-Hulk" comes from, and have updated it for the streaming landscape. 

Every episode of "She-Hulk: Attorney At Law" is currently streaming on Disney+.