Greatest American Hero

Now this is a show that holds up astoundingly well. Originally aired in 1981, the special effects are *awful,* and yet the show is funny (on purpose as well as accidentally) and fun to watch. The question is: why?

Here’s three good reasons. 1) The Cole Effect. From Power Rangers — Cole was the red Wild Force ranger, who emoted like whoa and threw himself into everything (both literally and figuratively). He sold the character, and Ralph is the same way. 2) The ’80s Music. Come on, it’s fun! The “Believe It or Not” theme song made it to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100! 3) It doesn’t take itself too seriously. The show was *meant* to be funny, and they play it up. A lot.

Ralph: “I could kill the guy who designed this suit! Why couldn’t it have narrow lapels and a cutaway jacket?”

(I’d like to note that Ralph spends a fair amount of time worrying about fashion. Later, he comments: “It kind of bulges out; ruins the lines” when he’s trying to wear the suit under his regular clothes. Regular clothes that consisted of a flannel shirt and jeans — truly, there were no lines to speak of, even before the suit.)

Pam: “I’m just here to do the Lois Lane jokes. Other than that, I really am an attorney.”

Ralph: “Those were my best Earth shoes.”
Bill: “Superman used to stash his clothes in a phone booth; then come back and pick them up later.”
Ralph: “Tried that today, got ripped off in ten seconds. Boy, this is gonna cost me a fortune.”

Ralph: “Bill likes to get his labels on secure so he won’t lose his way during any semi-complicated discussion.”

Pam: “Why don’t you fly up there and unscrew it?”
Ralph: “I’m not a moth — I can’t just fly up there and hover!”

Bill: “If I’m not supposed to run this show, then why did our friends from the Twilight Zone put me on board?”
Pam: “Comic relief?”

(I’d also like to note that for a show made during the ’80s, when presumably they *really* weren’t aiming for anything of the sort, the slash non-heteronormative relationship potential is pretty high in Greatest American Hero.)

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