One of the primary functions of superheroes is to provide solace for the victims of bullying, and there is no costumed avenger more explicitly designed for that purpose than your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Himself a former target of school bullies, Peter Parker is a symbol to the oppressed outsiders of the world that if they stay positive and behave with good character, they will persevere and become successful.
It is possibly with that in mind that the South Metro Fire Rescue department of Littleton, Colorado produced a video featuring Spider-Man instructing children on how to deal with bullies and other hazards to their safety. It is, sadly, very nearly the most confounding thing we have ever seen in our collective lives, and inspires only dread and violence. As such, we have bullied it thoroughly.
Called The Web of Safety, the video begins with a visibly insane woman wondering aloud where Spider-Man is, for she is on deadline and he has apparently committed to helping her author a column on safety. We can glean from this that the woman, called Paige Turner, is aware of Spider-Man's true nature as a journalist, which demands questions that are never addressed.
We are then introduced to Safety Spidey, who is very obviously the biggest person the producers could fit into the Spider-Man costume they made out of old Beanie Babies. Rather than drop down from the ceiling or enter in an otherwise recognizably Spider-Man fashion, Safety Spidey dances into the scene in a manner not seen since the 1991 music video for "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
To assist Ms. Turner with her column on bullying, Spider-Man recounts in flashback form a story about two non-human children enjoying a song from High School Musical that's playing on an iPod. Before we can work out how this is possible when both earbuds are being used by just one of the creatures, a humanoid puppet appears and demands the kids give him the iPod. "You'd better not tell anyone about this, or I'll beat you up," the bully says.
Safety Spidey appears, identifies the bully as the Sandman, and tells him to leave before introducing new character called "Mini-Man," who is really just a small Spider-Man puppet. No other information is given as to the nature of Mini-Man nor the specifics of his relationship to Spider-Man. He simply is.
Mini-Man explains what to do when confronted with bullies (SNITCH!) and how to avoid them in future (ROLL DEEP!). He then leads the children in a song that everybody knows despite the fact that it is only identified as "that cool song about everybody sticking together," which defies everything we understand about the universe by being measurably worse than anything from High School Musical. Sandman returns during the performance to play air keyboards, which in this case is not a synthesizer but an actual computer keyboard (ergonomic).
The song ends incredibly abruptly and the scene shifts to another pair of monstrous children using the Internet. What has become of Mini-Man or Paige Turner and her column is never revealed, but Safety Spidey is now concerned with the kids' attraction to talking to an online stranger with the screenname "CoolGuy911" (PEDOPHILE!). Fortunately, Safety Spidey's advice to children about strangers on the Internet - "Don't talk to them" - is quite wise and should be followed by all of us who read comic book message boards, and the scene concludes with the unmolested creature kids thanking the deformed superhero for his help.
Finally, the video closes out with a series of shots depicting various objects, rooms and buildings on fire, which we can reasonably assume the Littleton authorities burned specifically to make the cool looking montage.
And there you have it, the Littleton Fire Rescue's Web of Safety video, featuring a truly frightening, "gorilla juice-head" version of Spider-Man, a completely nonsensical Mini-Me version of him that is also all 'roided up, a song so bad it strains reality itself, and virtually every other thing that could be possibly be wrong about something all wrapped up in a piece that makes even the most infamous public access cable shows look like The Wire. Something beyond just an amusingly terrible video, the whole thing seems particularly grim when you remember what happened in Littleton ten years ago, and as our friends at Topless Robot put it, to watch The Web of Safety is to regret it almost instantly and for the rest of your life."
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