Feb 292012

Yes, it's the same picture I used in my podcast post. What can I say? I'm lazy.

I preached a sermon about this show a few weeks back, and it was a blast watching clips and remembering how much I loved this show. The Greatest American Hero is a television show that ran on ABC from 1981-83. It’s a comedy drama about a teacher, an average guy, who is given a superhero suit by aliens. The problem is that he loses the manual, so he has to figure out how to use it by trial and error. What makes the show so brilliant is that that’s how we all feel. We’re all trying to figure life out by trial and error, we all feel like a hero sometimes, but when we do we’re usually not sure how it happened or what we did to make it happen. All superheroes are people we can relate to, but the reason we can relate to him is unique among superhero stories, and it is also the most universal. That’s why I wish I’d written this show, even though I was only eight when it began.


  1. Bill Coffin says:

    Great post, Scott. I love your take on the show…I remember it from my childhood also, but at the time, I never really got into it because I could not appreciate the theme of the show: that none of us have an instruction manual, and really, we’re all just kind of making it up as we go along as best we can. As a kid, I got frustrated that he wasn’t doing Superman stuff with his Superman suit and switched off. I kind of wish I was older so I could have appreciated it more, though at the time, I did get the feeling that the show was also tapping into that late-1970s early-1980s post-Vietnam theme of something that is hugely powerful that still can’t get things done. That was in a lot of art at the time, and as a kid, I kind of rejected it in my superhero stories.

  2. Scott Seeke says:

    You know, Bill, I never even thought about the Vietnam angle, but I bet that’s true. It seems like Vietnam hung over this country until the Gulf War. Then we got to kick the crap out of someone, and everything was right again, at least from a national perspective. It was not “all right’ to those who served, or those who suffered, or those who died, but I think as a nation the Gulf War was when we got over it. I would have preferred a group therapy session, I think.