The Greatest American Hero “The Hit Car” (part 9 of 9)

It turns out, though, that Bill was paying attention enough to know that the high school is on spring break, but not enough to have noticed the whole thing about the play going on in the interim. So he thinks the school is empty, when in fact it’s full of Ralph’s sweathogs and their anonymous set-decorating parents. Oops.

They walk into the auditorium and—hahaha, Ralph’s students are all dressed like cartoon character versions of Shakespeare characters. It’s like The Taming of the Shrew as performed by Spongebob Squarepants and company.

Tony’s outfit is especially hilarious: puffy Foot Locker-striped tunic, black velvet gym shorts, white tights, knee-high black boots, a huge shapeless bag masquerading as a hat, and (I think) Stunt Ralph’s wig. He looks like Little Orphan Fauntleroy.

Caption contributed by Mark

”The Ren Faire guys said you had to go as your favorite character, so I picked Christina Aguilera.”

Bill is aghast at the presence of all these people. He mutters, “What are you trying to do to me?” as if Ralph had maliciously conjured up all these potential victims just to foil Bill’s plans. Maybe that’s one of his darker superhero abilities.

Bill steps forward, and is in the process of incoherently announcing to the sweathogs and their sweatparents that they have a “condition red” (Tony is just laughing at him), when the hit car pulls up and starts shooting at them. From, you know, outside. Because it’s a car. Cars aren’t usually invited indoors. Hit Car Conceptual Flaw #… damn, what are we up to? Oh, let’s say a million.

As the collateral-damage-in-waiting all dive for cover, Bill and Ralph hustle out the back door of the auditorium, and along the way proceed to have an entire conversation without moving their lips.

Overdub Bill: Somebody call the cops!
Overdub Ralph: What have you done to me, Bill?
Overdub Bill: Find someplace to get changed!
Overdub Ralph: This is a school, Bill, this is where I teach! This really stinks!

Wow, wouldn’t it be surreal if they did the whole show like this? Bill and Ralph could run around without moving their mouths and all their dialogue could be dubbed in later! It’d be like Look Who’s Talking, only with superheroes instead of babies. Or if they blink once a minute, it could be like Superfriends.

The article continues after this advertisement...

The hit car is literally chasing Bill around the school grounds, unaccountably failing to actually shoot this slow-moving, limping target that’s screaming, “Ralph!!” Ralph, meanwhile, is taking forever to get his clothes off, and so is watching helplessly as Bill is almost gunned down over and over. Geez, this is like the Keystone Superheroes.

Caption contributed by Mark

”Shit, that’s my dad! He’s totally going to beat me up when he finds out I’m a closet superhero!”

The bad guys have Bill pinned down behind a brick wall… but can’t exploit the situation because closing in on Bill any further would require getting out of the car.

Ralph finally gets his clothes off, fully exposing the suit. He takes off, flying wildly around the campus to get to where the car is. Obviously, the shots of Ralph flying trade between William Katt in bad greenscreen from the front, and Stunt Ralph doing physical stunts from the side and rear. Finally, Ralph “lands” stomach first, sliding down the asphalt straight under the hit car itself, which he then proceeds to lift up on its side.

Caption contributed by Mark

”Go ahead and look, Bill, but I really don’t think you can tell the sex of a Pontiac sedan this way.”

Johnny won’t come out, and we hear sirens coming, so Ralph shakes the hit car around to get Johnny to give up. He still won’t come out, so Bill aims his pistol into one of the gun slots and fires, and the bullet ricochets all over the inside of the steel-lined deathtrap. Hit Car Conceptual Flaw #… I dunno, a billion.

Johnny gives up, and Ralph sets the car back down so that they can pull the bad guys out. As they’re patting down the two mobsters, Ralph quizzes Bill about how the hit car found them, and Bill admits to going into the restaurant and provoking Johnny. Ralph’s a tad bit upset that Bill didn’t tell him about this.

“Well, you were ranting and raving, kid,” Bill says. “I didn’t want to add to your problems.” Actually, that was kind of a reasonable answer.

Ralph mouths off that they have a long way to go and flies away, only to crash into some bushes somewhere, leading to one last overdubbed “Damn!”

Meanwhile, Bill advises Johnny to forget about seeing the super guy, which seems like a good idea. I might take that advice myself. Hey! What happened! I just sat down to watch this episode and write a recap, and—huh? How’d all this get written? Weird.

And now we get the closing tag: the long-awaited performance of The Taming of the Shrew by the special ed students of Whitney High School!

Caption contributed by Mark

In case you were wondering what Faye Grant’s headshot looked like in 1981. (You already knew what Michael Paré’s looked like.)

There’s lots of meaningless banter backstage as Ralph tries to pep talk his ridiculously dressed students (“Break a leg!” “I ain’t breakin’ nothin’!”), and then Tony comes out and starts delivering Petruchio’s lines as if he were Marlon Brando with a head cold. And also, with Ving Rhames’s tongue.

Caption contributed by Mark

Advance word is, season 7 of Entourage will center on the career impact of Vince’s disastrous blond perm.

Bill’s out in the audience, and Ralph, dropping into the seat next to him, is touched by this show of support, until he realizes that Bill has an earphone in one ear and is listening to a Phillies game. For some reason, this causes Ralph to turn and grin inanely right into the camera.

Caption contributed by Mark

William Katt is Crow T. Robot in Mystery Science Theater: The Musical (Now in previews)!

The theme music blares triumphantly, and—that’s the end of the episode! Cue bizarrely chosen freeze frames, and pipe-smoking Stephen Cannell throwing the script into the air, and we’re done, baby!

So what have we learned from this, the first regular episode of GAH? Well, I for one hadn’t realized just how much northern California guido mobsters pride themselves on personal appearance. Also, third-string FBI field support bears a striking resemblance to craft services. You can exploit your girlfriend as much as you like, as long as you don’t actually hook up with gum-smacking mob molls, and keep it to just flirting. But most of all, if you stick to your case relentlessly for a decade and a half and visit the FBI library on a regular basis, eventually you’ll annoy your suspect into coming after you—and then, assuming you live, and that you’ve got superhero backup, his ass is yours, bucko.

Caption contributed by Mark

”Heh. ‘The cupcake was a wrong number.’ Hee hee hee.”

Next time on Greatest American Hero: How do you solve a problem like your lead character having almost the same name as a presidential assassin?

Mark "Scooter" Wilson

Mark is a history guy, a graphics guy, a guy for whom wryly cynical assessments of popular culture are the scallion cream cheese on the toasted everything bagel of life. He spends his time teaching modern history at Brooklyn College, pondering the ancient Romans at the CUNY Graduate Center, and conjuring maps and illustrations for ungrateful bankers at various Manhattan monoliths. Readers are welcome to guess at reasons why he's nicknamed Scooter, with the proviso that all such submissions are guaranteed to be rather more interesting than the truth. Mark lives in the Midwood section of Brooklyn with a happy-go-lucky, flop-eared dog named Chiyo who is probably, at this very moment, waiting patiently for her walkies.

Multi-Part Article: The Greatest American Hero "The Hit Car"
TV Show: The Greatest American Hero

You may also like...

  • mamba

    This show brings back memories. but one is missing:

    Why does he need to take off his clothes to use his powers if he’s wearing the suit under his clothes? He’s stripping off his regular clothes while Bill’s being chased…but if the suit gives him the powers anyway, then maybe being fashionable isn’t the issue?

    Or is the suit solar powered and needs full exposure to light to work? 🙂