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Series / My Secret Identity

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Just one costume short of true superherohood.
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My Secret Identity was a Canadian live-action TV show that ran from 1988 to 1990. It starred Jerry O'Connell (who would become better known for starring in Sliders) as a teenager named Andrew Clements who accidentally gains superpowers and secretly uses them to help people. Contrary to the series title, though, Andrew never actually uses a secret identity - although he likes to pretend he's a superhero named Ultraman, he never wears a costume (except in a daydream sequence) and never uses his powers in public. The only other person who knew his secret was Dr. Benjamin Jeffcoat (played by Derek McGrath), Andrew's neighbor who accidentally gave the boy his powers while he was fiddling around with a homemade particle beam projector. Jeffcoat felt responsible for what happened and tried to restore Andrew to normal, despite the boy clearly loving having superpowers. Instead he mostly kept Andrew grounded on reality.

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Andrew's powers included invulnerability, superspeed and levitation, but not superstrength or true flight, which Andrew really wanted to have. Instead, he had to use aerosol cans to help himself fly around! However, later in the series he would indeed gain greater strength and flight, but lost his invulnerability, after being zapped by a particle beam a second time.

The show never got much publicity, so remains pretty obscure to this day.


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The series included instances of:

  • Ascended Fanboy: Andrew
  • Book and Switch: Andrew does it so often that one episode ends with his mom noticing he's reading a book on math and tells him "why don't you tell me the ending of that Fantastic Four issue you're reading?" and turns out to be right.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Andrew once believed that he could obtain super strength by calling on the powers of Ultraman - specifically by breaking a tree branch (with his knee) or by pushing open a heavy grate. Subverted at the end of that episode when Dr. Benjamin explained that it was an adrenaline rush rather than a superpower.
  • Canadian Series
  • Cursed with Awesome: Dr. Jeffcoat thinks that having powers is a curse (They Would Cut You Up is a possibility he implies often). Andrew is so obsessed with superheroes that he would go the whole nine yards, costume and all, if he could.
  • Fantastic Comedy
  • Freak Lab Accident: Something as simple as being hit by a beam.
  • Gaslighting: Andrew's powers were discovered by a nosy next door neighbor, who recorded Andrew holding up an electrical box that fell. After she confronted the pair, the doctor and Andrew had to quickly cause her living space to act strangely so that she couldn't view the tape on her own TV. When she went to the Doctor to have him play the tape, he switched it with one that looked innocent.
  • Homemade Inventions
  • New Super Power: At the beginning of the second season.
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling
  • Power Nullifier: A dentist's X-Ray machine temporarily robs Andrew of his powers.
  • The Rashomon: In the series finale.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: In one episode, Andrew was a little too vigilant in fighting crime. What he originally thought would be a crime was instead something innocent (e.g. pulling a bank card out of a jacket, using a Heimlich Maneuver to stop choking, etc.)
  • Stock Superpowers
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: At one time, Andrew forgot about X-rays when he decided to show the superpower to his friend.
  • Too Qualified to Apply: Andrew once tried out for the school's track team despite his superpowers giving him an unfair advantage. He has a discussion with Dr. Jeffcoate who asks if he's the one winning the races or his alter ego. This causes Andrew to intentionally lose his next race.
  • Weekend Inventor: Dr. Jeffcoat.

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