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Edwin: So Doctor Loeb, tell me a little bit about your business plan.
Dr. Loeb: World domination!!!
Edwin: That's really more of a goal than a plan.
Dr. Loeb: Domination!!!Domination!!!Domination!!!
Edwin: I'll just put down 'Mergers and Acquisitions'.
The Podcast How to Succeed in Evil is essentially a Deconstruction and parody of the Superhero genre. In the story, supervillains are a dime a dozen, and constantly rob banks, cause destruction, and all the other cliche things that villains do. Meanwhile, superheroes are anything but heroic; and frequently do much more harm in trying to subdue villains than good.
Enter Edwin Windsor, a man who becomes the first "Evil Efficiency Consultant", a freelance adviser for supervillains. While he does very well, he is constantly frustrated by his job because of the sheer idiocy of the villains he is forced to work with. Although he tends to provide villains with marvelous plans, their dim wits and large egos eventually cause Edwin's clients to mess everything up for themselves. Edwin still gets paid, so he tries not to think about it.
But eventually, Edwin cannot take the inefficient and wasteful nature of his clients and the world at large, and decides to finally cross the threshold into full supervillainy. As described by the author, Patrick E. Mclean, "Edwin quickly becomes something more than a villain and less than a hero. He takes out villains because they are 'incompetent and inefficient' and heroes because they are 'ineffectual and in the way.' He often does the right thing for the wrong reason. Which, as fans can tell you, is very entertaining."
How to Succeed in Evil alternates between lighthearted, funny stories and serious ones. It follows one main plot while also branching off into various prequel adventures. The updates are few and far between (in fact almost a year has gone by since the last one since the author is currently working on the book), but every episode is available on the website and iTunes if you are up for a mini Archive Trawl.
This show provides examples of:
- And Then What?: This is how Edwin manages to make Dr. Loeb to realize why he really wants to build an orbital laser: to get back at his mom.
- Badass Normal: Edwin and Gus fit. Superlative Man didn't have any powers, but it's anyone's guess whether he was badass or not.
- Badass Grandpa: Gus.
- Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: It's not extortion...
- The Brute: Barry.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Topper, and Edwin to a lesser degree.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Applies to almost all of Edwin's clients.
- Dead Little Sister: It's heavily implied that Edwin's parents died in a fight between a Superhero and a Supervillain.
- Dumb Muscle: Barry is really dumb, and has a lot of muscle.
- Evil Versus Evil
- Hannibal Lecture: At the end of the series reboot when Edwin manages to get Excelisor to consent to being Buried Alive in concrete by appealing to his guilt and his desire to be a hero.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Heroes aren't very likable people, especially if you're asking the local police who have to clean up their messes.
- Hulk Speak: Barry, again.
- Invisible to Normals: Averted. Not only do people notice the super people around them, the majority dislike them because of all the damage they cause.
- Lord Error-Prone: Pretty much every hero/villain in the story.
- Magnificent Bastard: Edwin.
- Mad Scientist: It is the itch that drove him mad, the phantom itch.
- My Greatest Failure: Brainitar.
- The Napoleon: Topper.
- Person of Mass Destruction
- Secret Identity: Amazingman has one which is revealed pretty early.
- Shoo Out the New Guy: Edwin 2.0 definitely qualifies. Mr. Mc Lean decided to re-write his main character by turning him into a Affably Evil, Lex Luthor-esque, Evil Brit complete with a suit that turns him invisible. Almost immediately afterward, Mr. Mc Lean realized that his Reboot was a horrible idea and dedicated an entire episode to deconstructing him.
- Smoking Is Cool: Deconstructed with Gus, who is seen coughing during the first half-to-two-thirds of the story, and then he has a stroke, and it turns out he's had cancer since before the story started.
- And he wakes up three months after, to look for Exelsior, who's been buried alive in concrete.
- Something Person: Names like 'Amazingman', 'Powerboy', and 'The Jusitnator'. Done on purpose.
- Stock Evil Overlord Tactics: Deconstructed; Edwin points out the flaws in these methods and suggests better uses of these resources.
- Superhero: The deconstruction of this, along with Super Villain, is one of the main points of the story.
- Super Villain
- Supervillain Lair: With a sign out front so the pizza man can find it.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Inverted. Edwin's company and henchman are all very competent; he doesn't hire idiots. When you consider the world he lives in though, he is surrounded by idiots.
- There Was a Door: Superlative Man!
- Exelsior was dissuaded from using the three story window while going in. Going out, on the other hand...
- Vapor Wear: Cindi with an I.
- Villain Protagonist
- Visionary Villain
- What the Hell, Hero?: Edwin delivers a truly magnificent one of these to Powerboy.