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5 (Spoilery) Things About Heroes That Annoy the Begeezus Out Of Me

After just three episodes of Heroes (two and a half, actually, as I missed part of the premiere) I have to say that I’ve never, ever been simultaneously so intrigued and so annoyed at the same show – intrigued by the premise and the unrecognized potential; annoyed because the way some things play out are so freakin’ stupid and unrealistic (as much as a show about people with supernatural powers can be) that I physically must leave the area surrounding the television or risk being engulfed in a fit of rage that would wake the neighbors.

Here, then, are 5 things that annoy me about Heroes. They all boil down to choices made by the writer(s) that sacrifice realism for some purported sense of drama, but instead play out like an insult to anyone who is paying attention.

*** SPOILER WARNING: The rest of this post is made up entirely of spoilers.

  1. Nerdy father-in-the-know whose glasses look so fake – Seriously, do they even make glasses like that anywhere but in Hollywood prop departments? I think they got the leftover pair from the Discovery Channel’s kids’ show Strange Days at Blake Holsey High, where the nerdy Janitor-in-the-know (who looks so much like Nerdy father-in-the-know that they may as well be related) looked just as stereotypical. Was the part written for Drew Carey or Buddy Holly? Please.
  2. Cheerleader with wooden stake through head – After several scenes showing how blonde cheerleader girl, who is apparently contractually obligated to wear her cheerleader uniform 24/7, is impervious to harm, is it really a suspenseful commercial cliffhanger when she gets a wooden spike through the back of her head in episode 3 at the hands of token amorous jock? Gimme an L! Giimme a A-M-E!
  3. Blackout Mom who drags her kid to bury bodies – While I do not consider myself a model parent, I do know enough not to take my kids on a day trip to bury dead bodies in the desert. That’s assuming, of course, I neglect the dangers of driving while susceptible to hours-long blackouts in the first place. However, if I did take my kid on a day trip to bury dead bodies in the desert, I’d sure as hell have him out there in the hot sun with shovel in hand. Good child labor is hard to find these days.
  4. Teleportation Kid who picks up gun at obvious crime scene – I know, I know…When you suddenly teleport across the world (and into the future to boot) into a trail of freshly spilled blood which leads directly to a corpse with its cranium sawed off and the brain removed, how could you not pick up the nearby gun? The urge is just too great. Come on! What, did he hear the S.W.A.T. team running up the stairs so he could time it so perfectly? Arrrgh!
  5. Mind Reader Guy who somehow fails to convince people he could read minds – In episode 2, the mind reading cop has a scene with the federal officer where she questions him about how he knew where the little girl was hiding. All the while he can read her thoughts. Why, in God’s name, why didn’t he convince her about his ability right there and then instead of 1 episode later? (Where he inexplicably failed to tell his wife…”Honey! I can read minds! Our next-door neighbors think we’re trailer trash!”) How hard could it be to convince the fed?

    FED: How did you know where the girl was?

    COP: I could read minds.

    FED: [rolls eyes and thinks: What a loon!]

    COP: You just thought “What a loon!”

    FED: [thinks: Whoa…that was creepy.]

    COP: You just thought “Whoa…that was creepy.”

    FED: [thinks: Is this some sort of trick?]

    COP: You just thought “Is this some sort of trick?”

    FED: [thinks: I am the very model of a modern Major General.]

    COP: [slaps Fed.]

I really, really hope moments like this are eliminated from this show. It has such great promise. I liken it to the superhero-ish-ness of the Shamma Lamma Ding-Dong movie Unbreakable. If the annoyances stop, I’ll be so happy. And isn’t my happiness what it’s all about?

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

11 Comments on 5 (Spoilery) Things About Heroes That Annoy the Begeezus Out Of Me

  1. Anonymous // October 10, 2006 at 1:21 am //

    The stake-in-the-head was lame, but the episode ending was worth it.

  2. I totally agree with you about how the show both fascinates and irritates at the same time. There’s a great deal of pretention surrounding the show, as if they’re the first thing ever to do a “realistic super-hero drama,” which they hardly are.

    I could really do without the narration at the beginning and the end. It does nothing for the story. I thought very little of the “teenage cheerleader gets spiked” story, up ’till the very last second when she does wake up and she’s wide open on the operating table. THAT was a good cliffhanger, I thought.

    Mostly, what I keep saying is that I want an hour-long show that’s about Hiro (teleportation guy from Japan) with the other stories being sub-plots and supporting threads. Everyone else is taking this stuff way too seriously. I mean, it’s obviously serious stuff, but the writing hasn’t relaxed to a point where it’s comfortable with itself yet, and neither have the actors. Hiro is wonderful and I love him.

    Finally, I’m waiting to see how well they continue to advance the plot. In the first two episodes, there was little more than “the plot thickens…” and although the third episode actually got a little momentum behind it, I’m waiting to see if the story goes somewhere properly or staggers into a series of “plot thickens” episodes that don’t do very much week-by-week.

    That said, despite the sheer amount of time I spend complaining about it and re-writing it in my mind…my wife and I have consistently tuned in every week for each new episode, and I will happily tune in for the fourth episode next week. Love it or hate it, I guess I’m hooked.

  3. Why, in God’s name, why didn’t he convince her about his ability right there and then instead of 1 episode later?

    I haven’t seen episode three yet, but if I’d suddenly realised I was telepathic I’m not sure I’d go around talking about it until I’d had some time to digest the implications of my ability. (To be honest, if I’d been in his shoes in ep two I’d have been pretty sure I was going to get locked up whatever I said.)

  4. Tim Morris // October 10, 2006 at 2:51 pm //

    In order –

    Nerd dad has probably been wearing the same frames for years – you find something you think works, you stick with it. I say this as a person who has worn glasses for something like 48 years and has changed frame styles maybe 4 times. Current frames are damn’ near indestructable titanium and about eight years old. Not planning on changing anytime soon.

    Stake in the head Claire – clearly, not a cliffhanger because we all know she’s going to survive – she’s in the main credits after all. The interesting part (spoiled by the preview) is how long it would take her body to eject the damn thing and what happens while that’s going on. Apparently, per the damn preview, the local medical examiner gets well into the autopsy before pulling out the stake and switching the healing process into high gear. As to that uniform – it was a game day, so of course the cheerleaders are in uniform. Last week was, like the day before the big game so – pep rallies, etc. This is Odessa, Texas – you didn’t see/read Friday Night Lights, did you? [-)

    Blackout mom, diggin’ holes in the outback – who would she leave the kid with? At the time she hits the road in the Caddy, she’s leaving town in an effort to avoid the loan shark who’s goons she (or not-she) has just butchered. I think finding the gang/posse ring on the previous occupant of the shallow grave she was digging pointed her at grandma’s house, but before that, I had the strong impression she was just on the run and couldn’t leave the kid behind for the aforementioned loan shark to snatch.

    Hiro and the gun. Come on! Totally in character for this guy. Not only that, I’ve been an assistant prosecutor for about 20 years and, trust me, people do dumb ass things like that all the time. Cops do dumb ass things like that all the time, let alone Japanesee fanboys who have just discoverd they have “powers.” Not to mention the effect finding a brainless corpse might have on the finder. Lizzard brain thinks “Holy shit! Look at that! Hey, gun! Want gun. Not want brain removed! Pick up gun.” And the gun is picked up.

    Mind reading cop – he did convince her, just that way. Recall, he told her the mind reading came and went. At that point he was trying to figure out how it worked. In short damn order he plucked the Starbuck clone’s deep dark secret from her little blonde head and handed it back to her. At that point she’s pretty much on onboard and taking him to see the little girl, who hasn’t talked since they rescued her, to see if he really is the goods and can find out what’s in her head.

    See, it all makes sense now, doesn’t it? You just need to have the proper point of view

  5. My kinda snark! I thought all of these things in the back of my head but they weren’t hilarious until you brought it up! That cheerleader outfit is getting on my nerves.

  6. I think it’s interesting that Tim and I thought the same thing. Hiro picks up that gun because he’s afraid the killer is still around (and as Tim said, he’s not just a simple killer, but a skull-topping brain-removing killer.) Honestly at that point, I thought Skylar (sp?) was in there and there was going to be some kind of confrontation. When the cops bust in I knew instantly the gun would be a problem (so definately yes, I see John’s side for sure) and it was a bit lame at to have the cops work like that. I mean, after all, it’s not like the guy could surgically remove a brain with that weapon.

    I guess cheerleader uniforms don’t bother me (well, uh, not in the ‘annoying me so much I want to kick the TV’ kind of way, but in a different kind of way that I’ll avoid describing.) I also didn’t see the neck thing as a cliffhanger – because we knew she was going to come back. In fact, I laughed at that point because I knew she wasn’t dead and figured the jock got what he deserved for trying to force her. My wife (who was watching the show for the first time) thought I was being a tad insensitive to the girls apparent death. Luckily I was vindicated later.

    I agree overall with John’s other comments. I guess the problem for me is the show seems to have some great potential (sort of a cross between Lost, X-Files, and The Stand) yet is being held back by some poor writing choices.

  7. Agree to everything Tim Morris said…you can’t overreact to these little things. The glasses are weird but hardly a deal breaker. The cheerleader getting staked was NOT the cliffhanger, the cliffhanger was her waking up in a morgue with her chest sliced wide open. The black-out mom is freaked and has no idea what’s going and just wanted to get rid of the bodies. Teleportation Kid is a very enthused foreigner who tends to react without thinking, so picking up a gun is not so preposterous. And the mindreader can’t control it yet, the voices come and go.

    It’s not a perfect show, in fact it’s a little too derivative of Unbreakable so far, but it has a lot of potential and is off to a great start…stick with it!


  8. John, I just noticed this post and I thought I would give you my 2 cents.

    I understand your “issues” with Heroes, but Heroes is a lot of fun to watch. I mean sure, I actually said out loud, “don’t pick up the gun, oh what an idiot” when Hiro picked up the gun. But it did add a little bit of drama to show (not that it needs more drama).

    Anyway, it’s a fun show, Hiro has a blog which is fun, some of the other characters have myspaces (see blog in my name for details) and they even have online comics to go with each episode (if you read episode 4s comic you will know a little bit more about what happens to Claire after the car crash).

    That said, I am not sure if I am going to wind out loving this show or being disappointed in it. At this point I love it.

    PS. Your post did make me laugh out loud. Very funny, especially the mind reading bit at the end.

  9. Oh, don’t get ,me wrong. I like Heroes too. And it gets better every week. But for some reason these things (OK, maybe not the glasses thing. I wear glasses myself. But 5 is a much better-sounding number than 4, no?) seemed to annoy me to the point of posting about it.

    I see the reactions here and I wonder if people are not just so hopeful to have a good show to watch that they are just looking the other way. I mean, c’mon, people…the writing just isn’t there. Yet. I have little doubt they will get there. Most shows are a bit awkward until the writers get into the groove. Does anyone think the 1st season of the Simpsons matches up to the later seasons?

  10. I don’t think Heroes is spot-on yet…we’re not talking about Battlestar Galactica or Lost, which came roaring out of the gates. But it has great potential and while it has so-so moments, the writers ARE getting better and the cliffhangers are amazing!

    Time will tell, but while a little thin here and there, Heroes has yet to disappoint me.


  11. For my money, I want an hour long show about the Japanese hero Hiro. He is the only one who has vowed to use his powers for Good and Niceness.

    That, after all, is what all science fiction writers and comic book artists are placed on the Earth to do. I should here mention that, after you make your third sale to a professional magazine, the Secret Masters of Fandom contacts you by means of the mysterious Ninth Barsoomian ray, and explains that all pulp heroes, super heroes, starship captains and so on exist merely so that, when the genetic stresses of modern life trigger the first posthuman Slans to emerge in secret among us, they will remember reading Spiderman, and vow to use their great powers with great responsibility.

    Were it not for the terrifying possibility that the next step in human evolution should grow up reading Nietzsche and be influenced by that, we would all be writing Westerns and Pirate-stories. As it is, the urgent need to serve the public requires us to generate these silly sci-fi fables in order to place role models and warning messages before the eyes of the potential Afterhumans. Remember what happened to Lieutenant Gary Mitchell, whose latent psionic abilities where triggered by the energy field at the edge of the galaxy! Absolute power corrupts absolutely! Do not give into the Dark Side, or forever will it domninate your destiny! You want to be like Professor X, not like Magneto. Humans are your friends! Your friends! And I, for one, welcome our new mutant overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted SF writer, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.

    Good lord. What was I saying? Oh yeah, this is a show I want to like, but I wish the writers would make it easier for me. More Japanese guy, please.

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