Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / The Greatest American Hero

Go To

  • Broken Base: Ralph losing the second instruction booklet. Some fans claim that They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot about a ton of scenarios involving Ralph learning the full capabilities of the suit, while still maintaining the mishaps that made the show more than a conventional action adventure show (when Ralph begins to read the second book, he displays the ability to shrink and becomes smaller than an ant, but can't figure out how to return to normal size), and that it could have opened up new scenarios where Hilarity Ensues because what Ralph tries to do goes horribly right; while others think that letting Ralph kept the instruction manual meant that he'd no longer have a reason to be incompetent at super-heroics, and thus risk turning him into a boring Invincible Hero.
  • Ear Worm:
    Believe it or not, IIIIII'm walking on air,
    I never thought I could feel so free-hee-hee.
    Flyin' away on a wiiiing and a prayer.
    Who could it be?
    Believe it or not, it's just me.
    • ...You're welcome.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The near crash of the space shuttle Columbia, until Ralph catches it and brings it down intact.
    • The second half of the pilot involved Ralph Hinkley attempting to thwart the assassination of the President. The pilot aired on March 18, 1981; almost exactly two weeks before John Hinckley's assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan that forced (among other things) the temporary name change to "Hanley".
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The "Captain Bellybuster" episode features Chuck McCann as said role, years before he'd become the voice of Duckworth on Disney's DuckTales (1987). What's amusing is in this episode, Bellybuster, along with Ralph and Bill, are referred to as "Huey Dewy, and Louie" by a villain at one point.
  • Life Imitates Art: In "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" Ralph repeatedly states "I grew up on this guy!" regarding The Lone Ranger. Now a lot of people who grew up in the early 80s say the same thing about Ralph and GAH.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The show was generally pretty light and fluffy, but occasionally...
    • The murder victim in "Operation: Spoilsport" who gets reanimated by the Suit-bestowing aliens and abruptly looms up into view as a white-faced zombie/ghost.
    • "The Beast in the Black" features, yes, a set of giant disembodied chomping teeth zooming around in a lightless void.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Danny Glover is a vice cop in the episode "Fire Man".
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • Averted in the minds of some viewers who feel the television budget obvious green screen and reuse of scenes have the side effect of nicely parodying the Superman Movie's 'You will believe a man can fly" effects.
    • The sea monster at the end of "The Devil in the Deep Blue Sea" is a laughably bad hand puppet that thankfully only appears for a few seconds.
    • The current page image for the live action TV subpage is from an early episode ("Here's Looking at You, Kid") in which Ralph is trying to control his invisibility powers, and ends up becoming partly visible—with great dirty overlaps between the blended shots.
  • "Weird Al" Effect:
    • Parodies of the theme song, basic plot, and the goofy looking Hinkley are well known among people who were born years after the show ended and have no idea what is even being parodied.
      • Most notably, there's George's infamous Funny Answering Machine from Seinfeld.
      • And its use at Jackson's inauguration in Gilmore Girls.
      • The theme song is also used as the intro theme in most episodes of The Cinema Snob.
      • One year Homestar Runner was Ralph for Halloween
        Homestar: Baweeve it or not I'm walkin' awound, never thought I could Twick or!
      • It was also used in Dog of Wisdom, being sung by the two dogs in the video.
      • In Kickassia, it forms the tune on Sean's answering machine ("Believe it or not, Sean isn't at home..."), which may have been a parody of both the original theme and the Seinfeld spoof.
  • You Look Familiar: The actor who played Pam's Hardware store owner Dad in "Here's Looking at you Kid" shows up as a sports announcer in "It's All Downhill From Here" and "The Price Is Right".


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: